TRUST is the foundation of sales and brand loyalty. So then what marketing tools do we need to create and foster it? Turns out, people trust what a customer says in their review more than what you say about your business. Which is why so many brands leverage the power of video testimonials.
“88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.”
Search Engine Land
Combining video with testimonials produces the gold-standard of marketing. Need proof of just how effective video can be? Next time you scroll through your social media feed, take note of what quickly grabs your attention. I’ll bet video content ends up in your shortlist. Because a video allows you to show and tell, you can share a lot of information quickly. It then makes sense that video content is shared more than text and images.
Video = Highest Engagement and Testimonials = Trust
Video Testimonials Beat Text Any Day
Studies have shown that people retain about 95% more of a message by watching it in a video rather than reading an article, which dramatically falls to 10% retention.
How much of this article will you recall afterward? Watch the video of this article below and see for yourself.
]So, why do we have such a strong response to video content? The reason for this is because video is closest to the way we naturally communicate–through sound, light, imagery, and if done well, with an emotional connection. Since people have an intrinsic need to feel emotionally connected, content that evokes our feelings is key to higher conversions.
“64% of consumers make a purchase after watching a branded video.”
Up to 95% of purchasing decisions are made subconsciously, based almost entirely on emotions, not logic. We see evidence of this in all the best ads that appeal to us on an emotional level. Videos inherently speak to viewers on an emotional level because the message is delivered by a fellow human.
What Is A Video Testimonial?
A video testimonial is a personal and honest story told by a real customer. It often includes the problem a customer faced and describes how your company helped them solve it. Video testimonials are most often used at the bottom of the sales funnel during the leads evaluation stage. However, they can also be useful during the awareness phase to generate interest.
What Makes A Bad Video Testimonial?
We all love a good story. They can bring us together, entertain us, heighten our awareness, and even broaden our view of the world around us. It’s well known that stories are easier to remember than a lifeless list of facts and figures that require more from the viewer to engage. This is why video testimonials told in an organized narrative format focusing on the buyer’s journey, are so much more engaging than any salesy talking head infomercial.
Let’s explore why we stop listening.
- Speaking too fast: When the reviewer speaks too quickly, the message comes across salesy as though they are trying to sell you something instead of sharing their experience
- Poor enunciation is one of the most irritating speech habits for the listener. By not making the effort to pronounce each syllable of a word, entire phrases become slurred together, losing all meaning. How likely are you to trust the experience or knowledge of a speaker with poor diction?
- You don’t want to confuse or mislead your audience with the wrong tone. When the tone is not consistent with your brand’s message, your viewers are likely to get the wrong idea.
- Off-topic: The wandering talker quickly gets off track and when or if they circle back to the topic, nobody can remember their original point. This is the quickest way to lose your listeners.
- Irrelevant information: Not realizing what’s relevant, the good-intentioned reviewer shares irrelevant information and we get bored, impatient, and stop listening.
- Cliche phrases are used so often that they’ve lost all meaning.
- ‘It is what it is”
- ‘At the end of the day’
- ‘To be honest” (My personal favorite…wait, do you mean you weren’t being honest before?”)
- These cliche statements leave the audience with very little substance, creating an impression that your brand is inauthentic, lacking vision, and worse yet, that you just don’t care about your product or your customers.
How do we avoid losing our audience?
The first step is to write a scripted testimonial taken from your customer’s actual words but condensed, simplified, on-topic, and relevant. As for tone, speaking too fast, enunciation, and cliche phrases, hire an experienced production director that knows how to make real people feel comfortable and sound like themselves. While behaving like yourself sounds counter-intuitive, just ask any photographer to point the camera at a human being and watch the unnatural odd-behavior emerge. Even trained actors rely upon a skilled director to help them come across authentically.
Not Another Boring Talking Head Video
The trouble with asking your customers to create their own video testimonials is that they will sit down and talk to their phone for 3-5 minutes, leaving your editor with nothing more than a talking head. In a real-life conversation, we don’t just stare at the listener and make endless eye-contact; this would be creepy! Instead, while listening, we notice the speaker’s hand gestures or the interesting painting behind them. All these observations are a natural part of our listening behaviors. In the film world, closeup shots of hand gestures and interesting decor are called Broll and essential to telling any good story.
Broll can be added to support the testimonial story, as another opportunity to set the overall tone and emotion of the piece. Say your financial company has helped a customer in purchasing the home of their dreams, then Broll of the customer enjoying their new home would draw a more vivid picture for the viewer and give them a much-needed break from staring at the speaker.
These Broll shots should be scripted and planned in-advance. Nothing wastes more time than creative and crew trying to come up with ideas in the moment. Avoid using generic stock footage for your Broll so that the video testimonial looks and sounds personalized.
What about Editing?
An experienced editor will remove any parts of the interview that would detract from the message and if necessary, re-order the interview so that it flows in a narrative format. A good editor understands pacing, narrative, and timing. Although tech has come a long way in providing consumer-grade alternatives to professional nonlinear editing platforms, I absolutely recommend hiring a professional editor because of all of the nuances involved in telling a great story. Any experienced editor will tell you how easy it is to go in the wrong direction with an edit if you don’t know what you’re doing
Poor Audio Quality
Nothing encourages listeners to tune-out more than poor audio quality. A professional video production crew will use high-quality microphones. Additionally, a professional editor will enhance and mix the audio levels based on the distribution platform. This means audio should be mixed differently for online versus TV spots or films. Sound editors will use a slew of specialized audio software to achieve a professional mix.
If you’re going to have interns or the customer directly record their own testimonials, then keep in mind that once the audio is recorded poorly, there is little chance of salvaging it. While expensive noise removing software may help reduce unwanted sounds, like static noise, clicks, or the hum of a refrigerator, reducing unwanted noises will also affect the speaker’s voice. It’s best to hire a professional and get it done right the first time.
