Make Your Testimonials Come to Life Using Video
Videos can bring life to any kind of content, and really establish a connection with viewers. They can show a lot of content in a very short span of time. Beyond that, however, videos can communicate emotion in ways that text – even well written text – isn’t always able to achieve. People can read text in different ways, and can garner a different emotion out of it. Think about how often the intent of emails or text messages are misinterpreted based on text alone. It’s the reason emoticons were invented, so that you can infuse written words with emotion.
Video makes it a lot easier to make people see the intended emotion.
Combining video with an already powerful tool – client testimonials – can really give you an astoundingly positive influence over your visitors. A client speaking on your behalf, telling others about their experience can be easily done in print. With a video, however, you’ll be able to capture the emotion and show others that your client is a real person and is really happy with your work.
There are very few things that can exert as positive an influence as a video testimonial – so use them. Use several, if you can. The more you can have in addition to your printed versions, the better. Though, for all their power and positive influence, getting a client to agree to a video testimonial can be a fairly tough task.
Some clients are camera shy, and don’t want to be on video in the first place. Others might be very busy, and the thought of being recorded might just seem like a hassle, or difficult to fit into an already tight schedule. Some may simply not be a good candidate for a video testimonial – not everyone is. They may lack the personality or enthusiasm that a really good, positive testimonial needs. In short – choose your subjects carefully. Once you’ve found a good candidate, there are some things you can do to make it easier for them to say yes.
Offer to shoot the video yourself
This can be a great way to help ease the difficulty level for them, and it gives you more control over the shoot. How do you make the shoot go as easily and smoothly as possible?
- If possible, bring a tripod. This steadies the camera and makes for a more professional shoot. It also allows you to look at your notes, and interact with the environment without having to put down the camera every time.
- Ask specific questions that are designed to get a positive response from the client. Prepare and think about these ahead of time. If there’s something specific that you know your client really enjoyed, ask about that.
- Instruct the client to answer in complete sentences and not just respond to the question asked. For example, if you asked “How was your experience working with me?” you don’t want them to say “Great”. You want them to say “My experience working with (your name) was really great.”
Send them a camera
Sometimes, traveling to the client isn’t always possible. One way around this is to buy and mail them an inexpensive flip cam. This often results in a much greater willingness to help you out – you can even tell them to keep the camera for their trouble, and just upload and email you the finished file. It’s a bit of an investment, but if it means getting an amazing video testimonial for your site, it is well worth the cost.
If you take this route, take the time to lay out instructions for the client, and ask them to answer very specific questions – but don’t phrase them as questions. Instead of sending them something like “What was your experience working with me?” phrase it along the lines of “Talk about your experience working with me.” This way, they won’t just read the question and answer it, which won’t seem very genuine. Instead, they’ll talk about it a bit, and often times come out sounding a lot more natural and authentic.
You might be concerned about the quality of such a video, and the truth is, the quality might not turn out that great. However, the good news is that even a poor quality testimonial can be highly effective if the sentiment is in the right place. Plus if it’s obvious that it came directly from a client, people aren’t often going to judge you for the poor quality, and it might even look like it was their idea to film it in the first place.
Record it from Skype
The third way you can get a video testimonial from a client is via a chat program, like Skype. You may have even Skyped with them before, especially if they aren’t a local client. Getting a client on Skype is usually pretty simple, so this route may not seem as big a deal to them. If you go this route, use the same in-person techniques we talked about before. Ask them questions and get their responses. A great testimonial will start with your client talking about their initial problem, how they found you, how much they enjoyed working with you, and how the final product was a home run.
All you would need to capture the video is a simple screen capture software program such as Camtasia, or the free program CamStudio. Just make sure that their video box is large enough, and only record their video, or crop it later.
Getting a client testimonial on video is fantastic, because it makes your clients’ stories come to life. The whole point of a testimonial is to appeal to prospective clients’ emotions and make them see that you can help them because you have helped people just like them in the past. If you can show this rather than just tell it, you will be that much closer to sealing the deal.
Wes McDowell is the Principal and Creative Director for The Deep End Web Design in Los Angeles. In addition to client work, he also runs The Deep End’s blog, and co-hosts a popular graphic design podcast called “The Deeply Graphic DesignCast.”