Kristian Jønsson
Kristian Jønsson 23 January 2017

How To Grow Your Email List With Intelligent Videos

In this post I’ll tell you about the different opportunities that video marketing holds, and how you use them in the most efficient way to generate more leads for your email marketing list.

Every day, hundreds of millions of hours of video content are watched on Youtube. Remember the last time you watched a Youtube video or any other type of video? It’s not that long ago right?
People love to watch videos. There’s no doubt about it.

Humans are in general very visual beings, and we process images and videos 60,000 times faster than text which is one of the reasons videos have become so popular.

Videos are great because they can be used for so many different purposes. They are used for entertainment, education, promotion, and the list goes on. So why not use videos in your marketing as well? And even more specifically, why not use videos to grow your email list?

There are so many videos out there to watch, and many businesses have also begun to use video to promote their business and their products.

However, the majority of these videos only generate views and don’t convert these views into something that could give you value such as an email address. Videos are way too underutilized as lead generation channels.

If you collect email addresses through your videos, you can send promotional content to try and convert these leads into customers. You can also get them to watch more of your videos and generate greater exposure, not just on your Youtube videos but also on any videos you might have on other sites.

In this post, I’ll tell you about the different opportunities that video marketing holds, and how you use them in the most efficient way to generate more leads for your email marketing list.

Lead generation through videos

On of the way you can collect email leads through your videos, is by adding an opt-in form to your videos. Yes, in the video itself.

Video services such as Wistia, now offer features that allow you to add an opt-in directly in your videos. This is an incredible lead generation opportunity that businesses and specifically e-commerce stores need to take advantage of.

When a user is watching a video, the video will be paused at the moment you choose, and the opt-in will appear. Once the opt-in is either filled in or closed down, the user can continue watching the video.

One of the cool things about video opt-ins, is that you can add it to any of your existing videos. You don’t have to record a ton of new videos just to add the opt-in form.

How to

It’s super simple to add to any video and to demonstrate I’ve created a how-to guide to get you started right away – and in the spirit of video, I did a video guide.Now that you know how to add the opt-in to your videos let’s move on to how you get the most out of it, and generate a massive amount of leads.

So which videos do you add opt-ins to?

This very much depends on the purpose of your video opt-in. Do you want a high number of leads, or do you want less but more qualified leads?


All your videos were (hopefully) made with a specific goal in mind. They might be educational, entertaining, focused on connecting, etc. You need to categorize your videos based on what step of your funnel they belong in.

If you’re looking to grow your email list with as many leads as possible you should use your top-of-funnel videos that appeal to many different types of audiences and will reach more people.

These videos are typically your more educational and entertaining videos, as they appeal to a larger audience.

If you want to ensure a higher quality of leads, you should use your bottom-of-funnel videos. These are your product videos or videos with the purpose of convincing people to buy a product.

These types of videos appeal to viewers who are further along in the buying process and are thus much more likely to convert, not only into an email lead but also into paying customers.

So choose your videos carefully based on what your target audience is and what type of leads you are looking to collect.

Where to place the form

When it comes to the placement of your form, it also depends on the video itself, and where it is presented on your website or social channel or other. However, some places work better than others in general.

According to a survey by Wistia, the best placement for a video opt-in is 20% into the video.


This chart from Wistia was made based on an analysis of thousands of user videos, and it clearly shows that viewers were more likely to convert around 20% into the video.

What really surprised me was the low conversion rate at the end of the video. I did not expect this to be so low, because, in most videos I’ve seen with opt-ins, they have been placed at the end of the video.

However, I do see a possible reason as to why people don’t convert at the end of the video. When you’ve watched a video, you usually don’t stick around. You’ve seen what you wanted, and there’s no reason to stay on the page for longer, because you’re probably looking for new exciting content, whether that be another video, article, etc.

When you’ve seen 20% of a video, you have a good idea of what it’s all about, and you’re obviously still interested because you’re still watching it. Thus, presenting your opt-in at this moment is the most effective.

Just remember to test if the same applies to your videos. As I said, it depends on the type of video you use and your audience, and the 20% might not be where your viewers convert the most.

Landing page videos

Another way to collect leads through videos is to add a video to one of your landing pages with an opt-in form. You can then use the video to direct attention to the opt-in form, and thus get more people to sign up.

