Everyone would agree that someone saying something nice about your business or product is helpful. According to lxahub.com, word-of-mouth marketing is even more effective than paid advertising. 64% of marketers agree that word-of-mouth is their best form of marketing, and 43% of marketers use word-of-mouth in their marketing strategy. That means showing positive customer rankings, reviews and, of course, testimonials.
Think of how often you’ve looked up a product or a company’s reviews. Think of all the company videos you’ve seen that have used customer testimonials. Bet you’ve seen a bunch. Yet, for all of the compelling power of testimonials, some are more effective than others, and it’s worth diving in to find out why.
ELEMENT NOT PLOT.
It’s not generally recommended that testimonials be the “sole reason” for making a company video. Rather, they should be a piece of a larger story. A story that involves a problem or need, and how your company solves that problem or fulfills that need. When the customer’s life is benefited, then the testimonial is important. It’s an element, not the plot. Also, the fact that you’re using this element shouldn’t dictate what kind of story you want to tell. For instance, can testimonials be used in a humorous video? Of course. Can they be used in a more emotional tug-at-the-heartstrings approach? Sure. A fast-paced, technology driven story? You bet.
ON-CAMERA PERFORMANCE MATTERS.
In a perfect world, an ideal B2B video testimonial might be the CEO of a partner company you work with praising your company to the skies. But now, let’s also say that said CEO isn’t very good on camera. What do you do? We recommend either keeping what they say very short, or better yet, find another person for the testimonial. On-camera performance, conviction, and believability does matter. A CEO who’s a nervous public speaker or gets self-conscious when cameras roll is not necessarily doing you a favor by being in your video. But if you’re going to go that route because they’re a partner CEO, then it’s wise to have personnel on set who are used to working with non-professional actors to extract the best performance out of them as possible. There are numerous ways experienced producers and directors can achieve this, but the main takeaway here is if someone is not very personable when they’re doing a testimonial, that lack of personality and believability will have an impact on your video. So, be aware.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME TO GET THE SOUNDBITE YOU WANT.
Many times, a partner or customer will agree to do a testimonial for you, but they’re only willing to give you a certain amount of time. This can be an issue that you’ll want to solve from the start. It can take time for a non-professional actor to give a thoughtful, well-reasoned explanation of why your company and product made their life better. So, let people who have agreed to be in your video know that an important time investment is involved. Talk to them on camera about a lot of things in order to get just the right soundbite you need. Another way to approach this is to pull out of your pocket a few thoughts you’d like them to say using their own words. That’s not being manipulative, that’s being clear about expectations. Also, be willing to reciprocate for business partners when they make their company video. After all, if all partners in a B2B chain are invested, everybody in the chain wins.
We all have certain idiosyncrasies in our speech patterns. Some say “um” to fill in the gap between thoughts. Millennials have a tendency to say “like” a lot. “Like, when this happened, I was like…” There was once a CEO who subconsciously inserted the word “Y’know” several times into his speeches, and this drove his speechwriter up the wall. Speech idiosyncrasies really stand out like a sore thumb on camera, especially in a testimonial situation. So carefully watch this during production. Again, an experienced video director should know how to get around these bad verbal habits by using a number of techniques.
Speaking of techniques, there are some camera and production techniques that are very helpful to keep in mind when shooting testimonials. For example, keep your testimonial star in sharp focus while keeping the background in soft focus. That way, attention is drawn solely to the person on-camera. Another advisable technique is to shoot the testimonial from two different angles. Say, a medium close up straight on, then a close up in a three-quarter or profile view. Having your camera or cameras always in slight motion is also recommended. This would be either pushing slightly in or pulling out on your subject, or panning left to right, or right to left. Such movement helps to keep visual interest and psychologically says your company is about action. Another important thing to remember in testimonials is being mindful of good lighting, as well as hair and make-up. Someone who’s poorly lit suggests untruthfulness. Someone who appears “moist” on camera, or has a ruddy complexion, or has a few wild strands of hair out of place is likewise distracting. People on-camera don’t have to be movie stars, but they should look their best. So be sure to budget for a make-up person and a good lighting package.
GET SPECIFIC ABOUT RESULTS.
A customer or business partner saying your company or product is “Great” is one thing. But saying: “We saw a 20% increase in revenue within six weeks”—or something that specific is much better. As much as possible, you want your testimonial star to give specific benefits. “Store traffic improved 10%,” or, “There were fewer production line breakdowns,” or, “Patients saw an improvement in their skin within six days,” etc.
GET EQUALLY SPECIFIC ABOUT YOUR VIDEO AD AGENCY.
The bottom line is, when testimonials are done right they increase trust. Because the people talking are your customers. Your peers. Many people trust testimonials as much as they would a recommendation from a friend or family member. According to Webdam, 89% of marketers say that customer testimonials and case studies are the most effective content forms for influencing purchases. But as we’ve seen throughout this blog, there are certainly pitfalls that can sink the best intentioned testimonials. Hybrid Moon has been shooting company videos and doing effective testimonials for decades. We’ve shot videos for category leading companies like Carrier, Lowe’s, Nike, Siemens, ExonMobile, as well as smaller companies ready to make a change when it comes to making more effective videos. We believe in storytelling, creating an emotional bond, and always giving clients the best value for their dollar. Testimonials are something we’re particularly good at, and we can’t wait to tell you our story with, of course, specific results.
SEE HOW WE’RE CREATING ENGAGING, TARGETED TESTIMONIALS FOR ALULA SECURITY.