How To Use Video In Your Email Marketing Campaigns

The world of email marketing is changing every day, and as more and more brands recognize the value of email marketing – the more difficult it is to stand out in your customers’ inboxes. One way brands can differentiate themselves in email is through video. In fact, including video in your email marketing campaigns and subject lines can increase open rates by 19% and click-through-rates of 200-300%.

While there’s a lot of talk about video in email, it can seem pretty daunting and expensive. Let’s explore how you can (and cannot) include video in your emails, and how to best increase engagement of your content

 

Can I embed video in the email?

The simple answer is yes. The complex is answer is…well, it depends. There are a couple of problems to consider. When you think about it, when was the last time you actually watched a video within an email? If you’re a Gmail user, the answer is “I think I’ve watched a YouTube video a few times”. If you’re a Microsoft Outlook user – the answer is “never”. The same goes for email on iOS or Android devices.

The problem is that a lot of these inbox providers are not compatible with embedded video, which means to get the benefits of video in email marketing, you need to find some tools and loopholes.

For example, Mailjet’s integration with Viwom allows you to embed videos in your email campaigns that will automatically detect the device, operating system, and email client where the email is opened from and deliver the best option to each one. On some clients, the video won’t load but at least you can ensure something is delivered in its place – like a GIF or an image.

When Litmus was putting together their Email Design Conference, they knew they had to do something creative with their emails, so they were one of the first to really try embedded video in email. The effect definitely caught the eye of those who saw it; however, only about 40% of users could actually viewed the video in their email client.

 

While this was four years ago, unfortunately email clients haven’t changed all that much, and video embedded within an email is still not the best practice. There are options, though.

 

An alternative to video in email: Animated GIFs & Thumbnails

The best way to leverage the power of video in your email campaigns is to use animated GIFs to drive attention to the most seductive of internet activity: moving images. Your audience has become accustomed to short snippets of video previewing the content they are about to watch, including previews on major streaming platforms like YouTube and Netflix.

 

A major goal of all email marketing is to, of course, have your audience engage further with your content, products, or services. So, having the ability to attract users to your landing page where you can incentivize further engagement is much more attractive to marketers than embedding the video in the email itself. The goal is that your readers click back to your website, not to stay within the email.

On Mailjet, this is as simple as adding an image and linking to your favorite landing page.

You can also simply use a static image coupled with a play button superimposed on the image to indicate to your audience that selecting the play button will send them directly to a video.

The million-dollar question though is this: do you autoplay the video or not? In most cases, autoplay video is frowned upon, it’s annoying when you land on a page and all of a sudden a video and its audio start playing when you weren’t expecting it. This is especially true if you’re on a phone and your precious data is being eaten up.

In this case however, autoplay videos works well, primarily because the user has already indicated interest in watching a video by clicking the play button, so you’re completely within your moral universal internet rights to autoplay your video.

 

Key steps to pairing video with email marketing

Once you’ve decided that yes – I am going to be a video marketing guru and start including video in my email campaigns, the work has just begun. There are three major steps you will need to take to make the most out of your campaigns: establish your campaign goals; film quality video content, and optimize for engagement.

 

Establish your email campaign’s goals

Just like any marketing tactic you explore, you need to identify the goal of your campaign before getting into the weeds. Even Tommy Wiseau had something resembling a plan.

First off, what are you hoping to accomplish with your video? Are you trying to get users to try a new feature? Are you promoting an upcoming event? Do you have a new product that you want to show the world? Or maybe you just want to drive as many views as possible to your video.

Create the right content for the goal you are trying to achieve. Sometimes, a 7-10 second video is all you need to show your great new product, and sometimes an in-depth tutorial or course is exactly what your audience is looking for. If you’re goal is to drive sales, what call to actions are you baking into the video to direct people to purchase pages? If you’re goal is to simply increase the number of views, what are you doing in the first 3 seconds to capture the attention of the user and incentivize them to stick around for the whole video?

 

Film quality video content for your email

Sometimes a webcam video is enough, and in fact it can be a great way to show a personal touch if you are looking to personalize video in your email marketing strategy. Other times, though, a touch of flare and production quality is important to inspire trust and encourage engagement throughout the video and into the next step in the journey you want to send your audience on.

To produce a video that falls somewhere between your grandparents trying to figure out video conferencing and Mad Max: Fury Road, you need to keep in mind four key things:

  1. Lighting,
  2. Dimensions and format,
  3. Cameras and lenses,
  4. Audio.

I’ll leave it to the team over at Vidyard who show us how you can easily shoot high quality B2B videos on your smartphone for under $250.

