In working with clients, I always keep this favorite Maya Angelou quote in mind. It's also an important aspect of how effective testimonials work on camera because the essence of a good video testimonial is a customer who expresses positive emotions about working with you.
Every business wants to show off lots of compelling testimonials to win new customers. Displaying written testimonials on your website and marketing materials is one way to do it. To really be unique, why not mix in video testimonials?
Real people talking on camera about you and your business can make a powerful impression on a potential client. Seeing and hearing your satisfied buyer makes the human connection with a viewer that is almost as persuasive as getting a word-of-mouth recommendation from a friend.
Sometimes when you ask someone to shoot a testimonial, they'll prepare something and show up ready to go, when the camera rolls. But most of the time, that does not happen. People will usually tell you they don't know what to say or they are uncomfortable "talking to the camera."
Reassure them they'll do fine and they'll be talking to you, not the camera. Also while you secretly want them to praise you to the stars, resist the temptation to write the script for them or to tell them exactly what to say.
You want your testimonials to flow, to sound sincere and authentic and not feel staged or forced. The best testimonials resonate with viewers when they are an expression of genuine appreciation of you and your work. You are more likely to get that when people tell their story in their own natural voice.
That said, there's nothing wrong with giving them a little direction. Roll the camera for an interview and start a conversation. Keep it low-key and chatty so they get comfortable, before getting to the "meat" of the testimonial. Some questions might be:
- Give me a brief summary of who you are and what you do and the problem you were facing?
- How did you find out about me and my business?
- What specifically set my company apart when you made the decision to buy my product or service/hire me?
- What was your experience with my product or service?
- How did we solve your problem ?
- How did you feel about the results?
- What did you particularly like about what we did or how we did it?
- Why would you recommend my company/product / service to someone else?
- Who do you think my product or service is suited to?
- What would you say if someone asked if they should use my company/product / service?
Get them to speak in whole sentences with rich details and heartfelt emotion. What you want to avoid is simply, "Ted and his crew were great." A quick before and after anecdote works especially well. Tease out specifics about the work you did to produce a personal testimonial that will stand out in the viewer's mind.
Please note: be sure you interview people long enough to get plenty of good comments you may or may not use. The idea is to pick and choose the best comments to edit into the final testimonial video. Even ask them to repeat a good comment since people often speak haltingly as they form their thoughts the first time they speak and will say the thought better and more smoothly the second time. (DO NOT put words in their mouths or do a choppy edit to make them say something they did not say. The testimonial will look staged and not ring true for the viewer.)
In the final edited version, you want to end up with something like this:
"I'm so and so of X business." Or X location or whatever introduction fits your customer.
Then add statements similar to these:
I needed help with (problem) and decided to work with (business name) because…
The result was…(emotion + fact)
One thing I especially liked was…
The whole experience was…(emotion + fact)
I would recommend (business name) to people who…
If they asked me, I'd say choose (business name) because…(emotion + fact)
A good rule of thumb is a 30-60 second video testimonial, although it's okay to run a little longer, if the speaker is animated and interesting. Tell the person you will edit together the best of what they've said and show it to them before you post it.
Your customers are likely to surprise you following this formula. When you get people talking about their experience, your satisfied customers will probably say amazingly complimentary things about you; things you would never have thought to write in a script.