Here, it’s important that you don’t just use a random video and ask people to sign up. The video needs to be relevant to the content of the page, and it needs to provide some kind of value to viewers to get them to sign up.

You can even have arrows or people (depending on the content of the video) pointing towards the opt-in form on the page. This again creates more awareness, and people will know that this video was made specifically for this page, which can increase conversions.

The gated video

You also have the possibility of gating your videos, so people have to sign up to watch them. This is how the opt-in form on a gated video could look like.



With this type of video opt-in, your video becomes a more exclusive piece of content which might encourage people to sign up if they are interested enough. However, your number of leads could easily decrease with this type of video opt-in as people don’t know what to expect from the video and don’t know if the content is valuable enough to give their email address for it.

Thus, if you decide to go with this video opt-in you need to write a very convincing video description that will tell people what the content of the video is, and how it can provide value to them.

This video will not appeal to users who are short on time. They wouldn’t care to read the description, and they would try to find similar content elsewhere.

I would, however, recommend this type of opt-in as a content upgrade within relevant content.

If you write a blog post about an interview you did with someone important, you can add the video recording of the interview in the blog post and collect signups that way.

You could also use it on your e-commerce store as a content upgrade for your styling products. Your video could then be a tutorial on how to use those styling products.

You can read much more about content upgrades and how you use them here.


No matter which of these options you choose, there are a number of things to consider. For example your call-to-action (CTA).

You CTA is the final thing that convinces a user to convert. There are many different incentives you can use to convince users to convert, such as free templates, ebooks, bonus info, discounts, exclusive deals, etc.

Your CTA should always be relevant to your business and your products. This doesn’t just apply to videos, but to all other types of marketing, you do as well.

In this example from Maybelline New York, they use interactive videos to engage viewers and convert them into customers.



Throughout the video, viewers have to click which makeup look they would like to learn. Then when the makeup tutorial begins, the speaker says “Get the look”, and an overlay with a link to buy the particular product used at this very moment. e.g. “Color 24hr tattoo”.

This enables viewers to quickly navigate to the product page to buy the product at the moment where they have shown the highest level of interest. Also, the “Get the look” CTA is super relevant, as it is the reason most people would watch this video – to learn how to create this look.

If you don’t do tutorials, there are so many other ways to offer value such as free ebooks, discounts, how-to guides, etc.

For example for us at Sleeknote, it would be relevant to pitch a free product or tool to help users grow their email list, as the purpose of our business is to help other businesses generate more leads.

The video itself could be about list building in general, and it would include a quick pitch about the free product or tool, and then move on to talk about list building again.

When we’ve already done a pitch in the video, users won’t be surprised when the opt-in appears, and they will know that they have to sign up to get the free product, and hopefully the intro and the pitch have convinced the user to do just that.

CTA templates for free product

  • Opt-in in video
    • “Want to grow your email list for free? Enter your email, and get a free [name of product] today.”
    • “We’re now giving away our [name of product] for free! Get your hands on your very own before it’s too late! Enter your email, and it’s yours.”
    • “Enter your email and get your very own [name of product] to [purpose of product].And it’s FREE! Just enter your email, and we’ll send it directly to your inbox.”
  • Link in description (CTA should be in the video)
    • “Start growing your email list today with this awesome free tool. Click the link to the right and enter your email. We’ll send it to you immediately.”
    • “Get your hands on your very own [name of product] for free! Click the link below, enter your email, and it will be in your inbox within minutes.”
    • “This awesome[name of product] can be yours for free! All you have to do is enter your email through the link in the description, and it’s yours.”

You can also try to get people to sign up by offering them updates and notifications directly in their inbox when new videos are published or other content they might be interested in.

Here it would be ideal to use social proof in your CTA. People have a natural fear of missing out which makes social proof a very effective strategy.

CTA templates for social proof and notifications

  • Opt-in in video
    • “Avoid missing out on new videos. Do like 3874 other [company name] fans and get a notification directly in your inbox when new videos have arrived.”
    • “Join the 4925 other successful businesses and get new updates and deals directly in your inbox.”
    • “Do like 2369 of your fellow fashion friends, and get your fashion fix sent directly to your inbox, so you’ll always stay ahead on the fashion front.”
  • Link in description (CTA should be in the video)
    • “Join the 6839 other adventurers and get new deals, travel tips, and amazing stories directly in your inbox, and never miss an adventure again. Just click the link to the right and enter your email”.
    • “Want the latest trends, deals, and styles before everyone else? Click the link below and join our exclusive VIP club. It’s FREE!”
    • “Tired of being the last to know? Do like 7352 other e-commerce geeks and get an update the moment new tips, tricks and hacks are published. Just enter your email through the link to the right, and you’ll never be last to know again”.


