How Video Drives E-mail and E-mail Drives Social

In this third installation of my reality series examining the Email Experience Council‘s pro-bono efforts supporting the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation‘s great work.

When we last left the eec, its team members were working on a plan to leverage e-mail to drive three initiatives for the foundation: branding efforts, donor strategies, and optimize communication with supporters. After a series of fun meetings where we debated all sorts of unique approaches, two key elements rose to the top.

First, we realized that a video made for a fundraiser this summer could be leveraged as a powerful way to get the foundation’s message across and engage its audience for all three initiatives. You can watch the video here.

Second, participants in each initiative were hoping that anyone who saw the video would share it with friends, family, and co-workers, either by word of mouth or other viral efforts.

At this point in our conversations we determined video actually could work in e-mail, just in a different way than we expected. How so? Many of us have tried video inside e-mail in the past with poor results or technical limitations. Now, we figured the video could work an entirely different way. E-mails could drive viewers to the posted content. Then, people could e-mail the link or video to friends. This was exciting.

Regardless of the social network involved, e-mail is the vehicle to connect people to the video — driving buzz and generating interest in other media channels.

Are we crazy? Maybe, but we think this image, courtesy of Media Contacts, helps illustrate our point. It shows that the top social networking sites are in fact all connected. Messages quickly spread from one to the others. Yet, there are only two ways to initiate social networking activity: through an original idea (which occurs 15 percent of the time or less) or comments made in response to information, such as a news, shared in an e-mail.

Better yet, research has shown that while text-based shared content is interesting, video content has a higher chance of being viewed for a longer period of time.

Who knew that social networking and video would become such a key part of our e-mail strategy? Does this mean that the most effective e-mail strategists need to know much more than e-mail? Could this be a new opportunity for us to tackle integration? Find out in fourth installment of this series as we continue our coverage and share lessons learned about creative and e-mail driven blogs.

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