Poor Video Quality
Video quality demonstrates your brand’s attention to detail and clarity of vision. The highly technical process of achieving a great looking video includes image quality, sophisticated lighting, and composition. Additionally, the editor will color grade all of the footage during the editing process.
If you helped your customer achieve a goal, the visuals should be worthy of the services you offer. The quality of your content is the foundation of your marketing. SEO and paid advertising can bring attention to your videos but ultimately they must look and sound great.
Using Video Testimonials in Your Marketing Strategy
Add video testimonials to your top of the funnel website landing page in order to generate leads and awareness.
Users spend 2.6 times longer on landing pages with Videos.
Additionally, you can add video testimonials to your bottom of the funnel landing page to close the deal. A shopping cart or sign-up page are good examples of the bottom of the funnel landing pages. Bottom of the funnel Video testimonials should address the most common objections for not buying or signing up. If you’re feeling unsure about a purchase, hearing other buyers address your concerns is the best way to convert.
Social media ads should contain a Call-To-Action linking to an appropriate landing page. The objective should be clear whether you want new subscribers or making a sale. Try B2C Testimonials on Facebook and Instagram. For B2B campaigns, try LinkedIn. Sharing content with your existing followers can increase sales but the priority is to gain new leads.
Case Study with A Blog Post
A well-written testimonial script will detail how your brand solved a customer’s problem. Now your video testimonial also serves as a well-documented case study. Embed the video testimonial within a supporting article. Include additional case study details to help your readers get as much as possible out of your case study. Be sure your article includes the following:
- Great Title (check-out CoSchedule with help writing better headlines)
- Summary of the case study including problem/solution
- Describe how your product solved the problem
- Before / After results
- Video Testimonial
- Conclusion with specific Call-To-Action
- Remember to share your article on social media
Your target group for a newsletter should be current subscribers that are not active buyers. Showing them testimonials where customers sing your praises will not be a good idea at this point. Instead, focus on video testimonials that address the most common buyers objections and how your company addresses these issues. Most likely your subscribers who are on the fence will share the same concerns.
Uploading To YouTube and Vimeo
In 2018, Google introduced video carousels in search engine results pages (SERPs). This feature is hard to miss because the carousel takes up much more real estate than text results. Video carousels are often triggered by ‘how to ______” queries but can also show up for just about any type of search.
In this example, I Googled ‘how to jog’ and in the first position is a YouTube video titled “How To Jog”. Then in the 3rd position is the Video Carousel that holds 9 videos.
There are some Youtube limitations you should be aware of. Each upload is given its own unique URL, so if you want to update a newer version of your video, it is not a simple case of replacing the original video.
The new video will have its own unique URL, and all of the likes, plays, and comments will not port from the original version of your video.
So what happens if you want to update your existing Youtube video or fix an error?
One workaround is to keep both versions of your video and in the description of the original version, direct viewers to the newer video. While this work, it’s not the most elegant solution because you will have two copies of the same video on Youtube. Alternatively, if you delete the original version, you end up with broken links where your original video was referenced on websites and social media.
In contrast, Vimeo allows you to upload as many variations as you like without losing comments and likes. Why is this important? Think about how many times you quickly re-edit or tweak a blog post or social media post after receiving feedback or re-reading it with fresh eyes. The same workflow applies to videos.
Make sure you don’t simply upload your videos to Youtube and Vimeo and expect results. You still have to do the marketing work.
Where Else Can I Market My Customer Video Testimonial?
Webinars are a great place to share your best testimonials in order to generate leads. Think about natural breaks in your presentation, that would make for great opportunities to run an ad, your video ad.
Targeted sponsored ads on Facebook, Google, and LinkedIn provide insights and tracking data so you can measure results and adjust accordingly.
Monitoring Video Performance
It’s essential to monitor the performance of your videos. The number of plays, likes, and comments just isn’t enough information for your team to make informed decisions. Knowing why a video has underperformed or performed well gives you great insights into what people expect from your content and a roadmap of what to improve on the next video. There are a lot of tools to help you keep track of metrics. The list below is by no means complete but a shortlist of some of the most popular metrics.
- Watch Time is the total amount of time viewers spent watching a video
- Average View Duration is the total watch time divided by the total number of plays (including replays)
- Audience Retention shows you the percentage of your audience that keeps watching a video from beginning to end. In this example, we can see that at 1:46, our video retains 29.9% of our viewers. This is a good indication that the opening of the video needs some work if we’re going to retain more viewers for a longer period of time.
- Impressions click-through rate measures how well your video encourages viewers to do a call to action (CTA). An example of a CTA is a subscribe button. If for example, we can see that our viewers stop watching 10-minute videos after 4 minutes, then placing the CTA before the 4-minute mark would optimize subscribers.
In the chart above, Youtube analytics tells us that the average view duration is 1:37. As we track the graph, we can see that at 2:17, we have retained about 50% of our audience and that their attention is dropping fast. To improve, we should shorten the duration of the video to 1:30 or if we want to keep the current duration of the video, then take an objective view of the quality of content after 1 minute.
Here’s What We Did For Our Client
Here’s a series of three customer video testimonials we created for Freedom Financial. The scripts were written directly from phone chat transcripts with the customers. Because each testimonial was planned and directed, the videos can easily be repurposed into 15-30 second soundbites.
In conclusion, well-made video testimonials reach your audience at different levels of the sales funnel on landing pages, social media, youtube, webinars, and sponsored ads. Video testimonials are digital marketing gold. There’s just isn’t any better way to build trust and form an emotional connection with your customers. I hope that this article encourages you to always put your best foot forward, your business deserves it.