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Have Nonprofit Videos? Use Them to Increase Email Click-Through Rates


By Terri Harel

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Have you checked your email today? How about in the past hour? Are you switching back and forth between this blog and your email inbox?

Email is now a vital part of our personal and professional lives. In fact 9 in 10 people check their email daily. The good news is most nonprofits already know the importance of communicating through email. The bad news is so does everyone else. Taking a cue from the words of Kanye West:

What am I supposed to do now?

Man the game all messed up

How I’m supposed to stand out when everybody get dressed up?

Kanye West

Read My Email

The average email subscriber gets around 416 emails per month. The key to getting your supporters’ attention may be to send them an email they don’t have to read. There’s compelling evidence that videos in your emails increase your engagement. We’ve compiled some tips on how to send emails people love to watch, not read.

Why Video?

Emails with Videos Get Opened

A video hosting and analytics start up called Wistia found that their emails that included videos had a 300% click-through increase over their emails without video. In another case, a software company found that people spent 100% more time on their site when they posted a video.

Videos Get Shared

Of course when you send your email list nonprofit videos, you want people to watch it, but it’s even better if they invite others to watch it too. Visual content, generally, gets more shares than text. On Facebook for example, some research has found that videos get shared 12 times as often as links and text. Wistia also observed that shares on Twitter after an email delivery containing a video was 4 times higher than when the email didn’t contain a video. So not only do videos seem to catch the recipient’s attention, but your audience will multiply if your subscribers share your email or video.

nonprofit videos stats

A Window to Your Cause

Including nonprofit videos in your emails offers subscribers a different way to observe and appreciate your cause and the people behind it. Although writing out an impact story from your cause can certainly be effective in engaging and motivating donors, there is nothing quite like watching and listening to someone tell their own story. The Robin Hood, an organization fighting poverty in New York, is using video to allow site visitors to meet the people they are helping.

nonprofit videos

Tips for Including Nonprofit Videos in Your Emails

Keep it Short & Sweet

Although nonprofit videos can result in increased engagement, they fall prey to one of the same problems faced by written content: partial viewing. Wistia finds that as videos got longer, the percent the viewers watch, on average, decreases. They suggest keeping your videos under 2 minutes. Remember, you’re not sending a feature-length documentary, but just a short message to make a more personal connection with supporters.
nonprofit videos wistia analytics

Show Them the Next Step

Videos are not a guarantee, but rather a tool, to help you achieve your goal of securing donations and support from subscribers. After watching your video, your audience needs to know what they can do to help, so don’t forget to add calls to action in your email and even embedded in the video. If you can, choose a CTA that relates to the message in the video. If your video is about your organization’s efforts to vaccinate against Polio, include a CTA asking them to donate an amount that provides five children with the life-saving vaccine. The video can get the viewer’s attention but a CTA can lead them to take action.

Use What You Have

Another great aspect of including videos in your emails is that it allows you to repurpose any videos you already have. While you certainly want to keep donors up-to-date on your activities, videos your organization has made in the past can spice up your emails, as long as the message and information is still relevant.

You can also use videos to catalyze supporters at different stages of the donor lifecycle. When you first make contact with a potential donor, you can send a video explaining what your programs do. After they make their first donation, send an impact video that shows how their gift helps your program’s constituents. Alternatively, try a simple “thank you” message.

Movies Are Still Magic

More than a century after its invention, moving pictures have expanded into one of our primary ways of communication. We spend hours watching TV, perusing YouTube, going to the movies, and recording important moments on Vine and Instagram. And even though more people than ever have access to view and create videos, they still attract our attention. Well-written appeals certainly haven’t gone out of style, so definitely don’t forget about them. But adding a video to your emails can get your message noticed and set viewers on the path towards action.

Beginner's Guide to Email Appeals

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