How To Make A B2B Testimonial Video With Sam Shepler of TestimonialHero

Last updated on June 15th, 2024

Sam Shepler of TestimonialHero focuses on helping B2B marketers and business owners with their testimonials, which is such a huge benefit to businesses. On the show today Sam will give some tips on how testimonial videos can help your sales and marketing campaigns.

GUEST: Sam Shepler of TestimonialHero  | LinkedIn | Get “The 15 Ultimate B2B Video Testimonial Questions”(top of page) | How B2B Testimonial Videos Can Help Your Marketing and Sales Campaigns Exceed Expectations | Twitter | LinkedIn

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HOSTS: The VidAction Podcast is hosted by:
– Dane Golden of VidAction.tv and VidTarget.io | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube
– Renee Teeley of VideoExplained and ReneeTeeley.com | LinkedIn | Twitter |
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SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddyVidIQMorningFameRev.com, and other products and services we recommend.

PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

TRANSCRIPT

Sam Shepler:
Testimonials, when it comes down to it, they could really help bridge that trust gap. Fundamentally nothing really happens from a sales from a revenue perspective until that trust is established. There’s a lot of different ways that you can kind of add social proof to your business. There’s something so powerful about actual authentic real customer on camera. Why do they matter? They just make marketing easier. They’ve reduced friction in the sales process because of increasing that trust.

Dane Golden:
It’s time for the VidAction Podcast. This is the podcast where we help marketers and business owners just like you get more value out of your video marketing efforts. My name is Dane Golden from VidAction.tv, where we help you up your game for business and transform your viewers into loyal customers. My other business is VidTarget.io, where we help you get a higher return on your YouTube ad spend with targeted YouTube video placement lists. My co-host Renee Teeley, she’s from Video Explained, but she is on assignment today. It’s just going to be me. I get to talk to our special guest. For you, the listener, today you should always know that you can follow along in your podcast app with the transcript and the links for our guests and send me or Renee a message on social media. I’m Dane Golden. She’s R. Teeley and we’d love to know how you like the show. Today we have a special guest. It’s Sam Shepler of Testimonial Hero. Welcome Sam.

Sam Shepler:
Thanks Dane. It’s great to be here.

Dane Golden:
Sam Shepler, we asked you on the VidAction Podcast today because at Testimonial Hero, you guys focus on helping B2B marketers and business owners with their testimonials, which is such a huge benefit to business. You have a great blog post that’s called How B2B Testimonials Can Help Your Marketing and Sales Campaigns Exceed Expectations. That gave some great tips, and I thought we’d sort of go through that as sort of a checklist or frame our topic today. Does that sound good?

Sam Shepler:
That sounds great. Happy to chat all about how business owners can leverage customer videos to just make the sales process easier and drive more revenue.

Dane Golden:
Okay. Before we get started, I want to make sure we understand for Testimonial Hero, is it a software? Is it a service? Is it both? What’s it all about?

Sam Shepler:
Absolutely. Testimonial Hero, we are a service. We use our own software behind the scenes to kind of create efficiencies. But fundamentally, for our customers, what they’re experiencing is a service. The whole idea behind our service is to make really high quality, stunning customer testimonials incredibly frictionless, both for the participating individual giving the testimonial, as well as our clients.

Dane Golden:
Okay. It’s a pretty basic question, but why are testimonials, on the one hand so important to business, on the other hand so hard to get right?

Sam Shepler:
Well, first of all, let’s just think about what’s the point of marketing?

Dane Golden:
What is this point of this whole thing we spend our lives doing?

Sam Shepler:
Especially in business-to-business, the point of marketing is just to make sales easier. People do business with people they know, that they like and they trust. And where testimonials can help is that they could really help bridge that trust gap. Fundamentally, nothing really happens from a sales from a revenue perspective until that trust is established. There’s a lot of different ways that you can kind of add social proof to your business. Logos of customers you’ve worked with is a really great one. Written testimonials on your site is a really great one. Those can really only get you so far because there’s something so powerful about an actual authentic real customer, ideally several of them on-camera. You don’t really get that with texts. So in terms of why do they matter? They just make marketing easier. They reduce friction in the sales process, and it just really helps drive more results of marketing, closes deals faster, and ultimately it’s all about because of increasing that trust.

