9 Ways to Build Your Email List with Videos
by Pam Neely last updated on 0

9 Ways to Build Your Email List with Videos

It’s hard to overstate the influence of online video. More than a third of Internet traffic is video right now. By 2018, it will be 69%. That’s just scratching the surface. The statistics on video use, growth and effectiveness are amazing. 52% of marketers name video as their most effective marketing channel. YouTube is the second biggest search engine. What’s even more amazing is most of us are still largely ignoring video.

Editor’s note: If you’re looking for more ways to grow your customer base, check out this newly updated article on how to build an email list.


Consider this search terms comparison from Google Trends. It compares search volume for the keywords “email marketing”, “video marketing” and “social media marketing” over the last few years.


Searches for “video marketing” just quietly tick along, though actual video use is growing by leaps and bounds. Even the forecast estimates don’t show searches for “video marketing” going up much through 2016.

So what does this mean to you? It means opportunity. Big opportunity.

Just to give you a way to start thinking about how to use video, consider harnessing it to build your list. There are more ways to do this than you’d think. They don’t take the skillset of a Hollywood producer, or the looks of an Oscar winner. Even if you’re doing a simple screencast, you can reach a far larger audience and attract them more effectively with video.

Here’s how:


1) Add annotations to YouTube videos

You can add links, called “annotations” to your YouTube videos. Most annotations go to other YouTube videos or to a YouTube channel, but if you set things up right, you can send people to an external website. Annotations that point to sites beyond YouTube are called “Associated Website Annotations”. Instructions for how to set them up are here.

You only one link to use for your website annotations, so make it count. Also expect to have to tinker a bit with the setup. I have successfully added website annotations to my YouTube videos, but the instructions YouTube gave me were not perfect – it took a little creativity to get them to work. Most of the problem was I had to wait about 20 minutes for my YouTube account to update and then recognize certain changes I made. But with about 90 minutes work, now all my YouTube videos can point to my website. That’s a fantastic stream of traffic to get more signups from.


Sends you to this page, that’s why it’s useful to use these types of buttons.


2) Include a pitch to join your list at the end of every video

It’s nice to have a link to your website (or to a list-building squeeze page) in every YouTube video. But you can do better. If you add a 3-7 second pitch to join your list at the end of all your videos, you’ll see your signups spike. So make yourself a very short “join my list commercial”.  Add it to all your new videos.

You can even go a step further. I’d love for you to be able to test which of your email list commercials does best, but that would be complicated. Instead, try creating a customized list building commercial for each type of video you create.

Here’s what that might look like: Say you make 2-5 different types of videos. For example, screencasts of marketing tools, videos of you talking strategy, and maybe videos of you interviewing someone. Make an email list “commercial” customized for each kind of video. So for your screencasts, make a email list commercial about how viewers can get more screencasts if they join your email list. Interview watchers would see a list “commercial” offering them more interviews.

This is basically the same principle of creating multiple lead magnets to match different kinds of content you make. On websites, that technique can double or triple opt-ins. I bet the principle would work with videos, too.


3) Add links to YouTube video descriptions

Every video you publish on YouTube should have a call to action to join your list in the video’s description. These outside links are allowed, and don’t require any fancy html skills.

Want to make them extra-effective: Put your email sign up pitch copy above the fold of the YouTube description. You’ll almost double your sign up rate versus having it below the fold. When it’ below the fold, people have to click on the “read more” link to be able to see it. That extra step just crushes your conversion rate.

Ninja trick for even more advanced users: Spend a little money on Facebook, Google AdWords, or Bing. Test which call to action gets you the most subscribers. Use that tested copy in your YouTube videos… and everywhere else.



4) Use Wistia Turnstile

Wistia lets you embed opt-in forms into your videos. It won’t work if your video is on YouTube, but so long as the video is on your website, or on other websites, the opt-in form will work just fine. Wistia calls this opt-in form feature “Turnstile”. It’s included in their Small Business plan, which costs $25 a month.

Turnstile lets you choose where in the video you want the opt-in form to appear, like 15 seconds into play or in the first frame. You can also choose whether or not you’ll let people continue to watch the video if they don’t complete the opt-in form.

Wistia is compatible with GetResponse (of course!), so hooking your opt-in forms in your videos up to your GetResponse campaigns is quite simple. There’s a video on how to integrate Wistia with GetResponse here.

Wistia has gotten opt-in rates as high as 11% with their Turnstile opt-in forms. They have a nice post about how they optimized one of their Turnstile videos.


Wistia is not the only game in town for adding opt-in forms to your videos. Also check out Viewbix, OptinPlayer, and HeroCaster. Viewbix is extra interesting because it’s been updated recently to work seamlessly on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to try getting more subscribers with social media videos, Viewbix may be the ticket, but it’s a super-expensive ticket: $299 per month.


5) On landing pages / squeeze pages

These are so widely-used there’s a name for them: Video landing pages. When they first came out, around maybe 2010ish, they crushed it. Now, video landing pages still work, but not as well. But if you’ve got a landing page that you’ve never tested with video, now’s a good time to change that.



6) In your feature box

Adding a video to a feature box can work extremely well. It doesn’t always beat a static page, but it’s definitely worth a try.

Be careful with the settings for videos in feature boxes, especially whether or not the video will automatically play. There are few things more effective at getting people to frantically leave a site than to have a video suddenly start up in the middle of a quiet office. Because of that, I recommend having the video not automatically play.

Instead, use a cover image or first frame that represents the video and it’s core message well. You win either way with this setup: If your visitor doesn’t click the video, they still see an image that supports your opt-in call to action. If they do click to play the video, then you’ve got the chance to make an extended pitch.



7) Use video for the format of your lead magnet

There are several questions to ask if your lead magnet is not performing well:

  • Is the topic irresistible?
  • Is the cover image weak?
  • Is the copy lame?
  • Is the format you’re delivering the magnet in turning people off?

Here’s the painful truth: People don’t want to read. Reading seems hard, at least to our reptilian brains as they zoom through the information tsunami that is the Internet. Videos seem to make things easier. That’s why explainer videos can be so stunningly effective: They take all the hard thinking out. So if your lead magnet is still in text form (about 95% of them are), consider making it into a video, or a series of videos.



8) Use video in your social media updates

If you use Facebook for marketing, you’ll want to include videos in your updates. Don’t forget you can embed videos in tweets, too. And even in SlideShares, and on LinkedIn. No matter which social media platform you’re using, put up a few videos and include your email list “commercial”. You might find a fresh stream of subscribers.



9) In your emails

Emails still get shared a lot, especially when they have something extra cool in them. A good video qualifies as extra cool. So try using more videos in your emails. Just follow a few best practices to get the best results.

  1.  Include a call to action like “Know someone who would benefit from this video? Send it to them”. If you’re in a B2C business, consider changing that language from “benefit from this video” to “get a kick out of this video”. “Benefit from” is more suited to business.
  2. Right below where your email urges subscribers to share the email, add a big call to action to join your list. That’s so people who got a forwarded email can join your list easily.

These two extra steps will get you significantly more shares, and significantly more signups. But they’re not the only way to use video for your emails.

Check out these Sear’s videos


They’re only shown on the page subscribers see when they’re about to unsubscribe. This is one of the best subscriber retention efforts ever, and it relies entirely on video.

We did an infographic earlier this year, How to Use Video in Email, that showed the potential gains for marketers who use video in their emails. Here’s just a section of it:


So those are nine ways to grow your email list with videos. Are you using videos to grow your list in any way I didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments.


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