The question “how do I put a video into an email?” comes up from time to time in discussions with clients. This question inspires me to set down some basic “how to” recommendations (since a full video really can’t/shouldn’t be put into an email!).
The following is a discussion of best practices for getting the best oomph for your effort when promoting a video by email.
Use an image of the video in the email.
Use a still image in the body of your email rather than embedding the video itself. This image should allow folks to click through to a landing page on your website and view the video.
Why not include the video in the email?
- Videos are large files. A 5MB+ email will download slowly and aggravate your readers …
- Large movie files get stopped by Spam and content filters.
- Most email systems won’t allow placement of this type and size of file in an email.
Create a Compelling Landing Page on Your Website. Tips:
- Make sure the landing page matches the branding and design of the email. This lets people know they’ve gone to the right place and conveys a professional image.
- Provide links to share the video through social networks.
- Offer prominent links to explore your site further. You may turn a casual visitor into a donor or volunteer.
“Stream” your Video from a Reliable Host.
Rather than loading the video as a file onto your website, upload it to a specialized hosting service. It’ll play faster, you won’t pay for bandwidth, and you’ll get good data on usage. Popular streaming services used by nonprofits include YouTube and Vimeo.
A good streaming service will:
- Allow your organization to create a “channel” on their site
- Permit unlimited – or close to unlimited – bandwidth (in case your video goes viral!)
- Provide reports on views and social network “shares”
- Be free … or close to free for nonprofits
Learn from your traffic reports.
You go to a lot of effort to script, film, and edit a good video. Make sure your video is being seen:
- Check email reports for the number / percentage of clickthroughs from the link in your email.
- Check website traffic reports for visits to your landing page.
- Monitor your streaming service for reports onviews of your video. Depending on the service, you’ll get a very good idea ofthe “passaround effect” as your video goes viral through social networks.
If you want more traffic, consider going beyond email. Boost the prominence of the video on your web site, talk it up through your social networks, and include mention of its success in future emails.
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