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Thanks for all of the great feedback last week about Facebook’s Places system. One thing I found out about Facebook and inserting links is that if you want to post a link to a secure page (i.e. a place to sign up or make a purchase for something), Facebook tends to convert it into a non-secure, non-https link. I think the reason they do this is so that the thumbnail image for the link doesn’t trigger a security warning.

The downside: the page doesn’t have the encryption of a normal page. To avoid this, simply de-link (click on the ‘X’) next to the link, and it should work fine. This week, I want to focus on using a video email to drive signups to the upcoming Jewish high holidays.

Email Marketing Case Study: Video Retention email is still has highest ROI: With all of the focus on Facebook, Twitter and other social media circles, retention email marketing campaigns tends not to receive a lot of attention these days. However, email campaigns — done correctly — often generate the most return on marketing investment. Part of this is due to the tricky nature of tracking social media investments, and the clear ability to track messages opened and links clicked in an email campaign. For the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, we used a video email campaign to drive people to sign up for the Adventure Rabbi retreat in Winter Park, Colorado.

Here’s a copy of the message:

From: “Rabbi Jamie Korngold – Adventure Rabbi”

Sent: Monday, August 30, 2010 4:57 PM

To: “Jeff Finkelstein”

Subject: Jeff, I’ve recorded a Rosh Hashanah video for you Jeff­ With Rosh Hashanah fast approaching, I’ve recorded a quick video for you:

Rosh Hashanah Video for Jeff Finkelstein

Prices for our Rosh Hashanah retreat in Winter Park go up tomorrow, August 31, 2010 at midnight. More information >>| Sign Up >> Note: After August 31, we’ll still have room for you at the retreat, but not at the catered dinner (although you can eat at the dining hall).

L’Shana Tova,


Rabbi Jamie Korngold

Here’s How We Made This Work:

1. The video was recorded a few days earlier, on a bluff overlooking the city of Boulder, Colorado. It was short (45 seconds). It was shot digitally in full HD, and designed to look off-the-cuff and spontaneous (instead of a professional studio with lighting). The outdoor location reinforced the nature of the organization (pun intended).

2. The video was then uploaded to YouTube, who is hosting the video. This allows us to not have to worry about server space, bandwidth or speed for watching the video. Many of the major ISPs, such as Comcast, have direct connections between YouTube’s servers and their data facilities, and this can drastically improve how fast videos play for people.

3. We next created a landing page on the Adventure Rabbi site, and placed the video at the top, using the embed code found on YouTube.

4. The email message was created to be simple (without their usual header or newsletter layout), and created the impression that the rabbi recorded the video just for them. The subject line was personalized, we used a personalized salutation, and we embedded a screen shot of the video as a graphic inside the email. For people who have images turned off, the Alt Tag (displayed if an image isn’t downloaded) was set to display (using personalization):         “Rosh Hashanah Video for Jeff Finkelstein”

5. In the distant past (i.e. 2002), you could still have videos play successfully inside an HTML email. Due to security restrictions with viruses inside emails, this won’t work anymore in the majority of email programs. Instead, it’s best to have an image of the video, that then allows the user to click and watch it on a website. This is considered best practice for video email campaigns. Here’s an example:

Rosh Hashanah Video for Jeff Finkelstein

Quantitative Results: The email campaign statistics show that a great deal of people opened the message and clicked through to watch the video: 7.2% Clickthrough Rate. A normal clickthrough rate is about 1% if you’re lucky. This is significantly higher, and demonstrates a strong call to action. 42.2% Clickthrough by Open Rate. Of the people that opened the message, nearly half of them clicked through to watch the video. This is really strong, and shows interest. 8.0% Forward Rate. Our system showed that 8% of the recipients forwarded the message along to a friend. Qualitative Results: The campaign drove a significant amount of registrations to the event, as well as a lot of email responses from people who won’t be able to attend the retreat this year. More important, the video helped deepen the relationship between the recipient and the organization.

Summary: Email remains a top way to reach out to past customers… and video emails done correctly can have tremendous response.

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