Video in email is a common topic of discussion with clients, but it is often shrouded in mystery… will it work? Or won’t it? Which email clients support it and which don’t? Many of us use a static image to link to a YouTube video which is perfectly acceptable, but with the rise of emails being opened on mobile devices and modern browsers, there hasn’t been a better time to actually look at how you could potentially increase engagement by delivering rendered video directly in your email campaigns.
In fact, our latest Campaign of the Month winner did just that.
At Adestra, we partner with VideoEmail by Liveclicker to deliver rich video content into the inbox of your recipients. Importantly, by using VideoEmail, we can assure clients that all mail clients capable of supporting video will render it, while all non-supporting mail clients receive a properly formatted animated .GIF video or a regular image. Currently, B2C mail clients are delivering fully-embedded video within email to 61.4% of all mail recipients on average. B2B mail clients reach 36.7% on average. And that number is continuing to rise.
So exactly which clients can or can’t support embedded video? Lets have a look below…
Mail clients supporting full video w/audio in email:
Mail clients that display a silent animated .GIF or animated .PNG in place of video:
Mail clients that will display a static image in place of video:
If you’re thinking about rendering video in your email campaigns, take the time to examine which email clients your recipients are using to view your emails by looking through the email client detection reports. If you are targeting B2B customers with a high number of opens in Outlook 2010, then it’s obvious that the impact you might get from delivering rich video in email is going to be significantly lower than a B2C business hitting a high number of regular mobile openers.
For experience-focused emails, whether it be retail, travel, automotive, event or entertainment sectors, the emphasis on video within email has become more and more popular as businesses start to try and enhance the inbox experience of their recipient. It is especially common to deliver film or video game trailers to an audience of engaged recipients who are also in touch with technology and expect to get the full experience on their mobile device. That instant impact is something which is ever more important in getting users to stay engaged with your brand.
Why not start a conversation today? If you’re an Adestra client, contact your Account Manager to learn more about how video in email can work for you, and what you need to do to get started.
Wow, what a day we had at the Adestra Spring Email Summit last week! We were thrilled to see how many people turned up and participated in what we consider to be one of our best events yet.
The breakout sessions have had some great feedback, so I thought I’d take a moment to share the main take-aways from the sessions I headed up:
As marketers, we are all faced with huge time constraints, so why not look at ways to make things that little bit easier and free up your time for other things? Automating your campaign processes is key here. But what can we automate?
Sign up forms, trigger emails and the customer journey – Why not add some code behind your website sign-up forms that will automatically trigger an email to welcome new customers? Sending the welcome email at the point of engagement is vital in promoting your brand and striking whilst the iron is hot. You could add a preference centre as well, to ask your contact what they really want to hear about. This first email is also a great opportunity to tell people how often they can expect to hear from you.
Engaging your contacts on a customer journey is a great way to remove the manual processes that often underpin our campaigns. It also means your contacts can rely on regular mails that are relevant to them, and they are more likely to be engaged with.
XML feeds – Do you find yourself replicating copy from your website for your email? If so, why not take a load off and include some crafty XML feeds in your email that will pull in real time, up to date information from your site? Including a Twitter feed in your email is also a great way of creating a buzz around your brand and encourages people to engage with you.
Personalised content – Telling people what they want to hear is intrinsic to having them read your email and therefore engage with your content. Take a look at this shining example of using conditional content to personalise your email per contact.
More and more emails are being delivered into the inbox. So how can you make yours stand out for all the right reasons?
Keep it above the fold – You have approximately 200px at the top of your email to impress the recipient, so make it count. Think about your key information and call to action and make sure it’s the first thing people see. If you’re a MessageFocus client, this is a great place to use the heat-map functionality, to see where people are clicking in your email and test link placement.
Image Vs Text - Think about which email clients your mail is being opened in, and use client detection reporting to test and optimise for your most relevant email clients. It’s also important to consider ‘images off’ in clients such as Outlook; how can you ensure your message comes across before images are downloaded? Text! Make sure your content can be read easily and is not hidden within images by using text for the most important bits. Make sure you’re using Alt tags behind images to encourage people to download them. Also, make sure you’re not just using stock images – make them relevant!
Make sure your email is legal – Including your company information and a working unsubscribe is a legal requirement so make sure that these are included somewhere in your content. Why not set up a boilerplate within your workspace so that this information is pulled into your email automatically?
The swift rise of mobile usage has Marketers chomping at the bit to take advantage of this new ‘email on the go’ phase, but how’s best to go about it? Design is key to the success of your mobile email. Here are a few hints and tips to get you started.
