Video Marketing

5 Steps to Create Video Marketing Calls-To-Action [Flowchart]

Shawn 06.04.2014

Video marketing without a clear CTA is like fishing without bait. Or a hook. Or a rod…in the desert.

Don’t go fishing without bait.

If you’re lucky enough to grab peoples’ attention, it’s up to you to funnel that interest in the right direction with CTAs that capture, convince, and convert.

Here’s a simple flowchart and four steps for creating CTAs that make people bite.

Video Marketing Create CTAs with this Flowchart

1) Choose One Action

Your explainer video is short and to the point (hopefully), and your CTA should be the same. Set out to accomplish One Single Thing. Define exactly what your goal is before you optimize word choice or tweak font size, because none of that other stuff matters if you don’t know what you’re selling.

Say you’re promoting a free ebook about flipping houses and your goal is to maximize downloads. You make a marketing video all about the benefits of the book – including testimonials and projections – and it’s compelling. You’ve hooked the viewer, and now it’s time to close the deal and promote your book.

So…tell them to download your book.

Don’t mention subscribing to your email list, or watching other videos you’ve produced. Craft your CTA in the form of a simple command – “Download My Book.” Some of the best CTAs start with simple commanding verbs. Even Facebook uses these in their app install ads:

  • Click
  • Buy
  • Listen
  • Download
  • Watch
  • Share

Start with the basics – the action words – then add to your CTA as you refine the target.

2) Be Specific

Now that you’ve established a single goal – book downloads – and told them how to get the book – “click to download” – it’s time to make people click that sweet, juicy button. Your CTA should always leave the viewer with a clear idea of what to do next, and a compelling reason for why they should do it.

This is where you stress the problem facing users while emphasizing how your product is the solution. Some sample copy for our house flipping ebook could be:

  • “Click to Download the Book that will Sell your Home in 30 Days”
  • “Download House Flipping 101 and Turn that Money Pit into a Cash Cow!”

Don’t just ask people to “click” or “download” – tell them how that click is going to make their lives better.

3) Create a Sense of Urgency

Effective CTAs involve creating a timeframe for your product. This happens by either limiting its availability – “3-day sale, limited time offer” – or by defining the use cycle – “Get rid of zits this weekend,” or “Eliminate credit card debt in 60 days.”

If these tactics sound a little too “salesy” or pitchy – you’re right – they’re obnoxious and sales forward. But they work. Here’s a list of 60 classic CTAs that are still relevant to today’s marketer.

Time limits encourage action, and raise the perceived value of your product (only 10 left! – Buy NOW!”). Specific use cycles create an implicit contract or guarantee that addresses doubts about the effectiveness of a product. Establishing a set number of days to measure the success of a product is a great way to sell it.

Note: While it’s important to stress exclusivity or create immediacy for your product, don’t get carried away with these tactics. If your store is perpetually having a “Going Out of Business Sale,” you’ll lose customer credibility pretty fast (and your CTA tactic might become a self-fulfilling prophecy)!

The best way to add a timeframe to your CTA is by stressing its effectiveness – “Sell your home in 30 days.” This bold claim is enticing enough to override doubt about the product, but only use this tactic if you can deliver on the promise. Sleazy sales copy and bald face lies aren’t sustainable CTAs.

That said, nothing says “professional” like setting an outrageous timeline and delivering on that promise.

If your product doesn’t work in a timeline, or you’re wary of sales copy, simply add words like “today” or “now” to your CTA. Mentioning time – even vaguely – is the easiest way to spur action.

4) Make it Obvious

Don’t wait until the end of your video to squeeze your CTA in. Even engaging videos – like Dollar Shave Club – can have a noticeable drop-off in viewership in the last 15 seconds. Their CTA – “Join the Club Now” – pops up in their YouTube video 0:10 seconds in, and doesn’t go away. Say your CTA early and often – it’s the whole reason you made your marketing video!

If you get nervous, just tap your heels together and repeat this three times:

“A clear CTA improves conversion rates.”

5) Be Tactful

This bonus step (just my taste), is pretty much awesome advice so…

  • Find the balance between promotion and over-promising
  • Make sure that you can deliver on every claim you make, and you’ll grow your business

An outlandish claim might seem like a great way to get quick results – but just like the tortoise and the hare – steady hard work always wins the day.

Your CTA is one of the most important – and neglected – parts of your branding and video marketing strategies. Be mindful of what you ask and how you ask it, and you’ll get the conversions that drive your business forward. Just don’t end up like this guy…unless that’s what you’re going for.

Click this link to take the first step toward creating video marketing that converts. (See what I did there?)


Born in Southern California, Shawn grew up surfing, eating In-N-Out, and growing his hair long. After graduating with a Liberal Arts degree from CSU Long Beach in 2005 he left the crowded freeways behind and spent the better part of a decade traveling the world living for stretches in Rome, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Brooklyn. He writes novels as well as copy, loves learning keyboard shortcuts, and plays his grandpa’s old lap steel guitar. You can hear his band at

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