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Hard or Soft, Which is Better for an Animated Video CTA?

Much like how sometimes you want hard ice cream and other times there’s nothing better than a cone of soft ice cream, calls-to-action come in hard and soft forms and sometimes it’s better to have one or the other. Let’s take a look at both hard and soft CTAs and see which one is better for animated business videos

Hard vs Soft CTAs

Hard CTAs request the viewer to perform a particular action that will result in something concrete happening. The ultimate hard CTA is to ask someone to purchase your product or service. But, they don’t necessarily have to be a request to purchase. A hard CTA could also be filling out a form to receive something like an e-book or signing up for a demo.

A soft CTA requires less of the potential customer. It could be a request to follow your brand on social media, visiting a website to find out more information or even just watching another video. When people follow a soft CTA, nothing concrete happens, they’re just interacting with your brand more.

Change to buyer’s journey

Hard CTAs used to be much more common and you can still see them used quite a bit on television with “buy now” or “if you call within the next twelve minutes, you’ll also receive …” type CTAs.

However, as Tubular Insights points out, the internet has changed the buyer’s journey since its inception. Customers hold a lot more power now when it comes to purchasing because they can easily do research and consult reviews about brands, which they weren’t able to do before. People who grew up with the internet generally don’t like the hard sell because they haven’t grown up with that “buy now” mentality. They prefer to perform some due diligence and research a product or service and only commit when they feel ready.

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Even if a potential customer has given you their contact information, that doesn’t mean they are ready to make a purchase. Throwing a hard CTA at them isn’t going to help them make a decision and it’s not going to get them more interested in your brand. If anything, in the internet era, being too pushy will get you the exact opposite reaction and people may get turned off of your brand if you try the hard CTA with them.  

Now, all this isn’t to say that you should completely drop the hard CTA. But, you do have to make sure that you use it in the right spots. After a demo is a good spot because you already know the customer is in the about-to-purchase stage of the buyer’s journey.

Dwight Sipler/Flickr

Until they get to that point, though, you should be peppering soft CTAs throughout your sales cycle to give people plenty of opportunities to interact with your brand so you can continue to expose them to your brand and influence them. As long as they’re staying engaged with your brand, they’ll have it in mind when it does come time to make that purchasing decision.

Which one is better for video?

As for which type of CTA is best for animated videos, soft CTAs work better because they keep people interested in your brand without being overly pushy. In the age of content marketing, animated videos are an effective way to maintain a prospect’s attention in a fun and engaging way.

You can’t control when a prospect will contact you, but what you can control is the amount and quality of content you are giving people to consume. Videos are superb ways of delivering soft CTAs because they provide a lot of information quickly and in an easily digestible way.

Here is an example of an effective soft CTA from one of our clients, Food Enforcer. At the end of the video, they simply ask viewers to visit their website for more information.

Videos themselves are also soft CTAs because they ask people to interact with your brand by hitting the “play” button on the video (or hitting the “pause” button because you had your video set to autoplay). Viewers should leave your video knowing more about your brand than when they clicked “play” and when they’re done watching it, there should be another soft CTA for them to follow to keep the interaction going. Ask them to follow you on social media, visit your website or watch the next video in the series.

You’re trying to get these potential customers familiar with your brand so when it is time for them to buy, they are familiar with your brand and you are the first one they think of when it comes time to bring out their wallet.  

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About Rob

Rob loves nothing more than sitting around in his jammies all day and writing useful blog posts for WizMotions.