lexus call to action

Does your call to action make sense?

Every piece of content has a purpose, something you want your users to do. What makes them take the bait?  How do you get them to click on that buy, subscribe or share button? Do you have a call to action? Does it make any sense to your reader?

Sometimes it’s as simple as asking them to do so. Whilst every single communication doesn’t need to drive a sale, it needs to play it’s part in moving your customer through their journey. Even if that’s just keeping them happy & building evangelists.

A well placed call to action (CTA) will guide your customers through your content, and make it easy for them to buy. It also gives your content a specific purpose –making it easier for you to create, and makes it easy to measure. Did your prospective customer read this and then click-through, or just leave? Once you’ve got purpose, you’ll know what content is actually working for you.

Why is your customer here?

Take a quick look at your blog posts, the email’s you’re sending, and any physical collateral you’re sharing. Where does that content fit in your customers journey? What’s the best possible outcome for the customer at that stage? Does your content have a CTA asking the customer to take that step?

Pick any page on your site and check it against this simple framework:

Option 1 Option 2
Blog Post / Email Title
Customer Stage Discovery Consideration
Objective/Purpose of the content Demonstrate thought leadership & attract new subscribers Share best practices for existing readers & promote online content purchase
Best Possible Outcome Reader enters details and subscribes for future content Reader buys downloadable content
CTA for the page Highly visible “subscribe” box at the bottom of post Link to landing page (with tracking code so we can drip follow-up emails)

Importantly your CTA’s should be concise and convey purpose, which means generic buttons like “Click here” are a strict no-no. Take a look at the title of your page, and the objective of the post again. If you are writing about fast cars, and wanted someone to download a car-speed-cheat-sheet, the best possible CTA would include something about fast cars!

It’s why your reader came to the page, your CTA needs to deliver on your promise.

Video content in production

Why video content marketing is the new black

I was woken up by my 6 year old this morning, he was dressed, ready and waiting to record a video – the unboxing and setup of a new lego set. He did the whole thing perfectly in the first take, and I’m pretty sure I was still asleep whilst recording him – he just needed someone to operate the camera. His end of year kindergarten presentation was a series of videos. They hadn’t learning about video production best practices, but they certainly were learning that creating videos is straight forward, and becoming familiar with being in front of a camera.

Primary schools are taking things a step further and seem to be quickly bridging the gap between amateur & semi-professional video. When I visited St Joseph’s International School, the school’s recruitment/introduction video is a primary school production, that’s quite frankly, excellent.  They’ve got a complete studio setup (which they were keen to show the parents and to talk lots about) and they run classes that teach students about video production.

When you combine what kids are getting through formal education along with exposure to child actors on YouTube, it’s hardly surprising that 6 year olds are interested in making their own videos. To me it’s a clear indicator that the new medium of choice is going to be video.

Today most adults don’t have the patience to read a quick start guide (TLDR anyone?), do we really expect the next generation to want to read large bodies of text? Though it may sound worrying to many, I actually believe that it’s a good trend. One that’s going to change the way we deliver information and massively change the way marketers produce video. So what should you be doing differently?

Focus on Information (not bling)

The end-user expectation of high quality video productions will soften considerably. Video content is already expected to have a high quality (and density) of information. The focus is on being more informative, and less promotional.

Video is a key resource consumers use to understand new products & ideas, and learn new concepts. That doesn’t mean it has to be boring & dry, it can be funny & clever, if you’re lucky it might even go viral. Don’t plan on something going viral though. There’s plenty of theories but no one really knows what creates the viral video effect. Focus on delivering your information, if you’re funny and clever at the same time – bonus brownie points for you.

Think about the funnel

Like every piece of collateral, every video has a place inside the traditional sales funnel (awareness, consideration, etc.). Clearly define/understand where your content sits, and produce it to match the necessary funnel segment. Think about the ‘Disney Princess’, their franchises are designed for very specific audiences, and they create tightly relevant content for their audience, similarly your videos should be carefully positioned. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, and don’t assume that one video can cover the whole funnel. Yes the funnel has changed (think about ZMOT), but even in the new funnel paradigms, consumers journeys still effectively have a start and an end.


Be consistent, one video isn’t enough

No video is a silver bullet. Even the best, most viral video isn’t enough. Anyone remember this guy? You need to be consistently producing content. The key is in the word ‘consistency’. Don’t treat video as a one time effort, or as a singular campaign piece. Brainstorm all the different types of content you could produce, and think of innovative ways of generating that (don’t dismiss UGC). Over a period of time you’ll have lots of relevant content that’ll help your audience make the right decision.

 Don’t count on creating a video that goes viral overnight on your first attempt – there are no silver bullets or magic formula,” said OpenView’s Maksymiw. “Get your team together and brainstorm a bunch of ideas.”

Experiment with production grades

Not everything needs to be produced by a professional agency. Sometimes the best videos are simple explainers, or live feedback videos shot & produced in-house with minimal investment. Try experimenting with different grades of production for different types of videos. You could produce considerably more  video, on a much smaller budget, if there’s a lower (more in-house) production level being applied. For instance you may have an expensive video walk-through for your new product, but have several lower cost Q&A videos or practical usage videos. Consistency is especially important here. Maintain the same production quality & style for the relevant category/type of video.


Netflix Offline Crown advert, a jeep in raffles place

Take your markeitng offline, Netflix style

Very few companies get omni-channel marketing right. Online retailers (eTailers) and most online services tend to focus predominantly on online marketing, and most brick & mortar/offline services are still struggling to market effectively online. Mixing it up isn’t easy when you’ve been doing business the same way for a while (read: too long).

That’s why I’ve been so impressed by Netflix. I expect to see their adverts online, instead I see their crazy installations (below) downtown, and read about the exciting things they’re doing at local cafes. It’s different and it’s a jolt that reminds me that things in my online world are still real. It’s not just an app icon on my tablet. How effective are their offline stunts? My wife watched an entire season of ‘The Crown’ in a weekend after seeing the jeep (at Raffles Place). She’s hooked and is already scouring Netflix for more to watch. I’d say that’s effective.

Netflix Offline Crown advert, a jeep in raffles place

They’re not the only one’s clued on to this tactic though. HootSuite recently held the first (of an annual series) of events for digital marketers at a city hotel. There was a fairly wide mix of people, but what was evident was that everyone was (drinking, networking & …) talking about HootSuite. Sure loads of companies host cocktails, but they aren’t usually SaaS companies – nor do they usually have branded cocktails & cupcakes.

HootSuite cocktail event

So if you’re an electronic business, start looking at what you could do to get your marketing offline. It doesn’t fill the typical boxes of “scalable” & “low touch”, but when done right it can certainly help to get you organic content coverage and sticky mind share. All the same rules apply, define a target audience, be clear and concise and remember to measure everything.