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Saturday, December 15 , 2018, 2:18 am | Fair 41º


Smile, You’re on Video E-mail

Lawrence Group of Santa Barbara helps clients develop eye-catching messages

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then how many words is a video e-mail worth? A lot. And many people are betting the entire world of e-mail will move from text to video in the next few years.

Video e-mail is a technology that enables users to send self-generated videos via e-mail. If you have a Web cam, you can send a video e-mail to anyone. There are several Web-based video e-mail system providers that will automatically upload your video, encode it and play your VEM through their servers.

Why video e-mail? Start with 200 million-plus e-mail users in the United States. They each check e-mail at least three times each day. Since the average adult attention span is less than 25 seconds, and since 70 percent of all knowledge acquisition is visual, VEM is an ideal tool for compelling communication and attention management.

The technology has been around for a while, but it took innovative, startup companies such as Eyejot in Seattle and Jive Systems in Florida to bring these services to tired, Twittered-out texters. Many providers have no bandwith or storage limitations and include automated statistics and reports that integrate easily with CRM solutions.

While the concept marries the “best of e-mail with video chat,” most users are still trying to figure out when it’s best to send a VEM vs. more conventional means. Early returns signal VEM as being a great tool for building trust and rapport, and since more than 55 percent of communication is nonverbal, it’s a great “bull-shoot filter.”

At Lawrence Group, we utilize Web designers who customize VEM templates to the user’s specifications, and also provide clients with soft-skills training for platform and delivery techniques.

New users find it takes a little time to refine their style and delivery.

Bob Rippel of Agility Logistics said, “I try to imagine I’m talking with my wife or kids when I’m cutting a VEM. But sometimes that even makes me edgy. I think I might try a picture of my dog next time.”

VEM has playback features so you can review “takes” and allows for most any attachment such as streaming video, PDFs, PP slides, Word docs, etc. Most companies have sophisticated spam and firewall protection, so often it’s helpful to send a conventional e-mail before of after the VEM, to ensure it’s opened and viewed.

Since U.S. Internet users viewed more than 11.5 billion videos online during March, it’s clear the audience likes a good show, and VEM is another way to deliver your message in an engaging and intimate way.

Saving the best for last, VEM is easy to use and inexpensive. Eyejot offers 60 seconds free, and charges only $95 a year for all the bells and whistles. Jive charges beta users $47 monthly and offers a broad array of features including a technical coach. 

More than 40 years ago, Allen Funt used to say, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera.” Guess some things never change.

— Larry Sleep is president of Lawrence Group, a Santa Barbara-based firm that specializes in development and delivery of sales and management learning systems.


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