Friday, October 2, 2009

HTML Newsletters: How Video Email Works

HTML e-mail newsletter templates are a great way to communicate information. When you choose to use video however, be careful to do so in a manner that assures that the e-mail is delivered, and that both are viewed in a way that is conducive to the recipient. We will discuss a few tips that will help you avoid any of these problems with these areas in particular, and to make sure that your video reaches and works in whatever format you have chosen.

Tip 1: Keep the video clips short.
Avoid using clips that are too big. The last thing you want is for your e-mail to take a long time to load, and that your client chooses to delete it immediately before taking the time to read the content. Keep the size of your video clip reasonable.

Tip 2: Provide text as a back up
Many people opt to turn off the viewing of images and video in their e-mail inbox.
To avoid running into this problem, always use a text link that directs the viewer to the video. Include a short description of the video, which itself can be hyperlinked, or can be followed by a link to the video. While this lacks the power of the image, it is also perhaps the safest way to convey your message. On a similar note, never rely on the video clip to carry the crux of the message, in the case that it does not get viewed.

Tip 3: Use a still image with a link by taking a screen shot
Use a still image from the video and link it to the video. This is one way to still use the “look” from your video to attract the attention of the recipient, but without the complications of including the entire video. To do this, take a screen shot of the image you have chosen from the video. Edit this screen shot to suit your e-mail and place it in at the appropriate place. Upload the edited screen shot to the location where you are hosting all your relevant data and note the address of its location. Finally, add this link to the image in the e-mail, so that the viewer will be directed to do it if they click on the image.

Tip 4: Create an animated GIF file of the video. A GIF file is another type of image file, like a JPEG. The benefit is that it allows animated images. Because it is treated like an image, and not like a Flash or JavaScript file, it allows you the chance to include an actual video without getting stuck in the strings of the e-mail service. The catch with this method is that there is no sound – it is just the images of the video, but they are not still and therefore capture the spirit of the video. Again, you run the chance that the user has turned off the image option in their e-mail account, but if not, this is one step up from the option of including an image. Be sure to use a rather small clip so that it does not take too long to load and deter the user from viewing the segment.

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