Video testimonials that feature real people who share their real names and real situations make up some of the most compelling and credible marketing and advertising today. Unlike printed quotes (sometimes combined with customer photos) video testimonials are not easily faked. People also look for ways to research their purchasing decisions with less effort. Video provides an easier, and often more credible, way to disseminate knowledge. As a result, video testimonials remain one of the most important tools to maximize your marketing efforts.

Here are 6 ways to use video testimonials to grow your business along with some great examples and bonus tips at the end.

1. Quote-Based Video Testimonials

quote-testimonial-videosWhen people first think of testimonials, what usually comes to mind is a quote from a customer. For as long as they’ve been around, going as far back as the early 1900’s, this has always been the most common approach for testimonials.

With quote based video testimonials you can use one or more quotes from a single happy customer, or create a mash-up video that contains multiple quotes from several of your raving fans.

The most effective quote based video testimonials are authentic and seldom scripted. This authenticity is found best through a more “organic” conversation with your customer. A question and answer interview works far better than telling a client exactly what to say and can provide you with even more long-term value. In depth conversational interviews with customers (on camera) are great for building a library of short quotes that address common reasons why some people might be hesitant to purchase your product or service.

Video testimonial quotes are brief and succinct, so they are easy to weave into sales videos, video pre-roll ads, TV commercials and other types of video content.

To present the largest volume of evidence for social proof or social influence in the shortest length of time, a mash-up of customer quotes may be the best approach to video testimonials.

Example: Mash-up of several different video testimonial quotes
Example: Video testimonial quotes combined with sales video
Example: Video testimonial quotes from one person with b-roll

2. Story-Based Video Testimonials

story-tellingFrom the Ancient Greeks to First Nations, the world’s cultures have passed down history and knowledge through the art of story telling. Humans are wired to appreciate a good story. Stories engage, inspire and encourage people to think and take action. Learning someone’s “story ” is also the strongest way to build trust and credibility.

Perhaps the most powerful form of video testimonial is one that is story-based. A story-based video testimonial allows us to connect and become emotionally attached with the person in the video. It usually involves the customer allowing themselves to be more vulnerable about their personal circumstances with the audience. Often, this can be about a particular transformation that has taken place because of the customer relationship with your company, your product or your service.

Story-based video testimonials are a “show & tell” experience for the audience where we see the customer experiences just as much as we hear about them. This form of video testimonial frequently takes on the approach and feel of a short point-of-view documentary film.

While this type of video testimonial can be the most time-consuming to produce, it is often the one that reaches “viral video” status due to its ability to connect with people on a deeper, more meaningful and emotional level.

Example: Toyota customer adventure story
Example: Senior’s home healthcare support story
Example: Two customer stories combined with sales video

3. Indirect Video Testimonials

implied-testimonialThe previous two forms of video testimonials (quotes and stories) have customers who are explicitly talking about you. In this next type of video testimonial your credibility is not spoken about directly. Instead, it is inferred or implied. In an indirect video testimonial you gain credibility from another person or organization without them directly talking about you. In this case they lend their voice to a common cause that you both share. The audience then assumes that because the person or organization supports this common cause then they must also support you.

This can be useful in leveraging the support of people and organizations who otherwise would be forced to decline participation due to conflict of interest or competitive affiliations.

For example, you might have a tire store who has the local police address legal requirements for tires. That same tire store might also be able to receive comments from other related but non-competing organizations and businesses about dealing with bad weather driving conditions. This could include insurance companies, towing companies, legal firms and others. In each case, these organizations might be reluctant to speak about the credibility of the tire company but they could easily speak about their own areas of expertise. This can in many cases create an “implied” testimonial and credibility due to their affiliation with your company in the video.

This form of “dual-purpose” or “joint-venture”video can be a great strategic way to position yourself in the marketplace as a respected expert alongside of other people and organizations with whom you would like to be associated. It can be initiated as a direct video project in partnership with each other or as a more indirect approach in the form of an invitation to participate in a project for common good. In either case, you are leveraging the credibility and influence of other people by “piggy backing” off of their experiences.

To some this might almost sound a little “parasitic” or negative in nature but there are many successful videos that leverage this formula. Not-for-profit organizations for example can easily solicit participation in a video talking about a common cause versus someone talking about how much they contributed financially and why they contributed to the not-for-profit.

Example: Patients, doctors and community leaders speak about the importance of support for healthcare and the hospital – helps to raise funds for the RIH Foundation
Example: A cancer patient survivor talks about her reasons for participation in the “Run for the Cure” – helps to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society

4. Celebrity Endorsement Video Testimonials

celebrity-testimonialsAs you have already seen, several of these video testimonial types can be mixed and matched together depending on the people you have at your disposal and the direction you would like to take. This next form of video testimonial is no exception.

Celebrity endorsement video testimonials can be both direct or indirect and can contain one or more people who are well-known to the target audience. The purpose of involving a celebrity is to attract or transfer some of the trust that people feel towards that person over to you.

Often, with this type of video testimonial, a secondary benefit can also exist. That same celebrity may choose to help you reach a larger audience by leveraging their own contacts in the form of social media, websites, subscriber base, etc. in order to help distribute and send out the video.

Example: Direct endorsement video by a well-known person
Example: Indirect endorsement video with several well-known people

5. User Generated Video Testimonials

No good discussion about video is complete without touching on the importance of UGC. Short for user-generated content, UGC is the term used to describe