August 27, 2015
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – video testimonials play a critical role in establishing online credibility.
And it makes sense, since a testimonial that’s visual and auditory vs. text-based can create a more meaningful connection between consumers (a key factor in why online video use has drastically increased over the past few years).
But should you actually go the third-party route and outright buy video testimonials to display on your website?
Sure – if you want to lie to consumers and damage your brand credibility in the process.
Here are some drawbacks with paying for video testimonials:
They’re not authentic
Consumers today are smart and savvy online shoppers, so positioning paid-for customer reviews or testimonials on your website might not be the best idea.
More often than not, your prospects can tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake. And if potential prospects detect your testimonials aren’t “real” or perceive your message as dishonest, get ready for your credibility to plummet.
They’re not genuine
How does this differ from the point above about authenticity? Simple – paid-for video testimonials not only lack that “real” factor, they also don’t relate well with consumers.
Think about it. Are you more likely to respond favorably to an actor singing a company’s praises that was obviously scripted, or to an actual customer offering their genuine opinion and feedack? The latter is obviously more likely to resonate with prospects. When it comes to customer testimonials, that connection is what helps drive lead generation.
They’re not ethical
If the first two reasons weren’t convincing enough, you should pay close attention to this one. When you buy customer testimonials, you also risk treading on certain ethical and legal waters.
How so? Not only are your risking your brand’s credibility by buying fake video testimonials, you’re also in volation of a key portion of the Federal Trade Commision Act:
Connections between an endorser and the company that are unclear or unexpected to a customer also must be disclosed, whether they have to do with a financial arrangement for a favorable endorsement, a position with the company, or stock ownership. Expert endorsements must be based on appropriate tests or evaluations performed by people that have mastered the subject matter.
In other words, if you pay for someone to openly endorse your product, service or business, you’re required by law to disclose that financial arrangement. This ensures a certain level of transparency with consumers, which is crucial.
Bottom line: Your testimonial videos should always be real and relatable when it comes to positively influencing consumer buying decisions. While it may seem like you can save time by shelling out a few bucks for an well-versed endorsement, your consumers will likely know they’re being lied to, ultimately costing you brand credibility.
The question now is whether you’re willing to take that risk.