Friday, August 13, 2010

Tips for a Successful Video Testimonial

One of the most effective customer reference program tools are video testimonials. These are amazing tools which can be used for many purposes including putting on your website, using at tradeshows/events, sharing with internal employees, for sales reps to use on sales calls, lead generation activities, customer newsletters, put in on YouTube, etc. Video testimonials are so effective because people trust the authentic voice of a customer and because we like to buy products and services that know has worked for someone else. Another reason people like videos are because we are a generation that likes things quicker. Why read a customer success story that takes 5-10 minutes when we could watch a two minute video?

Here are some tips I've learned in my five years of working with video testimonials.
  • Hands down my favorite tip is to repurpose the content from your videos. Get all the footage from the filmmaker, have someone transcribe and then use that content for a success story, press release, pitch for press articles, use in collateral etc. It's amazing how much you can get more bang for your buck AND save your customer from having to tell the same story over and over again!
  • Always try to get the highest level employee possible for your video. If your contact at the company is a database manager, try to see if you can get his boss or even the CIO in the video. That adds so much more credibility when you have senior management in the video.
  • Ensure that the video being shot matches what you need as a marketing team. BEFORE you even ask a customer to do a video, are they the right customer to do a video? For example, are they a good size company, big-name company, in an industry your company is targeting, is their story interesting, are they using a new product etc? Make sure you qualify those things before the video and then make sure to have the customer point these things out in the video.
  • Filming customers at events can save a lot of money and time! I really like filming at customer sites too but if you have a customer event coming up, see if you can get some customer advocates to be videotaped at events. At LANDesk, I got seven customer video testimonials in one afternoon!
  • Shop around to get the best quality and price for vendors. I have paid as little as $2,000 and as much as $50,000 and while there was some difference between these two, it wasn’t a $48,000 difference.
  • DO NOT do just a talking head video. Look for opportunities to get a customer demoing how they use the software, film a team meeting in a conference room, show their data center, show people talking at their desks, whiteboarding something at a board, etc. Make sure to film the office including their logo, awards they've won, agents in their call center, whatever you can. Definitely get some b-roll outside including the building, the campus, company sign etc. If you get a great filmmaker they'll already be doing these things but stay on top of it so you get the video you want and are paying for.
  • Always send someone from your company to supervise the video shoot including making sure your customer is treated like gold, ensure everything runs smoothly, pick the filming locations, ask the questions, ask follow-up questions, handle issues that come up, etc. In my book this is a necessity.
  • Make your video testimonial compelling! Make sure the customer talks about return on investment including dollars/time/headcount saved, impact your product/solution has had on their company, the results they've seen etc. Without this your video is just a video. With stats, metrics, powerful statements then you have a video testimonial.
  • Help your customers! Send them materials to help them prepare for the video shoot. I've put together a video guideline sheet that is two pages of tips to help your customer be comfortable (what to wear, what to expect, how to prepare etc). It's a great document that customers love!
  • Last but not least, always give your customers the questions beforehand, so they can think about their answers BEFORE the shoot. They'll appreciate your thoughtfulness and they won't be as nervous!