How to Add Video To Your Email

A man on his laptop computer. He's excited because he learned how to add video to his marketing emails.

Using video in your email marketing is becoming critical. But most people don't know how to use it.

It’s time to make sure you add video to your email.

Not just because it sounds cool, but because it’s a powerful (and underrated) sales tool.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that email marketing is more competitive than ever. People have become desensitized to marketing emails. 

Adding video to your email gives you a critical advantage, and brings intrigue back into your email marketing.

Additionally, adding video to your email is a powerful part of your video promotion strategy.

If you’ve got a video that you’re proud of, it’s critical to have it prominently displayed in your email.

“Adding video to your emails can increase click rates by 300%.” –  (HubSpot)

So why are most people not doing it? 

Most of the time it’s because it’s frustrating and confusing!

Here’s why.


The Big Challenge

The biggest challenge you face when you attempt to add video to your email, is that you can’t actually play a video directly from your email. It won’t work.

We don’t currently have the technology to open an email and play a video without leaving the email. 

You HAVE TO click out, which sucks, frankly. 

The closest we’ve got, is to have a gif (a brief video sequence without audio) which creates a bit of motion for the viewer to focus on.  

But still no full video.

For now, there are a couple steps you can take to ensure people will actually want to click out and watch your video.

In hopes that you will add video to your email more often, I’m going to walk you through the best process step by step. 

This whole process will only take about 30 mins (or an hour if you’re a complete beginner).

It’s simple, easy, and totally worth it to gain more email opens, which lead to more sales.

Let’s begin!

Step 1: A Great Cover Image

The first thing you will need to add video to your email, is actually a photo.

But not just any photo. 

A picture is worth a thousand words, and it’s literally the deciding factor if your audience will watch the video or not. So you’ve gotta make it count!

Pick what you think is the most exciting screenshot of your video.

Have you decided to hire a video production team? (Choosing which one is often the hardest part.)

If so, you will likely have some nice footage to choose from.  You can ask them to decide what’s the most appealing, and they will have a few options for you. 

Have you made a video on your own instead?

If you’re talking face to camera, here’s my best advice. 

Pick a frame where you’re smiling (and hopefully you’ve smiled during your video).

People tend to click on a happy face more often than a serious one.

Can you relate?

Take a screenshot of that image and use that as your main photo.

Here’s an example:


Otherwise go with an engaging image that relates to your subject.

You always use a free stock photo to achieve this.


Up Media Video Set in Library

Play Button

The next step you need to do is add a “play button” to the image.

I’ve attached here a black and white version, which you can download directly.

Now just to be clear, this will not be a real button.

But it emulates a real play button, and will show your viewer that this is a video to be played. It will increase your chances of them clicking it.

Hopefully you’ve got access to a photo editing tool, that allows you to add the play button to your image together. If not consider checking out Canva or Pixlr.

It should look like this:



Or this:



Guess what?

Now you’ve got your official “play button” design.  This is called your Thumbnail photo. 

The next step is making it active, so then when it’s clicked on, it takes the viewer to a page where they can watch your video.


Step 2: Video Hosting

The next step to add video to your email is to ensure your video is hosted somewhere easily accessible. 

If it’s an education video for the public, such as a How To video, or a Vlog, I recommend you post it on Youtube. Youtube is the best search engine for people looking to learn, and it will be easier for people to find your video through this platform than others. 

If it’s a promotional video that focuses more on your brand, then Vimeo or Vidyard is the best platform for you. Both offer free accounts (with some limitations). The free accounts go pretty far if you’ve only got one video.

Once you start adding more content, you will need to upgrade. 

The benefit of these two platforms is that they don’t advertise to your viewer (Youtube does).

When you’re showing them your promotional video, you don’t want the distraction of Youtube trying to show them new videos to watch (most often someone else’s video channel).

Upload your video to the platform.



Once you’ve got your video fully uploaded, you will now have a URL for your video.



Step 3: Create A Clickable Link

Now go and create your new email in your email marketing software. 

In your new marketing email, add any necessary text or copy, but most importantly, upload your Thumbnail cover photo from Step 1.

Make sure it’s sized right, and is positioned optimally. The top is a great spot, but there may be written context that needs to come first, in which case the photo thumbnail can follow.

Here’s an example:



If your email is long, it’s advisable to have it multiple times, 2-3 is fine. The more they see it, the more likely they are to click it. 

Shorter emails only need it visible once, at the top or bottom.

Finally, add what’s called a “link”. 

Click on a icon that looks like a chain, and it will prompt you to add in a URL.  Paste in your video URL from Step 2.

This way when they click the photo, it takes them to where they can watch your video.


Importance Of File Size

It’s very important to make sure your image file size is as small as possible.

I don’t mean visually small in your email, I mean the Megabytes of the photo. The larger it is, the more your viewer’s email server will scrutinize it. 

It may take a long time to load (and every second counts in this fast-paced world) or it may decide not to show the photo at all!

This is mostly out of your control, but that’s why making it as small as possible is your goal. 

2.5 Megabytes is a safe size and easy for most email servers to digest. 

If your image is much bigger than that, consider using an image reduction site like TinyPNG.


Video In Your Subject Line

One of the most important reasons to add video to your email is to have the word “video” in your subject line. 

This intrigues people. 

Studies have shown that you can improve your email open rates by 20% when you’ve got the word “video” in your subject headline.

Imagine you had a business called ABC Health Supplement.

Here are some examples of headlines that you could use to intrigue people:

  • Importance of ABC Health Supplement [Video]
  • [Video] How to use ABC Health Supplement 
  • Watch this video on ABC Health Supplement

Importance Of Testing & Improving

In this blog I’ve laid out the basics of how to add video to your email, however you will need to be ready for some trial and error. 

If you’re using your image in an ongoing way, for example, part of your email signature, you will have ongoing opportunity to tweak and make adjustments.

If you’re posting new videos regularly, you will also have ongoing chances to make revisions with upcoming video thumbnails for your videos.

Some images will perform better than others. 

Some headlines will perform better than others. 

Perhaps your cover thumbnail photo isn’t performing well. You may want to change it up by using a stock photo of something more colourful instead. 

Maybe you need just need something more exciting!

Perhaps you need to add more emotion to your headline. Maybe a little less emotion if it’s too over the top.

It all depends on your product, your brand, and your audience demographic.

This is where doing some quality research on your demographic will help inform what they are looking for, and give you a better idea how to address it. 

I’ll leave you with a statistic. 

By using personalized video in their email marketing, Marketo increased click-through rates by 144%!

That’s a huge boost. 

Here’s wishing you the same!



Just getting started with video? Check out the S.A.V.E.


A woman raising her hands in the air, very excited, because she's saving tons of money on her promotional video.

By Anthony Madani

Anthony is the Director at UpMedia Video, and an expert at Video Marketing, with a rapidly growing business. He’s spent over 18 years in media production, from award winning television shows (on Netflix and HBO), to producing ads for large corporations such as Toyota, Flight Center, and Canada Life.

One person drawing on a whiteboard, educating another person.

Share This