How To Incorporate Videos In Your Email Campaigns

How to incorporate videos into your ad campaigns

Imagine opening your inbox at the beginning of a busy work day, and seeing two different emails from brands that interest you. The first has six or seven paragraphs of text and a few generic stock images. The second is much more concise; it only has a few sentences and prominently features a cool looking video. Which are you more likely to interact with? 

Well, according to some recent stats, viewers are 19% more likely to open an email with “video” included in the subject line, and 65% more likely to click through the email to visit your website! (1) Obviously the email with the video wins. 

But videos do more than just boost click through rates, they give you a powerful opportunity to re-engage your existing customers, and to spark interest in potential buyers. In fact, prospects who watch a product video are more likely to end up purchasing your product than prospects who don’t.

So how do you put together an effective video email? Here are some practical steps to get you started: 

1) Design Your Email For Video

The first step is to design your email template around the video you would like to feature. We use MailChimp to create our email campaigns because it has an easy to use drag and drop interface, and it integrates with WISTIA, where we host our videos.

Before you get into the nuts and bolts of actually creating your email, it’s a good idea to sketch out the design and message that you are aiming for on paper. Keep it very concise and focused. Unless you have an experienced designer who can help you, we recommend sticking with a simple one column layout that goes something like this:

Design your email for video

1) Title: Grab attention and generate interest.

2) Paragraph: Give a little more detail.

3) Video: Use an engaging video thumbnail.

4) Conclusion: Include a simple call to action

Finally, the subject line of your email is super important. It should be compelling and accurate, and it should tell viewers that there is a cool video waiting for them in the email. Avoid anything that looks spammy, salesy, or generic.

2) Incorporate Your Video

Once you have figured out the layout and copy for your email, it’s time to incorporate your awesome video. But wait, you can’t actually include a video in your email. (To which you are probably responding: “WHAT THE HECK?!”)

That’s right, unfortunately most email programs will not play videos directly in an email. But there is a simple way around this. You can include an image with a big play button on it that opens the video in a new window when viewers click on it. This image is called a thumbnail, and this technique actually works really well on all devices.

Incorporate Your Video

Video Thumbnail Example

To accomplish this, we upload our videos to Wistia, and use their built in feature to create an email thumbnail and link. Here is Wistia’s simple guide on how to do this: Email Marketing and Wistia. You can also set your video to begin playing automatically when it opens in the new window.

At this point your email should be all ready to go. Make sure you send a test to yourself to make sure everything is functioning properly. Then send out the campaign!

3) Track the Results

Another great benefit of using the MailChimp / Wistia combo for your email campaigns is that they work together to collect detailed stats on your viewers. This information is super helpful, because you can learn what is working, and what you can do better in your next campaign. 

In MailChimp you will be able to view basic email stats such as how many people opened your email, how many clicked through to your website, and how many people unsubscribed from your list. This will tell you if your subject line was effective, and if your content was relevant to your viewers. 

Tracking your results

In Wistia, you can see who exactly watched your video, and how much they viewed before dropping out. It actually lists the email address of each viewer, so you can even follow up to thank them for watching your video! It’s a little creepy, but welcome to modern marketing. This information will tell you how interesting your video was to your email list, if it was too long, and who might be ready for a follow up.

Wistia graphs and user interactions
Wistia graphs and user interactions


Email marketing is an important way to stay in touch with your past and future customers, and video can make your efforts even more effective. While this post is not intended to be a detailed tutorial, hopefully it will give you a good idea on how to incorporate video in your next email campaign. 

If you would like to learn other ways you can use video to promote your company, view our guide: 8 Ways To Use Video For Marketing.

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