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Video in Email Creates Higher Clicks and Conversions

Adding video to email is a powerful way to double and triple the click your call to action in an email campaign might receive. Obviously, this will vary with other elements, but it’s a pretty accepted and tested tactic.

Of course the trick you can’t simply slap a YouTube video in an email and send it out. To date, none of the traditional ways of creating and viewing video are compatible with email sending. A host of services are cropping up to try to create turn-key platforms that make using video in email much easier, but there are two methods today that many small business folks can take advantage of without too much technical expertise. (I believe you should be testing this right now)

1) Click to view – this isn’t really video in email but it creates the allusion of it and the video call to action is a very strong incentive for people to click through. (Who knows this may lose it’s effectiveness as many things do, but for now it’s more effective than a text link.) All you need to do to create a click to view call to action is capture an image of your video in what looks like a video player, complete with play button. When people click on the image it takes them online to the URL embedded in the image.

Video in email

You can host your video on YouTube, Vimeo or Viddler and send people directly to one of these sites to view, but I would take the extra step of embedding the video on your site or in a blog post. It’s terribly easy to do and that way you keep the brand experience going and can offer additional information and offers on the page.

2) Animated gifs – Animated gif files are pre 2000, you remember the days of the spinning chicken on your website, right? They have become much more sophisticated and can be used to deliver a richer, animated experience in an email. One downside is there is no audio, just motion. They also currently have issues in Outlook 2007 and show only as an image. You can create animated gifs in Photoshop and most email service providers allow you to embed them in your HTML templates like you would any other image.

Both of these approaches can only be delivered via an HTML email and the precipitant must enable images to view.

There are signs on the horizon that a true video in email experience is not far away – Google Gmail now allows a setting that will show YouTube video preview in Gmail. (You have to enable this setting in the Labs tab) Other 3rd party systems like GoodMail are trying to push for a certification system that would allow you to send video in formats such as flash as long as you were a certified sender in good standing.

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Weekend Favs for July Twelve

rocksI’ve added a weekend post routine that I hope you enjoy. Each weekend I write a post that features 3-4 things I read during the week that I found interesting. Generally speaking it won’t involve much analysis and may range widely in topic. (Flickr image included here is also fav image of the week)

Enjoy!

Good stuff I ran across this week

  • Aardvark – new service that allows you to ask questions and get answers from either a network of people you know, such as Facebook friends, or other aardvark subscribers. Answers come via IM in about five minutes. Interesting way to get fast information.
  • Audio Boo – not sure what the name’s about, but this is a nice tool for posting quick audio bits to twitter or facebook. You download an iPhone app and then record and upload your audio. You can use a photo from your phone as well. The service then takes your location and other info you give it and creates a post on AudioBoo, but also tweets and updates your Facebook status if you like. Nice way to do audio on the fly. Here’s a sample one I did.
  • Google Squared – this is a tool that’s part of the Google Labs for now, but it hints at their desire to integrate some apps with search to give results that are more intent driven. You put in a search phrase and it gives you results in a spreadsheet format. It’s still early on but I think this approach has some nice potential for market research. Here’s a square for mountains in Colorado

Image credit: Alberto Mari

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