MAKE IT POP!: Video in Email – So Hot Right Now

For the past four years, male modeling has had a shadow cast over it by one man and five syllables: Der-ek Zoo-land-er. Similarly, one technology and three syllables loom large in the world of email: vid-e-o.

Although it’s still as good as technically impossible to embed actual videos into email messages with reliable success, linking out to hosted videos can have a positive impact on email performance. As a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, so must you become Derelicte! Just use these three hot tips:

(1) Reference Video in Your Subject Line.
Including the word “video” in your subject line can help inspire opens. Three examples:
● Saks Fifth Avenue, Feb. 4, 2008:
“Video Exclusive! Days 1 to 3 of Fashion Week”
● J.Crew, Feb. 13, 2008:
“The well-traveled tote (see video)”
● Ralph Lauren, Feb. 18, 2008:
“RLTV Presents: Cape Lodge, An RL Home Video”

(2) Use Strong Visual Cues to Indicate a Link to Video.
Recipients respond best to obvious treatments like play buttons, and frames that look like Windows Media or Quicktime video players. Of the group at right, the Williams-Sonoma Bananas Foster example is particularly strong, as it uses a combination of camera iconography, video player frame graphics and verbal indicators. (Don’t you just love Bananas Foster? I wonder if there’s a video on how to make an Orange Mocha Frappuccino®!?)

(3) Match Your Video Content to Your Message.
Yes, video’s hotter than Hansel—but hotness doesn’t hide irrelevance (at least not for long!) Video needs to support your ultimate goal, whether that’s to build your brand or inspire a direct response. Two ways I’ve seen it used effectively in email:

To Demonstrate or Instruct
● REI’s Winter Newsletter links to a series of Expert Advice videos on how to select ski and snowboard gear.
● Williams-Sonoma announced the launch of their new website (featuring video) with this email. The “Cooking Videos” callout links to a Bananas Foster recipe demonstration embedded within a French Skillet product page.

To Deliver a Cross-Channel Experience
● Saks recreates an in-store experience online with a holiday windows unveiling video.
● Free People brings us behind the scenes of their catalog shoot with this on-location video montage. Party at Hansel’s house!

As we roll more video into our email programs, let’s keep these wise words in mind:
“I’m pretty sure there’s a lot more to video than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is.” —Derek Zoolander

Please share your findings with the eec community! Post your comments below.

As ever,
Lisa Harmon of Smith-Harmon

P.S. Catch a glint of Blue Steel in this Luis Vuitton email and associated video.

–>Read other Make it Pop! posts.