Video email marketing: A dream combination

These days, brands are increasingly investing in video marketing - and with good reason. In fact, 86% of companies are using video as a marketing tool. In most cases, this is done with the goal of building a YouTube presence, spicing up their website, or creating buzz on social media.

But what about email? For many businesses, it's an important marketing channel that still holds untapped potential in terms of video.

Email campaigns will get your video content noticed more. Videos in email marketing are great for adding variety and keeping subscribers engaged.

Want to take full advantage of your video email marketing? In this post, you'll learn:

  • How to use video in email marketing
  • What video content works well for in email campaigns
  • Why video email marketing pays off
What makes video and email marketing such a powerful combination?

There are several reasons why video and email work well together.

First, all the benefits of email marketing apply to video email marketing: it's direct, it's easy to measure, and you can incorporate video content into any email cadence.

But there's an even simpler answer: people like video!

69% of consumers say they prefer a video to learn about a new product or service. Only 18% prefer to read a text. Video email marketing combines these two aspects, serving both groups in their preferred format.

A woman in a red shirt is lying on the couch watching a video on her phone.

Emails with videos get 64% more clicks on average.

With this in mind, it's hardly surprising that emails with videos perform better. In fact, a study by Campaign Monitor found that emails with videos get 19% more opens and 64% more clicks.

This increase in clicks is impressive, but also understandable. When someone sees a play button, they're going to want to click it.

But what explains the increased open rate?

In short, videos stand out. Video email marketing is extremely effective, but few brands use it. The term 'video' in the subject line still manages to make a special impression. It makes people curious and they want to watch it.

Can you embed a video in an email?

First things first: how do you get the video into the email? It's not as easy as it might seem. Because many email providers don't display videos, you can't embed them directly into the email.

Instead, you need to host the video somewhere else - for example, on your website or YouTube channel - and link to it in the email.

In one video in a marketing email, a chef roasts lamb in a pan.

Fortunately, there are methods to create the impression of an embedded video without actually embedding it. To do this, simply select a thumbnail from your video, place a play button over it, and insert the image into your email.

The button makes it clear that it's a video. If you embed the link to the video in the image, recipients can still click on it to watch the video - as if it were a video player.

Should you use email marketing software like Mailchimp, the application will handle this function for you. All you have to do is select a video content module when creating your email and follow the instructions.

Of course, you can also easily do this yourself. For this purpose, there are simple browser-based applications that add a play button to any image. You just need to paste the resulting file into the email and link to the video.

What types of videos are good for email marketing?

You can use email marketing to increase the reach of any type of video you create as part of your marketing strategy. However, it's worth targeting those videos that add the most value to your audience.

Want some ideas to get you started? Below are six practical ideas for great content you can use in your video email marketing strategy.

1. new product announcement

You probably already use your mailing list to inform customers about new and exciting products. A video can showcase these products much more vividly than photos and text alone.

Videos provide an all-around view, demonstrate moving parts in action, and make it easy for customers to imagine what it would be like to own or use the featured product themselves.

Still image from a product video showing the Sonos Play 1 against a white background.

2. instructions and tutorials

Videos are also great for informative or educational content. By mixing images, narration, and text, you can cover many different learning styles.

As a rule, showing is better than telling. For example, a software vendor might email video training to new customers to help them get started.

Still image from an Adobe Photoshop video tutorial, as an example of video email marketing.

3. testimonials from customers

Customer testimonials can be very powerful in marketing. A real and vivid example gives the story a central character that customers can identify with - and in the video, the story comes to life.

This video is among our most popular content. It shows how chocolate maker Godiva manages its digital assets with Canto. Seeing Canto in action gives prospective customers a better idea of the benefits the software would offer them.

Still from a video showing Canto and Godiva logos with Godiva chocolates.

4. a look behind the scenes

Customers prefer products from brands they know and trust. A video is a great opportunity to give them a behind-the-scenes look at your company.

For example, eyewear manufacturer Warby Parker created a video to provide insight into its design and manufacturing process. Videos like this make customers feel like they know your brand and gain confidence in the products they're buying.

Still from a video showing plastic curing at Warby Parker's factory.

5. industry insights

With your years of experience, you and your brand can offer a wealth of industry insights that your customers might find interesting. This way, you can reinforce your brand, demonstrate expertise, and engage your distribution list in a way that doesn't make people feel like you're trying to sell them something.

This video from REI takes outdoor enthusiasts into the world of snowshoeing. While it doesn't promote specific snowshoes, it does portray the brand as an expert resource and encourages customers to learn more about this winter sport.

As part of a well-orchestrated winter email campaign, this video could well inspire some of REI's subscribers to take up snowshoeing - and get the appropriate gear from REI.

Video still with REI's logo over the scene of a snowshoe hike.

6. a personal message

Videos are great as a medium for company executives to speak directly to customers. A written statement can seem distant and impersonal, whereas a video creates a personal connection. This is especially important when dealing with sensitive topics.

This email with a video message from American Airlines' CEO puts a human face on the company as it describes its response to COVID-19.

Screenshot from an American Airlines email with a video message from the CEO.

Extra tip: Joking links in emails are a risk

Humor and memes are a great way to connect with customers, and email marketing is no exception. 

However, there is one video that you should never link to in your emails.

We are not talking about Rick Astley himself, but about misleading links in general.

The reason for this is simple: deception attempts are a clear warning signal for email providers, and it can cause lasting damage to your company's reputation as a sender. Security measures are in place to protect consumers by ensuring that phishing emails end up in the spam folder.

Being classified as a spammer or phisher can have long-term consequences and affect your email deliverability* well into the future.

There may be an email client or two that has a Rick Astley exemption in their algorithms - but don't take your chances. Save the rickrolling for other channels instead. You could of course use the correct anchor text, but where would be the fun in that?

*Don't worry, this link really does lead to an article about email deliverability, word of honor!

Let's summarize once again

Video marketing and email marketing are a dream combination whose potential many brands have yet to tap. With a little creativity and an appropriate thumbnail, you can share your videos with a wider audience via email - while also spicing up your email campaigns with video.

Most importantly, videos offer your customers an engaging way to interact with your brand in a format they prefer.