The goal of ecommerce email marketing is to create a lifecycle-targeted experience that resonates with your audience and strengthens the relationship -- which drives sales. We use various methods to improve our open rates, from compelling subject lines to personalization. What works for other companies might not work for yours, so it’s important to continue experimenting until you find a formula that works. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, and a 30 second video contains 1,500 pictures -- well, let's just say that videos can be extremely powerful. Videos in your marketing emails just might be that tactic you need to engage your customers.
Some of our data
First, I'll share a little bit of our data that's renewed our inspiration to invest in video in email. An email test consisting of 8 variations, mostly comparing purchase-phase vs. educational content, also included a link to a video in one email. That email had a 660% higher delivered-to-click rate than the other emails, even though the open rate was not significantly higher (n = 903).
The main body of that email was a giant video where one of our executives related to people about their problems. With that giant play button that we're so behaviorally conditioned to press, who could resist?
Don't lie, you tried to click that -- didn't you? I didn't link it just to see. What's he screaming about? You can see the video here (if the video doesn't make any sense to you -- don't worry. It's probably meant for people in a different phase of the pre-transactional buying cycle than you are).
This test result was an accident (like penicillin, still very exciting); we weren't planning on video having such a drastic impact. We're doing a lot more research on this coming soon, but the early indicators across the marketing world are that video is performing well. At any rate, as we mentioned earlier, this is a test you should definitely replicate for yourself.
Video Gaining Adoption
If you're still not convinced and want some social proof, a recent study shows nearly 84% of marketers use videos on their websites and over 65% use YouTube as a part of their marketing strategy -- numbers that are only growing. Now, in addition to these video marketing efforts, 60% are also using videos as a part of their email campaigns. Among those who don’t yet use videos in email, 26% are considering adding them to future email campaigns.
Potential Types of Videos to Include
Whether it's a slideshow featuring text and photos or video featuring past and current customers, a testimonial video can go a long way toward inspiring trust from potential buyers.
Sometimes your products require a bit of explanation, and a how-to video could be the assistance buyers need to see real value in what you offer. Other times, a how-to video might show consumers additional uses for your products. People love getting more bang for their buck, so finding new ways to use current purchases is a great way to keep customers happy.
To show the value of your products and how they meet buyers’ needs, a demonstration video could really help. Provide images showing your products in various scenarios so buyers can see how your goods and services can be applied to their individual situations.
Not everyone likes to appear on camera, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide video. Your animated shorts could be as simple as a whiteboard demonstration or as involved as a humorous parody with characters from your office. As long as the video provides some value, you’ll gain traction.
Slideshows are a great way to share images of your products, statistics relating to their use, and testimonials from customers. All of these things can be presented in a short video that requires little editing, which makes them the perfect choice for marketers who want to share videos on a budget.
Behind the Scenes
A video showing happenings at your company office or in your town shows buyers real people are behind the products you sell. Introduce the top employees of the month, give a tour of your facilities, show your company in action during local events, or just take a moment to say hi.
Silly videos and parodies experience higher share rates simply because people love to laugh. You do want to make sure your silly videos aren’t offensive, so if you’re planning a Saturday Night Live-style skit, run the script by several people before filming -- always make sure your marketing is aligned with the psychographic dimensions of your buyer personas. Otherwise, make ‘em laugh.
Sharing news about your company is a great way to keep buyers in the loop. You could email videos that highlight recent awards your products or company has won, news coverage your business has received, or new employees. Sharing your milestones with buyers invites them in to be a part of the success.
How to Deliver Your Video
Because most internet service providers and email platforms don’t show videos in emails, you might experience limited success when embedding into the body of the message. Another option is to embed the video on a landing page. Based on the success of our email experiment, I might suggest testing having the start screen with the play-button overlay as a clickable image in the email. Those who can’t view within their email still have the option to visit your site to see your message, and your click-through rate increases.
You can use your landing pages for so much more than sharing the video. With calls-to-action leading to other information, you have a chance to convert visitors into pre-transactional contacts or sales. Make the most of each video landing page so visitors receive as much information as possible.
How to Create Videos on a Budget
We understand that not everyone has the budget to create high-quality, live-action videos, but that doesn’t mean you have to do without. Slideshows and testimonials are both low-budget ways to share rich media with potential buyers. You can also find plenty of outlets where video creation and editing can be purchased for low prices. One of the most popular choices is Fiverr, which we’ve covered in a previous blog. The point is that you seek out unique ways to share your video content when you don’t have the same budget other companies might have. There’s really nothing stopping you from creating and sharing useful, entertaining, and successful video content with your ecommerce contacts.
Have other video types worked well for your email marketing? We'd love to hear more ideas, so feel free to share in the comments.
Originally published Nov 1, 2013 2:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016