Including video helps create more inviting e-mails

The successful promotion of an event often comes down to the invitation. In the fast-paced business world, e-mail has become an important and reliable way to contact prospective attendees.

The successful promotion of an event often comes down to the invitation. In the fast-paced business world, e-mail has become an important and reliable way to contact prospective attendees.

But given the ubiquity of e-mail, it often takes a bit more to get the attention of a journalist or organization member.

It was certainly the dilemma facing the CMO Council as it tried to promote last year's CMO Summit in San Francisco.

"We needed to make an instant impact and create an e-mail that stood out, but [still] emphasized the personal networking relationship that is part of the CMO Council," says Liz Miller, VP of operations for the CMO Council. "In an event-driven market, we all know that people see so many messages a day, you need to cut through the clutter of the graphic-enhanced e-mail."

The Council worked with ON24, a webcast provider, to create a rich media e-mail that included a link to a webcast featuring a message from Cammie Dunaway, CMO of Yahoo and a member of the CMO Council (pictured above), as well as Donavan Neale-May, executive director at the CMO Council, inviting recipients to the summit.

Miller says the e-mails had a 99% open rate and an 85% click-through rate. Ultimately, she says, the invitation had a positive effect on attendance.

"People are inundated with tried and true methods of communicating. This just really brings it to life," says Kim Ryden, director of lead generation for ON24. "When you can hear and look at someone discussing... it's really more compelling than a static e-mail invitation."

Kitt Williams, CEO of Amplify, a digital media market intelligence agency, says she has used rich media webcasts to boost e-mail invitations to her own speaking engagements.

"With the convergence of direct response and branding on the Web, it provides a phenomenal platform," she explains, adding that it also helps with lead generation. "With the popularity of video on the Internet, being an early adopter was important for us."

Key points:

Including video can help an e-mail invitation stand out in cluttered marketplace

Using video in e-mail invitations can help engage prospective attendees

Adding audio and video elements to an invitation can better explain an event

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