Video as a marketing tool is popular and proven; people routinely click through after watching. But it isn’t always easy or advisable to embed actual video in an e-mail message. People generally don't appreciate the intrusion. It consumes a ton of bandwidth, too.
Rather than try and embed a video in e-mail, even if you can make it work, follow these five ideas including leveraging e-mail-like functions in YouTube and Facebook.
1. The most basic way to share a video is to use a plain-text link. Seems obvious, but time after time, I’ve read about small business owners paying loads of money to “embed” their video directly in e-mail. If you have a relationship with your customers and prospects via e-mail, then you can easily just state, “Click here to see the latest video we created…”
There are tools and services that will help you share video in e-mail. Flimp is a recent favorite of mine. That image above is a screenshot from the e-mail the company sent me while testing it for this post (I did not sign up for the service, but they have a “Test How Flimp Works” button, so I clicked to see what it would look like.)
2. Flimp is using the second tip I want to share – create an image of your video, as you see above, so that it simply looks like the same image the customer sees when they get to your video. It is called a thumbnail and it is not a bait and switch. The link to the actual video, on YouTube or Vimeo or a private host, is embedded in the photo. This method is much more likely to be allowed past a corporate firewall. The cool thing about Flimp is the service makes it easy to create, send, and track the results. As an aside, if you are mailing to mostly Gmail users, Google released options for people to view the video right from the inbox. Again, though, for most corporate users with Outlook or a desktop solution a video may never make it to their inbox.
For ideas on why to use video in your e-mail marketing, read Travis Campbell’s post at Marketing Professor. He shares 4 ways video makes email marketing more profitable. His main premise is that you can use video to explain what happens next when you sign up for an offer on a website. When you do so, you’ll increase actual click through based on tests he’s done. One of his tips is to create a thank-you page by using a video along with written copy confirming what the viewer/reader needs to do next.
3. Build out your YouTube subscriber channel. You can then directly e-mail the video through the platform and update your followers. It is called “Post Bulletin” and you’ll find it on your Channel dashboard. You can reach anyone who subscribes to your work or is a “Friend.” Essentially, you are using YouTube as your e-mail delivery mechanism in this case. The downside to it is there’s no tracking mechanisms (or none that I’ve found yet).
4. A similar approach can be managed on Facebook when you load video there. Small business owners are testing a variety of techniques for video on Facebook. For example, you can post a video directly and privately to a person’s wall. You can add a video you’ve done to a group (similar to the YouTube channel subscriber concept mentioned above). If you view your Facebook network as a hybrid of your e-mail marketing efforts, you can reach more people with your message, one-on-one and one-to-many. You have to be targeted and sensitive to how you reach people, and who you reach out to, but there are opportunities for sharing video as a marketing tool.
5. Twitvid is the site for sharing video to your Twitter followers easily. Works very much like YouTube, but for Twitter.
Other video e-mail marketing solutions that I think are worth a deeper look include: MailVU.com, Eyejot, and GetResponse. Let me know in the comments which tools or apps you’re using and why. I may review your use of them in a future post or e-mail them to me.