Moving Beyond the Talking Heads

Moving Beyond the Talking Heads

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No, I’m not talking about the seminal 1980s new wave band. I could never move beyond them! I’m talking about something that can be just as engaging for the right audiences, though: customer testimonials.

Potential customers like hearing testimonials. Happy customers love giving testimonials. Fleets definitely love receiving testimonials. So why is it that, so often, testimonials are so mind-numbingly… the same?

This is especially true of video testimonials. When one after another features an executive pleasantly espousing the same platitudes about a particular fleet, testimonials all start sounding alike. The result is that they come across as put-on, rehearsed and, even worse, inauthentic.

“Talking head testimonials”, as I like to call them, are common because they’re easy to make and are perceived as straightforward. If they’re put together without much thought to what you’re actually trying to say, though? They end up being forgettable.

So how do you create testimonials that actually get the reaction your business needs? Specifically, more business? It starts by thinking about what your audience needs to hear…and how they want to hear it.

For best results, use video

Yes, I know it seems like I’m bashing video testimonials above. That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Video testimonials generate better results over static testimonials…when they’re done right.

Video testimonials can be fantastic. They put a face to a name, and an image to a company. They bring what you say to life. Yet all too often, they inevitably feature a c-level executive sitting in an office chair, looking into middle distance and chatting away with a polished half-smile. While that’s not necessarily horrible, it’s not very engaging either.

There are so many ways to create video testimonials that grab the viewer’s attention, make your point very clear and are still professional enough to keep the boardroom happy. Here are some tips.

  • Change up the visuals. Intersperse shots of whoever is speaking with simple graphics or text that highlight improved results, or anything that backs up what the person is saying.
  • Include some action shots. Even if it’s just someone strolling down the hall, or a truck pulling out of your yard, it’s much more visually engaging than someone just sitting in a chair. We call this kind of footage “b-roll” and it’s worth its weight in gold, because you can get a lot of use from it. It adds texture to testimonials, and can also be used in other videos, social media posts, and so on.
  • Keep it short and snappy. Shorter videos are easier to share and almost universally perform better on social platforms. Think of them as being more “digestible” for your intended audience. Under 90 seconds is great. Under 60 is even better!
  • Tell a story. Often, a quick anecdote will hit home with prospects more authentically than something dry and scripted. So when shooting your testimonial, you can simply ask your customer to share a great story about how your company helped them. This can lead to some amazing footage that people will truly enjoy watching.

Different audiences need different testimonials

The biggest error companies make with testimonials is when they use a one-size-fits-all approach. Companies have multiple audiences, and fleets are no different. Potential truck drivers aren’t going to be impressed by the same stories as the decision makers at your potential customers.

To be honest, potential clients want to hear from more than your leaders as well. They know their team on the ground is going to be primarily interacting with your drivers. Potential clients are going to want to hear from the people who will actually be hauling their goods.

This means you’re going to need a mix of customer testimonials and driver testimonials. Yes, this means making multiple videos. The extra effort required, though, will equal greater engagement with your audiences. So, invest in video (or hire someone to do it for you). It will pay off in the end.

Remember, that in the meantime, static testimonial images work fine. Consider them “placeholders” until your video testimonials are ready to roll.

Positive online reviews count, too

Sometimes, the biggest roadblock to creating a video testimonial is finding someone who has the time to appear on camera. That’s understandable, since we’re all busy people. If you’re running into this problem, then it’s time to look for testimonials in other places. Here’s where our good friend Google comes in handy.

Every positive Google review is also a testimonial. Same with Indeed, Glassdoor or Yelp. Be sure to make the most of them. Take screencaps of the best ones to use in your marketing, website and socials.

Online reviews are also a great way to increase engagement, too. Be sure to reply to the most positive ones, especially if they come from new clients (it goes without saying that you need to reply to all comments, including the negative ones). This shows both your current clients and drivers your authenticity, and creates a positive impression on potential ones as well.

Creating next-level testimonials doesn’t have to be complicated. KAT Media can do it for you, along with a complete and comprehensive marketing plan that will take your fleet beyond the talking heads. (No, I don’t mean these ones. They’re pretty great.) Get in touch with us today.