Emma to Deliver Video Marketing to SMBs

By Kenneth Corbin | Posted January 30, 2008

Digital marketing for small and midsize businesses (SMBs) isn't easy. Working under a limited budget, small companies have historically struggled to match the production values their larger competitors can include in their interactive ad campaigns.

Emma, an e-mail marketing company that caters to SMBs, is looking to change that through a new partnership with StudioNow, a discount provider of postproduction video services.

"We're excited to introduce an idea to our customers that they thought would have been beyond their scope," said Annie Kinnaird, Emma's director of business development. "I think it's going to be a pleasant surprise for them."

Based in Nashville, Tenn., StudioNow maintains a vast network of video editors, ranging from highly skilled amateurs to Hollywood mainstays. When a company needs help putting together a video, it comes to StudioNow with the rudiments it wants included -- stock pieces such as text, music, still images or video it has shot in-house.

StudioNow then makes those elements available to its editor network, and what follows is a pitch slam. The Web 2.0 term is "crowd-sourcing": The editors submit a proposal of what they would do with the content and how much they charge, and the customer decides which bid matches their vision and budget.

Through the partnership, Emma will offer its roughly 10,000 small business clients discounted access to StudioNow's services.

Emma manages the e-mail marketing campaigns for clients such as NPR's Car Talk program, New York University, Coinstar and others. These groups and the thousands of mom-and-pop outfits that fill out the ranks of Emma's client base are often priced out of the rich-media marketing tools such as video.

Video ads are widely acknowledged as better engagement drivers than more static ads, and recent studies have projected that video advertising will be one of the fastest-growing segments of digital advertising.

"With both marketers and consumers increasingly wanting video online, services that make it easier for small and midsize businesses to add video to their communications [are] a good thing," Dan Hallerman, senior analyst at eMarketer Hallerman wrote to us in an e-mail. Still, Hallerman questioned whether e-mail recipients would be receptive high-bandwidth messages as small business marketers explore ways to jazz up e-mails to customers and prospects.

"Since people tend to browse their e-mails quickly, embedded video doesn't always make sense," he explained. "However, if the SMB video is simply a link from the e-mail message to the marketer's Web site, that can make the added video far more welcome."

Hallerman also advised that companies provide their recipients with the choice of opting out of video messages. "The more opportunities for customers to control the communications, the more receptive they'll be to those messages," he said.

Adapted from Internetnews.com.

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