I’m seeing more and more great content out there which ends on a blank screen and that’s really what has compelled me to write this small piece. I understand that many brands simply measure direct response in sales generated and therefore if the call to action (CTA) does not involve “buy now”, they don’t consider it a CTA. But the reality is, the way communities engage with your brand, and ultimately buy from your brand, is changing. So we need to take a deeper look at the CTA’s we are, and aren’t using in many cases.
In general, online video content has been looked at as superfluous, something “nice” which you’ll add to your marketing mix, but for it to really move the needle on your income streams or bottom line, you have to see how video fits into your sales cycle and how it can help move the customer along the buying journey. We all have to sit in front of the board at the end of the year and explain what return our marketing brought to the business, so if we don’t understand how video content fits into the sales cycle, or more importantly, how to use the right call to actions in our video content, it simply doesn’t make sense.
See millennials- who this year became the biggest spending power in the world incidentally- don’t want you to force them into a corner on the first interaction. The way they buy is completely different compared to their predecessors. Given this reality, our marketing and calls to action must interact with them in a new way. So the CTA isn’t driving an immediate sale in many cases, but rather building a long term relationship and therefore a pipeline of new and return customers.
Millennials want to be a part of your brand because of what it says about them and their lifestyle choices and they do this through investing the brand emotionally. This is especially prevalent across all product classes which are above a “necessity” price point, i.e. any product which could not be placed in the “impulse buy” section at the supermarket. The case of Apple versus Samsung shows this story perfectly. Both products are above the necessity price point, but they both have extremely loyal customer bases which have their own reasons for using the devices, none of which typically revolve around the quality of the device. If it was, everyone would be able to tell me exactly what processor the Samsung uses and which processor the Apple uses. Examining this at a fundamental level, people who buy Apple products care about how sleek and how cool the iPhone is. Whereas Samsung users typically care more about being better than the Apple product. (Notice I said, better than the Apple product, not the best on the market because they certainly aren’t). Neither of these stories are based around the quality of the product really. Both brands have created emotional stories around different feelings. This isn’t different to previous generations, but what’s different is that for the first time you’re seeing people committed to their chosen brands over and beyond any level of rationalism. Being part of the community or the tribe as Seth Godin says, is more important nowadays than anything else.
Many brands have noticed that this is the way Millenials buy, and have already shifted their communications to video content because it is the most effective way of creating these compelling stories. But what many brands have missed is the way to change the calls to actions to suit.
So how do we create emotional equity in our brands? Small repeated actions. Start trying to get smaller but more consistent calls to action which don’t demand so much from the user, but serves the purpose of getting them more exposure to your brand. Think about using other creative CTA’s like “Subscribe Now”, or “Watch More” content at very least as it ensures the client has taken an active step to hear more from you, it’s almost like getting their permission. If you have a web series, it’s important that you ask them to watch the next episode, or to sign up so they can be notified of the release of the next episode. Not enough thought goes into this right now, and yet it’s extremely important. These micro interactions which are seemingly meaningless, build up emotional equity in your brand which will lead to not just a one time customer, but a customer for life. Plus, no one likes to be proposed to on the first date.
As long as you continue to put out relevant content, adding the right call to action will prove to be fruitful. Once you get used to doing this, then we can start tying this to long term KPI’s and be able to track the way a consumer interacts with you before a purchase. This no only increases lifetime values but also reduces churn rates.
This will cause a bit of friction for many brands who are used to simply measuring direct response by the number of sales generated. But as we move into the content era, and the way consumers buy products for the next 50- 70 years change, so will our KPIs and measurements of what makes a successful campaign.
Have a look back through your current content and see if there are opportunities to get the viewer to take any action at all or how you could re-purpose content you have to support some long term sales objectives.
If you have any video content right now which you think urgently needs a call to action, and you have any questions, just call me and I’ll be happy to give you some free advice on it. (See my CTA? No but seriously, if you need help let me know, all the responses come right to my personal inbox)