In today’s socially-connected marketplace, credibility is an indispensable commodity and nothing builds credibility quite like testimonial videos. Honest, third-party recommendations are the next best thing to actual referrals.
Testimonials allow your prospects the opportunity to cut through the sales hype and pressure and get feedback from real people who have purchased your products or services, and who have nothing to gain from talking about it.
Video testimonials validate your marketing message and serve as hard evidence of the quality and value of what you’re selling. So how can you use video testimonials to promote your business? Here are some simple steps to follow.
Casting the talent
As with any Hollywood production, the effectiveness of your video testimonials will depend heavily upon having the right “talent.”
Obviously, you’ll want to recruit a satisfied customer. It helps if that satisfied customer is relatively well-spoken and fairly photogenic. It’s also helpful if the customer is relatively well known within your local community or your industry.
Remember that the people you choose to put on-camera are representing your company every bit as much as your sales and customer service representatives.
Crafting the message
Before placing subjects before the camera, interview them to find out exactly what they like about your product or service and then create leading questions designed to get them talking about those specific selling points.
For some, the selling point could be the quality and dependability of your products. Others may be die-hard fans of your business because of the exceptional customer service you’ve provided them. Still others may like your pricing.
In their own words
Avoid the temptation to put words into the subjects’ mouths. Nothing seems more disingenuous than a scripted testimonial.
It’s better to ask a series of leading questions and allow your subjects to answer in their own words.
Just remember to have them answer in complete sentences and include the questions in their answers. For example, if the question is “What do you like best about the model 137 widget?” have them answer by saying “What I like best about the model 137 widget, is the craftsmanship” not simply by saying “The craftsmanship.” The reason for this will become evident once you begin editing your raw footage.
“Action” – Shooting the video
Once you’ve selected the subject or subjects and developed your questions, it’s time to start shooting.
Although you want the image to be well lit and the audio to be clear and intelligible, your video testimonials don’t have to be “professional quality.”
You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars on a camera, lights, audio equipment and professional-level editing software. If you don’t own a video camera, you might consider using your cell phone to shoot your testimonials.
Whether using a camera or cell phone, be sure to get close to the speaker to ensure that the audio is of sufficiently good quality.
One of Ford Motor Company’s most successful marketing campaigns of all time was the “Fiesta Movement” social media campaign which it used to heighten awareness of the Fiesta small car. The video used in the campaign was shot by average consumers on inexpensive Flip video cameras.
Remember, the power of the message is far more important than the quality of the video.
Editing the footage
Once your production is “in the can” you’ll need to edit it.
Your home computer probably came loaded with video editing software out-of-the-box. If not, there are a number of free and very affordable video editing programs available for download.
Although special effects and image filters are fun to play around with, they are also extremely distracting to the viewer. Stick to straight cuts or dissolves to transition between scenes. You should also use name keys to identify the speaker and add credibility. It’s best to use sans serif fonts to ensure the text is legible to the viewer.
For a more polished touch, you might want to consider adding a soft music bed in the background. Just make sure you comply with all applicable copyright laws.
Promoting your video
The final step in the process is to promote your video. Thanks to the Internet and social media, the options are nearly limitless. Begin by creating a “Customer Testimonials” page on your Web site. After that, you can create a YouTube channel and upload your videos to your company Facebook page. You should also email your existing customers and prospects and invite them to view and comment on the videos.
Repeat the process
Once you’ve successfully created and promoted your first testimonial video, begin working on the next one. The more testimonial videos you feature on your Web site, Facebook Page and YouTube channel, the more your prospects will trust your brand and the more likely they’ll be to buy from you.