I made a client feel stupid last week. I didn’t mean to, and I was mortified when it happened. I asked the client, a highly intelligent scientist, what she thought the main Call To Action should be on a particular section of her organization’s website. She looked at me blankly, and asked me to explain what ‘Call To Action’ meant.
It’s a good question, and one that people are sometimes too afraid to ask for fear that they’ll look stupid. (And for the record – I’m the stupid one for assuming everyone knows marketing jargon.)
So what is a Call To Action or CTA? A Call To Action is whatever you want your audience to do next.
On a billboard it might be the phone number for more information. On a website, it might be a button to add something to a shopping cart. On a video… well that’s the interesting part.
Marketing people are used to the idea of CTAs on print advertising and websites, but a surprising amount of promotional video content still doesn’t feature a clear CTA. It’s almost as though the beautiful aesthetic and storytelling power of film makes people forget what its purpose is.
Video content, like any marketing content, must always have a purpose – and that purpose is to persuade someone to do something.
Examples of video CTAs:
- Share / leave a comment / upvote this video
- Watch a related video
- Go to the website
- Sign up for a free trial
- Sign up to the mailing list
To work, a CTA must be the right kind of message, and it has to be timed right too. You need people to be interested, invested and ready to take that next step.
If you advertise on social media, you may have noticed that Facebook are making it easier than ever to include a CTA – they allow you to add a link that people can click once they’ve watched your video.
A Call To Action is an essential component of a marketing video. The very first conversation you have when you’re planning the video should be what you want people to do as a consequence of seeing it. Without a Call To Action, your video has done the equivalent of inviting people into a shop full of beautiful things, and then not providing any cash registers so they can’t actually buy anything.
Want to know more about CTAs? Click through to this blog post for examples of videos with great CTAs. (And yes, that was a CTA!)