Tech project: Wedding thank you videos with Mailchimp

I wrote previously about some of the unconventional things I did to get some friends to make the trip from overseas for my wedding last summer.

You could call it a creative marketing campaign of sorts involving automated email sequences, social media campaigns, a podcast, and text to speech (TTS) narrated promotional videos

Yes it was (intentionally) wacky. Yes it was (very) weird. But it was a lot of fun to put together. And in its own odd sort of way it kind of worked.

In order to put the finishing touches to the campaign, I knew that just sending out plain stationary “thank you” cards was not going to cut the mustard.

I had to go above and beyond conventional approaches.

I had to …. record thank you videos!

If you want to borrow the idea, here’s what you need to do.

1: Record Your Thank You Videos

The first think you’ll need to do (clearly) is record your thank you videos.

I got a bit creative here and dipped into my extensive flag collection to change up the background for guests from Ireland and Hong Kong.

Thank you video with Irish flag backdrop
Thank you video with Hong Kong flag backdrop

I also took advantage of the visual medium to demonstrate gratitude for the various gifts received including this delightful flower pot. Books, cutting boards, and just about anything you can hold up to the camera can be demonstrated in this way. Use a tripod to keep the frame steady.

Because you’ll be saying the same thing over and over again — and if you’re setting up a backdrop it’s a bit of work — I think it’s best to do this in a batch.

2: Edit Your Thank You Videos

Using OpenShot to edit videos

I didn’t want to dedicate more than a day to this crazy (but well-received!) initiative so I limited the post production to adding a start image and fade transitions to the beginning and end of each thank you video.

To edit the videos, I used OpenShot — although I run Linux, so if you’re on Windows, you’ll presumably want to use a different tool.

3: Upload to YouTube (And Set Privacy to Unlisted)

Next, I uploaded the entire library of about 80 thank you videos to YouTube.

I set the privacy on each video to unlisted so that they wouldn’t randomly show up on searches. Don’t select “Private” — you’ll need to be logged into your account to see these — or “Public” (unless you want the whole world to be able to watch your thank you videos).

3: Build a template in Mailchimp

I was already using Mailchimp to send out wedding invitations and the automated pre-event email automation sequences.

Those were tasteful communications like:

But if you haven’t taken that approach you could also create an account just for that purpose — as I will show here.

To start, I created a custom field in the audience for the unique YouTube video URL for each guest’s thank you video.

Then, I set up an email automation to trigger whenever I added a subscriber to the audience.

I designed a simple email template telling them that they had a thank you video waiting for them. This could have been designed a lot more elegantly — but this is just to demonstrate the idea. The thank you videos were sent to mostly friends who knew that the whole campaign aspect was for a bit of fun.

And you want to change the link for the CTA button (“Watch Your Personal Video Message”) to the value of the custom merge field:

And that’s basically it!

You simply need to add subscribers on the backend and make sure that you ad the right person with the right YouTube link!

Your emails will send out as soon as you enter the emails to the queue (unless you have configured a delay on your automation).

If you want to change the send delay edit this setting:

Look forward to delighting your guests and receiving great feedback!

Daytime: tech-focused MarCom. Night-time: somewhat regular musings here. Or the other way round. Likes: Linux, tech, beer.