Marketers Pause the Text and Play up the Video in Email

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Gray Chevrolet Cadillac features videos in its monthly email newsletter, Chevy Clips
Gray Chevrolet Cadillac features videos in its monthly email newsletter, Chevy Clips

The belief that including video in email requires complex and expensive technology has caused the practice to fade out of focus for many marketers. But Ethan Beute, CMO of email marketing platform BombBomb, says video provides a personal touch that marketers can't replicate with text.

In terms of audience retention, one minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, according to a 2008 study by Forrester Research entitled “How Video Will Take Over the World.”

“We're trying to make email more human again,” Beute says. “It's complete communication with all the subtlety, nuance, and nonverbal communication that you can't get through traditional text and images.”

Consider Brad Whitehouse, broker and owner of Colorado-based RE/MAX franchise RE/MAX Professionals Inc., who embeds video in email primarily to train and communicate with agents.

“For our realtor to send a message, saying ‘I have this new listing,' with a photo is one thing. But to click on a video and have 15 seconds of walking through the front door of that house and looking at the view from the backyard in video, as opposed to just a few static photos, is unique [and] powerful.”

Whitehouse adds that embedding the video instead of a link to an external video-hosting website, like YouTube or Vimeo, keeps customers centered on the branding featured in the email and prevents them from dropping off. Format notwithstanding, marketers must still target video content to ensure relevance, rather than “stuffing the email marketing channel with a traditional advertisement,” BombBomb's Beute says. “Ultimately, the video in the email is about bringing to life the message of the entire email and compelling someone to take your call to action.”

He also advises marketers to keep track of consumers' preferences to determine video content length, tone, and style. And while monitoring video play rate and engagement is important, Beute adds that marketers should not forget about basic email metrics, such as open and click-through rates.

Staying engaged

To keep customers engaged for the entirety of the video, Scott Judy, Internet coordinator of Gray Chevrolet Cadillac, focuses on the entertainment factor of the video content by searching for “something funny” when selecting videos for the dealer's monthly email newsletter Chevy Clips, which is powered by a digital engagement platform from Outsell and Agency 720. Chevy Clips also features videos from TV spots, product demonstrations, and feature demonstrations, says Craig Vore, insights manager of strategy and optimization at Outsell.

According to Vore, marketers should also mind video length. For example, Scott MacDonald, president and owner of northern Virginia-based RE/MAX franchise RE/MAX Gateway, says he typically limits his videos, which he uses internally to communicate with real estate agents and externally to feature properties, to 60 or 90 seconds.

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