What is a testimonial?
A testimonial is simply a review from a customer that has experience with your product or service. A testimonial is not an endorsement (paid or otherwise) from a celebrity, friend or other spokesperson that has never had direct experience with your company. While celebrities certainly do catch our attention and can influence the purchasers buying decision; for most of us, the cost associated with hiring a celebrity to endorse our product makes it prohibitive unless you are the owners of a major travel booking website.
10 Effective Srategies:
- Be specific. Don’t have your customers give vague descriptions of your product or service. When asking them a question ask them to give specific examples illustrating their point. A vague statement like “The team over at Widget Engineering is excellent, and their customer service is fantastic,” sounds fake. Rather, direct your customer to use specific examples, such as “John at Widget Engineering took the time to walk us through the entire process of the development of our product, before we even got started. He was always quick to answer every question we had along the way and made sure to explain it in a way that we could understand.”
- Address customer objectives in your interview. If you are lucky, the perfect sales scenario will happen in your business once in a while, but likely there was a process of indecision that your customer went through before deciding to use your company. Address those concerns, ask what helped them make a decision. Even if they were considering another company, do not be afraid to share that with your customers.
- Make the testimonial more about your customers success, than about the product itself. If Company X was able to triple their sales in a year due to implementing your product, then the focus needs to be on the fact that they tripled their sales in a year. Statements like “we were able to bring in an average of $10 thousand dollars more per sale as a result of implementing the tactics outlined in the course” are much more appealing than “because comapny x purchased this course, they were able to increase revenue by $10K per customer.” Watch how things are phrased.
- Try not to over edit your clients responses. You want real feedback from real people, these are not professional actors or spokespeople and the testimonial will be more convincing if it is delivered by a real human being, one who should not be expected to perform flawlessly. That being said, don’t leave long pauses while the client contemplates their answer either. Language should be natural, but if they stumble over a word or two, that’s okay.
- Use b-roll, or example footage to show your customer using the product, or to show your product in action. Staring at one face for 2-3 minutes is going to be boring for your audience, make sure you liven it up by using cutaway shots.
- Don’t rely on just one testimonial. Ask multiple customers in for the interview and choose only those that present well on camera. Nervous, jittery people are not going to do your brand any favors. That being said, those that are overly excited about your product are also going to sound like staged testimonials.
- Do not link to the testimonial givers website. While it is typical to include the company name in the lower third, you do not want customers clicking away from your site and giving the link for them to “check out” could get them lost in cyberspace, never to be heard from again.
- You should plan ahead by writing down which questions you are going to ask, but don’t provide your questions in advance of the interview for the testimonial provider to prepare ahead of time. If the client who is providing the testimonial has time to rehearse, their answers will not come across as genuine. The goal is an authentic response. If they insist, tell them you are just going to be asking questions about their experience with your product and your company. Prepared responses sound disingenuous, if the customer insists tell them you would like off the cuff responses, not prepared statements. If they are persistent, thank them for considering to give the testimonial, but politely decline and move on to the next, likely this person is not going to present well on camera anyhow.
- Resist the urge to self promote during your testimonials. The purpose of the testimonial is to let potential buyers know that others have had success with your products, it is not the time to sell them on it. If they are watching your testimonials, they have likely already made up their minds regarding your product (generally a yes). So don’t push the sales button, a simple “you can find more information about our products here” is all that needs to be said at the end of your video.
- Don’t record on a generic background. Testimonials on plain backdrops don’t work as well as those recorded in the customers workplace. Don’t be tied to travelling to their location however, testimonials can be taken at tradeshows, conferences or other such events. Just try to avoid the “white space” backgrounds for your testimonials. They work great for your videos, but come across as staged when utilized for customer testimonials.
- If a customer feels uncomfortable providing a testimonial, try asking them if they would mind being interviewed for a feedback video or client success series you are creating. The word testimonial can be a frightening word to some people.
- Don’t purchase testimonials from Fiverr, not only are the responses completely fake (and sound so), but it is unethical to purchase testimonials.
- On your lower thirds include the testimonial givers first & last name and company name (or website-but don’t link). This is the most authentic, first name and last initial is a questionable practice, it leaves the viewer wondering why the person wanted to keep their identity private.
Download our example questions sheet to get a jumpstart on how to phrase your testimonial video questions.
Want to know the best way to film your video? Read Top 5 Mistakes of the Master Flipographer blog post.