 

Optimize your video marketing for engagement

Finally, once you have established your goals and filmed that perfect video, you now need to optimize your audiences experience to ensure you are driving attention precisely where you want it.

Check the transition from email to video

First, make sure that the transition from email to the landing page is seamless by ensuring the video is set to auto-play, that the video is clearly visible above the fold on your landing page, and that the videos size isn’t too large that will cause slow load times. This last point is especially true for users navigating to your site on mobile devices, which will already take a bit longer to load and could destroy data usage for many users.

Strategically place your CTAs

As your audience is viewing the video, create clear calls-to-action throughout that are both valuable and unobtrusive. While VH1’s Pop-Up Video may have gotten away with annoying pop-ups all through the 90s, today you need to make pop-ups and call-outs within the video subtle, and clearly adding value to the user experience.

This is especially important during those moments when you expect users to drop off, including the first 10 seconds when you need to capture the viewer’s attention before they leave. On longer videos, those over 10-minutes, most of your viewers are gone by the 50% mark. Pay close attention to your audience retention stats to determine when most users leave and create CTAs just before these moments to drive further engagement.

Video Length Based on Time

Create dedicated landing pages

To encourage ongoing engagement, you’ll also need to send your audience to a landing page you own, that is designed to ensure continued engagement with your content, products, or services.

Far too many brands are still sending their audience to YouTube, or Vimeo, or some other third party page to watch their content. You can either own the entire multimedia experience that your audience is about to embark on, or you can send them to a page to watch your video and inevitably get distracted by the latest cat video recommended to them. Optimizing your videos is about more than just the video – it’s about the entire user experience.

Embrace personalization

Finally, the most exciting and high impact way of optimizing your video marketing is through personalization. Businesses can see a 500% increase in email engagement with video personalization. While this can be difficult for bulk mailing, there are a lot of tools coming out that can connect your CRM and databases to your video content that seamlessly embeds personal details like names, companies, cities, and more right into a video.

If we’ve learned anything over the past decade, it’s that personalization is the key to successful marketing and video is the next forefront of this trend. Get ready for your name and information all over billboards and street signs in the videos you watch.

 

To Recap: Done right, video can enhance your email campaigns

  1. Yes, it’s possible to embed video in your emails, but it’s not the best experience for your audience and it doesn’t bring them to an optimized landing page for further engagement.
  2. Animated GIFs and Video Thumbnails are the best way to add video to your email marketing, and in fact can increase CTRs by 200-300%
  3. Focus first on your goals, and then focus on producing the best video to achieve these goals.
  4. Producing good quality video doesn’t need to cost you your entire budget – in fact the whole solution is in your pocket.
  5. Optimize everything! Create the best user experience for your audience to watch and interactively engage with your content.

 

Get those cameras out and stand out from the crowd. What videos are you going to produce this summer? Tell us all about it on Twitter.

How Email Can Make Up For Declining Organic Facebook Reach

If you’re like 55% of marketers, you have seen a significant decrease in your Facebook page’s engagement since they changed the algorithm to encourage “more meaningful social interactions with family and friends.” While social media platforms are, of course, an important way to connect with your audience, it’s increasingly become clear that doing so means you are communicating on someone else’s property – not your own. You do not own the relationship, the channel, or the data, and therefore are at the mercy of how other platforms decide to distribute your content.

100K followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn is not nearly the same as 100K subscribers on your newsletter. Assuming you land in 99% of inboxes, and get a respectable open rate of 20%, you are already well above the rate of Facebook followers that will even have a chance of seeing your post. Way back in 2012, organic reach on Facebook was at an all time high of 16%, this was down to 6.5% in 2014, and since changes to Facebook’s algorithm this year brands are seeing organic reach around 2%.

While social media offers the benefit of personalization and targeting in a way we didn’t know possible only a few years ago, email marketing is right there with them and in fact is doing so in a way that is based on the explicit permission of the audience. Something that is, of course, becoming increasingly important in a new age of Data Privacy and GDPR.

The question then is when do you want to use paid and organic content on social media platforms? Do you want to be paying for one click to your website, or do you want to be paying for the beginning of a warm and recurring relationship with your audience? By growing your email list, and from there building a quality, permission-based, relationship, you are building value in your own property.

To make up for this diminishing impact of organic reach on social media platforms, it’s important to apply what you’ve learned from social media’s personalization and data analysis to your email marketing.

