Video is a game-changer when it comes to marketing your nonprofit.

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Including video in a landing page increases conversion rates by 80% (Source: Hyperfine Media). If that statistic doesn’t make you sit up and take notice maybe this one will: Simply using the word “video” in an email subject line DOUBLES open rates (Source: Experian Digital Marketing Report).

We’re seeing more and more organizations – from giant nonprofits to small, local ministries – respond by creating brilliant, beautiful, and effective video marketing campaigns. In fact, 97% of charities and nonprofits in the U.S. use YouTube as one of their primary marketing channels (Source: University of Massachusetts Darmouth) and, when it comes to using video on their homepages, the nonprofit sector ranks #4 – right behind the software, marketing, and healthcare/medical industries (Source: Crayon). And the videos that they’re creating are startlingly effective.

Save The Children’s video “Most Shocking Second a Day” has over 53 million views and the number is still growing more than two years after it premiered – showing the lingering power of viral video.

The famous (or infamous) ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge” video went SUPER viral with more than 17 million people participating and over 2.5 million people donating to the tune of more than $115,000,000 raised. (The above video is credited as the original in the campaign.)

It has become evident that smart organizations that want to remain competitive and relevant in a digital world can’t afford to ignore video. So, why video and not photography or podcasts? What makes this particular medium so effective? There are several reasons why video works as well as it does. For starters, it’s an intuitive form of visual communication. Humans are just wired to experience the world through our eyes and we’re instinctively drawn to movement. It’s also, in many cases, a faster way to communicate complex messages. This is, in part, because video communicates on multiple levels simultaneously. It uses color, texture, sound, and music to speak to us on informational, relational, cultural, and emotional levels – all within a matter of minutes. When you are able to communicate on so many levels so quickly, you can tell a far deeper story with a more powerful – and lasting – impact than you can with the written word or still images.

A single, 1-minute video = 1.8 million words

 ~ Dr. James McQuivey of Forrester Research

This holds true for informational videos, as well. Studies show that animated explainer videos increase conversion rates by 20% (Unbounce) and, across all industries, organizations using video require 37% fewer site visits on average before a person responds to a call to action (Aberdeen Group and Brightcove).

There is also the very practical side of video marketing. Video is good for SEO. With video consumption accounting for more than ⅓ of all online activity, search engines have a strong incentive to prioritize video content. They are paying attention and adjusting their business models accordingly. Remember, YouTube is owned by Google – that’s how much Google believes in online video.

Video is also extremely easy to share via social media. It’s so easy that your viewers will do it for you if your video is effective. The viral nature of video content on social media, in particular, is astounding.

Enjoyment of video ads increases purchase or spending intent by 97% and brand association by 139%

 (Source: Unruly)

This is in part because video content is easier to engage with on smaller screens than written content. To make text content easily readable on mobile devices, the font size has to be increased. When you increase font size, you can fit fewer words on the screen which leads to significant amounts of scrolling and a less-than-ideal content engagement scenario. Videos, on the other hand, fill the entire screen and require no scrolling – or any manual interaction for that matter. The user can simply sit back and watch.

Mobile and tablet device users have a longer attention span when it comes to video:

  • Desktop Users: 2 Minutes
  • iPhone Users: 2.4 Minutes
  • Android Users: 3 Minutes
  • iPad Users 5 Minutes

Ok, Ok. You get it. Now how do you go about making these powerful videos?

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Video comes in a bunch of different flavors and choosing the right approach is key for ensuring that your video content connects with your audience. Here are a few different kinds of videos that you can create:

Animation and Motion Graphics

Animated videos are powerful ways to engage and entertain audiences while communicating complex messages. They are often used for informational purposes (like explainer videos), presentational purposes (like infographics or announcements), and educational purposes. In fact, animations and motion graphics excel at making complex concepts easier to grasp and fun to watch.

Live Action

Live action videos can be extremely powerful. As humans, we seem to be designed to connect (at least on some level) with other humans. Psychologists tell us that this is why we see the man in the moon and treat our pets like family members. It stands to reason that videos featuring real people in relatable situations would have the potential for significant impact.

Some of the more common types of live action videos are:

Documentary

Documentary videos capture an experience, person, or process in an intimate and unscripted way which allows viewers to draw their own conclusions (to some degree) based on their impressions of the content and the context of their own experiences. This type of video often includes some type of narration or commentary but can also simply use a compelling musical track.

