7 Tips for Using Video in Sales Emails
Standing out in a crowded inbox is a perpetual challenge. One of the best ways to make an impression is also the least utilized. Here's how to use video effectively in sales emails.
That’s the number of emails sent and received every day worldwide.
A (large) fraction of those are sales emails. If it already feels challenging to stand out … sorry if we just made it seem harder.
But deep breath. Here’s the change-up: One tactic is underutilized and a surefire way to stand out in the inbox.
Kevin Dorsey, SVP of Sales at Bench Accounting, ran a totally scientific poll in a webinar. He asked a few hundred sales leaders how many cold emails were in their inboxes per month. The answer: hundreds. When he asked how many of those emails included video, the answer was zero to one.
While this is anecdotal, it’s accurately reflective of a broader reality. We’re surrounded by video in other areas of our lives, but it’s significantly less prevalent in sales outreach.
Luckily, anyone can make a video today. However, there is a wrong and right way to use video in sales emails. If you want to get positive replies, that is.
If you’re new to using video in email, struck out with it in the past, or don’t know where to begin, these tips will help you get going.
1. Personalize the video
If you’re in the business of creating cold emails, you should have a personalization process.
Use the personalization information you’ve gathered for your written emails and apply it to your video. You’ve already done the research, you might as well keep making good use of it.
Creating a custom video may take some time, but this hyper-personalization will get your reader’s attention. You’re showing them you took the time to get to know them before reaching out.
Note: this is only effective if what you say is also relevant. During your research phase, you’re making observations about your buyer. Those observations then inform why you’re reaching out and why you think you can help them. Be sure to connect these dots in the video.
Here’s an example of a fantastic personalized video-in-a-cold-email in action.
2. Keep it simple
Your video should be clean and clear.
A clean video is free of clutter or distractions. We don’t mean you should clean your room (although maybe you should?). Try not to have a busy background, movement, or background noise. Aim for clear audio and a straight-on camera shot so it’s easy to hear and see you in the video.
What you say should also be easy to understand. Just like in your writing, don’t overcomplicate it. Speak slowly, clearly, and like you’re talking to a friend.
You don’t need editing skills to make a clean, quality video. You can use video tools like Loom or Vidyard and add the video to the body of an email. And check out tools like Canva and CapCut for easy video editing.
3. Create a video template
One common trick for speeding up video creation is recording 20-30 seconds of a boilerplate message applicable to a broad segment of your list. And then, record a customized 20 seconds (use your personalization research! to plug into the beginning of the video. Just rock the same shirt and hairdo that day.
A great way to apply this is to use your video outreach to demonstrate or make your message concrete. If particular observations lead you to the same problems, and you solve those problems the same way, video can be a great tool to visualize the solution.
This approach also allows you to deliver something different rather than repeating what could have been written in an email.
Using a video template may only work for some emails you need to send (like showing a product walkthrough), but it can help increase your efficiency when it makes sense.
4. Ask for permission
In your first-touch email, a great ask can be inquiring if your prospect is open to you sending a video to show exactly how you solve the problem you believe they have.
For example, say they accepted your LinkedIn connection request. Follow up with a DM like, “Hey Will, I connected because I noticed you’re bringing on new reps. If it’s relevant, open to me sending a video of how we can help scale email coaching to those sellers within your SalesLoft setup?”
If they say no, you save the time you would’ve spent customizing a video they would never watch anyway. And if they say yes, you got a reply! And a confirmation you piqued their interest.
Shout out to Tyler Washington at Falkon for this tip.
Another reason we recommend not using video in a first-touch email is so it doesn’t hurt your deliverability rate. LinkedIn DMs, however, are fair game and an excellent channel for sending videos.
Pro tip: If you use LinkedIn’s native recorder, you can increase the chance they watch your video, and you can create a more authentic experience. Shout out to Darren McKee from Skye for this one.
5. Keep it under 60 seconds
If you’re emailing someone you don’t know, your goal is to build curiosity. You don’t want to come on too strong (say, with a three-minute video). The human attention span is about 8 seconds, so you need to be short and to the point. There’s no perfect video length, but Vidyard data suggests around 30 seconds is optimal.
If you send a video to someone you know, perhaps in a mid-cycle or proposal email, you’ve already built trust and rapport with them. Sending a longer video is fine, but we suggest keeping it under 3 minutes to maximize view time.
6. Be yourself
Consider: what can you do in video format that you can’t do in the written body of an email? In writing, it can be hard to express tone and nuance accurately. Video is a great way to share your personality and be clear on your intentions.
It’s also an opportunity to embrace your shared humanity with your reader. Showing your face and smile is a reminder that you’re a human, simply reaching out to see if you can help them solve a problem they may have. Let your personality shine and have fun with it.
7. Set up the video in the email
We love this quote from Kevin Dorsey: “The language in the email has to sell the click.”
Sending a video in an email does not replace the copy in the email body. Your subject line and preview text still matter. And your writing has to sell the benefit of watching the video. Ask yourself:
- Why should your prospect watch your video?
- What will they find when they watch it?
- Are they going to learn something new?
- Are you exposing something interesting?
Your setup copy should not reveal everything that’s in the video. Otherwise, they don’t need to watch it. But you want to entice them to hit that play button.
Our tried-and-true email frameworks work well with video, too. The mousetrap + context framework is especially effective when setting up a video. No need to beg them to watch it, just set it up with context.
If you remember one thing from this blog post, let it be this: the goal of a video email is not always about getting a response.
Your goal is to get your video watched.
If you don’t receive a reply but see your buyer watched the video (tools like Loom and Vidyard will show you this), call them or follow up via email. If they watch your video, that’s a win. But don’t sit there and wait for them to take action after viewing. It’s your job to follow up and get after it.