Mention video marketing to some businesses and they immediately think of the high production costs involved in creating polished looking advertising. But the advent of affordable high-quality recording equipment and software has seen video taken up by more and more businesses, and in a variety of ways. One of the most effective and often overlooked of these is the video testimonial.
Consumers are savvier than they ever have been and have developed a natural scepticism towards advertising and marketing. The reason testimonials can build trust in a way that very few other marketing methods can come down to the perception of independence.
By removing your company ‘voice’ from the equation and replacing it with someone else’s you are creating an independent endorsement of your product and your company.
Whilst written testimonials can and should undoubtedly form part of this marketing mix, they will always have a limited effect when compared to a testimonial caught on camera. This comes down to the level of reality, and therefore authenticity, a video has the potential to portray.
The effectiveness of your video testimonial won’t just depend on how genuine your subject comes across but also on what they have to say. This presents a potential pitfall as well as a potential benefit. Remember, it’s one thing to put a short written statement from a happy customer up on your website, but on camera, it can be very easy to spot an overly scripted or staged testimonial.
Although it’s important to have a structure to your testimonial, you should always resist the urge to fall back on a script. Most people aren’t particularly natural in front of the camera at the best of times, but that can actually play to your advantage. If it feels unscripted, then it is probably coming across as genuine. Of course, too little structure and you risk the whole thing looking amateurish.
The best way to structure a testimonial is to treat it like an interview. Then you can simply pick and choose the best responses and edit out your questions at the end. Chris Lavigne of Wistia, recommends showing your interviewee a series of high-level concepts and areas to cover beforehand but never letting them look at your exact question list. By giving your interviewee too much prior information beforehand you may find their responses become forced or unnatural as they struggle to tick all the boxes.
Ultimately you need to find a balance between mentally preparing your interviewee and giving them the head space to formulate their own natural responses.
Of course, how you play this can depend entirely on the personality of whoever you’re working with. The reality is that some people might not have hours to spare creating the perfect testimonial and may just want to get it over with.
As natural and convincing as whoever you put in front of the camera is, your testimonial will fall flat on its face if they don’t say the right thing. Whilst it’s obviously important to get your interviewee to respond in a way that suits your company message, you should avoid the temptation to put words in their mouth. The trick here is to elicit the right kind of response by asking the right kind of questions.
Here are a few essential rules that you should try to follow when preparing and shooting your video testimonial:
This is by no means a definitive list but it should cover enough of the bases to form a rough guide. Of course, every testimonial will be different and it’s fine to shift focus or get creative, depending on what you’re trying to achieve or the type of audience you’re trying to appeal to. Just remember to keep it relevant and as genuine as possible.
I wanted to end by talking very briefly about marketing your video testimonials. Creating a dedicated testimonial page on your site, complete with video and written testimonials will help drive conversions through your site but there’s so much more life you can squeeze out of testimonial videos.
Social media is a very powerful way of getting your brand out there and talking-head clips and testimonials work very well on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, especially if you decide to promote them using their highly targeted ad platforms.
You should also be constantly looking to tap up your new customers for testimonials. Many people may be uncomfortable with the idea of getting behind the camera, but if you don’t ask you won’t get. You may even be surprised at how many positive responses you get.
Finally, try including a feedback form on your site or running a social media campaign to encourage happy customers to send in their own video testimonials. You might not have the same amount of control as you would in a face to face interview, but you may end up with some real gems.
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