The 7 Most Common Mistakes B2B Marketers Make with Video Testimonials

Nothing builds trust in a prospective buyer quite like the word of a peer who shares many of their pain points and experiences. That’s why customer testimonials are so much more effective at building confidence in a product or service.

But that’s not to say that just hastily putting together a quick 20-second video and throwing it up on your homepage is going to do the trick. There’s a lot of work that goes into making an effective customer testimonial video, throughout the filming process and beyond.

There are a number of mistakes that marketers often make when piecing together this valuable content. If you’re thinking of creating customer testimonial videos for your business, you’ll want to make sure to avoid these seven common mistakes and ensure that your videos have the desired effect on your audience.

1. Scripting

One of the keys to creating a truly great testimonial video is to avoid scripting your customers. It’s one of the biggest mistakes a company can make when creating these effective marketing tools.

It’s easy to see why it might be alluring to script, especially if your testifying customer is not used to being in front of a camera. One might mistakenly believe that memorizing specific lines or using cue cards would be a good way to put their mind at ease. Avoid that temptation at all costs.

The problem with scripting is that it saps the authenticity away from the testifying customer. Authenticity is the key to creating a successful testimonial. The viewer wants to believe that the testifying customer is being genuine and offering an honest review, completely void of corporate influence. The moment that they sense any kind of artificial tampering, the entire video will lose its credibility.

The main issue with scripting is that most of the customers who are filming these testimonials for you are not professional actors. That means that they won’t be able to sell your words, or memorized lines, as well as they can sell their own.

Instead of filming a testimonial video like a commercial, it’s better to just sit and have a conversation. Let your customer talk and elaborate on their own. It’s important that their genuine personality shine through on camera. If they are more comfortable answering questions than delivering a monologue, talk to them and edit your questions out later.

That’s not to say there should be no structure. You can have bullet points as to what you’re going to be talking about so that the customer isn’t suddenly blindsided. But keep the entirety of your video completely unscripted and you’ll create an authentic testimonial that will earn the trust of prospective buyers.

2. Not Enough Specificity

A good testimonial isn’t just about high level statements. It’s one thing to say that your company excelled as a result of a product or service, but it’s another thing entirely to actually show the results.

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There needs to be specific examples filtered throughout the video along with anecdotes relayed by the testifying customer that explain in detail how your services helped them and why they would recommend it to people who are in a similar situation.

This is so insanely critical when trying to create a quality video that your prospective customers will connect with. Simply offering them snippets of 100% general stuff is not convincing in the least. Back up your claims with a lot of detail and show your prospects why you’re the number one game in town.

Prospective buyers want the nitty gritty details and the specifics. They want to research, to learn and see if their situation also applies. If it’s all just vague warm generalities, you rob them of being able to really see if your product can apply to them.

3. No Production Value

Video testimonials are a visual medium. That means that you have to throw some pizazz into the production in order to keep the viewer engaged. Even if the verbiage is good and your information is great, people will tune out if they perceive the video to be boring.

Now, don’t go flashing lights all over the place or have words flying at the screen for the sake of doing it. Remember to keep your key demographics in mind and cater the experience directly to them.

One easy way to add some production value into your video testimonial is to film using multiple cameras and at various angles. By switching between shots you’ve created enough of a shake up to draw the eye of your viewer. If the viewer starts to “zone out” a sudden cut to a whole new angle will help to wake their brain back up.

You should also film some scenes showing the customer using the product or service. This is called B-Roll footage and it is meant to act as supplemental footage that compliments the main shot. You can keep your testifying customer’s speech going while cutting to footage that helps to accentuate their point.

Another great added production element could be visual aides. You should try to show some graphics and data on the screen that helps to demonstrate the effectiveness of your product and compliment what the customer is talking about. If they are detailing the amount of money that they were able to save while using your service, cut to a graphic that shows exactly what they’re talking about. When it comes to something as important as numbers, people like to see visual depictions to really hammer home the scope.

It’s also a great idea to have some music playing softly in the background. This helps cut through the awkwardness of just listening to a person speak with silence around them. Music helps add a layer of production quality and the right score can positively impact the emotional connection that people have with their testimony.

But don’t go overboard.

In our opinion, production value is all about striking a delicate balance between authenticity and professionalism. A ton of production value does not excuse you from producing quality content.

Being “overproduced” and feeling too staged is just as bad as having a low production value. It’s not just about having no production value, it’s about finding that perfect intersection of polish and authenticity that will truly drive your message home.

