From a marketing standpoint, what others say about you is far more valuable than what you say about yourself.
And while you may be doing a great job with online reviews and customer testimonials, you may be short on video testimonials.
Here’s a 6 step process to help you collect more and better video testimonials from your customers.
Video Testimonials – The 6 Step Process
Watch the video above for a full explanation of the steps. Check out the roundup below for quick access to the main ideas.
The Basics of Video Testimonials
Why Video Testimonials
Before we get into the steps, let’s get on the same page with the “why” behind video testimonials.
Once you have video testimonials in a YouTube playlist, your Facebook Videos tab, your website, your drip email sequences, and other useful places, you’re pre-selling yourself, your products, or your services. You’re making available content that helps people decide between you and a competitor. You’re sharing stories that pull people down off the fence and say “yes, I choose you.”
Again, what others say about you is inherently more credible than what you have to say about yourself. And to see, hear, and feel the customer delivering the success story or endorsement through video is one of the most powerful ways you can deliver it.
Why Simple Video
And “professional” production isn’t always required. A too polished video also reduces credibility as it approaches the level of television commercial or film trailer (read about image quality and trust).
When you bring in pro equipment, lights, and microphones you also increase the intimidation factor dramatically. You reduce customer comfort. You suck some of the emotion and even honesty out of the moment.
The reason you’re using video is to capture the full person and the full expression of their experience or story. Unless you’ve very, very narrowly targeted an ideal customer who’s already extremely comfortable with a formal video shoot, simpler is going to be better.
Not For Everyone
Even when you go simple, video’s not for everyone. Some people just can’t get comfortable enough to do it.
Collect typed-out text testimonials from everyone you can. And collect video testimonials from everyone you can. The latter group will be smaller, but the content will be more valuable (plus, you can also turn it into text!).
The process outlined in this post will give you more and better video testimonials from your customers. They won’t be as polished and produced, but they’ll make you more effective in attracting and converting more of your prospects. Apply any or all of these steps to your effort – and please let me know how it goes (email: ethan [at] bombbomb [dot] com).
Don’t ask everyone for video testimonials. Asking everyone wastes time and delivers some not-especially-useful results.
Instead, target the right people.
Who’s got an experience or story to share that addresses a problem or question common to your prospects? Who’s unlocking the most value or finding the most success through your product or service? Who’s given you unsolicited, positive feedback in the past? Which customers most closely match the prospects you’re having trouble converting?
Answers to these questions and others like them will help you identify your best candidates for video testimonials.
This one’s tied to the first and should go without saying, but … ask.
The worst you’ll hear is “no.” And you don’t get what you don’t ask for.
Creating a system or process to ask individuals and/or to ask specific, targeted groups of people is fundamental to your success in collecting customer testimonial videos. Individuals can be asked directly by email, text, phone, in person, or through social media. Groups are probably best asked through email.
Asking by email gives you a chance to track the opens and clicks that demonstrate interest and give you the opportunity to follow up based on action or inaction.
And you don’t have to ask for a “testimonial” – asking to have someone explain his or her “experience” or asking someone to tell their “success story” may put the ask in a less formal or intimidating context.
Helping you. Helping your business. Helping other people make a good decision about which product or service provider to choose.
These may be sufficient reasons to give you an online review, written testimonial, or video testimonial.
To increase response, though, it never hurts to incentivize. Offer each person who honors your request a gift card. Or create it as a content and offer ranked prizes.
If you’re asking targeted individuals and groups for videos and not getting what you need or want, consider upping the ante with a gift, prize, or incentive.
Last summer, we ran a contest and chose as a team the top 6 winners. This collection of more than 80 videos also provided the raw material for our seven issues in the 7 Stories series (all linked at the bottom of this post).
Here, you can also read “timeline” as “deadline.” When you make the ask and include an incentive (optional), be sure to provide a specific deadline.
And depending on how aggressive you want to be, create a timeline for your ask. For an individual, ask for it to be done “this week,” or by “next Tuesday,” or by some other specific time. Consider a follow up ask as the deadline approaches. For a group, make the first ask, ask again halfway through the timeline, ask again a day or two out from the deadline, and make a final appeal on the final day.
Obvious, but important: be sure to remove from the list people who’ve already submitted videos as you move through the timeline. It reduces confusion and honors their effort.
In my experience, most people who respond fall into one of two camps: people who respond within the first day or two and people who respond on the last day. With a campaign to many targeted customers, you’ll likely see an initial response, a mid-timeline bump, and a strong finish.
