Video Testimonials: The Ultimate 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.

Testimonials are great.
Video testimonials are better.

Everything in the first part of this guide can be applied to all testimonials, written or video. That said, if you’re opting 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!

There’s a lot of ground to cover, so we’ve broken it down into 3 parts. Use the table of contents to find the topic you’re most interested in, and jump right in.

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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.

Why use testimonials?

  • Testimonials build trust and credibility with your target customers.
  • Testimonials helps prospects understand how your product or service works in the real world.
  • Testimonials turn leads into sales at the bottom of the funnel.

Why use video testimonials?

  • People are more likely to watch video testimonials than read written ones.
  • Video testimonials inspire greater levels of engagement and action.
  • Video testimonials create a deeper emotional bond and build greater trust.

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.

Customers Watching Video Testimonial

Customer video testimonials are a great example of social proof at work.

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.

So, What Does a Good Testimonial Video Look Like?

One of our favorite testimonial video examples

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 his satisfaction with Impexium’s solution, and that passion sells.

See more examples of video testimonials.

Video testimonial best practices

So, how do you make a testimonial video that gets results?

What makes a good testimonial?

The secret to the success of testimonials in business is social proof, so a good testimonial is all about amplifying this effect.

  • 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.Old-Timey Video Camera
  • 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 part 2 of Video Testimonials 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.

Timing - Stop Watch

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 should be part of a broader satisfaction or reference program

There are a variety of methods for gauging your customers’ satisfaction.

Research methodologies, like the Net Promoter Score, seek to boil down customer satisfaction to a single number, while more traditional satisfaction research efforts can provide a more contextual understanding of customer satisfaction.

No matter which methodology you choose, you should always be testing programmatically for customer satisfaction, both for individual customers and for your customer base as a whole.

Use your research to find satisfaction gaps, and then work as hard as you can to fill them.

This will have the twin effect of creating happy customers, and identifying customers who are the best prospects for your video testimonials and other reference activities.

Customer in the Spotlight

Don’t Treat Customer Video Testimonials as a Novelty

This advice goes for all your video projects, but it has special application for testimonials, because customers are involved.

For best results, you should invite customers to sit for a testimonial, every time they cross whatever threshold you’ve established for customers expressing certain satisfaction level, or willingness to support your sales effort.

By treating video testimonials as part of a larger customer satisfaction/reference program, you will be much more successful at securing a steady stream of these most valuable marketing resources.

High Value Content

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.

There are a lot of apps and SaaS products out there that simplify the video testimonial collection process, by enabling customers to easily record quick videos using their smartphone or webcam, for you to embed on your website.

These can be really handy tools, especially for B2C businesses, where it doesn’t usually make sense to fly a camera crew and interviewer out to your customer’s location.

However, nothing beats the engagement and sales power of a professionally shot video testimonial, with an interviewer that’s able to elicit soundbite-worthy responses from your customers.

In part 2 of this guide, we’ll be focusing primarily on producing professional-grade video testimonials, in the off-camera interview style.

You’ll also find tips for recording video testimonials with your smartphone. A testimonial recorded on your smartphone isn’t ideal, but well worth the effort, because you should try to get your hands on customer testimonials anyway you can. They’re that powerful!

Coming up in the next chapter

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.

In the next chapter, you’ll 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!

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