How to Add Video to Your Email Campaign

Most of the time, the advice that we offer is focused on the big picture.

Have you integrated your videos into a marketing plan? How do you know where and when to cut costs? How can this or that save you money? What metrics should you use to measure the results?

Today, we’re offering something much more specific and highly practical: how to use video to create successful email campaigns. With these tips, you should be able to improve engagement and get better results in response to your call to action.

Video draws a crowd

If you’re including video in your emails, you’re already on the right track. Video has a proven record of improving open rates and click rates. (Source:

That’s why it’s important to let people know that there’s a video inside right from the very beginning. When they’re scanning the long list of unread emails in their inboxes, the attraction of video might just be the thing to get them to pause and give you a shot.

The best, simplest way to do this is to include the word “video” itself in the subject line: Thank you for all your support! [VIDEO]; 10 things we achieved this year [VIDEO]; or even just, Check out our new video.

It’s a small step, easy to implement, that really does have an enormous impact.

Visual cues ease the way

Technology isn’t quite at the point yet where you can easily, consistently embed the video in the email itself. This means that the simplest approach is to send interested viewers to another page in order to watch it. Putting an extra step between them and the video is risky, however unavoidable it might be. The minute visitors start to feel even slightly confused or burdened, they’ll delete the email and move onto something easier.

To keep that from happening, you’ll need to make the transition as seamless as possible.

The first step is to indicate the link in the email using a dynamic, interesting thumbnail with a play button over it. Seeing this, viewers will know immediately where they’re meant to click.

When this image links them to the landing page, your goal is to make them barely notice the shift. If the page were to appear too different, making a sudden switch to a new and unfamiliar look, their immersion would be broken; they might wonder if they’re even in the right place. On the other hand, continuity allows them to move forward without thinking twice.

You can achieve this effect by using the same colors, copy, and design as in the email, even setting the same thumbnail on the video itself. All these little details add up to the uninterrupted experience and impression you want to create.

Coordination gets the job done

Once viewers have finished watching, don’t let the gathered momentum go to waste. There’s surely an action you want them to take right at this moment when they’re still on a video high. Do you want to ask them to donate? Do you want them to sign up for something?

Now, put yourself in their shoes and ask whether you would take this action after watching. If not, what’s stopping you?

Consider the fact that many organizations choose to link viewers to YouTube instead of to a dedicated landing page. I feel pretty strongly that YouTube isn’t the right platform for nonprofit video marketing; it certainly doesn’t allow you to maintain the visual continuity I described above, and furthermore, it makes it much less likely that viewers will take the desired next step.

If you want viewers to donate, asking them to first navigate back to your website is not the best way to go about it. Rather, you’ll want to have a donate button right nearby, immediately visible and accessible. Same for any other action. You can’t get that on YouTube.

Don’t assume that people will simply do what you want; use all the tools at your disposal to make it as natural and painless as possible. For example, if it’s feasible, use copy and pictures to reinforce and support your message.

If elaborate landing pages aren’t in your budget, don’t worry. Simple can be good, too. Better to have several minimalist pages so you can track your interactions with different demographics than just one fancy one.

Are you planning on including a video in your next email? Let us know how these recommendations work out for you.

Josh Gold, owner of Serio Films, has helped nonprofits raise millions of dollars through video-based marketing. You can follow Josh and his team over at and To get more discussions like these right to your inbox, sign up for their newsletter.