The marketing process for creating a video will identify many important factors. For example it is essential to decide the overall aim of the video, to identify the key messages and to understand who we are communicating with. For most video creators this will all be standard practice. The depth of analysis and the implementation methods may vary, but as long as this is all happening then the video stands a good chance of being watched in its entirety.

The call-to-action stage (which is normally near the end of the video) is where we hope to influence the viewers onward journey, providing them with a compelling reason to take the suggested action. But strangely, this all important stage is often 'hard wired'. In 99% of videos it will be to contact the company, place an order online or some other similar definite action.

The 'Hard' Call-to-Action

So what exactly is wrong with the 'hard' call-to-action? An important factor to consider is how buying patterns have changed since the mainstream adoption of the Internet. We can now research most facts in seconds, compare prices, read reviews and ask our social networks for their opinions. Mix this up with the speed of digital or next day delivery options and the barrage of interruptions we all receive on a minute by minute basis and we can see that things have definitely changed. The customer is now empowered to make informed decisions and will commit only when they are ready. If you are unsure about this, try to remember the last time you watched a video and then called the number at the end!

Another option is needed, something that is softer and more in keeping with the engaging nature of today's social internet. We know that usually we only have one chance to make a good impression and if a viewer is not ready to buy, then we need to offer them something else instead. And if the viewer is ready to contact or buy online, they will surely find your contact details or product and do just that, after all websites are designed to make this whole process very easy.

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The 'Soft' Call-to-Action

Soft call-to-actions might include something as simple as inviting the viewer to watch another video, if your videos are good then the viewer is likely to be convinced that your offering is perfect for them. Or you might like to invite them to join you on Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Social media is far less of a commitment than email or phone calls and offers an easy way for people to ask questions, get a feel for your customer service and to see how happy your existing customers are. A great example of this is the Mercedes Benz 2013 TV advert:

http://youtu.be/nLwML2PagbY?t=45s

Another option is to offer a trial or free sample to help the viewer experience what it is like to be your customer. If all goes well they will be! The following link demonstrates this perfectly. See BaseCase for an example of how this can work:

Signing up to an email newsletter, visiting specific areas of a web site for information, downloading fact-sheets and requesting brochures are all options for a softer call to action. These increase the chance of an interaction rather than risk the viewer moving on and potentially forgetting about you. You are probably already offering soft call-to-actions in other communications with your potential customers - consider how these might work in your video.

The option to share a video is also a powerful way of reaching a new audience - this time with an endorsement from the person who shared it. All the major social networks offer embedded/enhanced video sharing options, which help your video stand out and be noticed. One word of warning - you can only have one call-to-action, so only ask for your video to be shared if exposure is your primary objective.

By considering the more engaging and 'softer' call-to-actions, today's viewers are more likely to interact, connect, sign up, try out and download from your website. The more interactions you have with a potential customer, the closer they become to being a real customer. By encouraging these doable call-to-actions, we all improve our chances of success.