Dane Golden:
Here’s a funnel question. Where on the funnel is a testimonial? Is it the top of the funnel when people are just learning about the business in question? Is it middle? Is it right there, right before they make a purchase? Because I think of testimonials as a little bit lower on the funnel, not quite at the top. What are your thoughts?

Sam Shepler:
It’s a great question. Traditionally speaking, yes. Typically people want to kind of understand whatever your solution is and then okay, it’s like, do I really want to engage further and take the next step? Let’s see some social proof. Traditionally, it would be kind of mid funnel. However, really the power of a customer and just customer voice in general, customer video, is really valuable throughout the buyer journey. There’s really never a time when me as a buyer or us as buyers, when we’re not interested in hearing from peers and such. It’s always valuable to get that pure opinion. So in the simplest sense, yes, it’s more mid funnel, if you had to pick mid-to-late funnel, if you had to pick a single answer. But the more accurate answer is it’s throughout the funnel, just in different formats.

Dane Golden:
That’s what I was about to say.

Dane Golden:
We want to hear from them, but maybe it might not appear to us looking like what we traditionally might call a testimonial.

Sam Shepler:
Exactly.

Dane Golden:
But it acts as one, nevertheless.

Sam Shepler:
Exactly.

Dane Golden:
So when you go about shooting a testimonial video, whether it’s with you or some other tool or process, should the benefiting company do it? If I’m asking someone for a testimonial, should I do the shooting or should the customer shoot it themselves? And then who should edit it? How should it be edited?

Sam Shepler:
It’s a great question. I think the main answer is, well, who’s going to do the best job of it? Because you don’t necessarily get a bunch of retakes. It’s not like a marketing video that we put out for ourselves. As video marketers, it doesn’t turn out perfectly, well, we can just redo it. But when you involve a customer in the mix, you want to make it as smooth as possible. So you really want to nail it the first time. You don’t want to have to ever go to-

Dane Golden:
You don’t want to waste the customer’s time.

Sam Shepler:
Exactly. Exactly right. With that in mind, I mean, the question is who’s best to do it? Probably not the customer for a lot of reasons. If you yourself have the chops, then potentially that could be a great solution, and then as long as you have the time as well. If you don’t have the chops and/or you don’t have the time, that’s when companies come looking for solutions like Testimonial Hero to just completely take the entire process off their hands, know they’re going to get a easy and flawless result, and just not have to worry about it.

Dane Golden:
It brings to me a question specifically about your service, about Testimonial Hero. So if I hire you to help me shoot a customer testimonial, is it a solution where you are recording them through their webcam? Are you going in person? Is it a combination? What is it exactly?

Sam Shepler:
Sure. We have two main services. On of them is the on-site testimonials where we have a network of videographers all over the world, and we actually kind of leverage that network to deliver the value proposition of essentially video testimonials on demand at flat rate prices. So it’s very convenient for our customers because they know exactly what it’s going to cost, there’s no travel fees, whether if it’s in Boston or Bahrain. [crosstalk 00:10:42]

Dane Golden:
Currently happening during the pandemic, that part of the business?

Sam Shepler:
Not so much, which gets me to the remote offering. The onsite stuff is coming back in, actually, Europe. We’re still pretty active because during this pandemic, things are going back to normal, relatively speaking, a bit more there. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were kind of forced to innovate and create this new remote product line, which has been very successful for us, and we’re very pleased with. That is the 100% remote offer and that currently is making up a much larger percentage of our business because of the COVID-19.

Dane Golden:
What does that part do? What do you do in that situation?

