Video Testimonials: How to Build Trust and Get More Customers
Video testimonials are one of the top performing assets available to marketers and salespeople who want to close more sales. Learn how to strategically add customer testimonial videos to your marketing mix in this free guide.
Download this 14-page Video Testimonial Strategy Guide
What is a video testimonial?
A video testimonial is a video that showcases a former or existing satisfied customer’s experience with your product, service, or brand.
Customer testimonial videos often appear on landing pages, product pages, about pages and other core pages, for their ability to build trust and confidence in your product or service. Video testimonials are also excellent assets to have in one-on-one sales scenarios.
As a marketer or salesperson, the customer testimonial is one of the most effective tools you have at your disposal. Short of talking face-to-face with one of your satisfied customers, nothing converts a prospect into a customer faster.
What’s covered in this guide to video testimonials?
Everything in this guide can be applied to all testimonials, written or video. But, if you’re settling for written testimonials over video testimonials, you’re really limiting your marketing and sales potential.
When your prospects are able to put a face with a name, and see your customer’s passion for your solution – with their own eyes – that trust and confidence gets amplified, many times over!
This guide will explain why video testimonials are so powerful, the role they play in your broader marketing and sales strategies, how to incorporate them into your content and communications, how to enhance and optimize the performance of your videos, different ways to use testimonials, and best practices.
There’s a lot of ground to cover when it comes to video testimonials, so we’ve given the section on testimonial video production its own space.
Use the table of contents to find the information you’re looking for, and jump right in. Be sure to bookmark this page or download the .PDF for future reference!
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Table of Contents
Benefits of video testimonials
Testimonials are already one of the most powerful tools for marketers and salespeople, for their ability to build trust and overcome objections. Customer video testimonials take online reviews and case studies to a whole new level, by getting to the emotions that lie beneath the usage story, success metrics, and satisfaction of the typical written testimonial.
When properly deployed, either on your website or in 1:1 sales situations, video testimonials can be especially effective at moving prospect to the next stage of your marketing funnel.
Since they are typically deployed at the bottom of your funnel, they are often the last piece of content that prospects see, before deciding whether or not to buy from you, so it’s important that you get it right.
Why customer video testimonials are so effective
There’s not a whole lot of trust out there, these days.
We live in a post-truth world. A world of alternative facts, where cherished institutions and favored brands alike, are now scrutinized like never before.
Who are you going to believe?
Well, in the case of brands, it’s often the testimony of other customers that sways us, one way or another. It’s called social proof, and it’s one of the most powerful weapons in a marketer’s arsenal.
Ask yourself this question: When was the last time you made a major purchase decision, without first checking out reviews for that product or service?
That’s social proof, and research shows that it’s powerful force, when it comes to online buying. In fact, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
A good video testimonial captures not only your customer’s story of how they use your product or service, it also captures their passion for how you’ve helped them. It’s not at all unusual to hear customers say things like:
Their product has completely changed the way we do business. . .
I don’t know what we would possibly do without their help…
Working with them has really elevated my reputation, and the reputation of my department, in the minds of the rest of the company. . .
A good interviewer knows how to elicit deeply-felt, emotional responses like these, from satisfied customers.
Examples of Video Testimonials
This is a good example of a video testimonial because the focus remains on the customer and his experience for much of the testimonial, only mentioning the company when it relates to problems faced and the solution’s role in fixing them.
In this video, we hear the customer tell his story: the challenges his organization faced, his search for a solution, what factored into his decision, and the positive effect it had on his life.
There’s no ignoring Rafael’s passion for what he does, and that passion sells.
More Video Testimonial Examples
Customer Testimonial for Software Solution
Customer Testimonial for Online Community for Professionals
Customer Testimonial for SaaS Platform
Video testimonial best practices
What Makes a Good Testimonial Video?
A good testimonial video speaks to your target audience.
Testimonials should help prospects imagine how great it would be to become your customer, and you can’t do that if the customer presented in the testimonial video, doesn’t have some overlap with your target prospects. Having a testimonial video for each of your target personas makes it easy to build trust and overcome objections, no matter who you’re engaging.
Testimonial videos should get in-depth and detailed.
When making a purchasing decision, specifics matter. Prospects will use specifics to gauge the authenticity of the testimonial, and to confirm that you’re able to deliver what your product or service promises. The more details you provide, the easier it is for prospects to understand the value of your product, and how it works in the real world.
Testimonial videos focus on your customers – and not your products and services – as the heroes of their own stories.