 

Email Marketing & Personalization

Email offers the unique ability to personalize content to your audience – who they are and what they like. Personalization extends beyond just calling out their [First_Name], allowing marketers to curate content, links, images, and even videos based on any data and metrics you have received from the user. This is especially true for online retailers who benefit more than many other brands with advanced data including buying history, location, and more. Today, however, only 39% of online retailers send personalized product recommendations.

At first, personalization can seem daunting when you think about customizing a message to every single individual in your list, a list that may reach into the millions. Personalization, however, doesn’t need to be about one-to-one relationships, instead it is about personalizing your content to broad categories like interests, behaviours, or any attribute that can be shared by many. If you know from previous email engagement, through your website, or any other data collection method, that an email address is associated with a certain attribute – you can use this to personalize future emails.

For example, did they open a previous email about a shoe sale? Did they click a link about women’s jeans? Did they select a specific dropdown item from a menu?

The Miami Heat captures your favorite player when you sign up for their email list. How do they use this information? In any an infinite amount of ways – they could segment their list so only people who select that player receive the content (more on that below) or they could feature a rotating case of players in their bulk email and personalize who will appear in the email based on the user. If you’re favorite player is Dwayne Wade – guess who’s video interview the Miami Heat include in their email?

 

Email List Segmentation

As alluded to above, personalization and segmentation are in the same family but are different for a few important reasons. Whereas personalization is about substituting content, images, text, etc. based on data within a mass email, segmentation is about chopping up your contact lists and sending only to certain people…based on data. This could be based on their location, whether they’ve recently opened an email, their level of engagement in your products, who their favourite player is (again), their favorite color, whether they identify as a dolphin or a poodle, whatever you can have fun with and use to serve up content they’d enjoy.

Segmentation is a great way to not only personalize content, but to save money and dramatically increase your ROI. For instance, Mailjet is a volume-based email model meaning our plans are priced on the number of emails you send. If you send an email to every single one of the 100K subscribers of your newsletter, you will be paying for 100K emails.

However, if you segment your list so that only active users receive the email about new product updates, or only US-based subscribers receive your email about an upcoming event in San Francisco, then you not only increase the likelihood of engagement, of return of investment, of the reputation of your domain to inboxes like Gmail – but you also save money. In fact, according to research from Liveclicker, a company that provides personalization services, behavioral targeting delivers an 8 percent increase in email revenue.

Our friends over at Google Cloud Platform know this well. Do you think everyone on their newsletter list received this email? Or only those in the Bay Area?

 

Email Automation & Integrations

Almost as important as sending the right content to your audience, is sending at the right time. Marketing automation tools, paired with the personalization tips above, allow for you to communicate with your customers at the optimal time based on any number of triggered events or actions such as newsletter signup or purchases. For example, when users make their first purchase on your website, or sign up for your newsletter, you can increase engagement and personalization through a drip campaign customized to their interests and behaviours.

 

 

When you first sign up for a weekly newsletter, it may take up to 7 days to actually receive that first newsletter in your inbox, depending on when you signed up. You devoted all of your energy and money in order to (1) identify your target audience, (2) find out how to get their attention, (3) provide value or serve up an ad to get them to sign up for their newsletter, and then after all that you just add them to a long list of other users. They are as hungry for your content as anyone on that list, but you don’t serve them what they want, when they want it.

Automation allows you to send the content they are craving right away so that the weekly bulk newsletter isn’t the first email they receive from you. Perhaps the first one is a welcome email featuring a blog or video you think they will enjoy (ideally based on the data they’ve given you already). Perhaps the second email is something of even more value, like a discount code or a one-time sale. By building trust and offering value right off the bat, you can count on this user continuing to open your emails moving forward.

You can take your automation even further by integrating apps like Shopify, Wufoo, and yes even Facebook.

Many brands use integrations like Shopify to leverage the data they receive from triggers like purchases and abandoned carts to better personalize their campaigns and segment their lists. Doggyloot for instance keeps their customers coming back with e-commerce integrations into their email marketing to not only personalize the content but also target their sending to those they know are already interested in purchasing a product.

Doggyloot

Permission-Based Targeting

As organic reach on social media declines, and we move increasingly towards a permission-based marketing world, it doesn’t mean we need to move away from tailored content informed by data. In fact, as opposed to relying on a mysterious algorithm on property you do not own, learn more heavily into your own permission-based data collection tools on property you do own: your email lists.

