Email marketing is still one of the most powerful ways brands can engage with their prospects and online community. In fact, it’s so effective that more than 59% of marketers say it’s their biggest source of ROI.
And because email is still valuable, smart brands will continue to use the medium. Smarter brands, however, will look for ways to step their email marketing game up a notch. They’ll leverage video to generate results.
But just how smart do brands need to be? And how can you use video to strengthen your email marketing strategy?
In this article, I’ll share two approaches that answer these and other questions. Together, these approaches will help you build a stronger overall email marketing strategy, one supercharged by video.
The Basic Content Marketing Funnel
But before we jump into each method, we need to cover a few basics related to your content marketing funnel. Both approaches tie directly into your funnel. Specifically, they are designed to:
- Help you capture more email subscribers (Top-of-the-Funnel), and
- Convert more subscribers into paying customers or leads (Middle-of-the-Funnel and Bottom-of-the-Funnel), depending on the type of product/service you sell what your buying process looks like
The great thing about video is that it’s versatile. It can be used at every stage of the marketing funnel. But like every piece of content, videos need to be created with a purpose.
For example, at the top of your funnel, your goal is to create as much awareness as possible. This awareness is all about helping buyers better understand the problems they face. This also means helping them define those problems, and, most importantly, preparing buyers for the next stage of your funnel (the Middle) where they’ll learn about how your solution will solve their problem(s).
When using video at the top of your funnel, you could create a video that speaks about a specific problem your buyer experience, something linked to your solution.
Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, does this very well. To make a perfect YouTube video, he addressed one of the biggest challenges marketers and SEOs struggle with: keeping track of Google’s ever-changing ranking factors.
In his YouTube video titled “The SEO ranking factor you MUST master in 2019 (and beyond),” Dean keeps his audience engaged by addressing the issues surrounding a personal experience. He also provides steps on how to tackle the issue using his APP formula.
Now, the top of your funnel is where you start attracting some of your first subscribers. But you may be wondering how to do this. Let’s dive into the first approach.
Approach #1: Using Video to Build Your Email List
This approach is all about gating your video content. And for it to work, you’ll need to incorporate three important elements. Together, these elements will work to attract potential subscribers and entice them to join your list.
1. A Strong and Valuable Offer
Effective online marketing is bent on a number of factors, but your offer is likely the most important of all. Weak or lack-luster offers aren’t exciting. They don’t move people to take action. They don’t inspire emotional responses and, therefore, can’t generate the kind of results your brand needs to grow.
Here’s where things get interesting… Your offer is actually your video. Your video is what people will want. By gating a video or series of videos filled with insights and/or information that your buyer needs or views as valuable, they’ll be willing to share their email addresses.
While your video is the offer, you need to dress it up in an attractive way. This means using strong and effective copy that resonates with your ideal subscribers and having the right combination of design elements to get people to subscribe.
Creating a strong offer is only possible if you have an intimate understanding of who your ideal customer is. If you haven’t yet established who your ideal buyer is, or feel that you don’t have enough information to confidently create an attractive offer, there’s no better time to start than right now.
Thing is, you’ve likely heard about buyer personas before. And while they are important to have, most marketers don’t use them effectively. To some, personas are created, glossed over, and never touched again.
I have a theory.
I believe that while personas give you a good idea of what challenges your ideal buyer has, they don’t explore two very critical states that your buyer experiences. These are the before and after states buyers go through in relation to solving their problems by purchasing your solution.
When you know what your buyers have, feel, what their average day looks like, and more, you’ll be able to create offers that speak directly to them.
2. An Optimized Squeeze Page
You’ve just crafted a strong offer that’s compelling enough to make people want to give you their email addresses. Now, it’s time to build your email form. Your form is going to appear on a squeeze page.
By definition, squeeze pages offer visitors two options. Option one, your visitor enters their email address and proceeds (they are “squeezed” onto your list), or option 2, they click back or close the browser tab.
Squeeze pages are built this way to drive results. And while the prospect of losing people right at the gateway to your video may sound daunting, it shouldn’t be. Squeeze pages are designed to get as many people who are interested in your offer as possible to join your list.