Discounts are also great to use as incentives. People love saving money.

You can offer a 15% discount on their first purchase in your video, and tell them that they just have to enter their email, and the discount code will be sent to their email.

It’s a good idea to send the discount code to them by email instead of giving it to them in the video once they’ve signed up because they might not be able to use it immediately. They might want to see the rest of the video and forget the code. Or they don’t have the time to use the code right away.

So always send the code by email, which also gives them a reason to give you their email, and it increases the chance of people opening that email as well.

CTA templates for discounts

  • Opt-in in video
    • “Enter your email, and we’ll send your 15% discount code immediately.”
    • “Get 15% off your favorite items today. Just enter your email so we can send it to you.”
    • “Do you want 15% of your next purchase? Enter your email, and the code will be on its way immediately”
  • Link in description (CTA should be in the video)
    • “Get your 15% discount by clicking the link in the description and enter your email. The winner will be notified directly.”
    • “Want to buy your favorite item at discounted price? Click the link to the right, enter your email, and a 16% discount code will soon be in your inbox.”


Competitions are also a great incentive. Competitions are like the lottery, except for the fact that you don’t pay money to enter competitions – you just enter your email. Giving your email is a small price to pay to potentially win a great prize.

Competitions offer a sense of excitement and it’s essentially a giveaway of free stuff which we all love (at least I do). I know it’s not a giveaway in the actual sense of the word, but for one lucky contestant (or however many winners the competition has) it will be.



Again, you should pitch the competition in your video and tell people how they enter: “Enter your email, and you’re in the running to win a $300 gift certificate”.

CTA templates for the competition

  • Opt-in in video:
    • “Enter your email, and you’re in the running to win a $300 gift certificate.”
    • “Enter the competition and win six month’s FREE subscription. Just enter your email address, and you’re in.”
    • “Want to win our newest [name of product]? Just enter your email, and we’ll notify the winner directly.”
    • “Enter your email and win a brand new [name of product]!”
  • In description (CTA should be in the video)
    • “Click the link to the right, and enter your email. You’re now in the competition to win a $300 gift certificate.”
    • “Want to win our newest [name of product]? Just click the link to the right, enter your email, and we’ll notify the winner directly.”
    • “Enter the competition to win a brand new [name of product] by clicking the link to below and enter your email.”

Video survey

Lastly, you can create a survey at the end of your video. It wouldn’t collect any leads, but it could provide you with valuable information about the content of your videos. How are they received? Do people like them? Is the content relevant? What kind of videos do people want to see from you?

Slack did a simple survey at the end of their video: “Slack Teams Do Amazing Things” as you can see here.



It only requires one click from the viewer, and it tells Slack whether or not people enjoyed watching the video, or if they should try a different kind of video instead.

If you want more detailed information from the viewers, you could add a link to the video, and the video description and tell people that you would love to get their feedback on it, and all they have to do is click the link and answer three simple questions.

Always tell people how many questions they need to answer in advance, or how long it will take to complete the survey.

You might not generate as many responses with this type of survey, as it requires a bit more work from the viewers. However, your answers will be more detailed, and it will be easier to derive conclusions about the video from them.


CTA templates for the survey

  • Survey directly in video (like Slack example)
    • “How did you like the video?”
    • “What did you think?”
    • “Let us know what you thought of the video.”
  • Survey in description (the CTA should be in the video)
    • “Click the link to the right and answer three simple questions.”
    • “It would mean the world to us if you could give your opinion on the video in the link to the right. It won’t take more than 2 min. Thanks!”
    • “Help us improve future videos. Answer three simple questions in the link below the video.”


We can’t talk about videos without talking about Youtube as well. Youtube is the second largest search engine only surpassed by Google, which makes it the ideal place for your opt-in videos.

A lot of businesses already have a youtube channel where they promote their products in many different ways. You can upload video commercials, how-to guides for your products, expert interviews, and much more.

