Smart Use of Testimonials
by Alex Amos, Executive Producer, The Edge
I’m currently faced with a challenge: how do I find a new window cleaner? First world problems, eh? Well I’m doing what we all do when we want to find a service to trust – we ask our mates, neighbors or listen to the views of others we respect.
Testimonials can often be dismissed as a little old school, but they are still very powerful marketing tools. Your customers can be very credible and persuasive advocates – often saying things about your business in words you wouldn’t necessarily use. We can all be cynical. We don’t believe everything we are told, especially when it comes to marketing. But we do believe other people. Hence Trip Advisor have flourished and social media has become such a force to be reckoned with.
Why is a film agency writing about this? Because a short, filmed customer testimonial can have huge power. In terms of impact, you can’t really beat a professionally made film. Emotion is the primary driver of decision-making – and you simply can’t get emotion across as effectively through ink on paper as you can through video.
We produce regular testimonial films for a large high street bank. When I asked our client why they chose testimonials as their number 1 marketing strategy, she explained:
“Research showed that our clients viewed us as a financial partner. Testimonials are real life ways of bringing the relationship to life. But since 2008 there has been a lot of mistrust of banks. We were seen as arrogant. Testimonials became a subtler way to rebuild trust. Our customers talk about us indirectly. It allows us to step back from saying great things about ourselves.”
Creating a great video testimonial isn’t easy though, and will often take a greater investment of time and effort than many other digital marketing methods. But a well-made video testimonial can be one of the most valuable pieces of content you’ll create. Here’s why:
- People prefer video – In fact, four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. In Facebook’s Q3 2018 Earnings Call, Mark Zuckerberg said, ‘Video is a critical part of the future. It’s what our community wants, and as long as we can make it social, I think it will end up being a large part of our business as well.’
- They’re easy to share – Recent statistics suggest social video gets shared 1200% more than text and images combined (SmallBizTrends). According to our 2018 State of Social Video Marketer Trends survey, 93% of marketers say they’ve landed a new customer thanks to a video on social media, and top brands have used customer success stories to create viral ads, like Intel’s Meet the Makers series – https://youtu.be/b6wHpHAZ1tA
- Seeing is believing – For a video campaign to be effective, your users need to be able to trust the subject and believe their testimony. Fortunately, people trust reviews from strangers as much as, or more than, they trust the opinions of their friends or family members.
- Social proof – This is a powerful decision-making factor, which basically means the subject of the video needs to be representative of the general customer base. Social media posts that contain a video have 48% more views than those that don’t. (HubSpot)
The power of a testimonial means that the person giving it is putting their reputation on the line. If they give a testimonial and the business doesn’t live up to what they have to say, their reputation is damaged. So, it is a very significant bond between the service getting the testimonial and the individual giving it.
Now for some exciting stats:
65% of senior marketing executives believe that visual assets are core to how their brand story is communicated. (Hubspot)
9% of marketing professionals worldwide name video as the type of content with the best ROI. (Hubspot)
Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%. (Social Fresh)
78% of CMOs think custom content is the future of marketing. (WebDam)
A good word about your business from customers serves as reassurance about your quality which nudges other prospects to sign up. Others have tested the business for you and given it a thumbs up, so your risk is reduced.
As our banking client explained: ‘A testimonial from a good brand we have a relationship with helps elevate the message. We utilise their brand equity. It’s about ‘me too’! People think “if this service is good enough for their brand, its good enough for ours too.”’
We live in a world of incredible choice. So testimonials are powerful and vital marketing tools that can be important ways to gain trust and encourage customers to buy. Any business that has a legion of raving fans who are prepared to come out and not only share their experience but also recommend that others use this business, has a huge competitive advantage. Whether adding them to an email campaign, or to your sales process they are sure to leave a lasting impression on your target audience.
I’ll let you know how I get on with the window cleaner. And if the service is good, I’ll be sure to recommend.