Sam Shepler:
For the remote situation, essentially, we are turning average Joes into video pros. We’re helping the customer just self-film themselves with the best camera that they have on them, which is their smartphone, while also interviewing them through a Google Meet web call. We’re actually doing a bit of a, it’s really a remote production and the interviewing is done through the web call and the video call and the actual filming. [crosstalk 00:12:29] And then they film themselves, following our guidance and then they just upload us the footage, and then it’s a relayed to the races.

Dane Golden:
That’s great. This might be with your service or without, we’re trying to use your expertise to not just tell people about your service, but also give insights to the whole concept through your expertise on this podcast. So in general, is it better in a testimonial to give the person a script to memorize? Or what’s the best process?

Sam Shepler:
Absolutely. The best process is unscripted, just conversational and natural. The questions that you ask are incredibly important. Because-

Dane Golden:
That’s why I’m asking them.

Sam Shepler:
Yes, exactly.

Dane Golden:
That’s why I brought the expert, Sam Shepler, to ask them.

Sam Shepler:
Exactly. Basically it’s like a garbage in kind of garbage outfit thing. You’re only going to get as good content as the questions you ask. So we actually have a free giveaway on our site. For anyone who’s interested, it’s testimonialhero.com. It’s the 15 best interview questions.

Dane Golden:
Oh good.

Sam Shepler:
And it’s just a framework that we use in our own projects. Anyone can take that and modify it. If anyone wants to do a DIY situation, I definitely recommend that. No need to reinvent the wheel, just kind of steal our framework. [crosstalk 00:14:14]

Dane Golden:
We’ll put a link to that in the show notes. So visually, both with shooting and editing, what type of a story are we trying to tell in a testimonial about the company? Or the customer? Or the process? What’s the goal of the testimonial story, if you will?

Sam Shepler:
At the simplest level, it’s really a before and after story. I was in this situation. I had this problem. I had this challenge. Then I used this product or service. And here is the new reality. Here is the outcome. Here’s the result. So if we look at it in a very, very high level simple way, it’s a before and after story. Because every good story needs some sort of challenge or problem or pain point to overcome. Really a testimonial is no different.

Dane Golden:
Okay. Is there a difference between a B2B testimonial and a B2C testimonial? Or is it really more dependent on the product or service?

Sam Shepler:
That’s a great question. I think I would say one difference is that B2B testimonials, the production quality bar is a bit higher in terms of what is it accepted and generally what people want. And it depends, also, on where it’s being used. Is it just a LinkedIn post or is it on the front page of your website? It depends. But I think consumer testimonials, it’s fairly common to have just, it’s almost more of a video review where someone just kind of looks into the phone and talks about their favorite running shoes they just bought. And then you capture a lot of them en masse, and it’s more of a self-submitted thing. You game-ify it for discounts and whatnot.

Sam Shepler:
Whereas a B2B testimonial, it’s a bit less about just mass volume and it’s a bit more about getting this testimonial from this specific customer for a reason to appeal to a very other specific buyer persona and solve a specific problem. So it’s a bit more tactical lower volume. Therefore typically a bit more strategy and production value is going to go into that versus not always. But typically it’s consumer testimonials, it’s more of a volume play. You can sort of look at Amazon, for example. Anyone selling on Amazon wants to get as many reviews as possible. That’s part of the social proof [crosstalk 00:17:59].

Dane Golden:
As many good reviews.

Sam Shepler:
Yes. As may good reviews.

Dane Golden:
They’re all awesome.

Sam Shepler:
Everything’s four or five stars.

Dane Golden:
So I wrote down a list of questions here and I frankly can’t remember if I got these from your blog post or if I made them up. They’re probably pretty similar. And I sort of would like to get that sort of thumbs down or thumbs up from you as far as good question, not good question, and plus ABC. So this is sort of a lightning round.

Sam Shepler:
Sure.

Dane Golden:
Question A. What were your main concerns before buying this product? Thumbs up? Thumbs down? Good question? Not good question?

