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Client testimonial videos: how to get results

Robert MoormanA vast majority of your customers trust the opinions of their peers much more than anything you say.

This is why simply bombarding everyone with your marketing message doesn’t work anymore; you need to go social with video.

Social proof, like client testimonial videos, offers an amazing opportunity to grow your brand in a credible and authentic way.

Get it right

Most client testimonial clips are excruciating. They’re too long. They lack credibility. They look terrible. Or they simply miss the point.

If done badly, client testimonial videos can be damaging for your business. Here are some ways to make sure you get them right.

Don’t Bang On. Unless You’re A Drummer

The number one mistake is that the video is simply too long; 60-90 seconds is plenty to get the message across.

Your clients don’t need to explain how your product works; all they need to share is how what you did for them created a positive experience.

Lo Fi options

Lo Fi is occasionally good in music, but client testimonial videos are not the place to skimp.

If you film your clients under fluorescent light with a handheld flip camera, you make them look bad because the light and general look is very unflattering.

Especially female clients won’t appreciate that, even if they may not let you know. 
Another negative aspect of the lo-fi approach is that it makes your brand look budget. That’s great if you offer a very low price, low value item, but not good if you offer a high value or B2B service or product.

Take your pick

Don’t ask your former business partner or brother in law to do a client testimonial. Most of your potential clients probably know who they are.

Authentic

Your testimonials need to be verifiable and honest. If viewers can’t see who’s talking (‘a happy client’, ‘Rob M. from Sydney’), they’re not going to buy into the message.

Don’t script testimonials; if you use phrases that sound like they’re straight out of your marketing material, you lose credibility.  Allow people to use their own language and anecdotes, but feel free to direct them in terms of being concise and relevant.

Critical mass

To be credible you need at least three testimonials. Use the various takes to get a number of people to tell one story. Don’t make 10 people repeat the same story about how great you are. Boring.

They’re not presenters

Authentic doesn’t mean badly presented. Make sure your clients get directed and coached so they feel comfortable.

Don’t make the clients present directly to camera; presenting something straight to camera is a real skill that needs training.  Instead, interview them so the testimonials are more like a conversation than a presentation.

Make sure your clients look at the interviewer when answering the questions; you’ll get answers with a better flow and a more conversational tone.

What if no-one wants to talk?

A lot of people are very reluctant to be on camera; some can’t be swayed at all. 
Here are some ways to make sure it’s more appealing to take part.

Make the shoots as low impact as possible. Either a small team locally with limited equipment and set up time, or half an hour in a studio that they can walk into.

Use the footage if the clients talks about their businesses; it doesn’t hurt you to be generous.

Give them a way out; allow them the option to veto the clip if they’re not happy with how it turns out.

But stop short of bribery

Offering clients a financial incentive to take part may be tempting, but never ever go down that path. One post about that on Facebook or Twitter and you’re looking at some major brand damage.

I you can’t find three people who are enthusiastic about your product you probably need to improve your product.

Get to the point

A lot of client testimonials don’t offer a real insight in why it’s you they should choose. 
I’ve seen client testimonials where someone describes the service like this; a building company turned up, did the job and the house is still standing.

That’s not a story; I may be naïve here, but I expect a building company to actually turn up when I pay them. What’s the story? What sets you apart?

Believe in your brand. Hallelujah!

Nothing beats social proof like client testimonials when you’re building a connection to existing and future clients; if you get these right, you’re really cooking with gas.

Happy shooting! Preferably with a camera please.

Robert Moorman is creative director at Hunting With Pixels, a strategic online video and social media production company.


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  1. Sandra Patton says:

    Robert is absolutely right! When using video on your website or social media pages make sure it really represents your company and your brand.

    Keep the messages succinct and to the point and ensure the testimonials answer the questions that people would want to know, why they went with you, what was their business needs and how you satisfied them, how good were you in responding to queries and your customer delivery.

    Ensure you’re using a good player platform – preferably one that streams well like Brightcove and you can also put part of the video in an email linking it back to the landing page on your website or social media site.

    • Robert Moorman says:

      Thanks for sharing your expertise Sandra! You clearly know your stuff.

      • Sandra Patton says:

        Yes I run a company called Emotion Mail, and sometimes getting people to think about brand and message can be difficult. I liked be professional and keep it short and see this as an investment as good messaging, something that needs to be promoted more Thank you

  2. helen glen says:

    Halleluiah! finally some sound advice that will work for modernising stagnating businesses – “Who moved my cheese” is a brilliant little book – keep up with changes or it will pass you by!! Thanks Robert.

  3. Robert Moorman says:

    Hi Helen, I love that book: it really described the necessary mindset for business in this day and age.

    The goalposts do change, and times of financial turmoil are also periods of great innovation.

    What do Apple, Gap, Walmart and Nike have in common?

    That they grew rapidly during the recession of the early 80′s by adapting to the change and offering what the market needed.

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