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The Power of Rich Media E-Mail

In advertising, retention rates are increased by appealing to multiple senses such as sight and sound. By combining video, audio and animation, the brain is stimulated at a higher level, creating a reality-based experience. It’s a main reason television commercials are one of the most sought-after advertising media in terms of retention and response.

Imagine the ability to deliver television-quality advertising through the unparalleled reach of the Internet for a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising models. Rich media advertising has finally arrived and is in many instances delivering a television-like experience that is getting incredible results. Reports of 40 percent to 50 percent response rates achieved through rich media e-mail campaigns are getting the most attention, and major advertisers are taking notice.

The use of rich media on the Internet is not necessarily new, but recent developments in rich media e-mail have created a stir in the advertising world. eMarketer, a provider of Internet statistics, estimated that nearly $900 million will be spent on e-mail marketing this year, exceeding $4 billion in the next four years. With the huge growth in e-mail advertising, marketers will need to take advantage of the powerful aspects of rich media to get noticed.

Rich media e-mail is not only getting its recipients’ attention with streaming video and animation; it is also providing advertisers with an unprecedented level of detail on how their ad performed. Would you be happy knowing what 10 percent of your target market did after seeing a traditional direct mail piece? Did they look at it? Did they throw it away? Did they use it as a coaster for their morning coffee? With some of the new rich media e-mail technology, you will know what your audience saw, when they saw it and how they responded.

Imagine being able to send a targeted, television-style e-mail message. Within your message you have options for the user to click to your Web site, buy your product and take advantage of a special incentive offer. With the latest results tracking systems, you will know to the nanosecond when a person responded to your offer, if he forwarded it to a friend, how many times he viewed the ad, and from what state or country he opened it. Advertisers not only have the results detail they have always dreamed of, but they also can quantifiably compute their return on investment.

For creative marketers, rich media offers a new set of tools to excite, inspire and drive opt-in e-mail recipients to an action. Effective campaigns will avoid delivering a passive message and, instead, will invite the user to interact and customize the content to his interests.

Why force viewers to watch the same television commercial you advertised during ESPN SportsCenter? Give them an interactive experience where they can get excited about your offer, learn some of the feature benefits and even conduct e-commerce — all without leaving their e-mail. Taking advantage of the interactivity of rich media messages will be key to maintaining high response rates and building customer loyalty.

Let’s take rich media to the next level. Many new rich media technologies can be driven and customized on the fly directly from a database. What this means to marketers is incredible. A rich media message can be personalized at a one-to-one level. We are not talking about simply putting a “Dear Sandy” at the top of the e-mail. If you have a database that collects buying habits, you can send tailored content reflecting a customer’s recent purchases, thereby delivering a television-style message that broadcasts information in that the recipient is directly interested. It has been proved that the more personalization and targeting advertisers can employ, the greater the response rate. Incorporation of database-driven, rich media e-mail is an exciting opportunity for advertiser and consumer to get what they want from each ad.

Virtually 99 percent of the Internet and e-mail is delivered without sound or motion. Companies using these elements will get noticed. By combining the globally dominating reach of the Internet with the uniqueness of rich media, there is an unprecedented opportunity to reach target markets in a way that has never been available until now. Advertisers that can take advantage of the technology and results tracking of rich media e-mail will be a powerful force in the new era of digital marketing.

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