Authentic and high-quality video testimonials as social proof build trust among your potential customers. But do you know how to make sure they resonate with your audience?
May 25, 2011, marked the end of an era. It was the last day Oprah appeared live on her syndicated talk show. Her afternoon hour on TV was a supernova of national attention, and she singlehandedly launched the careers of everyone from Dr. Oz to the Dog Whisperer.
Before the age of digital distraction, it only took a brief appearance on Oprah to knock any competitors off the playing field. Those days are gone forever.
Today people buy on recommendations from their circle of friends and colleagues first, but the next best thing, the “social proof” that builds trust among your potential customers, is a user or customer testimonial. And the most effective (and shareable) testimonials are on video.
There’s a science and an art to creating a “good” video testimonial; by “good,” I mean it gets the results you’re looking for. In order of importance:
1. It's authentic
No actors, ever. I don’t mean professional actors. That’s a given. I mean that if the person in front of the camera appears even slightly insincere, it will be obvious to the viewer. There is an art to watching and listening to someone record a testimonial. It requires close attention to faces and body language and a gut instinct about how it’s going to “play” to the audience.
2. It's on message
Whether it’s the message of a particular campaign, your brand message, or a call to action on behalf of your brand, the words matter almost as much as the authenticity. So make sure your message is right on target.
3. It represents your target audience
People instinctively trust people who look or sound like they do. So who you choose for the testimonial video plays an important role here. They really have to be representative of your target market and ideal customer.
4. It sounds good
It seems counterintuitive, but the video in a testimonial is less important than the audio. In the age of YouTube, people are accustomed to selfie videos, but they need to hear the audio clearly for the testimonial to do its job. If you’re shooting outdoors, prepare for noisy interruptions.
5. It looks good
Even though the sound is more important, what the video looks like will also influence the buying decision.
- Don’t shoot under a tree: shadows of the leaves will mark the person’s face.
- Don’t overproduce it: in certain cases, a “self-recorded” look is appropriate.
- Don’t make it ‘cheesy’: sometimes, a more polished look is more effective. It really depends on your KPI.
- Don't make it unprofessional: it will be super easy for you if you go with testimonials templates to edit your videos because then you'll not have to put a lot of effort into editing.
The background, wardrobe, lighting, location, choice of music (or none), and how you identify your testimonials also depend on your KPI. All of the moving parts have to synchronize, and together they tell a story. Make sure it’s the right story for you.
Looks, age, ethnicity, wardrobe, setting, voice, accent, energy level, tone of voice, eye line, and facial expressions are all components of that story. When it all comes together, you’ll know it even before you put it up on your website, push it out on social media or send it in email.