How to Best Use Video in Email Marketing Campaigns

Using video in your email marketing is a great way to increase your open rates as well as the overall engagement rate. It’s more engaging than using images and text alone, but many people are still unsure about how to include it in their email campaigns.

Up until recently, combining video and email has been challenging and time-consuming. Not only did you have to find a hosting platform for the video, you also had to create a custom thumbnail to include in your email. However, with the dawn of HTML5, the accessibility of video websites such YouTube and Vimeo, and the rise of open rates on mobile phones, it’s now easier than ever to incorporate video in your email marketing campaigns.

Here are four ways to use video to its full potential.

How to Use Video in Email Marketing

1. Educate Your Subscribers

Many of us learn best when we see a product in use or when we can follow along a specific set of instructions. We prefer visual learning so using videos in your email marketing campaigns is a great way to educate your audience and make it easy for them to understand the benefits of your product or service.

How to make a What-Is Introduction video (tutorial)

In the following example, Michael Sliwinski – the founder of Nozbe – incorporates a series of training videos in his campaigns:


The goal is to help people improve their productivity habits and help them get started on the right foot with using Nozbe. Even though the email is sent right after you sign up for a free trial, it’s a clever way to ensure people sign up for a paid plan because they can immediately see practical examples of the product in use as well as get access to useful advice.

2. Give Them a Behind-The-Scenes Look

When we see how our favorite item is made, it makes us appreciate it that much more. Knowing exactly what goes into the process is a great way to show people the dedication you put into your craft and assures them of the quality and care that goes into each and every one of your products.

Monica Vinader capitalizes on this by using not only video but also animated GIFs to illustrate the process of creating one of kind jewelry pieces:


3. Speak Directly to Your Audience

A personal message goes a long way and there is no better way to achieve this than by using a video tailored to your subscribers. When you pair that with welcome emails which typically have four times the open rate and five times the click rate compared to other campaigns, you’ll soon realize the potential of including videos in your campaigns.

Consider the example from a well-known marketer Sally Hogshead from How to Fascinate:


Her welcome email is tailored specifically to each new subscriber which makes it feel more personal and engaging.

4. Engage and Excite

Using videos to promote upcoming events is one of the best ways to get your subscribers excited about it and encourage them to learn more about how they can get involved.

In one of their recent campaigns, Harley Davidson Australia used video to engage their subscribers and to inform them about an upcoming event:


Best Practices for Using Video In Email Campaigns

1. Use a still image with an overlaid play button

Embedding a video can be a little too technical for most users and to make matters worse, not all email clients have the ability to play the video directly. This can be a huge fail and may wind up costing you a few subscribers. However, you can still include an image and overlay a play button on top. The best way would be to design a custom image that represents your brand. You can use a professional intro for your video and include a still image of the opening:


2. Split test the images

Getting things right can be a little tricky, but if you take time to split test the images you use, you’ll be able to tell which images lead to better engagement rates. There’s a variety of splash screens that you can use for the image representing your video.

You can use an image of the product itself, people from your company, or your logo to reinforce your brand. Or, you could go in a different direction and consider creating a fun animated video. Whichever direction you choose, be sure to test each version and compare the engagement rates to get the most out of your campaigns.

3. Let the video do the work

Choosing an eye-catching image for your visitors is sure to grab the attention of your subscribers. And since video holds your entire message, you won’t need a lot of accompanying text.

Keep the rest of your email short and to the point to avoid unnecessary overwhelm. There is no need to repeat the contents of the video in the rest of your message since this would obviously defeat the purpose.

You can however, include a call-to-action overlay to encourage engagement and make sure subscribers know to click the video. For maximum results, be sure to include your logo so your subscribers know who the email is coming from and consider using the word “video” in your subject line as that has been proven to increase the open rate.

4. Use a GIF

GIFs are becoming more and more popular so it’s a good idea to include an animated GIF to represent your video instead of a static image. It can make you stand out even more and the good news is that they are supported across almost all email clients except for Outlook 2007-2010. Even so, Outlook will still show the first frame of the GIF so your efforts won’t go to waste.

5. Create a Landing Page for Your Video

All your hard work will pay off the most if you create a dedicated landing page on your website for your video, instead of linking directly to it on YouTube or Vimeo. It gives you a chance to provide more details after your subscribers have watched the video and you can include a call to action that prompts them to learn more by providing links to similar content on your website. You can also use it to get them to subscribe for your event or to buy your product.

6. Consider using HTML5 Videos

If you absolutely must embed a video rather than having it hosted on a third-party website, opt for a HTML5 video instead. Support for HTML 5 video is still limited but the clients that have the support for it are widely used and email clients like the native iOS client, Apple Mail, and will allow your subscribers to play video within the client itself. Email clients like Gmail will use a fallback image instead.


If you’ve been on the fence about including video in your email marketing campaigns, consider the fact that 64% of users are more likely to make a purchase online after watching a video. Use the power of video to engage and educate your target audience and include them in your campaigns to improve your conversion rates.


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About the Author Brenda Stokes Barron

Brenda Stokes Barron is a professional writer and blogger and The Digital Inkwell is her personal brand. You can often find her typing furiously at her local Starbucks.