Sunday, December 09, 2007

Email and Video: Tactics you can use Today

I may be getting older but I had a crazy flashback yesterday. I went to the movies to see August Rush (I give it 1 thumbs up) and of course I was forced to sit through about 20 commercials that mostly focused on gifts I must buy before the move started. One commercial stood out - a new video phone that is being offered by a mobile carrier up here called Rogers (Verizon is the equivalent the US). I remembered seeing this concept in Star Trek and Back to the Future but low and behold, we finally have created this technology on a portable device!! The bottom line here is that video has come a long way.

How to Incorporate Video and Email

In a recent article on ClickZ called Testing, Testing, Testing... Karen Gedney reported that Bulldog Solutions started adding video highlights to their emails. For example, for an upcoming webinar they shot a very short webinar introduction video, took a screenshot of the speaker from this video and included this in the email invite (see the screenshot). When you receive the email, you can click on the video screenshot and the video opens in a new window. Looks difficult? It's easier then you think.

While the image in the email looks like the video will play directly in the email, that's actually not the case and not recommended as email clients (what you use to read your emails) render emails differently. It's much easier and safer to make the image a link in the email to the actual video player.

The Results of Incorporating Video and Email.

Bulldog Solutions reported that with the inclusion of video in their email, open rates have increased by 30 percent to 14.09 percent and CTRs nearly doubled to 2.20 percent. This trend continued for subsequent email campaigns. The results definitely show how video can improve your email success rates.

Tactics to Incorporate Video and Email

Here are a few ideas that you can use today:
  • Adding video intros to event invites (highlighted above)
  • Customer testimonials. If you go and visit your customers, take a long a camera and record a 10 second testimonial. Sales can incorporate these in their communication pieces to prospects.
  • Have sales create short video intros that they can include in follow up and intro emails. For example, you meet a prospect at a trade show or live event - what better way for them to get a better sense of who you are and what you've accomplished then by sending an email with a video. This email may then be passed around the company so that everyone has a good sense of who the sales person is that they are dealing with.
  • CEO video messages to customers, prospects and employees. Have the CEO record a video with their video phone at the airport while they're waiting for their flight. This can be used in an email, blog, main website etc...
  • Company videos for holiday cards. You can really show off to your customer base the people that make up your company by creating a short video. Individuals from the company can include a short holiday greeting. You can't get more personal then this!
  • HR videos. These can be corny but if you're a growing company and you want to attract the top people, use video to help paint the picture of who you really are.
I'm sure there are many more ideas out there. How have you used video?

Incorporating video into Email is too much Effort

Yes, this does take some additional planning as you need to get someone who can speak in front of a camera, setup the camera, write a script etc... But come on, how difficult is this with today's technology? We have video phones and YouTube!! If a three year old can play Guitar Hero and have it posted to YouTube, your marketing team can handle this. It's no longer "Back to the Future" but the future is here and it's time to accept that video should be a key part of your marketing efforts.

Chad H.

PS - make sure that if you do create videos, upload them to Youtube to increase the distribution of it.

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