Why should a consumer believe the claims you are making for your product or service? Good authentic testimonials come from certain targeted people who have bought or tried your product and can influence others with the great things they have to say about it. This helps establish the credibility needed to break down the barriers to purchase. The key here is to establish trust in your product and in your company.
With the George Foreman Grill, for example, we claimed it could cook your food quickly and the food tasted great. Why should people have believed us? They didn’t have to! One of our customers was the head chef at Tavern on The Green in New York City. He loved using the grill and raved about how great the food turned out — especially fish. Of course we asked him if we could record him using the grill and then use the video footage in our advertising. It was a good promotion for the restaurant and added great credibility to our marketing campaign!
Here are some strategies I’ve used successfully over the years to build brand loyalty for my clients:
How to Attain Authentic Testimonials
Step 1: Ask for Feedback.
I cannot tell you how many businesses I run across that aren’t reaching out to their existing customer base for feedback. I’ve been creating great consumer video testimonials for more than 25 years, and I promise you that if you ask, most people will be eager to help.
Mine your own database. When we are gathering testimonials for a marketing campaign, I like to schedule two taping days — one on the east coast and one on the west coast. I do this to create a diversity of testimonials in densely populated areas to help save on production costs.
Book a local home. Find a comfortable, central location that’s easy for people to get to. This way your camera crew can set up their gear and not have to waste valuable time going from location to location.
Ask for participation. Send a series of emails to your targeted customer base asking them to participate in your testimonial taping. Many people who like our product are happy to do so — you just have to ask.
Giveaways. If you don’t yet have an established customer database, give some of your product away. Then go back and interview them about their experience. And let them keep the product.
Step 2: Solicit responses that sell.
Getting your customers in front of the camera is the first step, but capturing authentic testimonials is mission critical. Here are a few tips and techniques on interviewing that have helped me produce winning videos:
Get your subject talking. Don’t ask whether they like or dislike your product; ask how they feel about it.
Be prepared for the classic deer-in-headlights response. Have the camera rolling when the person sits down. As you are greeting them and having a normal conversation, the interviewee will be at ease, unaware of the camera.
Ask people to include your question in their answers.
- Question: “Would you recommend the George Foreman Grill to your friends?”
- Answer: “I would recommend the George Foreman Grill to my friends because…”
Don’t interrupt. Let them talk. You can always go back and ask more specific questions later.
Focus on the benefits. I like to say, “features tell; benefits sell,” so solicit feedback about the benefits of your product by asking leading questions. Here are a few examples:
- “Tell me about how convenient this product is to use at home?”
- “How does it help you when you come home from work?”
- “How does it help you prepare meals for your family?”
Step 3: Listen to What the Consumer is Trying to Tell You!
Be alert. If you are interviewing 30 consumers and they all say, “I don’t like the fact that the grill takes too long to heat up,” then that’s information that should go back to the manufacturer.
Don’t worry about being perfect. A lot of people want to have the “perfect product” before they launch, but I say, don’t worry about being perfect, worry about taking action! Customer feedback will help you improve your product with candid feedback about their experience.
Testimonials work well because of social proof. Your future customers will model the purchasing behaviors of the customers you show on video because we are social beings. Put simply, people follow the crowd. You should be using this concept in all of your marketing, including your website, which should be filled with testimonial videos of happy customers singing the virtues of your product. If you start creating and deploying authentic video testimonials, your sales and conversion rates will go up — guaranteed!
Originally published on Rick Cesari
Rick Cesari has been in the direct response and video marketing industry since 1994 and consulting since 1999. His passion is continuing that work and speaking to organizations to share that breadth of knowledge. You can follow his updates on RickCesari.com.