Search Email Moxie Posts

A Marriage Made in Heaven or a Passing Fling? Your Corporation Facebook Profile

facebooklogoWhat started out in 2004 as a fun place for college students to post pictures and link up with friends, Facebook has morphed into a social media juggernaut.  Fortune 500 companies and the hole-in-the-wall restaurant down the street have a Facebook profile.  Facebook boasts more than 200 million active users as of April 2009.  More than 6 million users become fans of pages each day.  More than two-thirds of Facebook members are outside of college.  And the fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older.  Also, there are more than 30 million active users currently accessing Facebook through their mobile devices.

All this activity sounds great.  But how can corporations benefit from a site like Facebook?  And is it worth jumping into the Facebook fray?

How can corporations benefit from a site like Facebook?

Facebook can create brand loyalty, promote good and services, increase goodwill, and connect with individuals who love what you do.  In order to get the most out of Facebook corporations need to create stellar profiles to keep their fans coming back for more.  add-profile

Here are some ideas:

-    Engage your fans. These Facebookers are fans because they like you.  Allow them to shower you with praise and give them reasons to return to your profile and share your profile over and over again.

-    Create Facebook only events, promotions, and specials. Running a Facebook only promotion will not only promote your brand, but it will reward your loyal fans and will keep you top of mind.

-    Keep your content fresh. Publish new videos, content, and updates constantly.  Facebook estimates that more than 30 million users update their statuses at least once each day.  Active Facebook users demand updated content.

-    Utilize surveys and other voting applications in your profile. These not only give your fans a voice, but also keeps them engaged.  Try to make the surveys fun whenever possible.

-    Integrate Facebook content on your corporate web page and IN YOUR EMAIL!  This includes adding links to attract more fans and to remind a fan to return to your profile page.  Also, create a place in your Facebook page where visitors can sign-up for your email.

-    Get creative with Facebook features. Some of these features include photo albums, active discussion boards, two-way communication, engagement ads, and virtual gifts.

Is it worth jumping into the Facebook fray?

- YES if your corporation has the time, energy, and passion to not only create a Facebook profile but to support, monitor, and update it.  Also, having a company policy about posting on company sponsored social networking sites can help prevent problems.  Damaging, conflicting, and inaccurate content, and leaking corporate secrets should be avoided.

Click here to view a useful article with five Facebook case studies involving corporate profiles. This article provides real world examples on how corporations are benefiting from Facebook.

Timely, Personalized and Appropriate Email – Go Team!

To the chagrin of Dallas Cowboys fans everywhere, the Minnesota Vikings recently advanced in the NFL playoffs. A friend of mine is a diehard Vikings fan and received the email below just as the game ended. (For the record, I verified that my friend is not a bandwagon jumper or Favre follower - but is a 100% certified and valid Vikings fan.)

NFL did a great job with not only the creative, but the subject line, the time they sent the email, and the segmentation. As far as I can tell only those with a preference set as being a Viking fan received this email.

The subject line was: Your Minnesota Vikings Just Won - Order Now & Get Free Shipping Over $75

What Is On Your Subscribers Mind. Why don't you ask?

He who is afraid of asking is ashamed of learning.
- Danish Proverb

Now that the holiday 2009 dust is settling it is time to put away the decorations, crunch revenue numbers, take a deep breath, and prepare for next year.  This might also be a prime time to get feedback on your holiday email and marketing programs.  Sure you can pour over at the numbers, talk to your customer service groups, and check on returns to see how everything went.  But don’t make the mistake of forgetting to check with the people who helped make it all happen – your customers.  Beyond thanking them for opening their wallets to you, ask them how they felt about their purchasing experience with you, and solicit honest feedback.  One of the best ways to gain insight of your subscriber base is through a survey.

Surveys can engage and entertain your email subscribers, but more importantly they allow you to obtain direction for and improve the relevancy of your emails. You can survey your subscribers on product preferences, popular offers, preferred shopping days, overall purchasing experience and the list goes on and on.  Surveys also allow a great opportunity to update your subscribers preferences.

Surveys can come in many different shapes and forms.  Here are a variety of examples from different verticals.  Some of the emails main focus is the survey, while others incorporate a survey as a banner in a more comprehensive marketing message.   Be sure your survey fits your brand and your customers – and have fun!

Interesting Facts About Google

Here is an interesting post I found about our good friend Google.  Its not related directly to email marketing, but it is always a good idea to see what Google is up to and has been up to :)  Click here to view the original post.

