Explainer Videos

How to Craft the Perfect Call to Action

Claude Harrington 12.14.2015

Since the majority of content in an explainer video is dedicated, of course, to explaining things, it can be easy to forget the overarching objective of your video: the call to action (CTA). This is the behavior that, after watching your explainer, you’d like for the viewer to take. And although the CTA usually only makes up a small percentage of the time in your video (and generally comes at the very end), the success of a call to action can make or break your explainer video.

So let’s take a look at some tips that’ll help you craft the perfect call to action:

1. The Goldilocks Principle: If what you’re asking for is too much, then viewers may ignore your request. But if what you’re asking for is too little, then it may not help your video marketing strategy all that much. So it’s important that the CTA in your explainer video feel just right. We’ll touch more on how this can be accomplished structurally in the points below, but as for the action itself here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Free is good. Try not to suggest an action that will immediately cost money. Instead, try to nudge prospects through your sales funnel through the context that video has carefully designed. In short: don’t try to sell the car just yet; focus for now on selling the test drive.
  • Don’t Ask for Much Time. Not only is time inherently valuable, but remember that this viewer has just invested some time in watching your explainer video. Be respectful of that fact (and make sure they know that they know this).
  • Err on the Side of “Too Little.” Although “just right” is the ideal goal, if there are any concerns about the nature of your CTA it’s best to err on conservative. It’s better to inspire some action than no action at all. And this will at least keep your prospect in the mix (perhaps even inspire them to take additional steps on their own), instead of potentially losing them for good.

2. Be Clear, Conciser and then Clear Again: Regardless of what you select as the appropriate call to action, make sure that this message is conveyed as clearly and concisely as possible. Not only should there be no vagueness here about the next step to take, the words themselves ought to be as clean and straightforward as possible.

This is not the time for florid prose, but rather the time to be professional, specific and subtly engaging. By the time the video ends, the viewer must know exactly what the CTA is (and how to accomplish this with ease).

3. Don’t Be A Credit Sequence: At the end of every movie, there is a credit sequence. We all know that this is important–these are the names of everyone who made the movie exist!–but rarely do we stick around and read off the list of names. It’s not because we don’t care about the people involved, but more so a function of the story being over.

So when crafting your call to action, it’s important to try and implement in such a way so that it doesn’t simply feel tacked on and ignorable. We want our CTA to feel less like a credit sequence and more like the climax of your story; but a climax that can now actively benefit the viewer. To accomplish this, here are a couple things to keep in mind:

  • The Importance of Segue: Try to deploy your call to action seamlessly, so it feels like it’s a natural extrapolation of the story. Or, if that not, then consider a transition that speaks to what’s just come before. Segues like: “Therefore,” “That’s Why” or “As A Result.”
  • Stay Animated: The segue should be subtle, but what your animation need not be. In fact, it can be very helpful if your call to action is aided by images that add to the narrative.

4. Hidden in Plain Sight (aka: Build Your Case Throughout the Explainer Video): By the time you deploy the call to action, you want your viewer to already be armed with a handful of reasons about why this is the right next step to take. Of course I should sign up for a free trial, because it’ll help me accomplish X and Y. And if I don’t do it now, then I risk the possibility of Z. Building your case throughout the explainer video not only puts viewers in a position to embrace your call to action, but it also equips them with a uniquely constructed context that will shape how the steps ahead are processed.

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