a formal statement testifying to someone’s character and qualifications
We really can’t add much to that simple, yet elegant definition. Testimonials are the second best way to receive a referral. Only second! Why not talk about the best way? Because the best kind of referrals comes from people you know and trust: relatives, friends and associates. Those kinds of referrals are golden but in reality they’re pretty finite unless you’re a celebrity of some note and everyone is your friend! “Hi, this is George Clooney. Bob Jones told me that you throw down some mean accounting, so I wanted to…”
Testimonials work because they offer a professional and trustworthy way to bless you, your products, and services. By having someone speak on your behalf and talk about the benefits they’ve received from doing business with you, it can almost be like a first person referral, depending upon a few factors that we’ll examine in this post.
So what makes a good testimonial video?
Credibility. If there’s one thing that makes any kind of referral more valuable than any other, it’s the credibility of those recommending you. When you read the back of a book jacket, there are often a few quotes by various authorities. It’s a sure bet that those with greater name recognition or credibility are going to show up first.
Here’s what to look for when considering testimonial subjects:
· Industry recognition – individuals with high visibility and who your customers would be familiar with
· Important titles – it’s true that, regardless of talent or skill, the person in the corner office is of greater value to you than say, Julie in marketing who’s been your champion and one of your biggest customers. That said, don’t count Julie out! Tell her that you want her on camera, but you want Nancy (the CEO) on camera, too. Then find a way to have Nancy say something to the effect of, “… but don’t take my word for it, our CMO Julie just loves working with _______, Inc.”
· Experts – industry or subject matter experts don’t have to currently be using your products or services, either. If you make tennis rackets and John McEnroe used your rackets when he played professionally, he’s a credible expert.
· Enthusiastic supporters – these individuals are generally the easiest to find and are often eager to help promote you and your business. And, it’s great to have one appear in a testimonial video. A note of caution: don’t rely too heavily on their enthusiastic appeal; without their own credibility, they can come across as shills, or fanboys and fangirls.
Production Values. We’ll always hammer on the importance of having the highest possible production values in any of your videos. Of course we advocate that, we make video, after all! When interviewing people, avoid the trap of the talking head. Most people just aren’t that skilled in front of a camera, so unless you’ve got George Clooney to be on camera, you’ll want to be a bit illustrative.
Have some fun with it! Give the testimonial subject something to do. It’s easy with some products and services that lend themselves to the visual, but sometimes it’s challenging with conceptual products and services. That’s where you’ll want to engage the services of an experienced producer who can help you conceive and produce a testimonial that effectively communicates your business’ value proposition. Through a combination of live action, animation and still images, a skilled producer can make even the most informational testimonial appealing and watchable.
Segment. If you market to different sectors or channels (B2B, B2C, direct to consumer, through distribution channels, etc.) experts and recognized authorities don’t always cross over, so you may want to create more than one testimonial video to address that sector or channel.
Refresh. You change your marketing strategy as business conditions change, so don’t forget that your testimonial video will become stale and irrelevant on a period basis. It’s important to have fresh and ever-evolving content to deliver to your existing customer base and to mine new customers. Producing video can be costly, but there are ways to refresh your content without starting from scratch. You and your producer might use a bookend format, where higher production value opening and closing sequences sandwich refreshed content. Shooting an interview is often very cost-effective and allows you to maintain your investment in the bookends.
Testimonials are basic. They’re essential. You’ve got to have them in your marketing arsenal.
We love producing testimonial videos! To find out what’s involved, give us a call. We’re happy to walk you through the process and answer your questions about your second best way to reach customers and the first best way to use video to market your business.