As the old adage goes, “the customer is always right.” While this simple phrase is often held in high regard in retail and service industries, it hints at a more universal truth: Customer opinions are critical to your reputation, and what they say about their experience with your brand matters.
Let’s assume, like most brands, you have a segment of happy customers that are proud to have purchased from you. Too often, these customers are ignored after they complete their purchases. Brands that focus on conversion and driving sales will disregard everything that happens after the sale, turning their focus back to attaining new customers.
If that sounds like your approach, we’d argue that you’re missing out. Satisfied customers are one of the most powerful—and underutilized—marketing resources at your disposal. So, how do you put them to good use? Testimonial videos.
What are customer testimonial videos?
Testimonial videos make your satisfied customers the temporary face of your brand. Depending on what you choose to focus on, your customer (or customers) will talk about how your product or service added value to their lives, what their purchase process was like, and, ultimately, how you delivered a great experience.
The “what” in this case is pretty simple, so let’s move onto the “why.”
Why use testimonial videos?
Customer testimonials are powerful. When placed in front of the right audience, they can have a significant impact on brand awareness, engagement, and, ultimately, sales. Why? Testimonials take advantage of the concept of social proof, which is the idea that we are innately influenced by the opinions and actions of other people.
If you think social proof doesn’t impact you, think again. Consider the last time you went to buy something from Amazon and checked reviews from other purchasers, or the last time you walked past a busy restaurant and made a mental note to check it out in the future. Whether the quality that social proof signals is truly deserved or not, other people putting their support behind a brand encourages the rest of us to join in.
You might be wondering why customer testimonials are so much more effective than someone on your own team describing why they love your product or service. The answer is simple: We trust our peers more than we trust someone who has a stake in the company’s success.
Your CEO describing why he or she loves your product may be the most accurate portrayal of your brand, but it lacks credibility. The general public is smart enough to know that when your own team creates messaging, it’s likely coming from a set of predetermined talking points. Not exactly an authentic experience—and we know how important authenticity is to today’s audiences.
While it may feel like you’re placing a burden on your customers by asking for testimonials, in some ways, you’re giving back to them as well. By enlisting their help, you’re giving the impression that your customers are important to you and that you value their experience.
It’s a sign of respect to essentially put your reputation in their hands, and once they’ve shared their experience once, they may be more likely to remember to tell others about you in the future. However, you will want to avoid “giving back” to these customers in a literal sense. If you provide an incentive for customers to participate in your content, you introduce bias into their responses.
When choosing which customers to invite to participate, make sure to vary the types of perspectives you’re including. If possible, include people that represent multiple industries, use cases, and demographics. In 2015, Google found that 68 percent of consumers preferred videos from “people like me,” so there’s real value in showcasing a variety of experiences.
What to include in your testimonial videos
When you’re ready to move forward with your content, your first decision will be the big picture of what you want the video to look like. Will you focus on one customer per video or incorporate multiple people in one narrative? Do you want the tone to be serious or playful? How long will your content be?
It’s up to you to decide how many customers to include and what tone you’re going for, but in terms of length, we’d recommend keeping it on the shorter side. Anywhere between 30-90 seconds seems to be a sweet spot for testimonial content. Any shorter and you’re not sharing enough of the story to resonate with your audience, but any longer and you start to lose viewers’ attention.
Once you’ve made those choices, it’s time to prepare with the customers you’re featuring. You should provide some context and guidance ahead of time, but stay away from providing specific talking points or scripting the video. Here are some prompting questions that will help you and your customers align on the general flow and storyline:
- In your mind, why did we stand out from our competitors? Why did you ultimately purchase from us?
- How has our product or service solved a problem you were experiencing before you purchased? Are you satisfied with the solution?
- Can you share the details of your purchase experience and how it felt to work with our team?
- How does our product or service make you feel when you use it?
- Do you have any data about how our product or service has affected you? Have you saved time or money? Have you increased sales or retention?
Beyond these prompts, as much as possible, we’d recommend letting your customers use their own words and come up with their own responses. It’s often obvious when a brand puts a customer behind the camera but provides canned talking points that exactly match the brand’s existing value proposition.
Plus, if your customers speak from the heart, you can use their responses to learn about the experience you’re delivering. Maybe half of your customers will bring up a product benefit your team hadn’t even considered, or maybe they’ve identified another use case for your product that isn’t what it was originally designed for. Maybe all your customers will rave about your product but mention challenges with the checkout process, or maybe one particular salesperson is going above and beyond for customers.
All of these responses are valuable opportunities for you to learn about the experience you’re delivering, which you can incorporate into your “regular” marketing efforts going forward. Add to that the benefits of the testimonial video itself, and it’s a win all around.
Here’s what your video might look like when it all comes together.
Where to distribute customer testimonial videos
The beauty of testimonial content is that it can live virtually anywhere. Placing testimonial content on your website or social media pages tends to be the most common, but you can also think outside the box. Maybe projecting them on-screen in your stores would make a difference for your brand, or maybe your sales team would benefit from emailing them to your leads.
Here’s an example of a quick cut down for social media.
Testimonial videos are especially effective during the “consideration” phase of the buyer’s journey, or the moment when they’re evaluating your brand compared to other options on the market. At that moment, when you’re closing in on the point of purchase, testimonials can be the one variable that sways the decision one way or another. Don’t leave that moment up to chance! When planning your distribution strategy, think through what the “consideration” phase looks like for your audience and how you can own that moment.
At the end of the day, testimonial content helps you to connect your satisfied customers with prospective customers. They speak the same language, and existing customers are most likely to tell prospective customers what they need to hear to make a purchase.
We’ve shared all of our tips, so now it’s your turn to get started. With a beautiful testimonial video at your disposal, you’ll be turning loyal customers into more loyal customers in no time.