Turbo-Charged Testimonials

We’re in Washington DC this week but have had several interesting conversations with clients about how they can use testimonials to build trust with clients faster. My friend Keith shared his thoughts last month on how we might use the power of video to turbocharge testimonials. I thought I would share it with you again this week. Here’s how video can provide incredible leverage for your high growth business. We’ll be back on Monday and we have great ideas on how marketing is changing the game for successful companies.

Author Keith F. Luscher

We all know that happy customers are great for prospecting for new ones–through referrals and introductions, and also through getting testimonials that you can use in your customer communication materials. But there is one medium that I have yet to see leveraged to its fullest potential for this purpose: video.

Video is a powerful tool in capturing what a happy customer says about how you helped them (and in some cases, showing). More importantly, however, video can capture the emotion of those happy customers in a way that cannot be expressed in written word alone. This all can be accomplished by creating a Customer Showcase.

Note my reference to a “customer” showcase over a product showcase. Products are features. Happy customers are the finest representation of value and benefits you can have. It’s great to have the exuberant customer (whose full names are always disclosed unless there is a valid reason to do otherwise) who tells us, on camera:

how you made their life or business less stressful and more enjoyable what their situation was like before you intervened, and what it is like now why when asked who to call for similar help, they would think of none other your company It’s great to have written testimonials. It’s another thing to use on-camera testimonials to visually and emotionally capture the attention of your prospects. Offering steak is easy. But with the help of your customers, your prospects will see, hear and feel the sizzle. With video, you are selling the emotion, the satisfaction, and pride that comes from being your customer! This will only reinforce your Value Proposition.

To this end, for each Happy Customer you should conduct a brief on-camera video interview with the customer, preferably in their everyday environment.

With that material (which can be shot in less than an hour on site), you script and edit a 30-60 second video spot, taking the happy customer’s positive sound bites (brief on-camera statements), overlaying parts with key-framed (motioned over) photographs, or supporting video of the customer enjoying the benefits that you provide. The emotional impact can be further enhanced by dramatic dissolves and flowing music.

Each customer spot can be a stand-alone mini-production. The Customer Showcase is simply a collection of these spots. Posted on YouTube, and linked to from virtually every social networking application that’s out there (as well as embedded within your own website), it can start a powerful buzz.

You may also distribute the showcase in your marketing package on DVD or Video CD. Of course, the same content can be used to create spots for television or radio. That’s the beauty of digital video—the ability to cost-effectively distribute across a wide range of social- and conventional media channels, yet deliver a consistent message using high production standards.

Further, since the Showcase is just a collection of spots, it can be easily updated and modified simply by removing old spots and/or adding new ones (much like pages in a portfolio binder).

One warning: we have all seen lots of BAD video. Don’t cut corners and try to do it yourself. Use a professional that adheres to the highest production standards for corporate and broadcast quality. Cutting corners will save you nothing, because whatever reduced cost you end up with will have wind up wasted. You will end up with something substandard that does more harm and certainly no good.

This does not mean it has to be expensive. I am simply emphasizing that you should plan on investing in quality, or not investing at all.

Keith F. Luscher, (Google Search) is a business development director for The Money Foundation, an independent investment professional’s think tank and production group operating within a broker-dealer. Prior to this he served professionals in the insurance and financial services industries as a management consultant. In that role, he advised producers on issues related to marketing and prospecting, and developed groundbreaking educational curriculum. In addition, Luscher is also a nationally known author, speaker, and expert in media, interpersonal communication and marketing.

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