Rambling on about this feature and that feature, without ever getting into the customer’s experience, shuts down any opportunity for prospects to get immersed in the story, and to start fantasizing about becoming customers themselves. Learn more about using the hero’s journey in video testimonials.
Testimonial videos are credible.
A good testimonial video makes prospects forget they’re being marketed to, by appearing to be a real (and it should be – see next point!), unsolicited endorsement of your offering. People are highly skeptical of what they see online (especially these days), so anything you can do to play up the authentic enthusiasm of the customer in your video will go a long way.
Testimonials should NEVER be fake.
If you want to actually connect with prospects, save yourself a lot of potential embarrassment, and avoid a possible visit from the Federal Trade Commission, your testimonials need to be 100% real. There’s certainly some leeway when it comes to hiring actors to deliver testimonials based on feedback from real customers – but prospects can tell.
Testimonials need to help buyers overcome objections.
This is what the sales process/marketing funnel/whatever-you-call-it is all about, right? Video testimonials are SUPER effective at overcoming buyer objections because, in the prospect’s mind, it’s not your company doing the selling. Just a really satisfied customer sharing their experience. It’d be a real shame to not hit on as many of them as possible in your video.
In the Video Testimonials PRODUCTION Guide, you’ll learn how to conduct a testimonial interview that will elicit the responses you need to craft a compelling story for your videos.
How long should a video testimonial be?
There’s no hard and fast rule for how long a testimonial video should be. It’s often recommended to aim for 90-120 seconds, when it comes to online video.
However, because it’s bottom-of-funnel content and prospects are more invested in finding answers, video testimonials often have runtimes between three and seven minutes, sometimes much longer. We find three to five minutes to be the sweet spot, between production investment and results.
The beauty of video content is that it can be edited almost indefinitely for different channels and audiences.
Here at Thoughtcast Media, with each full length testimonial video order we include a much shorter edit (sometimes as short as 30 seconds), for use on social media. But you could also use a slightly different version of the same video for your product pages, or completely change the narrative and use it as an endorsement of a particular aspect of your business, like support or integrations.
What customers should you ask to be in your testimonials?
It’s tempting to ask only your most complimentary customers to sit for a testimonial video, but that strategy may prove a little shortsighted.
If you serve a wide variety of different verticals, or if the people who actually buy from you come from different persona types (i.e., job titles, roles, etc.), you’ll want to make sure that all of them are represented, as best you can.
Of course, not all verticals or personas may have a representative champion, when you begin shooting testimonials.
That’s another reason why it’s so important to have your testimonials driven out of a broader satisfaction/reference program, which will allow you to target the customers you need, to represent the different verticals and personas you serve.
A Word About Strategy
The most important step in any video marketing project is establishing a strategy for individual videos, and for your broader video marketing effort. Videos that are not part of a guiding strategy, and based on best practices, are doomed to fail.
For customer video testimonials in particular, it’s crucial that your video efforts be part of a broader customer satisfaction/reference program.
If you’re not working systematically to take care of your customers, understand their satisfaction levels, and continually work to encourage them to testify to their satisfaction in support of your sales efforts – video won’t save you.
Video testimonials rank high on the value spectrum
When you look at all the different activities your customers can participate in to help you win and keep customers, sitting for a video testimonial is probably the most helpful thing an existing customer can do to support your sales efforts.
Which is why we recommend customer testimonials to those who want to get into video content, but need to deliver a big win, in order to get the rest of the company on board.
The high-value nature of testimonials means you should be looking for ways to use video testimonials wherever it makes sense.
There are a range of less valuable activities your customers may participate in that can help encourage them to do a video testimonial; like jointly issuing a news release when they become customers, speaking at your annual meeting, or liking, sharing and commenting on your social media efforts.
Whatever those activities may be, it’s important to have a plan for moving customers through that spectrum of activities, until they finally arrive at sitting for a video testimonial, and ultimately speaking with your prospective customers, in person.
How you ask your clients for a testimonial is going to have a big impact on your response rate, and the overall quality of the testimonials that you acquire. Learn how to ask for a testimonial here.
What’s the best way to collect video testimonials?
The first step is to simply ask! But then there’s the matter of getting a customer schedule to appear in your video testimonial, which is easier said than done.
Remote Directed Video(RDV) makes it easy and cost-effective to get video testimonials from customers anywhere in the world.
In the Video Testimonial PRODUCTION Guide , we’ll be focusing primarily on producing testimonials in the off-camera interview style with an on-site interviewer.
