David Simpson, the chairman of GoldMail, called a few weeks ago asking me to check out his new service.  Like most bloggers with more than 10 subscribers, I get a lot of requests like this, most of which I ignore. But this, my nonprofit friends, is one cool tool that I think a lot of you could use to do some amazing marketing.

GoldMail calls itself “voice over visual messaging” – sort of a combination of voicemail and email. It allows you to record your voice over a series of slides that you create within GoldMail using whatever you have available – photos, screenshots, PowerPoint slides, PDFs, etc. You end up with a nice multimedia message that you can link to in an email or embed in your website or blog. You typically need software like Camtasia Studio or PowerPoint plugins like PointeCast, which are much more expensive and have fairly steep learning curves, to produce something like this.

GoldMail lets you create a simple but effective version of the same thing, without requiring a lot of time, money, or technical know-how. After watching a few quick how-to’s, you can create a message in minutes. And it’s only $9.99 per month. It’s perfect for quick, on-the-fly messages, but can also be used for more polished presentations too. You can record up to 10 minutes, but the most effective uses will be much shorter than that, I think.

I used GoldMail today to create a 3-minute tour of the Nonprofit Marketing Guide All-Access Pass. I’ve embedded the file below and I’ll also be sending out the link to it in an email message to my Nonprofit Marketing Tips subscribers. Hit play to see what GoldMail produces, and to go behind-the-scenes with the All-Access Pass:

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(Don’t see the viewer or want to see a bigger, full-screen version? Click here instead.)

Here are three creative ways your nonprofit could use GoldMail:

1) Personalized Thank-you Message. Grab a few photos (or even just one really good one!) that show the results that your donor helped bring about. Record a one-minute thank-you message over those slides, using the donor’s name and referring to their gift specifically, and then email the link  to them. “Jack, I wanted you to see for yourself what your $200 has made possible . . . take a look at these photos . . . . isn’t this wonderful? Thank you so much, Jack, for making such a difference . . . ”  You can also add in pre-recorded sounds, like your clients saying thank-you in their own voices.

2) Weekly Updates to Members, Boards, Committees, Etc. Do you have a core group of people who need regular updates on your activities? Record a weekly GoldMail message for them with the week’s highlights. It’s show and tell!

3) Event Invitations. Spice up your invitation by talking about all the great things you have planned for this year over fun photos from last year’s event.

I hear some of you asking, but isn’t video so much better? Probably. But video is waaaaay harder to pull off than this. This is easy. And yes, I have Camtasia Studio, and I’ve still put off making the “All-Access Pass Tour” above for months, because there are just too many settings in Camtasia to deal with. For me, too many options is just as bad as too few. I’ll say it again: this was easy.

Two quick tips from my experience today:

– Get your slides in the right order and practice a few times before you actually record. The ability to edit your audio recording is pretty limited and if you decide to move slides around, you have to start the audio recording over from scratch. Make sure you have all the slides you want, and you have them in the right order, before you record the audio.

Turn up your microphone volume within your control panel. Even though I do webinars all the time with my headset and the audio is just fine, it was way too low on my first GoldMail recordings. Crank it up a bit on your computer before you record.

David Simpson says the San Franciso Zoo used GoldMail to create a message about new zoo babies and the email to donors with the GoldMail message outperformed the standard email message by 650%. You can’t argue with those kinds of results. David is interested in exploring how other nonprofits can use GoldMail. How might you use this kind of service? Leave a comment with your ideas.

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