A lack of production quality is one of the most common mistakes that people make when putting testimonials together. Just remember, the more impressive you make it look, the more impressive the company looks.

4. Ignoring Human Emotion

Emotion is essential for creating a great testimonial video. That’s why it’s important to avoid a “just the facts” mentality. Some businesses, especially in the B2B sector, might think that their customers don’t want to get wrapped up in emotional stories, but that’s just not true.

Business to business customers expect personality in the brands that they interact with. That’s why it’s important to embrace the human emotions that go along with the pain points your prospective buyers are looking to resolve. Pain points are obviously emotional for anyone to deal with, so let the viewer commiserate with the testifying customer and bond with them on that emotional level.

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Have the customer talk about what brought them to the service and what they were experiencing beforehand. Briefly get into the stress that their pain points were causing before starting to list off the benefits of your service and how they alleviated those feelings.

Not only does this allow viewers to connect with the customer more, but it builds a sense of trust between them thanks to shared experiences.

One excellent way to incorporate emotional experiences into your testimonial video is to show the viewer how the life of the testifying customer has improved since they started using the product or service. The viewer will inevitably start to picture themselves in that position, which is the first step toward making a purchase decision.

Failure to create an emotional connection between prospective buyer and testifying customer is a huge mistake that could negatively impact the success of your video.

By injecting that emotional impact into the story, you make the product, the customer, and the story “real” in the minds of your audience.

5. Only Posting in One Place

Another common mistake marketers make in creating their customer testimonial videos comes after the filming and production is completed. You have to know where to post your videos, and that means using them in more than one location. Posting all of your testimonials on the website alone severely limits their exposure and creates a detrimental lack of viewer access.

One of the best places to use them is in advertisements. YouTube has a highly targeted ad system in place which allows you to specifically market to your core audience based on a number of qualifying features. You can target based on interests, age, gender, geographic location, and more.

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Another no brainer spot to share your videos is via your social media platforms. These videos should become a regular part of your social media marketing strategy. You can even boost the posts that feature them in order to regularly target qualified individuals who might be feeling the strain of pain points that are alleviated by your product or service.

You should also include your testimonial videos in sales emails and cold outreach efforts as a way to break the ice with new potential customers. According to Hubspot, emails with the word “video” in the subject increase open rates by 19% and click-through rates by 65%.

It’s a great way to subtly let them know how effective your service is. Providing them with information that they need to make an informed decision is an important service and a vital part of the sales process.

Existing customers should also see your testimonials. Make sure that you are including them in email newsletters that you regularly send out to subscribing customers. You could even highlight a new one every month as a way of celebrating the success of your customers and reminding your existing client base why they do business with you. This can also be a way to enlist volunteers for future testimonial videos.

6. Videos That are Too Long or Slow Paced

Statistically speaking, most viewers tune out and drop off from customer testimonial videos after two minutes. That means, no matter how good your content is, there’s a good chance that a lot isn’t being watched if your video goes on past the two minute mark.

If you look at some of the video testimonials for Google products and services, you will notice that none of them exceed one minute and 40 seconds. That is intentional.

Google has a hard limit on one minute and 40 seconds for all testimonial videos. That’s because they, better than anyone, understand viewer behavior.

There’s definitely some leeway to be had, but you should take a cue from Google and try to match their timing as close as possible.

Remember, pacing is important. You can’t save all of your information for the very end. While it’s important to establish an emotional connection and get some backstory out there, you’ll need to include compelling benefits of your product or service within the first 30 seconds. Something to keep in mind is that testimonials that are too long, or that take too long to get to the point are also too long to speak to any product benefits.

7. Not Making Multiple Versions / Edits of Your Video.

One video can actually turn into several. Experiment with creating multiple edits of your video, each at different lengths depending on where you’re going to be sharing them.

For example, a 30-second version of a specific testimonial might be ideal for a social media post or YouTube Advertisement. But the full-length video could be better suited to your website or in a sales email.

You should also be making different cuts of each video for different topics. This is infinitely preferable to cramming 10 different subjects into one video.

Instead of making a single three-minute video where the customer touches on three different aspects of the service, create three themed videos, each focusing on a specific topic – in addition to the main 2:00 workhorse edit.

Conclusion

A well put together customer testimonial video can create a buzz around your product. Avoid these seven common pitfalls and you’ll create an engaging and dynamic presentation which will help your customers find humanity and trust in your product to help them along their buyer’s journey.

Sam Shepler

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