But, you’ll also find tips for recording video testimonials with your phone, and for a range of scopes and budgets.
How to Use Video Testimonials for Marketing and Sales
Customer testimonial videos can provide marketers with a very powerful option for moving prospects through a sales pipeline toward becoming a customer. But, it’s important to know where in your pipeline, and within your broader marketing funnel, customer testimonial videos are most effective.
Furthermore, you can’t just throw a testimonial on Youtube and expect it to reach its full profit potential, so we’ll shine a light on how to optimize your video testimonials for marketing performance.
Use the table of contents to find the topic you’re most interested in, and jump right in. Bookmark this page, or download the PDF, so you can return to it later.
Customer Testimonial Videos Are Bottom-of-Funnel Content
For all practical purposes, the only prospects who really care about what your existing customers have to say about you, are prospects who are seriously thinking about making a purchase. As such, testimonial videos are bottom-of-funnel (or BOFU) content.
By the time prospects reach the bottom of the funnel, they’ve been educated on the scope of their problems and opportunities. They’ve are aware of your company, and how you can make their lives better. And, they have some idea of what your product or services might cost.
It’s also likely, that they have all that same information about your competitors. So, your customer testimonial videos might be the last thing your prospects see, before deciding to buy from you or someone else.
That means that you’ll want to locate your testimonial videos at locations that serious buyers tend to visit, before making that decision. Conversely, you don’t want to waste valuable website real estate by placing testimonial video on pages designed to get prospects into your funnel in the first place.
That said, one effective top of funnel use for customer video testimonials is to combine snippets from multiple videos into a “sizzle reel” featuring customers who are well known, or influential in the markets you serve.
This sort of video name dropping can be an effective PR strategy for immediately establishing your company as the go-to provider for industry leaders.
Where to Use Customer Testimonials
Video testimonials can be the most important pieces of content you have, for helping prospects make the decision to buy from you.
With that in mind, some of the best places for a customer testimonial video include:
- Pricing pages
- Order forms
- Pages containing frequently asked questions
- Landing pages optimized for sales conversion
- About Us pages
- About Our Customers pages
- Cold Emails
- Bottom-of-Funnel Email Nurturing
Customer testimonial videos are also especially well-suited for 1:1 sales outreach. Good sales people can sense when a prospect is getting ready to buy. Based on this knowledge, a well-timed email with links to your latest testimonial videos can be especially effective.
For more involved B2B sales, in which a proposal has already been sent, a customer testimonial video may be the only piece of content a prospect wants to see, at that stage of their journey where they’re seriously contemplating a buying decision.
Optimize the Performance of Your Customer Testimonial Videos
If the principle value of testimonial videos is to help prospects make buying decisions, you can increase the effectiveness of those videos by making those decisions even easier.
Appropriate calls to action, whether within, superimposed on top of, or surrounding your customer video testimonials can make a big difference.
We’ve already talked about including calls to action within your videos, augmented by clickable links provided by your video platform. Let’s explore some ideas for supporting your videos on the website pages where they reside. Here are some effective options:
- Provide a chat option, so that prospects can immediately speak with a salesperson about purchase options.
- Position online order forms on the same page.
- Provide links to other information that you know to be important for prospects in the final buying stages. (E.g., pricing, installation options, case studies, etc.)
- List any relevant sales
- Link to other testimonials
By providing prospects with everything they need to make a final buying decision, you can dramatically improve the effectiveness of your customer testimonial videos, and nudge prospects along toward finally becoming customers.
Video platforms provide you with the ability to store and provide access to your video productions. They eliminate a whole host of problems associated with the size and availability of video files, and in most cases, provide you with added functionality for viewer customization, audience engagement, and analytics.
Use a customer video player
The most important feature offered by video platforms is the ability to customize your own viewer, giving you complete control over how your prospects experience your content.
Platforms like Wistia make it easy to customize your player to reflect your brand colors, and be free of any outside branding marks. Plus, you’ll have complete control over what happens after each video is viewed.
You’ll have added control over how your videos are embedded on websites and add overlays to enhance the marketing performance of your testimonial videos.
Add Calls to Action, Annotation and Turnstiles
Video platforms also help you to encourage viewer behavior, by allowing you to add clickable calls to action and other annotation to your video.
Of course, your video should already contain its own calls to action, within the video itself. Using either audio or text, you should be telling viewers what you would like them to do, after they’ve watched your video.