The Best Mother’s Day Email Campaigns

Mother’s Day is coming, and on top of Sunday brunches and maybe a couple mimosa’s, you can also expect an increase in soft pinks and flower GIFs in your inbox. By the way, this year it’s May 13th – here’s a Google Calendar link so you don’t forget. :)

We love these times of year, including Holiday Season, Valentines Day, and Summer Break, because it brings out the most creativity in marketing departments and brands trying to distinguish themselves from the crowd. This is especially true for ecommerce and retail sites who are emailing about upcoming Mother’s Day sales, but just as interestingly, brands of all stripes are celebrating mothers in their own unique way.

 

Applying Best Practices to Your Email Campaigns

In honor of our mothers, we wanted to showcase some of the more effective and beautifully designed emails and newsletters, and give you a little look into what we love about them. Each of these campaigns utilizes many of our recommended best practices, including using images and GIFs to increase engagement, clear calls-to-action, simple design, alignment to your overall brand, and more.

BUT, we also would love your input! As you take a look at these campaigns, be sure to vote on your favourite at the bottom of the page, and we’ll tally these up to present to the world what the Mailjet community considers the best Mother’s Day newsletter 🏆.

 

Anthropologie: Power of Simplicity in your Email Campaigns

 

Anthropologie Email

 

First up is Anthropologie’s To Mom With Love email. What we love about this campaign is its simplicity, focusing the email on one clear purpose: shop Mother’s Day Gifts.

The image is simple yet beautiful and brand-aligned, making it clear right off the top what this email is about. Their call-to-action, “Shop Mother’s Day Gift”, is more descriptive than many in this list, which simply state “Shop Now”. They also use colors really effectively, creating a clear emotional reaction of energy, love, and motherhood.

 

Jack Spade: Email Design to Increase Clicks

 

Jack Spade Email

 

We warned you about soft pinks. This email continues the trend started by Anthropologie with it’s simple yet impactful design. They also take advantage of the fact that many of their customers are used to shopping on their website, and so they maintain this brand consistency with the website heading at the top, which creates familiarity and allows readers to navigate to any page on the site they want.

But make no mistake, the page THEY want you to go to is the Mother’s Day “Shop Now” link. The witty (and all too relatable) headline “You Never Call Anymore” literally forms the top of a funnel that pulls your eyes downwards to the one CTA, “Shop Now”. Brilliant.

 

SeatGeek: Brand Alignment

SeatGeek Mothers Day

 

Next up is Seat Geek’s campaign, which is powerful for two reasons.

First, they know their audience, and as a result they are branding this email not like what we’ve seen above with Mother’s Day colors and flowers, but instead with their on-brand blue and yellow. Their audience, as a sports ticketing mobile app, is predominantly younger users who interact with their product on a mobile device.

Second, SeatGeek is the only example in this list that utilized a GIF in its email, and it does so in a creative way that (1) reveals more information the more you watch, and (2) draws your attention to the core message of the email: It’s Mother’s Day and she just wants to spend time with you.  

 

Dr. Martens: Email Personalization

Doc Martens

 

Our last contestant is Dr. (Doc) Martens. I’ll push past the obligatory beautiful flower arrangement, bold headlines, and website-navigation and instead focus on their email personalization. While this email is clearly a Mother’s Day email, trying to remind their audience that they have some gifts to buy, it’s also using past click behaviour and engagement data to curate a list of products that they think will be interesting to the user.

Plus, the way the flowers grow out of the text? Love it (Pro tip: just as with your mother, it’s always good to show respect to a designer).

 

Key Takeaways: Email Inspiration for Mothers Day

All together, these campaigns touch on some of the really important best practices you need to consider when putting together your emails campaigns, and especially your Mother’s Day campaigns.

  • Keep it Simple: Your campaign shouldn’t be asking your audience to do too much. One clear Call-to-Action and one core message is ideal to generate the most engagement.
  • Keep it Brand Aligned: While the soft pinks may feel like a necessity at Mother’s Day, don’t forget that you have a brand you need to maintain.
  • The Power of GIFs: A cat GIF is one thing, a custom GIF that can showcase your value, stay on brand, and also communicate your core message? That’s the tops.
  • Personalization: With your email platform, there is so much you can do to personalize content and segment audiences to increase engagement on your emails. Your Mom’s favourite Mother’s Day gift is a one-of-kind homemade card, why would your audience be any different.

 

We’ve love your thoughts – which email best captures the Mother’s Day spirit? Which email are you desperately trying to click on? Leave your vote here!

