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Four Lingering Myths About Video-Email Marketing

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People are always looking for the next great thing in email marketing, and these days much of the talk involves social-networking integration.

But there is one other technology—video, long considered taboo in email marketing—that can be integrated into your campaigns.

Now that email and online media have gotten much more sophisticated, however, the following video-email myths can be laid to rest and the taboo broken.

1. Video emails will bounce most of the time

As long as an email follows the general best-practices of email marketing, a video email is not likely to bounce.


Email clients and Internet service providers blocked videos during email marketing's infancy, but adding videos the proper way will prevent your email from landing in recipients' spam folders.

2. Email-marketing companies won't embed video in your emails

By hanging on to this old trope as an excuse not to use video, you could be holding back your campaigns a great deal.

Most email service providers (ESPs) have developed solid ways to integrate video into email marketing campaigns.

Some ESPs simply use a screenshot with a play button to link to the actual video, some will open a mirror image of an email in a Web browser so the video can play, and others will play an animated graphic interface format, or GIF, instead of the actual video.

3. Email videos do not work because no one watches them

Cue the rim shot. That myth almost reads like a joke these days. YouTube is the second-largest search engine and the third most-visited website. Online video is booming. With video cameras on cell phones and mini high-definition video cameras, the popularity of Web videos is at an all time high.

Video emails have even become something that people look forward to on a slow workday. An enticing video email is often more memorable and exciting than a standard email, so what's holding you back?

4. A promotional commercial is the only type of video email worth sending

The opportunities for video in email are vast and untapped. Instead of being fixated on producing a straight commercial, remember that customer testimonials in video form can be powerful and effective marketing tools.

The best part of using testimonials is that thanks to the prevalence of webcams you can easily get your customers to record and send in testimonials via email.

The bottom line: You can successfully integrate video into your email campaigns in countless ways that will have a positive, as well as immediate, effect.

* * *

The next time someone tells you that a video-email marketing campaign will bounce, welcome that person to 2010. If you're told that an ESP won't embed the video, prove that person wrong. Show that person the play counts on the videos you're sending via email, too, and all the types of videos you've made.

Remember, an email with a great video is more likely to be passed around via social-sharing options, which is another reason why video-email marketing is a viable marketing method.

As Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman of the television show MythBusters say at the end of most of their experiments, "This myth has officially been busted."


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Andy Shore is a marketing and social networking expert at Benchmark Email (www.benchmarkemail.com), an email marketing service.

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  • by Terry Barber Tue Oct 12, 2010 via web

    Thanks Andy for the encouragement. Do you think it is too early to migrate to 100% video blogging... Maybe embedded email, and then link to rest of message in Vblog format?

  • by Andy from Benchmark Email Tue Oct 12, 2010 via web

    Thanks for the comment Terry! That's an interesting idea. I don't think it's too early. It may not, however, be the best move for you. Do you have a blog or website that you would otherwise put the video blogs on? If so, perhaps sending out an email advertising the video blog, and linking them to your site might be more effective. That way you can grow traffic to your site and increase the chances that they will visit other pages, or purchase products. Email marketing is strongest when you are using all media channels together. If you do choose to embed your video blogs in your emails, use social networking channels and your website to promote it and encourage sign-ups.

    Good luck!

    Andy

  • by Kelly Lorenz Wed Oct 13, 2010 via web

    Andy,

    I appreciate your thoughts here and agree that video in email is a potentially great engagement tool, I have to respectfully disagree on a few points:

    1) Full, streaming video will not work in many email clients, namely the biggest ISPs out there: Outlook, Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL. Gmail just introduced the ability to stream video in emails through a YouTube link in the message and the video at the very bottom of the email message. I would be extremely careful when stating that it'll work in most ESPs because what really matters is that it will work in the ISP or email client the recipient would be viewing the video within. Animated gifs and screen grabs, on the other hand, work in most major email clients (gifs are blocked at Outlook - big surprise, screen grabs work in every email client).

    2) You state "Video emails have even become something that people look forward to on a slow workday." How do you know this? Do you have stats to back this up? I'm skeptical on the actual view rates of videos in email.

    3) Finally, I think it's important to remember that email is a means to an end and shouldn't be the end destination. By placing a video in email, you are taking away from the opportunity to engage folks on your site and doing more with your brand beyond just viewing a video.

    Let me know your thoughts - I love hearing different viewpoints on topics like this because it helps open my perspective and allows for more well-rounded advice for clients.

    Thanks,
    Kelly Lorenz

  • by Andy from Benchmark Email Wed Oct 13, 2010 via web

    Kelly,

    Thanks for the comments. I can only speak on behalf on how video works with our system. Playing a video in an email sent with Benchmark Email opens the email in a web browser and it plays. This is effective, because it still keeps the recipient in the context of the email. If your email follows best practices, you shouldn't have a problem with any email client. You'll need your recipients to enable images, same as with any email. If you're on your subscribers "safe list" this is a non-issue.

    I do not have stats on view rates of videos in email. I am sorry. I do have the experience of working in this industry and hearing from customers and peers. Video in email is something everyone we talk to is excited about. We live in a world where a viral video leads to 15 minutes of fame at the very least. This is in no small part because of how fast a video can spread with email, social networking, blog, etc.

    As to your third point, I agree. A video in an email should inspire someone to take action. I had a comment asking about video blogs above. You will notice that I did tell Terry she may be better off putting the video blogs on her website and using email to promote it. The path to success is different for everybody. What works for one person, may not work for another. All I can offer is general best practice suggestions and tips along the way.

    Thanks again for weighing in on this, I too enjoy the conversation.

    Best,
    Andy

  • by Kelly Lorenz Thu Oct 14, 2010 via web

    Andy,

    I gotcha on playing the video - it's not actually in the email client, it's on the web version in a browser, which makes sense why it would be compatible in all clients.

    I do know many people are excited about it, but excitement does not equal results, which should always be the key metric when testing new ideas and concepts like this. The same could be said about the much-hyped iPad, but does it make sense for the majority of marketers to create an iPad app today? No. Marketers must follow the money path and I'm still on the fence as to whether video in email will provide that in the long-term.

    I do appreciate your responses, though, as it does provide food for thought - especially the idea of opening up the email in a browser to play the video.

    Cheers,
    Kelly

  • by Sonja Campbell Mon Nov 1, 2010 via web

    I'm a conference marketer for BtoB audience in Financial Services and using a video screen shot in email to drive them to a web page to play video worked to get people to sign up.

    The video included a special promo code for special savings and it worked. I was able to track who took advantage of the offer by the discount code they used to register.

    I've been including video in my email marketing campaigns for the past 2 years. It adds some diversity to content that is being offered--I email prospects at least once per week during a conference campaign.

  • by Andy from Benchmark Email Mon Nov 1, 2010 via web

    Thanks for that input Sonja!

  • by Terry Barber Mon Nov 1, 2010 via web

    Andy, is Benchmark the actual provider of this service?
    www.inspirationblvd.com

  • by Andy from Benchmark Email Mon Nov 1, 2010 via web

    Terry, Benchmark Email does offer a video email solution, which I detailed a little further in my earlier comments.

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