The Rich Media Convenience Store

Convenience. On a grand scale, it’s what the Internet is all about. It’s what makes Amazon’s 1-Click so special. And it can turn a site’s first-time visitor registration experience into a wonderful thing… if and when that registrant eventually buys.

Sure, email has its own conveniences. With it, we can get the latest stock quotes, time-sensitive e-newsletters and updates. We can get business alerts, bulletins, and more. As far as content goes, we can get just about everything we want and need.

From a commerce perspective, email has definitely evolved these last couple of years. Regularly scheduled email communications have become the norm for many of us doing business online. Even the use of HTML within a promotion, which just last year was still considered new, is now commonplace.

In other words, we’ve come a long way, baby.

So how about rich media? It’s been used to enhance web-based banner ads for quite some time. And those who have been using it know its advantages. From a marketer’s standpoint, what’s not to like?

For those of you who have yet to test it, take note: If you want to offer your customers and prospects true convenience, try rich media. It may just take them to a whole new level.

Consider some of the benefits:

  • Ads are served live so you can change or update them in real time.

  • Streaming audio and/or video is available to enhance your message.
  • E-commerce and information-gathering can take place right within the email.
  • Real-time tracking and reporting.
  • Higher CTR than the industry averages.

How does all of the above create more convenience for your customers? Picture the following scenarios and put yourself in THEIR shoes…

You just purchased a Harry Potter book from Amazon. In return, you get a full-blown rich media email message from Amazon. This confirms your order AND promotes several other books in the Harry Potter series. It also gives you the option to read excerpts from each book or to click “play” and actually HEAR the author read them. When you’re ready to buy, it’s simply a matter of pressing one easy-to-find button beneath your selection.

Or, say you bought a PalmPilot from Franklin Covey. One week after your purchase, Franklin Covey sends you a rich media message that displays several of its Palm-related products and essentially says, “Isn’t it about time you purchased an extra stylus or two? They’re so very easy to lose. And, while you’re at it, how about this deluxe leather carrying case complete with notepad and pen? Just click ‘Buy Now’… now.” It’s as simple as that. And of course, ALL this would occur without ever leaving your email.

Both examples above briefly demonstrate the level of convenience that rich media can offer; convenient because both are based on previously expressed interests and/or purchases. And, presumably, those customer recipients should be open and ready to “hear” the messages. Rich media capitalizes on that fact by allowing recipients to act. Immediately.

Rich media also affords recipients another “view” of a product or service by showcasing it from more than just one perspective. The addition of video and/or sound can greatly enhance the customer’s experience, making it even more convenient.

Of course, rich media is not just limited to shopping. And the benefits don’t stop with the customer. Next week, we’ll take a look at what’s changing in the world of rich media email what’s new, as well as how it’s getting easier and less expensive for marketers to use.

We’ll also take a look at some of the rich media industry’s key players such as BlueStreak, RadicalMail, InChorus and others. See how you’ll be able to capitalize on their latest “conveniences.”

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