November 6, 2014
Where does the temptation to pay for video testimonials come from?
By now I think we’re all familiar with sites that promise testimonials for a low price. They try to hook you on the ease of the process, which involves a total stranger giving your business a glowing review, so you can place it on your site.
So, what’s the appeal? I guess it’s easy enough to hand over the cash for instant results. But what’s the downside? First, let’s take a look at what makes traditional video testimonials, the ones that actually come from loyal clients, such a powerful part of your marketing strategy.
Why testimonials work
One of the key elements behind the success of video testimonials is the social proof that’s at play. Social proof is a psych term used to describe the need for us as consumers, and in other areas of our life, to look around us before making a decision. We like to check in with what the crowd’s doing – to make sure we’re not making a bad decision that goes against the norm.
This is especially true with purchasing decisions where we’re investing time and money. Video testimonials provide reassurance. If other consumers have made the decision to stick with your brand and are willing to record a testimonial about it, that significantly diminishes the possibility they’d be making a mistake if they did the same.
They also work well because it shows that you’re committed to hearing from clients. It’s a rarity these days that brands are proactive with customer service and making them feel like their experience and how you can keep up the good work or do better, is important to you.
Allowing this process to play out among consumers has a proven track record of success which doesn’t include introducing testimonials that are paid for into the mix.
The truth about purchasing video testimonials
The truth about making the decision to pay for video testimonials is harsh, but I think you can handle it.
The truth is that it shows a lack of effort, an unwillingness to put in the time to strike up that conversation and ask for video, and the follow through to make sure you’re asking the right questions so the video that goes up on your site, or gets shared, is doing what you’d like it to.
A concern that I’ve heard expressed is, What do I do if I don’t have enough clients right now to fill that need for testimonials?
You work with what you have. If that means waiting it out until you get to the point where you have enough clients who have been with you for awhile, who would feel comfortable giving you their support, then that’s what you do. The solution here isn’t, I’m just starting out so I better pay for testimonials to get the ball rolling. Your efforts should be focused on maintaining excellent customer service and building up your client base instead of using fake testimonials because you think they’ll help get you ahead.
When it comes right down to it, paying for testimonials is dishonest. There’s nothing of value in these videos because they’re not actually reflecting the experiences of your clients. It doesn’t play into what makes actual video testimonials a hit, and it will really bruise your brand’s image once consumers start calling you on it. Which they will. Plenty of businesses make the mistake of underestimating consumers, who have a finely honed sense of when they’re not getting the whole truth. In the same way that we can tell when text testimonials have been planted, same goes for video.