Video platforms provide additional engagement options by allowing you to encourage viewers to click on links that are superimposed on top of your video. Clicking on one of those links can take viewers to a form, or to a particular page on your website, like your online store.
Some email platforms even allow you to add forms to your videos, making it easy to ask prospects to schedule a call or make a purchase.
The Problem with YouTube
YouTube is an amazing site, and every video marketer should have a presence there. If your only interest is to build a presence on YouTube, then storing your video collection there can be a fine idea.
However, if you’re interested in driving prospects back to your website, where they can consume other, non-video content, submit forms, and/or order products and services, YouTube is problematic, because YouTube does everything in its power to keep users on YouTube.
It’s also problematic if you want complete control over the viewing experience. That’s because YouTube is an advertising platform that controls what viewers see and how they see it.
After each view, the YouTube viewer is going to serve up a series of recommended videos and video ads to your prospects on your to website, in an effort to get them to leave your website, and go to the YouTube site. You have little control over the videos or ads that YouTube will serve up to your viewers.
So, unless you want your prospects to go from one of your product videos to the latest cat video (not that there’s anything wrong with cat videos), you’re going to have to find another solution.
The Unique Power of Video Analytics
Analytics are a crucial component of any marketing campaign. They allow you to measure success, and make corrections to campaigns in the field. Video analytics offer even more decision support, by providing information on how much of your content is being consumed.
You may know from Google Analytics how many people have visited your latest blog post. You’ll also know how long they spent on that page, which can be a helpful, albeit somewhat inaccurate gauge of how much of that blog post was actually consumed.
With video, you’ll be able to tell exactly how much of each video is being watched, where people go back to re-view segments of each video, and where individuals abandon the video and move on to other content.
Metrics like these give you added understanding of how your content is being consumed, and allow you to modify that content, or even trigger additional automation sequences based on viewing behavior. (E.g., if a key prospect watches a video three times, and re-watches the segment on pricing, you might want to notify a salesperson, so they can follow up.)
Taken together, all these feature make a good video platform a must for any marketers serious about adding video to their marketing mix, and getting the greatest return on their video marketing investment.
Ways to use Video Testimonials
Good customer testimonial videos rely on a host of different marketing and sales tactics in order for them to produce actual results. Ideally, both would be based on proper audience persona input, keyword research, established branding and messaging, promotion, lead scoring, strong customer relationships and other practices.
Add them to Bottom-of-Funnel content
Include them in important emails
Build ad campaigns around them
Build instant trust with new leads
Overcome objections and close sales
Use them to highlight specific selling points
Send them to prospects that align with the same persona(s)
Why You Might Want to Hire an Agency
The most beautiful testimonial video in the world will do you no good if it’s not properly crafted to serve your marketing needs, or if it’s not properly deployed and promoted.
If you’re missing the marketing chops, an agency is probably your best bet.
If all this sound like a lot of trouble, or makes you nervous (and who could blame you) hiring an agency to help you with at least parts of the process isn’t such a bad idea.
As the old saying goes, you only have one chance to make a first impression, which is doubly important when your production involves clients, and their experiences providing testimonials needs to be taken into account.
Keep in mind, however, that it’s not an all-or-nothing proposition.
A good agency should be willing to help with those parts of the process where you need support, but leave you to your own devices where you feel confident in your abilities.
With that in mind, here are the component parts of the video marketing process used to produce, distribute and promote your testimonial video content.
One or all of these component parts can be successfully outsourced to an agency:
- Customer Satisfaction/Reference Programming
- Video Production
- Post-production and Review
- Distribution and Promotion
Learn why we think all businesses should outsource their testimonial videos, for happier customers and better results.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of video testimonials, why they’re so effective, some video testimonial best practices, and how to establish a video testimonial content strategy, and what it takes to build a compelling story around your customer’ experiences.
Now it’s time to learn how to interview customers, and produce testimonial videos that do your customers’ stories justice.
Here’s just a taste of what’s coming up:
- How to conduct a customer testimonial interview
- How to pick a location for your testimonial video
- How to establish and control a productive film set anywhere
- How to select a style for your testimonial videos
- Video framing, lighting, and video equipment
- And how to take your video testimonials to the next level in post production.
Video testimonials close deals (when done right). Find the right kind of production company to help tell your customer's story.
Most businesses need outside help to get testimonial videos done right, so it's important you partner with a production company that can help you achieve your goals.
Download the Video Testimonial Buying Guide and get it done right!