Interview

Interview videos tell a story by capturing conversations with interesting people. These people can be interesting because of what they’ve done or who they are but they can also be compelling simply because they are “real.” Interview videos can include a single person’s conversation or include multiple viewpoints to create a single, central message. They are directed videos but they are not overly scripted.

Expert Presentation

Expert presentation videos focus on a single presenter who is an expert on a specific subject matter. The power of these videos lies in the person who is speaking. They are generally highly scripted and designed to communicate a specific message to a specific audience.

Scripted Story

Story videos are fully scripted and present a narrative – often fictional – that evokes a feeling or communicates a message in an oblique way. Think of them as short films. These videos are easily the most complex to create but, accordingly, are often the most powerful.

Mixed Media

You don’t have to choose between live action or animated video. The two can be combined to great effect… as long as everything has been thought through ahead of time. Mixed media videos take a lot more planning and have a much smaller margin for error. But, with careful planning and skilled execution, this type of video is highly effective.

Convinced? Ready to get started?

Before you break out the cameras and shout “ACTION,” you need to have a plan. We talk about strategy a lot here at AM and video is no exception. A lot of projects fall apart and end up costing a lot more than they should have because not enough time was spent on the front end.

Identify your audience.

If you don’t know who you’re talking to and understand their needs, desires, and pain points, you are wasting your time and money creating a video that won’t hit the mark. Make sure that your message will actually connect with your target audience.

Identify your organizational goals.

Making a cool video isn’t enough to justify the time and expense of video production – it needs to serve your organization’s end goals. Make sure you know what those needs are and that your video plan will help you meet them.

Determine your budget.

Be realistic about what you can spend. More money equals more resources and better production but there’s no point in writing an Oscar-level script or storyboarding an epic masterpiece if you can’t afford to actually produce the video that you’ve planned.

Determine your resources.

Talent is a big part of video and you need to find the right person for your message. This isn’t always your CEO or senior pastor. Sometimes, it’s a volunteer or someone who’s not even associated with your organization. Likewise, it may be best to rent equipment or hire experts for the job rather than rely on the skills of your employees or your in-house cameras.

Once you have your strategy in place, it’s time to actually get your video made. Video production falls into three, distinct phases: Pre-Production, Production, and Post-Production.

Pre-production

Pre-production begins with storyboarding. This will give you a basic idea of how the message will be built and what it will look like. Next, comes script writing. Your script determines the length and flow of your video as well as the language and tone of your message. After the script is in place, you have to cast any actors that you need. This means actors, voiceover artists, motion capture, even hand models – anyone who’s going to be in this video on any level has to be cast and know their role. Last, but not least, are the logistics. Equipment rental, location scouting, preparing and printing release forms, securing transportation, etc. Logistics are key to smooth production.

Production

The production phase is often more than just shooting video. It also includes recording any voiceover parts, musical tracks, foley sound (like footsteps or creaky seats), and special effects. Any graphics or animations that need to be created are also part of the production process.

Post-production

Post-production is where the most work usually happens. This is when everything comes together into a coherent whole. The first step is gathering all of the assets that have been created for the video and sorting through everything. Some footage will need to be discarded and some flagged as awesome. Some audio will be usable and some will need to be flagged to be overdubbed. Then comes the rough cut – often the most exciting part of the whole process. This is where the video takes shape. Footage is chosen and scenes are laid out to make a coherent whole. After that comes the grueling work of full post-production: creating transitions, adjusting light levels and white balance, color correction, mixing and mastering audio, adding creative filters if needed, and – of course – mastering the video as a whole so that everything feels coherent. Once the video is mastered, it has to be finalized, rendered, and encoded into usable video formats.

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Video in email leads to a 200-300% increase in click-through rates

(Source: hyperfine media)

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Including a video on your homepage can increase conversion rates by 20% or more

(Source: ReelSEO)

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Including video content in an introductory email decreases opt-outs by 75%

(Source: Eloqua)

There is a whole lot of work that goes into creating a beautiful and effective video, and once you’ve got your shiny new video in hand, you still have to USE it. It needs to be integrated into your overall marketing strategy and get distributed across all of your online platforms and communication channels!

Luckily, you don’t have to do this alone. AM can help you create videos and video campaigns that will speak to your audience and increase the conversions that fuel your mission (see some of our videos). We have the equipment, skills, experience, and expertise to help with every step of the process. We love to tell our clients’ stories and make them look as good as we know they are.

Let’s talk about what video can do for your ministry or nonprofit. Contact us today.

Give us a call today at (817) 503-8870