This week, new research shows a huge increase in the use of video email in SMBs. In the meantime, Symantec released email security SMB edition with simplified licensing.

SMB Video Email Booms

A new GetResponse Email Marketing Trends survey found that SMB marketers are becoming increasingly convinced of the benefits of video email, social media, and personalization and targeting. It shows a 480% increase in video email usage, 90% increase in social media integration,  with 64% saying video email significantly increases conversion rates.

Over 80% of respondents plan to use video emails in 2010, and over 90% of SMB marketers plan to integrate social media into their email campaigns this year. Almost 64% of SMB marketers who use video emails claimed that it delivers significant increases in conversion rates.

According to our 2009 study, video emails delivered close to a 100% increase in click-through rates, so we know it works and expected the increase in use. But the 480% increase in planned video email use surprised even us,” GetResponse founder, Simon Grabowski said.

The survey was conducted in January and February 2010 and asked over 200 SMB email marketers from a wide range of business sectors what they were doing about “inbox clutter."

In general, the results show that the SMB marketer's toolkit is looking more sophisticated and media-rich than before. Some of the survey highlights include:

  • Video email marketing: Over 50% of respondents stated that video emails can increase CTR.
  • Social media: A 113.2% increase in use of links to new messages on social media pages; a 109.1% increase in use of sign-up forms on Facebook.
  • Personalization: 54% percent of SMB respondents said they intend to increase targeting and personalization in 2010.

If you want to have a look at the full report you can download it from the website.

Alfresco's Beta Program for SMBs

Alfresco (news, site)  has announced an early-access beta program for Alfresco SMB Edition -- a self-managed, ready-to-use, cloud-based appliance hosted on Amazon EC2. This new version of Alfresco open source content management and social collaboration product is designed for SMBs and is expected to go on general release at the end of the second quarter.

The Alfresco SMB Edition will offer a preconfigured Alfresco cloud appliance that combines the Alfresco server, Alfresco Explorer and Alfresco Share into an easily consumable, on-demand offering aimed at SMBs with up to a maximum of 100 users and 200GB of storage.

The appliances are hosted on Amazon EC2 will be available as paid Amazon Machine Images (AMIs). These images are preconfigured with all the necessary software to allow SMBs to benefit from the productivity gains enabled through Alfresco's collaboration capabilities. This low-cost service is available through Alfresco's partnership with JumpBox (news, site) that specializes in building software appliances.

Symantec Email Security Focus on SMBs

Tthis week's conference held by EMC’s (news, site) IT security wing RSA (news, site)  has thrown up some interesting things for the SMB market too. Symantec (news, site)  has just announced the release of a SMB edition with identical feature sets to its Brightmail, but simplified licensing and SMB-scaled pricing.

This release for its email security appliances comes with enhanced ability to detect and block targeted email attacks, real-time updates and customer-centric protection. Targeted attacks such as 419 scams and focused phishing, according to Symantec, accounted for 21 percent of all spam messages in January 2010, more than double the percentage in January 2009.

The latest Brightmail release employs new techniques designed to detect lower volume attacks, analyzing common characteristics such as word proximity, header information, subject versus body text, source.

ReachLocal Buys SMB:LIVE

ReachLocal, a marketing company for local, online small businesses has announced that it has acquired SMB:LIVE corporation, a developer of digital presence and reputation management solutions for SMBs. With the technology acquired through the SMB:LIVE acquisition, ReachLocal is developing a digital presence and reputation management solution designed to enable an SMB to publish multimedia content from a single interface to a business profile page hosted by ReachLocal.

It will also be able to publish to local directory sites, search engines and social media sites, including Twitter and Facebook. In addition, ReachLocal will provide automated monitoring of local review sites, social media sites, and local blogs for references to the SMB or comments related to the SMB’s business that will provide an SMB with feedback, alerts and analytics to assist it in managing its online reputation.

SMB IT Advocate To Target Fed Contracts

The Federal Government is to appoint a special IT Advocate for SMBs that will give them greater access to Federal IT contracts and to lobby major enterprises and government CIOs to take on more SMB IT companies as suppliers. The announcement was made at this week’s CeBIT in Hanover by Labor ACT senator, Kate Lundy, who said it would be part of Innovation Minister, Senator Kim Carr’s, Supplier Advocates initiatives.

Although small business have been competing for government contracts on a level playing field with big business, Lundy admitted agency CIOs were sometimes hesitant to use their expertise. While business organizations have welcomed the announcement, some SMB organizations are skeptical saying it  will be of little use unless the advocate gets real powers.