All of these videos are prime subjects for your video opt-ins. You have a few different options when it comes to adding an opt-in on your Youtube videos. I’ll guide you through the steps of each option to show you exactly how it’s done.


The first option is to create a card on your video. The card functions as an overlay on top of the video where you can insert images and links to other sites. The video won’t pause when these overlays appear.

This is what Youtube cards look like.



In the top left corner, there is a card that enables you to subscribe to The Tonight Show’s Youtube channel. In the bottom left corner, the card links to NBC’s website where you can watch full episodes of the show. And finally, two cards on the right link to related Youtube videos from the same channel.

These cards appear at the end of all The Tonight Show videos, to keep viewers engaged with the show in different ways.

When you create your cards you should include images as The Tonight Show has done, and don’t forget to add a link as well.

The CTA in your cards should be strong, and you need to consider when you should present it. Do it when it’s relevant to the content of the video when you reach your pitch.

If you run an e-commerce with outdoor equipment, you can create a video of someone skiing, and then have an opt-in where you offer a how-to guide on waxing and polishing skis.

Another important note is that you should mention this guide in the video itself. Tell people that this skier is doing so well because he’s got the newest skiing outfit, great boots, and he just waxed and polished his skis. Then tell them that they can learn how to do that themselves by signing up in the little box (card) on the screen.

Additionally, you can have an arrow pointing at the box in the video, or if you have people in your video, you can have them point towards the card. This is exactly what Target does in their videos.



The person in the video is pointing at the different cards to the right, encouraging people to click on them. You obviously can’t hear it, but she also asks people to choose which of these courses they would like. See the whole video here.

I realize this is not a lead generation card, and that Target doesn’t ask for viewers’ email addresses to watch the content. However, you can see how you can put focus on your cards within the video content itself.

How to

1. First, you need to ensure that your Youtube channel is connected to your website. To create cards that lead directly to your website, you need to verify your website through the Google Webmaster Tool.

Go to creator studio, click “Channel”, then click “Advanced”, and add your website under “Associated website”.



2. To add cards to your Youtube videos, you go to “Video Manager” and click “Videos”. You’ll then see a list of your videos. Choose the video you want to add a card to and press “Cards” in the drop-down menu next to the “Edit”.



3. You’re now ready to add different types of cards to your video. In this example I’ll add a link card.



4. Enter your website URL (remember to verify your website first) and fill out the information for the card.



5. Alright, it’s time to decide when your card should appear. Instead of using a link card, you can record a special message that will run for the last 20 seconds of the video asking them to sign up for your newsletter.




Annotations are another possible option for your Youtube videos. Annotations are similar to cards, but instead of having images on them, they are simple text boxes where you can add a background color.



In this example from’s Youtube channel, you can see what these annotations look like. They are very easy to make and don’t require much work from you.

The same “rules” apply to the annotations as to the cards. Draw attention to them in the video, and “interact” with them by pointing towards them, and telling people what to do.

Again, this example is not a lead generator but merely links to subscribe to their Youtube channel and to watch more videos.

The reason it’s so difficult to find examples of e-commerce businesses using video opt-ins to collect leads is because it’s such an unexplored opportunity. It’s a relatively new technology, and it is one of those marketing efforts that require a bit more work and preparation.

Juicy Couture has found a very creative way to use annotations. They use different annotations throughout the video with a transparent background and then link to the different clothes the woman in the video is wearing. If you click any of the annotations, you’ll be directed to the specific page on Juicy Couture’s website where you can purchase the item.

They don’t collect any leads in this video either, but it’s a fun way to show off the clothes and direct people to the specific pages where the clothes are available.

However, Juicy Couture needs to remove the video or the annotations when these items are no longer available in their online store. This video is from 2012, and all the links just send you to an “item not found” page.

How to

1. To add annotations to your videos, you click on the drop down menu of the chosen video, and click “End screen & Annotations”.



2. Choose “Annotations” at the top of the editor.



3. Click the “Add annotation” and fill in the necessary information.



There you have it. A super simple way to collect leads through your Youtube videos.


When you’re ready to upload your videos to Youtube, you must not forget to add a description.

The description will be placed under your video, and this is yet another opportunity for you to tell people that they should subscribe (in other words of course).



This is a how-to guide from Lowe’s Youtube channel. Notice how many links they have in their description relating to the content of the video. “Shop holiday lights”, “Shop holiday decorations” “…check out Lowe’s How-To Library”, and lastly they have a link where you subscribe to their Youtube channel.