Google is a search engine that began in 1996 as an assignment by the two bright students of Stanford university, but ever since then it has grown to become of the most powerful companies. Today, Google Inc. is the highest earning company on the internet and it has emerged as a dominating company in its field. Besides, this there are plenty of facts about Google that are less know to the public. Here is the list of some of them:
  • 99% of Google’s annual revenue is obtained from Adwords.
  • The 2008 advertising revenue of Google was $21 billion.
  • 1.35% of the US’ Adwords advertisers make up 80% of Google US ad revenue.
  • Adwords was previously known it used to be called Adwords Select. The top banner position was sold old school style through a program call Adwords Premium.
  • Google’s pricing mechanism where the winner pays the runner up’s price was devised to prevent super-inflated bid prices but the second-price auctions resulted in higher prices for Google right away.
  • In 2009 Google began showing ads based on their previous online activities. User patterns are segmented in 20 categories and roughly 600 subcategories.
  • In 2008, 80% of 80,000 typo-squatting domains in the US alone were funded through Adsense.
  • Google’s query forecasting models are founded in their efforts to understand and predict Adwords pricing and click patterns.
  • Although it doesn’t like to talk about using user data, Google cross references everything. “We have temperature data, weather data, and queries data, so we can do correlation and statistical modeling.”
  • In the last 10 years Google’s latency has gone from 1000ms to 200ms.
  • In the last 10 years Google has made seven major re-architecture changes.
  • Compared to 1999 Google’s index is now 100x larger but they update it 10,000 times faster.
  • Google catalogued its trillionth web page in 2008.
  • To translate one sentence Google does a million lookups in a multi-terabyte data structure.
  • To punish itself for artificial link inflation (paid links) Google penalized itself in 2009 by lowering the PageRank of its Japan domain from PR9 to PR5.
  • Since January 2009 Gmail regularly beats YouTube in market share by US visits and is the 2nd most popular Google property.
  • The 3 largest traffic drivers for Gmail are Google, Facebook - and Yahoo! Mail…
  • To encourage developer teams to move to new servers Google uses auctions where teams bid how many extra computers dedicated to their service it would take for them to move; the lowest bidding team wins.
  • In 2007 Google announced it will award $20 million to the 1st private team which builds a robot - and puts it on the moon.

Will Video Make The Email Star? Definitely

Every so often there is a new, hot topic in email marketing. Many of these hot topics are adopted widely and eventually become commonplace across the email marketing industry. Some past examples include the 'view online' header link, forward-to-a-friend functionality, and social media links. The latest hot topic in email marketing is video.

Why is video in email the new hot topic even though it has been around for a while?
There are a number of compelling reasons why video is such a hot topic. These include:
  • The expense of creating and hosting video is falling.
  • Rising access to high-speed Internet has given more people the ability to view videos online.
  • Video viewing increases engagement by adding context to products and building brand identities.
  • It has become easier and easier to create videos. It is hard to find a digital camera or cell phone today that does not also have video creation capabilities.
  • Video allows email marketers to stand out more not only in the inbox, but in blogs, and other media and social avenues.
  • As the email channel matures, so do email subscribers. Simply receiving an email is no longer the novelty it once was. Subscribers are demanding and expecting more of their emails.
The video-as-landing-page strategy
Over the past year or so there has been some dabbling with adding video in email. But due to rendering issues, deliverability problems, time and resource constraints, file sizes and other obstacles, video has not taken off or become a permanent fixture in most email marketing messages. One proven workaround is by using animated GIF images in lieu of actual embedded videos.


Before we get into Animated GIFs, let’s explore two other common ways that video is currently delivered in email. One, is with an image or other call to action that links to a video. In this "Preview Our New Commercials – Watch Now" example, the Watch Now button redirects to a URL and then plays a video.

The second common technique is displaying an image of what looks like a video. When the “play” button is selected, the viewer is redirected to a URL where the video plays. Both of these strategies are examples of linking to video via email.

One of the major considerations of these two strategies is that the consumer is taken away from the email to an external website. For some retail or traditional 'conversion' businesses, this means that the viewer would then require additional direction on that landing page indicating how to convert or make a purchase. This can be difficult especially if the video is on a standalone page, hosted on YouTube, or on some other social media or video site. Essentially the email marketer is ceding some control by linking to an external site to view the video. But for media and publishing businesses who rely less on traditional 'conversions' and more on advertising revenue, landing pages offer a great venue for display ads as well as pre/post-roll advertising. The implications of landing pages depend largely on your particular line of business.

Animated GIFs as video substitute
An Animated GIF file is a layered graphic file that moves frame by frame to give the appearance of motion. Animated GIFs are most frequently used in web advertising banners, but there has also been a recent surge in the use of Animated GIFs in email. One interesting use, beyond flashing letters or moving icons, is creating what looks like a video embedded in the email content. These videos present a visually unique and impressive message, and when used effectively, create visually engaging emails that deliver a “wow” factor that stagnant images cannot. To really catch the attention of email openers, be sure to place the most interesting Animated GIFs above-the-fold.