The people that don’t are likely not a good fit and would be more difficult to convert into paying customers later.
What should appear on your squeeze page? Besides your form, you’ll need three elements.
Here’s a simple 3-step formula for creating your squeeze page:
1. A Strong and Benefit-Focused Headline
Your headline needs to capture attention, and when it comes to drawing people in, focusing on what’s in it for them works best. Identify a benefit that visitors experience by joining your list, or in this case, watching your gated video. Be sure to make it something big and really worthwhile but also factual.
2. Include an Insightful Subheading
Subheadings are essential on squeeze pages. Because you want to grab the attention of the visitor and have them act immediately, you need to entice them with a little more information, but not too much that they feel like they’ve figured out what you’re offering.
Your subheading should accomplish three things:
- Elaborate a little on the big promise in your headline
- Share what the reader can expect without divulging actual content
- Excite the visitor to enter their email address and move to the next page (your video)
3. Use a Relevant Image
Research shows that colored visuals can increase people’s desire to read content by up to 80%. This means that pairing a relevant image with a strong headline and slogan is an effective way of grabbing attention and getting people to act.
When you pick your image, ensure that it’s relevant to the subject matter you’re referring to or about to share.
3. Your Video
Your video is likely where you’ll do the heavy lifting. It will take time to figure out your angle and produce something valuable. But don’t let the effort required to deter you from creating something truly irresistible.
Your video is also going to be the pay-off, so it needs to be worth the cost of admission. If it’s not, there’s a good chance that subscribers will feel deceived and will opt-out of your list at the first opportunity they get.
Approach #2: Using Video to Build to Convert Your Email List
The second approach is all about creating effective emails to convert as many readers as possible. Here, a conversion could be moving your reader from an email subscriber to a lead (someone who’s raised their hand and shown interest in your solution) or selling them something. It all depends on your sales process.
Your subscribers are generally people with some interest in who you are and what you have to offer. They also possibly have a need for what you offer. Your objective is to create the perfect incentive to make them act on your offer.
One smart way of accomplishing this is by using GIFs.
Now, you may be thinking that GIFs are great as internet memes, or that they only serve as entertainment, but don’t be misled. GIFs are powerful visual tools.
Yes, GIFs are not technically videos, but they can be created from videos you produce. You can use them to give subscribers a peek at your offer.
For example, Nest uses a combination of hero images of their thermostats. But these aren’t just any images. Nest has found the perfect combination of colors and animations to make their product appear slick and sophisticated.
While Nest has done a great job, you can go also go in a slightly different direction. By incorporating a play button on a still image from your video or GIF, you do two things.
First, your email looks like it includes a video that can be clicked on, making it more interactive. Secondly, by seeing a play button, readers automatically become primed to expect and view your video.
As you can see, there’s a little more to creating an effective email than adding a GIF. You’ve got to have the right blend of copy and design elements to make the right impact.
Here are 2 design tips to help you present a visually appealing email:
- Use your logo to inject a sense of trust and authority
- Use color correctly to communicate the right amount of emphasis for buttons and sections of your email
- Provide examples for each design tip.
- While design definitely makes a difference, it can’t save a bad copy. Here are 6 copywriting tips to help you convert more readers:
- Know your audience and what their before and after states look like to create strong messaging
- Use attention-grabbing subject lines to get as many people as possible to open your emails
- Identify a challenge (one big idea) in your lead to keep your reader engaged
- Sell on emotion by identifying the emotions associated with your reader’s before and after states
- Be personable and make your copy sound conversational
- Don’t forget to use a strong call to action to get your reader to click-through
Email marketing is still one of the most effective tools marketers have access to. It’s proven to convert consistently, making it a must-use medium. While email is powerful, brands that want to generate higher conversions need to think outside the box. Incorporating video into your email marketing strategy is a smart way of elevating your offers and engaging readers, giving them more incentive to click-through and take you up on your offer.
Amir is the digital marketing manager at Uscreen, an all-in-one video monetization and live streaming platform that empowers video entrepreneurs and creators to monetize their content and build thriving communities and businesses around their videos.