There’s a reason why people ask around for recommendations and why websites like Yelp! have become such cultural mainstays. We read reviews because we want to know our temporal and monetary investments will be worth it. We know that ads exist to sell us things and that fast-talking businessmen get paid to do the same. We don’t want to hear from the sales department when we can hear from each other.
Every business has at least one satisfied customer, or they’re not going to be in business very long—and most businesses recognize the value of using customer testimonials to lend some credibility to their company. People don’t want a sales pitch, they want the truth. They want to hear from someone who can offer an independent perspective—someone who was in their position, made a decision, and is still happy with the result. Your satisfied customers can become your best and most powerful spokespeople.
We’ve all seen reports on how our attention spans are getting shorter and how to adjust our online content to best engage prospective clients. Video is a far more engaging tool than text; people are more willing to watch videos than read long articles. Overall, video is a great element to utilize in your online marketing presence. An excellent place to start is with video testimonials, which are highly engaging as they convey the emotional impact your product or service has had on a client. Video testimonials are a smart investment because they can deliver this emotional message for years to come.
It’s important to choose customers whose different stories will allow you to showcase varying types of success—perhaps one person saved time, while one saved money, and yet another received service that far surpassed what they had received from others in the past. It’s also important to choose people who will be comfortable on camera during the interview, but an experienced videographer will be able to help put your customers at ease.
This brings us to the topic of what questions you should ask in the interview itself. Make sure to ask open-ended questions, like:
- What were their concerns at the outset?
- How did your company address these concerns?
- What were the specific results?
- Is there something else they think someone would want to know about your company?
Following that, how should they answer these questions? Have them reference the question at the beginning of their answer to achieve a concise, clear response. For example, when asking “Why do you like this product?”, you want them to say “I like this product because it saves me a lot of time” rather than just “Time savings”.
These are a lot of things you should do, but what’s equally important is what you shouldn’t do.
- Don’t use trained actors. The authenticity of your video testimonial is the absolute key to its effectiveness.
- Don’t let them read from a script. Anything that sounds too rehearsed or unnatural will lose the trust of your viewer.
- Don’t forget or neglect to disclose (on screen!) if the customer received any special consideration or compensation for their testimonial.
Be honest and be clear, but also be concise. Edit your video testimonial so that it’s an effective length without compromising the story being told on screen. If an interview yields a lot of powerful content, consider splitting it into multiple testimonial videos.
Other steps to take include getting a signed release from anyone who appears on camera, so that you can continue to use their voice and image in as many ways as possible. Consider getting b-roll footage – images or video to illustrate and support what your client is saying, such as interactions with staff or your product in use. Finally, maximize your return. Use your video testimonial in as many places as you can: include it in emails, share it on social media, put it on your website, and continue sharing it.