Tips for using rich media in e-mail

Published on .

By Kate Maddox

With the increasing penetration of broadband and new Internet technologies, more b-to-b marketers are taking advantage of rich media in e-mail campaigns.

However, they need to be careful about how they use the technology, said Deirdre Namur, VP-creative services at Bigfoot Interactive.

She offers some tips on using rich media in e-mail marketing campaigns.

  • Know your audience. "Find out if they have the capacity to receive [Macromedia] Flash," she said. If they use Lotus Notes, for example, they won’t be able to receive Flash in e-mails.
  • Keep in mind the e-mail’s size. Namur recommends file sizes of 100k or less.
  • Think short. "Try to grab their attention very quickly," she said. "[Rich media] should complement your piece. Use a strong headline and an image, and the rest of your message should be text." If a user’s browser does suppress the Flash image, they should still be able to understand the essence of the message. Also, when using rich media animations, keep the length to 30 seconds or less, she said.
  • Consider the measurability of rich media components in e-mail. "If you have a call to action within a Flash component, it’s usually not trackable; so use other calls to action within the body of the e-mail," Namur said.
  • Build in static images, in case the animated graphic is suppressed by the browser. "The last frame of a Flash movie should be a static image, reinforcing a key benefit," she said.
  • Talk to the lowest common denominator. "Flash 5 is usually a safe bet," she said, referring to the version users will be able to view.

Despite all of these considerations, Namur said, "When we have tested Flash, we have gotten a higher response. If your audience can view it, it is worthwhile."

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