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How to Get Buy-In for Your Cause Using Video

by Jessica Seward, Marketing Manager, Salsa Labs

Video is such a core part of the web experience these days – and it can be an extremely powerful tool to persuade supporters to care about an issue or cause. Video gets attention, even though we’re in an attention-drought, so to speak, video draws people in. Take, for example, the Kony 2012 video, perhaps the most viewed cause-related videos of all time.

Here are some facts about how effective video can be when incorporated into your outreach efforts:

  • The word “video” in subject lines increases open rates up to 13% (Experian)
  • Click-through rates for emails containing video are 2-3 times higher on average
  • Including video in an introductory email reduces the number of opt-outs by 75% (Eloqua)

As you can see, video plays a big part in the wider engagement life cycle driving greater buy-in for your cause. Here are some tips for using video to educate, engage, increase supporter response demonstrate your value and drive action:

  • Don’t expect one video to do everything. Plan your video strategy out as part of your wider engagement strategy.
  • Use video to show supporters their return on engagement. You are probably asking followers to sign a petition or join a rally, but what about the outcomes? Use constituent testimonials or staff-produced videos from the field to show how your supporter’s actions have made a difference – it will make them a lot more likely to act again and much less likely to opt-out.
  • Create “explainer” videos. If you deal with complicated data, laws, or policies, “explainer” videos are a great way of visualizing and deconstructing complex issues in simple ways. Motion graphics and basic animation are a great way of doing this.
  • Integrate video into your emails. Follow best practices when doing this, for example, don’t over-crowd the email; make it all about the video. Mimic click-to-play functions (that will take people to a landing page) and put the word “video” in your subject line to increase open rates.
  • Create an action page. Bring people from your email to an action page that’s centered on that video (don’t send them to YouTube) and strip out any distractions (web buttons, copy, etc.). Make it easy for folks to take action – sign a petition or make a donation from that page.
  • Create a hook. Don’t assume that just because someone clicks on your video that you’ve got their attention – over 20% of most video viewers click away in the first few seconds. So you need to make a strong impact in the first few moments to hook them into your story. A good way to do this is to get your most surprising, emotional or impactful information across in the first 10 seconds. What’s your shock factor? It could be a statistic or a fact that disrupts a way of thinking. Here’s a great example from the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
  • Tell a story. First, keep it simple – this is the #1 problem organizations have when they make videos simply because they aren’t making videos that often so they try and cram it all in one video. Instead, focus on one story, one action. Go online and look at how other nonprofits are doing it, how do they make it simple (check out www.dailydogooder.com for ideas). Second, make it personal. Go behind the curtain of your organization, drop the brand voice and connect with people (here’s a great example from Charity Water).
  • Call viewers to an action. It’s not always immediately obvious as to what you want people to do so it’s important to be specific – tell people exactly what you want them to do and visually show them the action (make it one thing only at this point – “like us on Facebook” or “sign our petition”). Communicate urgency and value – “every signature counts”, “make a difference now”. Add a donation button or sign-up button in your video as an annotation – a much under-used tool that you can add to your YouTube video.

For more specific tactics, tools and examples of videos from large and small nonprofits alike check out this video: How to Get Buy-in for Your Cause Through Video.

Topics: Marketing