Media queries – The ultimate way to make your email responsive for mobile. Using some clever coding, your email template can ‘rearrange itself’ dependent on the device that it is being opened on. So, your email will render for desktops when opened in that way but will shrink and re-jig when opened on a mobile. Genius! This is important technology that definitely warrants an update to your template.
Mobile responsive website – The best mobile emails are those that are backed up by a mobile responsive website. After all, what’s the point in maximising your email to encourage click through if the contact is lost after they reach your site?
Enhancing links – When viewing an email on your mobile, you don’t get the opportunity to scan over links as you do on a desktop, nor do you have the pinpoint accuracy of using a mouse. So what can we do? We can make our links more obvious and think about fat fingers! Ensuring links look like links is important here, and ensuring that they are not hidden within heaps of text is also a good place to start.
Scrolling – Research suggests that people are more inclined to view your email content if they don’t have to scroll from left to right but can view all the info using an up and down motion. Think about enhancing your email to facilitate this with a single column design.
I think that’s about it for now. Thanks again to all our clients who joined me at my breakout sessions. And if you’re an Adestra client, please do let myself or your Account Manager know should you have any queries at all.
“My campaigns have a very low open rate” - A common response when asking clients how they feel their campaigns are performing.
The focus of email marketers at the moment is very much on automation, responsive designs, and clever dynamic or conditional content. These are by no means bad things to concentrate on, but neither do they address one fundamental requirement: the recipient actually opening the email when they receive it.
In the recent Econsultancy and Adestra Email Marketing Industry Census 2013, a staggering 44% of companies spend between 2-8 hours on the design and content of their email, yet only 20% of those same respondents suggested that they spend a similar amount of time on strategy and planning. You can create an amazingly designed and responsive template, full of dynamic content, with all the bells and whistles, but if no one is opening it, your time and resources – both commodities in short supply – could have been better spent.
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
With the above quote in mind, to improve your open rate you need to have a plan in place and dedicate some resources to implementing it. Open rates are affected by two main things:
Here are four quick and easy tips to help you refine your messages for the above points, and put together a plan that will enable you to increase your open rates:
1) Use a consistent Sender / From Name - this is a straightforward but very important part of building your reputation with recipients and increasing brand recognition. By using a consistent sender name, the recipient won’t have to think about who the email is from, and will make a quick decision as to whether it is an email they wish to open. It’s important to consider whether you use your company name or an actual person; if you build your brand on a person’s name and they leave your business, you will lose that recognition when you change the sender name.
2) Subject line strategy - this is possibly the most overlooked part of any email campaign. If you don’t have a subject line strategy, it’s time to start. This is all part of the wider idea of ‘inbox branding’: having consistent, recognisable, and inticing subject lines that someone can always associate with your brand. As an example, take a look at how Ebuyer.com emails appear in my own personal inbox:
Notice their strategy with the subject line? It’s always consistently personalised with my name, along with a single product for ‘only’ a certain price plus free delivery. Because of this, I always associate Ebuyer.com with a good price and free delivery on items.
3) Set expectations to new signups – although this may not be considered by many, it’s worth planning a welcome program, or at least a welcome email, when someone does opt in or signup. By warming them with a welcome email and setting an expectation of when they can expect to hear from you (daily, weekly, monthly etc.) you’ll increase the chances that they’ll continue to open your emails in the future. By not doing this, you run the risk of the user potentially forgetting they ever signed up at all, forgetting who you are and binning, marking as spam or unsubscribing altogether. Some companies like Ebuyer.com actually state that they send their newsletters on a Monday, Thursday and Saturday, which can be good to get recipients used to expecting their emails at regular times on specific days.
4) Clean up your data - why not read my previous blog on letting go of old or inactive data? Cleaning your data and removing those from your list that haven’t engaged in over a set period of time (e.g. 12 months) will naturally boost your open rate and be a better indicator of open rate among your active recipients. As an example, if you have a list of 100k contacts with an open rate of 5% (5000 people), and 50k who haven’t opened an email in 12 months, removing the inactive contacts will naturally increase your open rate to 10%. The 50k you remove can then be targeted differently to try and re-engage them to bring them back onto your active mailing list.
The above are four very quick tips but are by no means an exhaustive list of what you can do. It’s all about standing out and being unique in the inbox to ensure your email is read first and above all others.
They say the best things come in threes, so I’ll leave you with a final quote from General Patton about adding some of your own creativity to your plan. I encourage all clients to come up with as many crazy, out-of-the-box ideas as possible for the simple reason that…
“If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking.” - General George Patton Jr.
So, spend some time this week thinking differently about your emails and how you can increase your open rate. After all, your hard work and time spent in the design of email creative and content will be rewarded by people finally seeing the fruits of your labour.