All these links are relevant to the content of the video which is a how-to guide on hanging Christmas lights. What I would’ve liked to see was an opt-in option so they could collect email addresses.

Also, they should have mentioned these links in the video and pointed down to them to get people to notice the links and click them. It’s super important that when you only link in the description and not the video itself, your CTA should be presented in the video.

For instance, in this video about Christmas lights, you could say “Enter your email in the link below, and get access to our How-To Library”.

The descriptions are usually minimized, and in order to read the full text, you have to click “Show more”. Thus, the information in the description is easily overlooked if you don’t mention it in the video.

Facebook lead ads with video

Did you know that you can create lead ads on Facebook that includes a video?

It’s super simple and highly effective!

Facebook lead ads with video are also very cost effective. They have the lowest CPM (Cost Per Thousand) which means that the price for 1000 views is lower if you create a lead ad with video than if you create one with an image.



The reason is that Facebook wants to push lead ads with videos because they are much more efficient. Mark Zuckerberg (CEO of Facebook) has even predicted that by 2020, most of your news feed on Facebook will be video.

Hootsuite reported that videos posted by users increased by 75% in 2015, and in the US that percentage was 94%. They also found that the number of videos shared in the news feed has increased 3.6 times year-over-year since 2014.

Do I really need to say more? Video is obviously the future of the internet (at least that’s my prediction).

So let’s get see how a Facebook lead ad with video works. Here’s an example of what a video lead ad looks like from Hotjar.



It’s similar to a regular lead ad but with a video instead of an image. The video automatically starts playing when you scroll past it, and you have the option to pause it and resume as shown in the example.

In this lead ad, they’ve added the option to sign up when you’ve paused the video. This is again a great way to give viewers multiple options to sign up. The opt-in in the lead ad video works similar to an opt-in in any video. It has a link that directs you to the website where you can sign up.

Also, with Facebook lead ads you can trigger a pre-filled opt-in form instead of re-directing people to your website which is much more time-efficient. However, too few businesses use this feature which is such a shame, as it can ensure a higher number of leads.

For more information on Facebook lead ads and how you use them, click here.

Best practice for opt-in videos

No matter which channel you choose to publish your videos on, there are a number of best practices worth noting if you want your videos to be as effective as possible.

Returning to the description of the video – always include one.

The description should tell people what the video is about and it’s also super important that you include relevant links that you put focus on in the video.

The CTA in your video needs to be directed towards the purpose of showing this video and get people to take the desired action (for example signing up).

Doing video marketing is a big opportunity for e-commerce. For instance, if you have a blog on your e-commerce website, you can make videos instead of writing a lot of blog posts. It makes your content much more digestible, and it’s a fun way to learn new things.

Adding videos will both seem fun, and it will also drive more traffic to your website if you use your videos on different channels to link to your site or convert viewers into subscribers.

An example of an e-commerce site which uses both links in their video description and also use cards in their video to get people to take an action is



Zappos clearly wants their viewers to go to their website. They try to convince people by offering free shipping and free returns both in the video, in the card, and in the description. Moreover, the speaker in the video ends the video with the CTA: “Shop on today”.

In this video, there are plenty of opportunities for viewers to go to Zappos’ website. One thing that could make this video better would be if the speaker in the video had made it clear what people need to do to go to the website.

I know it sounds like such a small detail, but if the speaker had said “Click on the link to the right and shop on today”, it would increase the traffic they get from this video even more.

Wrap up

Videos are only becoming more and more popular. They have taken the internet by storm and I would even dare to make the statement that Youtube has the ability to outrank Google in most popular search engine.

There, I said it! But hey – Videos are awesome, and there’s no reason not to get started with video marketing right away.

It might take some time and effort at first, but if you consider just a few of the points in this post, your videos will be reeling in a ton of leads in no time.

Always ensure that your videos, your cards, your annotations, your descriptions, etc. all support each other. Use all the available features to put focus on your call to action, and guide viewers to take that action.

I hope this post (although very long and detailed) has whetted your appetite for more videos, and that you’re ready to jump into the exciting world of video marketing.

If you have any comments or questions about video marketing, feel free to share in the comments below. Also, if you’ve already started doing video marketing, we’d love to hear about your experiences.

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