Video is the Next Big Thing

iStock_91505305_XLARGE.jpgOne of the key principles of marketing is being where your supporters and prospects are. That means having a memorable presence in the mailbox, inbox, on social media platforms, on the web, on television and radio, and in print, to name a few. A valuable, but often overlooked, tool for creating a memorable presence is video. Video combines many of the key ingredients for marketing success:

  • Overcomes attention span challenges: The human attention span continues to decrease in this mobile phone age and according to a recent study by Microsoft, is now estimated at a mere 8 seconds. With just 8 seconds to impress, video combines a known marketing winner – images – and basic human instinct – the reaction of looking toward movement. Plus, the brain processes images more quickly than words.
  • Creates an emotional response: Videos tell a story in a simpler, more direct way than words. One need only consider the effectiveness of the 30-second Amazon Prime spot, blanketing the networks now, referred to as the “Lion Dog.” It involves no dialogue, just music with lyrics, visual references to a mobile app and a 30-day free trial of Amazon Prime. The commercial is the subject of many articles, posts and watercooler discussions because of the impact it has on our emotions.
  • Stands out in the crowd: Successful nonprofits differentiate themselves not just in the missions they undertake but also in how they brand and market themselves. While not a new medium, video is new to many small and medium-size nonprofits. So, adventuresome organizations have a chance to truly stand out from all the rest.

It isn’t necessary to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce an effective video. Sometimes rough footage is better than overproduced efforts. What is necessary is adherence to these 7 basic principles:

  1. Storyboard — Plan and script before you shoot. The single most important reason to use video is its ability to convey your message. Lock down that message before you press the red record button. And don’t forget the power of the backdrop as a messaging tool. Choose your location carefully.
  2. Make People Your Central Focus — While Amazon is promoting its Prime platform in the “Lion Dog” commercial, it does so by using a mom, a dad, a baby and a dog – not statistics on order fulfillment, items sold, delivery time, etc. Telling your story using relatable people makes your messaging far more compelling.
  3. Focus on Faces — Facial expressions convey myriad emotions and make characters relatable. Plus, first-person testimonials are very effective. When filming, try to assure the speaker is looking toward viewers (the camera) and making eye contact.
  4. Use Captions — Beyond reinforcing messaging, captions overcome the challenges social media, especially Facebook, present. We all scroll through our news feed and frequently stop to watch a video without ever engaging the sound. Captions allow your message to come through even when the spoken words do not.
  5. Keep It Short and Sweet — Remembering the 8-second human attention span, it is far better to have a captivating video that runs 60 to 90 seconds than a 5-minute piece that loses viewer interest early on. Video length should guide placements and usages. Longer videos belong on YouTube, while shorter clips are great for social media and emails.
  6. Include a Call to ActionIt does little good to keep all the preceding factors in mind and make supporters and prospects take up your cause, but never tell them how they can help. If you are fundraising, tell viewers how to contribute. If promoting membership, tell them how and where they can join. At a minimum, direct them to your website for more information about your organization.
  7. Promote Your Video — It is up to you to let people know about this wonderful video your organization has produced. Social media are ideal for this purpose. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more. Use emails with a short clip to entice recipients to watch the full version on your website. Texts and SMS updates are ideal ways to send out links to your video as well.

You don’t need direction by Alfred Hitchcock to create a video that promotes your organization successfully. If you keep the points we’ve discussed in mind, your video will increase traffic to your website and help your organization meet its fundraising and membership goals.

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