3 Steps to Developing Successful Testimonial Videos
Testimonial videos are a dominant form of video marketing content. Successful testimonial videos typically feature satisfied customers gushing about your business. How great is that? Can you think of a more compelling message than someone from your target market explaining the value of your product or service to other people just like them?
Successful Testimonial Videos
We produce a lot of testimonial videos and find that once a client has decided to give this format a shot, they don’t turn back. The return is just too good.
On top of that, there are a lot of unforeseen benefits. Identifying your best customers for testimonials can help your business identify the characteristics of your ideal customer.
The true benefits of your product or service shine through in customer testimonials. You may focus your marketing and sales efforts on benefit Y. If testimonial after testimonial refers to benefit X. Use it. It is time to tweak your sales and marketing strategy. Your customers have spoken.
Last, the talent never runs out. More satisfied customers mean a larger pool of testimonial talent to draw from. And if you are delivering value, they will be thrilled to tell the world about your business.
3 Steps to Success
Do you want to unlock the power of video testimonials? Here are 3 steps to make sure that you produce successful testimonial videos:
The best client for a testimonial video is a person that is as great for your business as your business is for them. This person should fit perfectly into your ideal client persona, and if you don’t have one, they could become your ideal client persona. Additionally, someone well-spoken, articulate and friendly can make for a more compelling video.
Realistically, most good customers are happy to do a testimonial if your company is offering them value. Some people don’t like to be on camera, but if you explain what you are trying to do, they may come around. Ultimately, if they aren’t going to willingly get in front of a camera, they might not be the best option anyway. You can always get a text testimonial in the worst case scenario.
That being said, you can also grease the wheels a little to get a reluctant client on camera. One client that we produce a lot of testimonials with, will often bring lunch, schwag or coffee along on testimonial shoots. Very few of their clients have any qualms about getting in front of a camera, but if they do, goodies don’t hurt.
It is a good idea to let the client you hope to use for a testimonial what will be involved with a shoot, how the video will be used and, believe it or not when they will be able to watch their own video.
My spiel for our testimonial shoots includes how long the interview will take, our camera setup, what we will be shooting, how I will conduct the interview, what the final product will look like, where/how it will be distributed and who will let them know when the video is available online (usually the client).
2. Don’t Script
Make it Human
Scripting can be a point of contention when it comes to testimonial videos. Some people think that, in order to get the messaging that you want, you have to script a testimonial. This comes from the interviewee side too. I’ve heard interviewees say ‘Just send me what you want me to say’. That defeats the point of a testimonial…
Beyond that, there is an even bigger problem with this strategy. Your customers are (probably) not actors. They can’t read off a script or teleprompter and deliver the genuine, heartfelt message about the value of your company that you need to make a powerful testimonial video.
In order to get that level of authenticity, they need to speak in their own voice. The best way to capture their voice is to conduct an interview instead of recording a scripted video. Put together a series of questions that will get you the sound bites that you want to include. Here is a good place to start: Would you recommend this product to other people? Why?
Don’t Send Questions
I may have convinced you to ditch the script, but this one might be a harder sell. DO NOT send along interview questions beforehand. This may sound ridiculous, and other people might recommend the opposite. There is a method to my madness and comes from the experience of creating a lot of testimonial videos.
In my experience, sending along questions before an interview creates in one of two outcomes. The interviewee never looks at the questions. No problem. Outcome number two causes issues. The more zealous interviewee will pour over the questions, prepare their own counter-questions, write out answers and for all intents, and purposes write a script.
There goes your natural, authentic speech. Even if you can convince them to put away their prepared remarks the interview can be difficult. Full of rote excerpts from their notes and regrets that they can’t quite make it sound like it did in their head.
Natural, authentic speech is the key to any believable testimonial and scripts and prepared content are not the way to capture it.
Keep it short
Your interview can be as long as you like, but when it comes to editing aim for around 90-120 seconds. Our typical interviews run up to twenty minutes and we end up using a fraction of it. You have to use the very best, most powerful statements from the interview to build your testimonial.
If there is great content left on the cutting room floor that you don’t want to waste, make another video or create a series of single-subject testimonials – these are what we call feature/benefit videos.
Add production value
Top notch equipment, technique, and post-production will put your testimonial on another level. You may have to hire a professional for that. If you only have rudimentary tools at your disposal, be sure that you are getting everything you can out of them. You can create good testimonial video content with a cell phone and an inexpensive lav mic. Here are a few tips we put together:
In short, be sure you get your testimonials out there. Share and distribute as widely as you can. The more people that are exposed to your testimonial, the more valuable it is.
Utilize different video networks (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn). Be sure to optimize your title, tags, and description. There are a lot of resources out there to help you do just this and it is a crucial step in making your content easy to find and generate organic traffic.
Include testimonial videos in email campaigns. I also recommend linking to testimonial videos in your email signature. This is especially impactful if you are linking to a YouTube video, as the video will automatically preview in emails to Gmail recipients.
Embed the testimonial videos on your website. I recommend using YouTube again for this. Their player is universal, easy to embed and Google owns YouTube and tends to favor it for SEO purposes.
I said that video testimonials were powerful. I never said they were easy. They are a lot of work. But, you can follow these steps and utilize the many other resources online to create the best testimonial videos you can and then get them out there. Nothing can sell quite like the glowing review of a happy customer.
Use Video Testimonials as Part of Your Video Marketing Strategy
If you are not sure where to start, we have a guide for you. The Video Marketing Strategy Blueprint is a quick, actionable guide to planning a video marketing campaign. Check out the Blueprint today.
Neil K Carroll
Experienced creative professional with a love for breakfast sandwiches and a strong disdain for grinders.
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