New video e-mail system makes sweet music for the Piano Guy

Publication: Internet Retailer
March 25, 2010

For Scott Houston, the host of PBS TV’s Piano Guy show and a web retailer of piano instruction books, DVDs, and related materials, an e-mail newsletter plays an important role in driving traffic to his site, ScottHouston.com.

“The reason people sign up for my e-mail list is they want the free ‘get-some-tricks’ stuff that I do all the time,” he says. “Anything I can do to drive web traffic is good for me.”

But Houston says he made sparing use of another potent e-mail marketing tool—video—until he began using the Delivra e-mail system using videos produced with Cantaloupe.TV LLC’s Backlight video management system. Since implementing the system about eight months ago, viewings of e-mail videos have increased sixfold, helping to engage more customers through e-mail and drive more clicks from the e-mail to his e-commerce site, ScottHouston.com, he says.

Prior to using the integrated system from Delivra and Cantaloupe, placing videos in e-mail newsletters was a time-consuming and complex procedure, Houston says.

“It was a pain in the rear to do,” he says, adding that he not only had to shoot the video but “edit the darn thing and compress it. Then I had to get a thumbnail to work and then I’d hand code all the HTML, and then there were always issues using HTML in e-mail newsletters.”

As a result, Houston says, he used video sparingly and often put in only a link to prompt the newsletter reader to view the video.

With the Delivra-Cantaloupe system, a retailer sends the video to Backlight for production.

“It’s just a matter of having the e-mail account and then having the video content,” says Carissa Newton, director of marketing for Delivra. “Once you have those two, you post the video content with Backlight, you create your e-mail in our account, and then it’s just a matter of pointing and clicking.”

Since implementing the new e-mail system, Houston has increased use of videos in newsletters to drive more traffic to his site. “It has greased the wheels like crazy,” he says.

Houston uses the Backlight enterprise edition, which allows the retailer to host 12-15 video clips on the Backlight site and then use those clips in Delivra e-mails as well as in other sites, including blogs. There is a $5,000 annual licensing fee.

Delivra also offers Video Here for retailers needing to post only one or two video clips per year. The fee is $50 per month.

Delivra started integrating with Backlight in October 2009.

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