In the past, one major problem that email marketers were having with Animated GIFs was creating the appearance of video while keeping file sizes manageable. While clunky video-to-GIF plug-ins have been around for many years, only recently has the technology been able to streamline the conversion of video into highly compressed and legible Animated GIFs. There is a company called Live Clicker that turns Animated GIFs into what they call Video GIFs, which are essentially their version of an advanced Animated GIF. Getting a little help with Animated GIFs is not a bad idea if you want to make sure you do this process correctly.

When dealing with Animated GIFs, it's important to remember that they are not actual video files even though they now can take on the appearance of video. Animated GIFs cannot offer many of the features that true video offers, such as player controls (pause, fast forward buttons, etc.) and perhaps most importantly, audio. Certain browsers and email applications will also render the speed of the animation differently from computer to computer.

What are the best practices, tips and other information for using Animated GIFs in email?
  • Use video as a primary call-to-action, rather than supporting visual element. You want your subscribers interacting with the video, not just passing over it. Make the animation the focal point of the email.
  • First and last impressions are key. Ensure the first and last frames of the video look good and display the call to action because only the first frame of an Animated GIF will display in Outlook 2007 (Outlook 2007 only displays static images). If your video is not set to loop infinitely, the last frame of the video will be the "last frame standing" once the animation completes, so be sure to include a call to action there as well.
  • Pay attention to your video infrastructure and try to keep the size of the animated GIF to a minimum. You should experiment with dithering and frame rate to reduce the bandwidth load required of the end recipient. Reducing the number of colors per frame from 256 to 128 can also reduce the size of a video GIF by a quarter without noticeably impacting output quality. Do not create videos that require greater than 150kB – 200kB/sec in data transfer to display properly.
  • Measure the connection speed of visitors on your web site to get an idea of the percent of your email audience on dial-up. If a high percent of your audience is on dial-up make sure you test your Animated GIF thoroughly before deploying to your entire list.
  • Never use Flash or Javascript to attempt to get video to play in email. This will cause rendering problems on a number of email applications as there is no industry standard when it comes to such technologies.
  • Most web videos are typically no longer than thirty to forty-five seconds. Animated GIFs should be even shorter to keep file sizes down. A best practice for longer videos would be to use landing pages, along with subtitles or text displayed throughout the video to maintain attention.
Now you know how to best deploy the new hot topic in email marketing – good luck using Animated GIFs!

A similar version of this article also appeared in  Click here to view this article.

Jordan Lane Featured in Marketing VOX!

Jordan Lane, from, was featured Marketing VOX! Click here to read the article or see below. 

Repurposing GIFs for Email Marketing

Marketers leery of the pitfalls of video email marketing can get the best of both worlds by repurposing a Web 1.0 technology: GIFs - or Graphics Interchange Format - as a substitute, according to Jordan Lane, at Email Responsibly, a website managed by Experian CheetahMail.

It is a stable alternative for a format that, while promising, is still in early days with glitch-prone technology and oftentimes surprising additional costs.

Viewers' experience can be surprisingly poor with online video, a recent study by video analytics company Tubemogul found.  Rebuffers are commonplace, occurring in 6.84% of all streams. When they happen, viewers navigate away 81.19% of the time rather than wait for the video to re-load.

Still, though, the allure of video marketing is hard to resist - it is seen as a top strategy for 2010, according to SEO; Forrester Research predicts the global online video advertising market will reach $7.2 billion by 2012.

Nostalgic Twenty-Somethings

Animated GIF addresses many of these issues, Lane argues in his post. First, though, an explanation of GIF: it is a compressed file format that can loop static images together to create low tech mini-movies. In 1996, animated GIFs were cutting-edge Web art, but have since been supplanted by flash animation and streaming video.

Recently, though, there has been a resurgence of its use in banners, primarily driven by twenty-something web designers nostalgic for the technology of their teens (via Globe and Mail).

There has also been a recent surge in the use of Animated GIFs in email, according to Email Responsibly.

Technology advances that streamline the conversion of video into highly compressed animated GIFs now keep file size manageable, Lane notes.

There are disadvantages to using animated GIFs as a substitute for true video, on the other hand, starting with lack of player control and the fact that some browsers and email applications process the animation differently.

If marketers do opt for animated GIFs, Lane suggests the following:
  • Make the animation the focal point of the email so subscribers interact with the video - not pass over it.
  • Make sure the first and last frames of the video look particularly good because only the first frame of an Animated GIF will display in Outlook 2007 and if the video is not set to loop infinitely, the last frame of the video will be the "last frame standing" once the animation completes.
  • Keep the size of the animated GIF to a minimum. Reducing the number of colors per frame from 256 to 128 can decrease the size of a video GIF by a quarter without noticeably impacting output quality.