There’s really no substitute for authentic video testimonials. When you watch a real story from a real customer about a product you’re considering buying, it carries some serious weight. There’s just one problem. Most video testimonials suck.
Don’t let the lameness of most video testimonials push you away from using them in your video marketing. Just commit to using good video testimonials. Essentially, all of our clients who spend 6 figures + per month on YouTube ads use video testimonials in one form or another.
Your goal here is to get real, authentic video clips from your customers. These clips should overcome objections, reinforce your product’s most important benefits, and tell a compelling story. In short, you want customer testimonials to make your videos more believable and to make prospects want to take action.
The best approach, in my opinion, is to let customers say what they want to say. Giving non-actors a script is a bad idea. It almost always produces testimonials that sound stilted and forced. By letting customers say what they want to say, you can get some powerful sound bites that ring true. The approach I’ll outline here takes a little more work than handing a customer a script, but the end result is night and day better. When you get a few “golden nugget” testimonial clips, you can leverage them to the moon in your paid ads.
There are 3 elements you’re looking for in a video testimonial. If a testimonial has these 3 elements then you know you have something that will boost your video ad performance.
- Believable - The first question that a viewer is asking (either consciously or subconsciously) while they’re watching a testimonial is - do I believe what this person is saying? Is this person being paid to say this? Are they really excited about the product or do they just want to be in a commercial? To help get believable testimonials you should first pick customers who fit your ideal customer profile. You want your video testimonials to speak directly to other ideal customers. You want viewers to see the testimonial and think, “hey, that person is like me. If they got the result they were looking for from that product... maybe I will too.” A quick example. Recently one of our Account Managers at OMG, Jess, and I were reviewing a testimonial for a new hair product. I asked Jess what she thought of it and whether she would buy it. Her response was instructive. She said, “well, I have really thick hair. The girl in the video has much thinner hair than me. I don’t know if it would work for me.” Testimonials will only have a positive impact if they are believable. Believable is achieved when customers aren’t using marketing speak. Believable is often made easier when the testimonials aren’t shot by a professional film crew. User generated videos from an iPhone are often great. This isn’t a requirement though. Great testimonials can also be shot in a studio with a film crew. The most important thing is what the person is saying and how they are saying it.
- Emotional - You should feel something as you watch a video testimonial. Is the person sharing the testimonial really excited? If so, you should feel that excitement. Are they relieved or grateful that a nagging problem they’ve struggled with for years is now solved? You should feel their relief. Do they get choked up talking about your product or do they geek out when talking about your product? If so, you should feel it. Without emotion, testimonials fall flat. Without emotion, testimonials won’t move new prospects to take action.
- Useful - Does the video testimonial communicate something of value? Think about product reviews. What reviews are the most helpful for you when you’re shopping? Usually, helpful reviews are those that have some specific detail that answer your questions and overcome your objections. Someone simply saying, “I love this product” is nice, but not necessarily helpful. Helpful video testimonials say something like, “I was really skeptical, because I’ve purchased 4 other widgets like this and none of them did what I had hoped they would...but THIS widget was different.” Or, alternately, “I’ve been using this product everyday for 4 years. I like it even better now than I did when I first bought it.”
Now that you know what you’re going for, let’s discuss actually getting your video testimonials. The first hurdle you have to overcome is helping a busy customer make time to record a video. Then you need to give them tips on how to record.
Here are a few ways to find customers willing to give a video testimonial:
- Call and ask. Call your best customers and ask if they would be willing to record a video. Most will be flattered and gladly agree. No incentive is necessary here, but we do suggest you give them something for their time. Examples could include a gift card or a gift basket that has some of your product in it. Really anything fun and cool works here.
- Email 5-star reviewers. Email all of your customers who leave 5-star reviews and offer free products or some kind of discount if they provide a video testimonial.
- Schedule emails. Email your customers after they’ve had time to use and love your product. Usually this is a few days to a few weeks after purchase. This is similar to the approach above; the difference is that you’re emailing everyone or nearly everyone. Again, offer an incentive if they create a testimonial video.
- Do a grand prize give away. Do a large prize giveaway for anyone who gives you a video testimonial. This could be a “shopping spree” on your site of $500 or more, or something else of perceived value. An entry in the drawing requires a video testimonial. Only one person will win the big prize. You should still consider at least a small prize for everyone that helps.
Since most of your customers aren’t in the same city as you, most testimonials you’ll get will be filmed remotely by the customer and then sent to you. Getting these testimonials is as easy as asking.
Once someone has agreed to the video testimonial, they’ll need a little coaching and reassurance.
Here’s a sample email you can send your customer after they have agreed to send in a testimonial:
“Thank you so much for your willingness to share your (insert name of your brand) story.
This will be easy - and hopefully fun! Just grab your smartphone, go somewhere relatively quiet, and start recording.
To help you get started, you can answer one or all three of these questions.
- I love my (insert your product here. Eg: boom silk) because…
- The biggest change or improvement I’ve seen since I started using my (insert product) is…
- The reason I switched to XYZ is...
Or, feel free to just talk about your experience with our brand and why you think it’s so great. Know that your story will be helpful to other shoppers just like you.
Here are a few tips...
- This doesn’t need to be perfect. We’ll likely just use short clips from what you send us. If you have a few “ums” and “uhs”...no problem! Natural sounds better than perfect.
- We want to see your face. Don’t stand with bright lights or the sun directly behind you. If you do, the background will be bright and your face will be in the shadows. Let’s face it...you’re too pretty to be in the shadows!
- Go somewhere relatively quiet. Total silence is not the goal, so feel free to be outside or inside. Just don’t go somewhere super loud because we want to hear you. So rock concerts and Nascar speedways are probably out of the question.
- Just be you. We want to hear from you, not a professional actor. Don’t worry about sounding super polished. Unless you are a professional actor, but we still want to hear from the real you.
Send us your video by emailing or uploading here (provide a link or email address).”
Once you have a few good testimonials, you are off to the races. Here are a few tips to consider when editing the testimonials you get.
- Keep them focused. If a customer sends you a 5 minute video, you’ll likely just use :10 to :20 seconds of it. Usually you want to zero in on 1-2 major benefits with each testimonial. Focused messages are usually more powerful.
- Keep them moving forward. Edit this down so it moves quickly. Remember, your viewers are impatient. While you may love hearing every word of your customers bragging on your product, your prospects don’t. They’re in a hurry. They just want their questions answered and their fears alleviated. Cut out all the fluff you can from these testimonials.
- Keep it real. This may seem repetitive (and it is), but if a video comes through that doesn’t feel real...don’t use it. At best, it will have no impact on your ads.
This should get you started on your path to supercharging your advertising with video testimonials. I recently put together a guide that goes into a little more detail. It also discusses how to film video testimonials if you’re in person with your customer. You can get our full Guide to Authentic Video Testimonials for free.