As I mentioned in my last post on humanizing your explainer videos, one of the last (and most important) steps to include in any video is the call to action. This is where you close the deal, so to speak, and prompt your viewer to actually do something. It’s the virtual handshake with the viewer, if you will. If they’ve watched your video to completion, they’ve demonstrated clear interest (or they would have bounced ten seconds into the video). So now, you need to prompt “the ask” or call to action.

A call to action or CTA is the action you want a viewer to take after watching your video. The goal of the CTA is ultimately to have a site visitors give you contact information or convert to a marketing qualified lead by engaging with more of your content – driving up their lead score.

So what kind of CTA Should You Use?

If a viewer is watching your video on YouTube, the ask is simple. Simply include a customized link to a landing page on your website that is dedicated to getting that viewer the supplemental information they are looking for and, consequentially, into your sales process. The main goal with YouTube is to get the viewer to your website. There are way too many shiny things and cat videos to distract audiences on YouTube, so get them to your playground where you control the experience and the flow of content they consume.

Once you get your audience to your website, or if they came to your website to begin with, great! They have already expressed interest in what you do! Please don’t blow a perfectly good opportunity by telling them at the end of your video to “visit your website for more information.” That is a waste of a potential next step you could ask them to take and, frankly, it’s stupid. They’re already on your website; give them the next step, don’t make them go find it on your website.

Here’s an example of a video my company animated for HCRI:

As you can tell, HCRI is unique in that they only specialize in recruiting for the healthcare industries, so the explainer video itself focused on differentiating them from generalist recruiters. Once we illustrated (pun intended) how they were different, we wanted to make sure we closed with asking the viewer to fill out the form. The video was on a custom landing page with a contact form directly to the right of the video.

Health Care Recruiters' CTA form

So it was clear what the viewer’s next step was. If you were someone in HR for a company that regularly needed healthcare talent, you’d likely already be filling out the form knowing the difficulties you’ve probably had dealing with sourcing the right talent.

So this was one example of a landing page which makes the call to action and next step as simple as possible for the viewer. Of course, the call to action is different for every company based on their sales process, product or service and a multitude of other factors. So you have to choose the right call to action based on your audience and what you’re asking of them. With video player technology you can now include pop-out calls to action, or embed contact forms directly in the end of your video that push contact information into your marketing automation platform.

You’ll want to get creative too. Your CTA doesn’t have to be a benign “Call us or email for more information”. While that may work for some, it may also be too generic for others. Here are a few more creative ideas to consider:

  • Ask a question – then invite viewers to “join the conversation” with your brand’s social channels or a dedicated hashtag.
  • Enter to win – As simple as it is, a structured giveaway on a dedicated landing page of your website or on a social channel is an easy way to generate response and interaction with your brand.
  • Bring out the vote! – Ask viewers to vote on something they care about in a simple poll on your website.
  • Free trial – Do you offer a subscription based service? Let the viewer have a free trial to take your service for a test drive.
  • Sign up for a webinar – If you frequently give webinars to highlight key features of your product or service, asking a viewer to sign up for the next webinar is a great CTA to include at the end of your video.
  • Fill out a short form – This is very direct and I know we already covered it in the HCRI example, but if the person is interested they will. Restrict the number of form fields to only those that matter so people won’t neglect the form for fear of a lengthy process.
  • Watch another video – After the viewer watches your short overview video, invite them to take a deeper dive with more directed snackable content about your product or service. What can this be? Well maybe there are different versions of what you do? Maybe there are specific technical aspects which would be interesting to the IT guy who uses the product, but not to the CEO who just wants to know it works? Drive folks through the buying process with strategic videos lined up in a content journey.

These are just a few call to action examples to get you started, but ultimately you will need to develop and test a simple step that is practical, yet relative to your business.

Ultimately the most important thing to remember is your customers are people. Unless you make dog food, but people still need to buy the dog food for dogs. If people are searching for you they just want to know that what you do is going to help them. If it does, make it as easy as possible for them to either learn more or take the next step. The CTA is your virtual handshake with them to say hello.

Do you have examples of good video CTAs or video landing pages you’d like to share? You can see more real examples in this post.

Eric Guerin