The single best tip I can give you is this: direct the video.
And by “direct,” I mean: tell them what to say and tell them how long it should be.
What To Say
For example: If you know his or her specific story, ask them to say their name and where they’re from, to briefly note how or why they engaged you or your company, to tell their customer experience story, and to thank you.
Another example: If you have two specific prospect questions or problems, reach out to a targeted segment of customers and ask each to introduce himself or herself, to briefly not how or why they engaged you or your company, to answer two specific questions (provide the questions), and to thank you.
Give them a brief outline of exactly what you want! These basic constraints will help them and they’ll increase the likelihood that you get something useful.
How Long It Should Be
In addition, give them the desired duration – generally a minute or two.
You don’t want a 20-second video loaded with superlatives. Think about the 5-star Amazon reviews that are one sentence long – they’re extremely positive, but no one learns anything from them. The minimum length of a video testimonial should be about one minute – enough to get some real substance.
You don’t want a 5-minute video, either – unless you’re prepared to edit it. If it takes someone 5 minutes to share their story, you can still use it and post it, but the likelihood of most viewers getting to some of the best ideas and expressions falls with each passing minute unless it’s an extremely compelling story.
Relieve pressure on customers and increase usability of videos by giving clear direction in your asks.
At BombBomb, it’s easy to collect video testimonials because our best customers are equipped and comfortable recording and sending videos.
For the population at large, however, it’s not as common an activity. After providing direction on what to say and how long to say it, instruct or equip people to give you a video testimonial.
Record it Yourself
You can obviously meet a customer in person and record the video with him or her. Like most situations, this presents advantages and disadvantages.
On the upside, you can control the look and setting, direct the person’s message, and record re-takes. You also leave with the successful capture of the video file confirmed and in your possession.
On the downside, your presence and that of anyone else you bring along might suppress some of the comfort of your customer and some of the natural emotion that may emerge if they’re able to do it on their own. Think about recording your video messages. Do you prefer to do it alone? Maybe in an office with a door closed? Or do you prefer to have a live audience?
Most people are more comfortable recording on their own time, at their own pace, and on their own.
Record on Your Own, Upload it to My Folder
With a webcam and its included software (or another pre-installed, free software like QuickTime on a Mac), a customer can record and save a video file, then share it with you. Same with a video recorded on an iPhone, iPad, or Android.
But how do they get it to you?
The video file is almost certainly going to be too big to send as an attachment to an email. And it’s cumbersome to get it to you by physical storage like a flash drive or thumb drive.
BombBomb Reply with Video
If you’re a BombBomb customer, you can ask and direct people to give you a video testimonial with … a video email! Plus, you can equip them to reply back to you with their own video – even if they’re not BombBomb customers themselves.
Add a Reply with Video link or button to any of your Quick Send or Composer emails from inside your BombBomb account.
Or turn on the Reply with Video button on the Powerwheel in your Gmail inbox with BombBomb’s Google Chrome extension.
When people click “Reply with Video” they’re presented with a video recorder and BombBomb takes over their webcam or smartphone camera after a click for permission.
They can record a video at their convenience through this recorder and the video is saved right inside your BombBomb account, where you can download it, get the embed code for it, or drop it into an email.
You’re equipping them to record and deliver the video at their convenience – and yours.
BombBomb Video Recorder in a Form
BombBomb Forms allow you to add common fields, custom fields, logos, graphics, videos, and more. Most people use them for lead capture. You can also use them for surveys.
Because you can add a video recorder into the form, though, you can also use it to collect customer testimonial videos.
It works a bit like Reply with Video in that it uses their webcam or smartphone camera and delivers the video into your account.
One difference, though, is that it’s hosted on a link that you can use over and over again with different customers. You can use the automatic shortened vid.us url we give to every one of your emails, videos, and forms. Or you could buy a special domain and redirect it to your form’s url.
And when a video is submitted, you can get notified that it’s been filled out (and/or have others get notified), initiate an email or video email autoresponder or drip automation, redirect them to a “thank you” page (or any other web page) and get notified that it’s been filled out.
Your Tip, Idea, or Story
Are you collecting video testimonials from your customers? What’s missing from this roundup?
Use this video recorder in a BombBomb Form embedded in this post to share something – or even ask a question.
Try it Free
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Simple video helps you be there in person when you can’t be there in person. So, it’ll improve your lead follow up, nurturing, and conversion. It’ll improve customer experience. And it’ll help generate more and better video testimonials.