Winning customers over with video testimonials

You know a marketing tactic has come of age when it starts being used by political candidates. Last week, we saw the team of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney respond to the Democrats’ attack on his Bain record with a testimonial video. Accusing Obama’s team of attempting to divert attention away from the sluggish economy, the video shines a spotlight on the economic pain being felt by American workers through testimonials from real people:

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However you feel about Romney, you’ve got to admit that having your marketing message validated by regular folk direct-to-camera can positively impact your credibility and increase the possibility of conversion.

Testimonials have long been an important part of marketing as they provide social proof. How often do we seek out the opinions of friends, family members or even unbiased strangers when considering a purchase? We all share a fear of making the wrong buying decision and look for reassurance from our peers, especially before committing to a product or service on an unfamiliar website.

Many sites still use written customer testimonials, even though they’ve lost much of their punch in the online world. It’s hard to know if the testimonials are genuine with so many suspect websites around. How many do you actually read before tuning out anyway?

advantages of Video Testimonials

Video testimonials offer several major advantages over text:

  • Real users can advocate far more effectively for your business and its products through video than through print. Their enthusiasm draws prospects in.
  • Video testimonials add an air of authenticity to your website, reassuring visitors that your business and its customer base are genuine, and that you can be trusted with their money.
  • You can place your video clips not just on your own website, but on YouTube and Facebook as well, to engage with prospects where they already are instead of relying on them to come to you.
  • Let’s face it: a text–heavy website is just not as interesting as one broken up with video content.

Rightlook.com provides training in auto detailing to hundreds of students each year. Testimonial videos have been effective in showing prospects the value of training. Since adding video testimonials to their site, the company has seen a 20% increase in conversion rates.

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6 tips for better video testimonials

  1. Your best customers are likely more than happy to recommend your product or service. Ask them for video testimonials when they’re feeling especially warm towards your brand. For example, after receiving a shipment or stellar customer service. Tell them how you plan to use the videos up front to build trust and encourage contributions. If they’re still a little shy, consider persuading them with a product discount or a small gift.
  2. Guide your customers to get effective testimonials. A testimonial where the customer is enthusiastic, but provides very little useful information isn’t as effective as a video with enough substance to help a prospect make the decision to buy from your company. Consider using an interview format to ask your customer several questions that will provoke detailed answers and give them time to relax in front of the camera.
  3. Edit out any awkward moments to keep just the most useful and interesting nuggets of information for the viewer. Aim for a length of 1 to 3 minutes to maintain the viewer’s interest and add a branded intro and outro with a clear call to action at the end.
  4. Instead of creating a single page to house them, weave testimonials throughout your website where they are likely to be most relevant. Aim for at least 3 to 5 testimonials. Showing just one will lead prospects to wonder if you have any other happy customers.
  5. Upload your videos to Facebook and YouTube as well, ensuring that they are fully optimized for video SEO with the relevant tags and descriptions. Curate comments on your video testimonials to protect your video contributors and maintain a positive environment.
  6. When in doubt about the type of video testimonial that will work best for your brand, consult a video production company that specializes in producing video testimonials for advice.

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