Increasing Donations Using Video & E-Mail Marketing


How Stanford University increased alumni donations.

Seeing how I’ve already talked about how integrating video in your email marketing can increase your click throughs by 175% I thought I’d profile another success story I read about online. Much of the information on this is exerpted from a great blog post by Tyler Willis for MediaPost called “When Juggernauts Collide: Email Marketing Meets Video Marketing” Here are the highlights of what I found most interesting from his post.

“Recent grads are far more likely to give a valid email address than a number (93% of the captive population vs. 38%), meaning that email marketing gives Stanford a better and more widespread ability to connect.”

Snail mail and “dialing-for-dollars” are incredibly inefficient ways to connect with new grads. Namely because direct mail is assumed to be junk mail by most recipients and you only get a response of about 2% (if you are lucky). Phone calling on the other hand is incredibly interruptive, who knows what the end user was doing or what you interrupted them from doing. Email is passive and can be opened or read when the end user is ready to read or respond to it.

Scott Jahnke, the Director of Student and Young Alumni Development, explains why he chose to combine email AND video as part of Stanford’s new alumni drive “Technology gives us the ability to do so much more than just text. How then, can we most effectively tell our story to thousands of people and inspire them to give? I believe that a combination of using email AND video to answer our three questions (why are we asking you for a gift, what is going to change if you give, and how will our organization make that change happen) is the so-called ‘secret sauce.”

“At Stanford, the Young Alumni office produced several inspiring videos of students who had directly benefited from alumni contributions and attached a clear call-to-action to the end of each video, delivered via a Flash overlay that asked viewers to donate.”

This was key, by providing this call to action they were able to easily and effectively drive their alumni to take the steps they wanted them to take. Without a call-to-action, online video doesn’t effectively do it’s job.

“Calling out these videos, and providing a direct link to them in four out of five emails sent during Stanford’s fall campaign, helped increase gifts by 23% over the previous year’s fall campaign.”

This is a great first result and if they continue to refine their approach will probably become even more efficient. Couple this with the fact that they probably dramatically reduced their printing and postage costs from their direct mail campaign and/or their costs if they hired current students to do the telemarketing as part of a work study program. How does that affect their operational costs? Does it make their alumni gifts go longer.

If one of the most respected universities in the United States was able to buck the old trend of typical alumni gift campaigns and get these kind of outstanding results, what could combining the online marketing super powers of email marketing and online video do for your business or non-profit?



Buzzworthy Wednesday Video: "I See" MoMA


While not the top viewed video of the week or anywhere near it, this was a masterfully created short video by the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York that draws connections between artistic motivations and our everyday lives. It was by far the most creative and engaging marketing video I had seen all week. This is the first in a series of short films MoMA has commissioned by director Azazel Jacobs where he takes the museum’s audio tour and links it to the life of the young man viewing it.




Buzzworthy Wednesday Video: Google Chrome "You & Your Browser"


Google recently invited people to create short videos about their Google Chrome web browser, and Chrome Shorts features a collection of short films about the browser. Here was my favorite of the bunch which has just under 300,000 views since being uploaded 3 weeks ago.

However you would have thought with the media push Google has put on promoting Chrome that they could have pushed at least one of the eleven videos they created over a million views by now. They have been plugging the browser on their front page and running television ads and let’s not forget the fact that they OWN YouTube. Should they have staggered the release of the videos? Embedded the videos on the Chrome landing page? Just goes to show that even the company that owns YouTube can’t force a video to go viral.




Buzzworthy Wednesday: Samsung HD Camera Trick


This was a clever video which utilizes YouTube’s HD settings. The video is a setup using a camera trick all plugging the new Samsung I8910 HD phone which shoots video in full high definition quality. It was shot in one take, no editing and with no computer effects. It’s received over 800,000 views since it’s upload a little over a month ago. Can you figure out how they shot this? They leave a number of clues along the way…I noticed a couple. If you want to know the answer they have a making of the video “Camera Trick Revealed” showing all the clues and the answer to how they shot the camera trick.




Buzzworthy Wednesday Video: Phillips "Carousel"


Once again this week there weren’t any big commercial winners in views of short form video. Could it be because of a “Susan Boyle Effect” because her video had over 64 million views just last week so people are browsing less elsewhere? One of the real standouts this week is a video called “Carousel” directed by Adam Berg.

While there is no mention of the product in the video itself, the description promotes Philips latest entrant into the television market which displays in the same 21:9 ratio frame cinema proportion television, so no more black bars. This clever video was conceived to work as an endless loop.