Happy (early) Mother’s Day to all the mothers!

Why We Trust Google Cloud Platform To Help Deliver Your Emails

This blog devotes a lot of time to telling you about our product features, our services, and our tools to improve your deliverability. In short, everything you use to build, send and deliver your emails to the inbox. But what we don’t always tell you about is what’s silently powering all of this: our infrastructure.

And if you’re wondering, “why now?” it’s because we’ve just changed our infrastructure in a big way that’s going to allow you to send emails faster and more reliably.

An Email Platform That Scales

Any online product needs storage to function. For Mailjet, this meant starting on dedicated servers: physical servers rented and exclusively used by Mailjet. Dedicated servers fit well with our original needs, but now not only are we growing, but our customers and their email campaigns are as well. In fact, together we now send billions of emails every month. We needed a platform that would scale with you.

Challenges Of A Dedicated Server in the Email Industry

Every company has their own “magic time” to send their marketing emails. Transactional emails also tend to peak during different times of the day or the week (for example, Monday and Friday are peak times when people book airline tickets). What this boils down to is HUGE fluctuations in email volume being sent at any time. Often up to 20x higher at peak periods.

The challenge was to make sure your emails were processed and sent lightning fast, despite periods of high demand, we (and you) had to invest in the highest level of computing power even when we didn’t need it. It’s like paying for electricity when you aren’t even using it – it didn’t make sense. Which is why, come 2016, with neither yours or our growth slowing down, we decided to make a change.

What Are The Benefits Of Google Cloud Platform For You?

There are many differences between using dedicated servers versus a public cloud like Google Cloud Platform, but the biggest one is that we no longer were confined to a fixed number of servers. In fact, we now have the ability to use as many, or as little, of Google Cloud Platform’s servers in an instant, ensuring your email campaigns are smoother to build and faster to send. The advantages were huge for everyone using Mailjet.

Mailjet and Google Cloud Platform also already knew each other really well. In fact, we’re the only European ESP accredited by Google to send bulk emails through Google App Engine and Google Compute Engine.

Ultimately, the benefits below are how Google Cloud Platform will help meet your needs both now, and especially as you grow:

Eliminated Latency

With Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Mailjet now has access to computing power that is extremely flexible, allowing it to process up to 20x more volume at a given moment. This ensures that you can send campaigns in high volumes, and at peak times, and have them arrive in the inbox instantly.

More Reliable Platform

Mailjet is now powered at any given moment by the server we choose within the GCP network. If there is ever a problem with a server or multiple servers, we can switch them in an instant. The same reliability you have come to expect from all Google tools is now powering Mailjet.

Flexible Server Location

Many of our clients care very much about where their data is being processed. Thanks to GCP’s wide range of data centers, Mailjet now has the flexibility to choose from a variety of their data processing locations.

Faster Sending Speed

Mailjet can now send 6M emails in one hour, partially thanks to our switch to GCP.

Highest Levels of Data Security

Like Mailjet, Google Cloud Platform is ISO 27001 certified, the international standard for best practices of information security processes. What does this mean? You can continue to count on the highest levels of Data Security for your email data.

We hope you’re as excited as we are about how Google Cloud Platform will transform the speed, reliability, and flexibility of your email campaigns. Please let us know if you have any questions!

To learn more about our partnership with Google Cloud Platform, check out the case study on Google Cloud here.

GDPR in the US & Canada: How will it affect your business?

GDPR Webinar Poster

GDPR, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation, comes into effect in May this year and many North American companies are still asking themselves how this will relate to them, how they can best prepare for these changes, and how to avoid potentially massive fines. Mailjet, a GDPR-compliant email service provider, is hosting a 3-part webinar series entitled GDPR in the US & Canada. The first in the series features Mailjet’s Head of Legal and Data Privacy Officer, Darine Fayed, who covers:

  • What exactly GDPR is, how this new legislation applies to companies in North America, and what will happen if you don’t comply
  • How does GDPR affect North American businesses and marketers, and how does it differ from existing data protection laws (e.g. Safe Harbour, CASL)
  • The 8 key changes that GDPR brings to the data protection playing field
  • What steps you should be taking today to ensure you are ready before May. You are encouraged to also fill out our GDPR Quiz beforehand to know where your company stands in terms of GDPR knowledge.

Be sure to sign up for our second Webinar in the GDPR in the US & Canada series, March 13th at 11am EST.

Watch the Webinar #1 Now