Sam Shepler:
It’s an okay question. If I was pressed for time, it wouldn’t be an essential question.

Dane Golden:
All right. That’s my wa, wa, wa. Okay. What was your experience after buying this product? Good? Not good? Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

Sam Shepler:
Thumbs up.

Dane Golden:
Okay. Which specific feature do you like the most about this product? Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

Sam Shepler:
I’d say thumbs up. I think I would change the phrasing to include favorite. So maybe what’s your favorite feature about this? What’s your absolute favorite?

Dane Golden:
All right.

Sam Shepler:
One thing is superlatives work really well. So questions like what’s your absolute favorite? Or what’s the number one benefit? Any sort of superlatives, whatever the reason, just helps people kind of clarify in their own head when they’re answering and kind of helps them kind of shape their own thoughts.

Dane Golden:
Okay. Which part of this product impacts your day to day the most? Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

Sam Shepler:
Thumbs up.

Dane Golden:
Okay. What changes have you made in your company’s culture or process because of this product? Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

Sam Shepler:
I would say neutral. I think it’s very dependent on the type of product.

Dane Golden:
Okay. If you recommend this product, what kind of business is this product best suited for? Thumbs up? Thumbs down?

Sam Shepler:
Thumbs up. I would change the phrasing a little bit to would you recommend this product or service to whom and why? But I think that’s a great question.

Dane Golden:
Okay. And I assume when you have people answer these questions, you want to answer them without the question itself. So you want to phrase as if it’s a statement, as opposed to an answer to a question so that you can leave the questioner out.

Sam Shepler:
Exactly right. In the sort of the pre-interview brief, we always let people know just our questions won’t be on camera. Please start your answer by restating the question.

Dane Golden:
All right. Okay. Here’s the question I am sure you get a lot, and this is not a question for the testimonial person, this is for you, Sam. How long should a testimonial video be?

Sam Shepler:
90 seconds.

Dane Golden:
You have a real answer. I thought you’d say, “It depends.”

Sam Shepler:
It does depend. I mean, if you had to make one, I would say if you’re making a single testimonial, keep it under two minutes, although the real answer is that it depends. Because you should be creating multiple versions, create a 15-second YouTube pre-roll ad, create a 30-second social media post, create that 90-second one to live maybe on the website. If I had to pick a single one, I would say 90 seconds, but the correct answer is it depends and it depends where you’re going to use them.

Dane Golden:
That was sort of my next question, which was where should it live? But it occurs to me that you probably, in your pre-interview, you say, “When you respond to this question, say the word of our company in the answer, because you may cut it down.”

Sam Shepler:
Definitely. I mean, that’s the great thing, whether you’re doing it DIY or however you’re creating your testimonial, you’re going to have 20, 25 minutes of footage to work from. There’s ample opportunities to slice and dice, create multiple versions, multiple content pieces. It’s always important that the person speaking refers to your company in the proper way. You don’t want to get to the end of the video and realize that they were just referring to it as the product the whole time. And then that doesn’t make a very compelling testimonial. So it’s definitely important to make sure that the testifying individual is actually referring to your company as you would like them to.

Dane Golden:
Saying the name properly, etc.

Sam Shepler:
Exactly.

Dane Golden:
But let’s just get a little bit more context as to where it should live. You talked about different cut downs of the footage, but I would say if somebody says where a testimonial lives, I say it lives on your website, not necessarily on YouTube or LinkedIn. But maybe I’m old school on the testimonial world. Could you tell me some different ways you use it across the social platforms, etc.

Sam Shepler:
Absolutely. And if you had to pick one, it would definitely be your website, if you pick one, or wherever you’re trying to drive a conversion action, really. So it’s typically that would be the site. So definitely that, although another good use for testimonials is in kind of like one-to-one sales situations, via email, for example.

Dane Golden:
Oh, right, of course.

