Video email is a powerful medium. It can show off your products, persuade customers through video testimonials, and give recipients a 360 degree look at what you have to offer. However, it must be used with care. Start with a small video to test the waters. Make it something compelling, but not too ambitious. What you want is something that works well, is affordable, and is something that you can hopefully create on your own with a camcorder or Web cam. Once you've gotten your audience and they're attentive, you can spring for something with better production values. But your first times out, work within the framework of what you have.
Make it short
Your video should not be a long, rambling speech or a lengthy, all-angles shot that lasts for minutes. Remember: video is interesting, but the people who view it do not have a lot of time. Think of your video as a sort of 30 or minute-long commercial. Make it interesting, but make it a teaser and not the main course.
Don't neglect your email layout and text
It's quite easy to focus on your video and forget that your email still needs links, images and good, compelling text. But always remember that although you might see your open rates soar with video email, not everyone will watch your video email. There are many reasons why people may not watch your video – maybe your recipient is at work and wants to be discreet, maybe their computer doesn't have a sound card – so you need to take extra care in making up for that in your email layout. Use video email as an enhancement to your regular email rather than the only focus.
Test it out with your faithful openers
The people that open your emails and show interest in what you have to offer can make a very valuable focus group. In fact, you might want to send a video email to a small group of openers first before you send to the rest of your email list. If possible, contact a few openers directly and ask them if they'd like to give you feedback on your video before it goes to the masses. They might offer suggestions you haven't thought of and give you great tips to polish your final product.
Create a video email subscriber list
For some recipients, video email is something they'll like and connect with. For others, they might not be interested. For this reason, we recommend asking your opt-in recipients to subscribe to your video email group. You can make your video email group announcement the focus of your next newsletter with the hopes that this narrow focus will yield a high number of responses, or you can simply add a survey to your normal email asking if each recipient would be interested in receiving video emails and newsletters. The recipients that are interested and tell you so via your invitation or survey will subscribe. Some recipients won't subscribe for various reasons – they read your email via their mobile phone and it doesn't have that capability, for instance – but ones that are interested can be put aside in a separate group you can send to.
Overall, video email marketing is untested waters at the moment, but the format is interesting and can open up many opportunities to make new sales and raise interest in your products and services. The key is to start small and not be discouraged if you get less subscribers than you'd hoped for. In time video email may be the standard format, but for now you'll need to enhance your regular emails with video to help your subscribers make an easy transition over to this new style of email marketing.
Elizabeth Kiefer is a writer for Benchmark Email