email marketing

Can You Hear Me Now?

Engaging video needs to be quality video. Whether you’re making it with an iPhone, or a $10,000 camera, it’s important to make sure that a viewer (or viewers) can clearly make out what is being recorded. As personalized video and social media content such as Facebook Live are becoming increasingly popular, there’s one thing many aspiring video marketers fail to consider… 

Sound quality. 

The fact is, it doesn’t matter how expensive (or inexpensive) your video equipment is, almost all tend to lack microphones that are of sufficient quality to really isolate the speaker. Think about it. When you’re doing a video walkaround for a customer, consider all the challenges you face. You’re probably doing it on the dealership’s lot, which means all sorts of background noise is going on: other customers; people paging each other; service department noise; weather-related noise (like wind); and, since most dealerships are roadside, you probably have some traffic noise too. All of these background sounds can easily affect the sound quality of the video and make it difficult for a customer to hear you clearly, which makes the video less engaging –despite how great the video quality may be.  

 The same issues can arise with personalized email videos, or any type of video content. Your showroom isn’t going to go silent just because you want to record a personalized video email to a customer. It just won’t! There are phones ringing, salespeople talking, customers milling about, perhaps kids in the service waiting area, or even background music playing. All of these things can also affect the overall quality of the video and detract from the professionalism you wish to present to your customer.  

 My advice is to invest in a great microphone. Regardless of the equipment you use to make the video, there are many choices for external microphones that will work with it and it doesn’t have to be expensive. By simply adding an external microphone to your smartphone, DSLR or video camera, you can greatly increase the clarity and engagement of your video. Nothing is worse than creating a super video only to find out later that some car horn in the background, or other noise, interferes with your voice.  

If you’re the type that makes videos on your own (i.e.: selfie video emails or walk arounds), then a simple corded lapel microphone should be sufficient to adequately capture your voice and minimize ambient noise, while not interfering with your video production. If you have someone filming you, whether that’s with a smartphone or DSLR, consider upgrading to a wireless lapel microphone. This allows the camera to be further back, hides microphone wires and minimizes ambient noise, while nicely capturing your voice.  

Go ahead and keep making those videos. People love watching them… but they also want to hear what you’re saying. Follow this advice and you’ll find that your video quality increases and your audience is more engaged. 

Experimenting with the Devil

It’s been said, “the devil is in the details.” Which means, of course, that the difference between success and failure is often something small and seemingly insignificant. This is absolutely true when considering the effectiveness of your dealership’s marketing. Try experimenting with the following little details and you may realize some huge gains in your return on investment.

Timing. Sending your email campaign out first thing in the morning? Try mid-afternoon or midnight for different results. Or trying sending the message on a different day of the week or time of the month. All of these things will make the difference.

Personalization. Have you made an effort to make your direct marketing personal? Does that personalization stop at “Dear John” or are you using everything you know about a prospect to make their communications specific to them?

Email Formatting. Not all emails are created equal. You’ve got the full graphic and multimedia capabilities of HTML or the more traditional, potentially more personal, all-text email. They each have their place. Experiment with when and where you use each format to try and maximize results.

Offers. Which drives more traffic? $500 customer cash or 1.9% financing? How about a $50 bill just for test driving? How about $100? These little details can make a huge difference.

Expiration dates. Trying to drive immediate response, toy around with a 24-hour-act-now offer. Or try stretching it out to 3 or 4 weeks. Again, different timing will drive different responses from different customers.

The difference between mild success and rousing, ring-the-bell success can be found in these little devilish details. Experiment with them and you may very well find the results you’ve been looking for.

D. Jones
Marketing Strategist/Creative Consultant
SmackDabble, LLC

What is the future of e-mail?

From eMarketer, May 27, 2008

An old digital format still has plenty of life left

Compared with today’s virtual worlds, e-mail is solidly Web 1.0—an almost archaic communication channel.Yet e-mail works, and marketers and advertisers keep putting it to new uses. Moreover, consumers—whose opinions are the ones that matter—genuinely like e-mail. Nearly three-quarters of adult e-mail users in North America said they used it every day, according to an April survey conducted by Ipsos for Habeas.

Two-thirds of adult respondents said they preferred e-mail for communicating with businesses. Just as many—and this is the important part—said they expected to still prefer e-mail five years from now.

Mode of Communication Preferred by Adult Internet Users in North America When Dealing with Businesses, April 2008 (% of respondents)

“Far from being eclipsed by Web 2.0 and other emerging communications methods, consumer expectations suggest that e-mail will be the workhorse channel around which future online communications will revolve,” said Des Cahill, CEO of Habeas, in a statement.

That is not to say that consumers are ready for random, untargeted e-mail. Opt-in is still key. Consumers are even willing to help marketers custom-tailor their messages. More than 88% of respondents said they would like more choices in e-mail content and frequency, including options on advertisements and special offers.

So if e-mail is set to remain a consumer favorite for the next several years, that must mean e-mail ad spending will grow during that time, right?

Yes and no.

eMarketer predicts that e-mail ad spending in the US will hit $492 million this year, then increase by 55% to $765 million by 2012.


US Online Advertising Spending, by Format, 2007-2012 (millions)

And while e-mail accounts for only about 2% of all online ad spending, eMarketer predicts that percentage will actually drop to only 1.5% of online ad spending in 2012, despite the growth in dollars spent. The amount spent on other formats will dwarf what is spent on e-mail, thanks to its low cost.

US Online Advertising Spending, by Format, 2007-2012 (% of total and billions)

E-mail is cheap marketing. The pricing scales well, too: The cost of sending a million e-mails is little more than the cost of sending a thousand. However, this can also cause problems.

“E-mail is so inexpensive that it lulls many marketers into underestimating its influence on entire campaigns and a company’s brand,” said David Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer.