eView: How Video Will Transform Email Marketing
The emergence of online video offers a unique opportunity for email marketers to connect more strongly with their audiences. While using the wrong kind of video in an email campaign will frustrate consumers, using the right kind can create a powerful brand experience.
Among other companies, BMW and Martha Stewart are getting it right. Both have used prominent graphic prompts in recent email campaigns that motivated recipients to click through to landing pages to view video. In both cases, the videos and delivery methods were well-received without being obtrusive or noncompliant with current email best practices.
However, most email programs, including Outlook 2007, and the majority of web-based providers, disable the scripting mechanisms that enable video to be played to protect inboxes from viruses. This means few consumers can view a video directly within an email.
The good news is the issues of video in email today may not be around tomorrow. Goodmail Systems, for example, has introduced CertifiedVideo, which ensures that emails are delivered and rendered properly and videos actually will play within them. As more ISPs get onboard with supporting video in email, marketers will have more opportunities to explore this new channel to influence their customers.
Until then, marketers should use click-to-view links, whether in the form of graphics to simulate video players or prominent callouts in the emails that direct viewers to external landing pages that play the videos.
With this approach, video will play properly and customers can decide whether they want to play it or not. If they're working in cubicles or on the road checking email via BlackBerrys, they're unlikely to view the video. But they may do so at home later.
The best video content also includes tangible calls to action, such as “learn more” or “get 10 percent off now.” And since video is viral in nature, smart marketers also are adding a “forward to a friend” button in their email campaigns, because it’s always more impactful to receive a video from a friend rather than a company.
With any experimental marketing technique, such as incorporating video into email campaigns, there is always the risk of a negative user experience. Also, if the content is not relevant and engaging, marketers risk doing more harm than good to their brands. Before jumping too fast, marketers must make sure it makes business sense to test the waters with video and understand the potential risk.