When is the last time you bought something online, ate at a restaurant, or went to a movie without seeing what other people thought of it first? If you’re anything like me, it’s probably been a while. I look for the star rating on Amazon, and on podcasts I subscribe to. I scour Yelp for restaurant reviews before I choose where I eat, and I never buy movie tickets until I’ve paid a visit to Rotten Tomatoes.
We rely on other people’s opinions way more than we realize in making decisions as consumers. The information is so widely accessible, so why risk shelling out money on something if we aren’t pretty damn sure we’re going to like it?
Well guess what? Your potential customers are no different. They want to see that what you’re offering is of value before they choose you. They’re looking for social proof that you are worth their time and money. And there is nothing more powerful than a testimonial from a previous satisfied customer to entice a new sale.
Unfortunately, most businesses treat testimonials as an afterthought, including a few written blurbs on a separate page. While certainly better than nothing, a written testimonial can only entice a potential lead so much. Compound that with the fact that the testimonial lives on your site — which you control — how believable is it really?
Well get ready, we’re about to turn your testimonials up to eleven, using one of my favorite secret marketing weapons.
Video, For the Win
Video works on websites for many reasons. Of all of them, I’d say trust is the biggest. People trust what you say in a video, with one caveat: you have to be telling the truth.
While it’s hard to know if a written testimonial is real, video makes it obvious. People are hard-wired to spot lies and bad acting. And the opposite is true as well. So if you can get a previous or current customer to get excited about you on video, that enthusiasm will shine through, and be very convincing in a way that written words could never be.
Take a look at one of my video testimonials, so you can see what I mean:
How to Get Video Testimonials
Whenever I bring up video testimonials to a client, they all have the same hesitation: They don’t think they have the skills or equipment to pull it off. Let me dissuade that fear right now:
The goal is to get an authentic, passionate testimonial. Production values are not nearly as important.
You’re not trying to wow prospects with your video production skills, (unless you’re a videographer.) So don’t get tripped up in the details. Smartphones take very good video these days, and that should be all you really need. Let’s go over my favorite method of actually obtaining video testimonials.
My Video Testimonial Strategy
I find the most effective way to get a testimonial from a client is to make it as easy as possible on them. This means you should travel to them, and shoot it yourself. All they have to do is show up, and answer a few questions.
Questions are key here. What you don’t want to do is just ask your subject to start talking. They will likely need a little more guidance in order for their testimonial to hit all the right beats and tell a story from start to finish.
Start recording your subject, and ask the first question. Be sure to instruct them to work the question into the answer so that the statement stands on its own. For example, if you ask “What’s your name?” she would answer “My name is Kathy.”
Here are the questions I like to ask in a web design testimonial:
- What were the frustrations you had with your previous website?
- How was the process working with (my company)?
- Did (my company) meet or exceed your expectations, and why?
- Would you recommend (my company) to others looking for a new website?
With that range of questions, I can put together a story about how they were unsatisfied with what they had originally, how much they enjoyed working with me, how much they love what I provided them, and that they would recommend my services to others.
All you need to do is edit out the parts where you ask the questions. In addition, you might want to edit it for time, as most viewers will only watch for between 1-2 minutes. There are many free versions of video editing software available online.
Lastly, upload the finished video to YouTube. You can then embed it onto your site where it can live 24/7, convincing new prospects that you are the business they want to work with.
Social proof is one of the most motivating factors I can think of when it comes to winning new business. People want to make sure that you have been tested, and vetted before they commit to you.
A video testimonial goes beyond the basics, and has the power to connect and convince your prospects that you can help them. They know this because they have seen firsthand that you have helped others just like them.
Wes McDowell is the owner of Deep End Web Design Chicago, a digital marketing and branding agency. He is very passionate about user experience, web design and internet marketing, and loves sharing his latest findings through his blog and podcast.