Turbo-Charged Testimonials

by Keith F. Luscher
Author, Prospect & Flourish

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 the author of five books, including Prospect & Flourish and Don’t Wait Until You Graduate. He is also a recruiting director for The Money Foundation /H. Beck, Inc. Prior to this work, 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. Luscher previously worked in capital fund raising for eleven years, serving nonprofit organizations around the country. In addition, he is also a nationally known author, speaker, and expert in media, interpersonal communication and marketing.

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