Sam Shepler:
So if you do cold emailing people, often we will strike up a conversation with someone via email, and then it’s like, well, maybe the conversation stalls and you need a reason to follow up sharing a testimonial, which you can just link from YouTube, and then if the person is using Gmail, it will actually preview a thumbnail in Gmail. That’s a great way to restart a conversation. It’s just like, “Oh hey, by the way, hadn’t heard from you in a minute, but I did want to share with you the success that client X just had using our solution. Let me know if you’re available and still interested to chat about this.” Sharing it via email and in one-to-one sales situations.
And then to your other point, I really think of it as even broader than testimonials is just a customer video and just a form of content that can be plugged into any sort of marketing activity. You can make a Facebook video ad, any LinkedIn video ad, anything. Anywhere you’re putting video, you can absolutely put customer video. It just obviously need to make sure the form and the format is appropriate for whatever stage that the buyer is at that point.

Dane Golden:
And, for instance, direct response YouTube ads, where there’s a specific formula for getting conversion, which for B2B might just be a download or sign up for a webinar, there’s the explanation of the benefit. But after that comes a section where a social proof is recommended, and that could just be a written part of that ad. But it’s really much more effective if it’s a voice of an actual customer saying that they like the product or the service, and you can plug that in right there.

Sam Shepler:
Absolutely. You bring up a great point. It’s like you can take a snippet of that and include it in your direct response YouTube ad and really just kind of mix it in with any other video content that you have as well.

Dane Golden:
Now I’m going to throw you a bit of a curve ball here, Sam, because here’s something I’ve experimented without any real best practices guidance. But with some of my clients is that instead of tell about me and our services, I ask them to actually teach the customer something that I taught them. Does that sort of sound crazy to you? It’s sort of like with my YouTube approach, which is sort of all about how to, can you see some benefits in that? Or is that like nice try, but it’s not really what we would recommend?

Sam Shepler:
I see benefits in that, for sure. The way I would think about it is slightly different. The way that I’ve seen it work in testimonials is maybe the testimonial doesn’t even hardly mention the kind of the product, but it really just tells the story of how the customer has had success, and really just celebrates the customer. It’s more of kind of a soft sell, maybe would be on way to kind of generally describe it. I love that approach of yours. I think philosophically it’s taken that kind of more of soft sell approach, which I think always works. The only downside is sometimes, will the person have the attention span to make it through the soft sell? Because sometimes it’s maybe you just need to package up the value prop and hit them over the head with it in 15 seconds. It’s sort of depends on the situation. But I mean, philosophically, I think that is a great perspective. It’s be subtle, be humble, and you get that sort of social proof by association. It’s a bit more sophisticated and when it works, it definitely works very well.

Dane Golden:
I see. It can be a high bar to try to make that happen. Well, thanks for the feedback on that. Sam Shepler of Testimonial Hero, how can people find out more about you and how to get good testimonials?

Sam Shepler:
So in terms of Testimonial Hero, testimonialhero.com or just Google Testimonial Hero and we will pop up. We have a pretty active blog, about almost 50 articles on there, all about video testimonials and making them and being successful with them. That is one place to start. Free resource on the best questions to ask, which I would definitely recommend, that will pop up if anyone visits our homepage. And then for me, you can follow me on Twitter, @SamShepler. Mostly talk about general more entrepreneurship stuff there, less about video testimonials, but more just general entrepreneurship.

Dane Golden:
Excellent. Thank you, Sam Shepler. My name is Dane Golden and sadly my co-host Renee Teeley, she’s on assignment today, so we’re going to have to talk to her again next week. But she, is of course, my awesome co-host. I want to thank you the listener for listening and invite you to review us on Apple Podcasts. Renee and I do this podcast and our various other YouTube videos and our other projects because we love helping marketers and business owners, just like you, do YouTube and video marketing better. Thanks to our special guest, Sam Shepler. Thank you, Sam.

Sam Shepler:
Thanks Dane. It was a pleasure. Thanks for having me on.

Dane Golden:
It was a lot of fun. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.

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