Best practices: 4 tips for video e-mails

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In the age of YouTube, everyone knows there’s nothing like great video to grab someone’s attention. That idea is spilling over to e-mail campaigns as more marketers are using video in the hopes of engaging more subscribers and increasing conversions. "It's never been easier for companies to get access to video production, even if they've never done it before in-house," said John Janetos, VP-business development and marketing at e-mail marketing services provider iPost. iPost recently signed a partnership agreement with video marketing solutions provider Flimp Media to offer clients video capability as part of its e-mail programs. “You’ll see more opens and click-throughs with video because people like to watch them,” Janetos said. According to Flimp Video data, the average click-through rate on e-mails containing video is 42% and the average response rate is 23%. The average time viewers spend watching those videos is 1.3 minutes, Flimp data showed. Janetos offered the following tips to get the most out of adding video to an e-mail campaign: 1) Don’t directly embed the video into the e-mail. Instead, use a video landing page, Janetos said. With large, embedded files you’ll run into deliverability problems. Subscribers may not be able to download the e-mail from their inbox, or worse, the message may get bounced back to the sender or blocked entirely. Even if it does manage to reach the inbox, sometimes the video component will get stripped out even if the e-mail makes it through, he warned. “There’s no point producing a video that no one will get to watch, so you have to send it the right way,” Janetos said. 2) Keep it short, and include a call to action. Videos should be short and sweet, somewhere between one and three minutes, Janetos said. People have short attention spans, so it’s important to deliver a highly focused message that will appeal to the target audience before they’re itching to move on. In addition, make sure there’s a call to action on the video landing page and within the video that encourages the viewer to act on what they see. 3) Content is more important than slickness. Videos should always be visually appealing, but in the b-to-b world content trumps appearance, Janetos said. The story line in many popular videos for b-to-b clients shows customers using the product you may be trying to sell, he said. “The most important element to video is making sure the content is relevant to the recipient,” he said. “Stories sell and they should tell a story that matters to subscribers.” 4) Always test and measure. Just like a traditional e-mail campaign, marketers should first test and measure the response to the video component before launching it to the entire subscriber list, Janetos said. “Part of the beauty of these campaigns is you can measure whether people are watching once they click through and if they are seeing it through completion,” he said. “If not, you can find out when they stopped watching.”
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