I’m Ryan, the PPC (pay-per-click) Manager at AppSumo. I handle all of our paid media across search, display, shopping, and social channels, and make a lot of testimonial requests to our customers.
Recently at AppSumo, we decided to do a video testimonial campaign for two reasons:
- We believe that social proof is a key component of any marketing plan.
- We wanted to highlight the incredible stories of our customers, many of whom built their own companies from the ground up using our tools.
Why video testimonials?
Video testimonials are a powerful and effective alternative to written testimonials. Written testimonials can be great, but they can sometimes feel anonymous and impersonal. With video, you get the immediate emotional connection to an individual speaking passionately. Watching them talk about their business and how much you’ve helped them on their journey drives other customers to act.
We wanted to provide inspiration to viewers from our customers who have found success in their hustles. One of the biggest barriers to entrepreneurship is financial, which is why we work so hard to offer the best business tools at the lowest prices.
But the other barrier is often psychological. Many of the customers we featured in our testimonials have expressed this very feeling – that they never thought they’d have the skills or resources to start their own business. We know many others might feel the same way, so showing how our customers succeeded with just an idea and the right tools can have a major impact on aspiring entrepreneurs.
Without further ado, let’s dive into our video testimonial processes:
- Getting Started
- How I Make Testimonial Requests
- Where VideoPeel Comes In
- Key Lessons and Takeaways Learned from Customer Testimonial Requests
- Final Thoughts
We knew we wanted to begin this campaign by making video testimonial requests to customers who have launched their own agencies or consultant businesses. That’s because they typically buy the widest range of our products. In our store, they can find a complete toolkit of software they need to launch and grow a business, from web development tools to marketing platforms and business management software.
In the second iteration of our testimonial campaign, we reached out to people who applied for the AppSumo Software Fund, which was launched to give $1 million in software to businesses impacted by COVID-19. We wanted to share their stories about how the pandemic has affected their businesses and how AppSumo tools have helped them.
How I Make Testimonial Requests
The way we asked for testimonials evolved dramatically over the course of the campaign.
We started by reaching out directly via email to customers who have used AppSumo to launch an agency or consulting business. If they responded, we’d set up 30-minute calls just to learn more about them and their story. However, we got an overwhelming response from customers and soon realized that scheduling calls with each individual wasn’t viable. So we pivoted to look for an automated solution.
We pulled a list of our highest spending customers from our database and segmented them into different categories (e.g. agencies, consultants, digital businesses, Software Fund applicants).
Using Mixmax, we set up an email template asking customers to record a video of how they used AppSumo tools to help their business. Customers were informed that we might share their stories in an ad campaign. We also offered a 20% off coupon with each testimonial. In addition, we used VideoPeel to build a landing page where they could get more information, as well as record and submit their video.
We soon learned, though, that the 20% off coupon wasn’t appealing enough to drive testimonials.
After sending hundreds of emails with no response, we knew we’d have to compensate users for their time with something more attractive. Our next step was to offer $20 off instead, which brought in more testimonials – just not enough to build an ad campaign around. So we decided to get even more aggressive, giving users credit for one free tool in our store worth up to $50.
Suddenly, the testimonials started pouring in!
If you want to ask for your own testimonials and use them for social proof, we’ve got an excellent guide for you to get started here.
Where VideoPeel Comes In
VideoPeel was what really allowed us to be successful in this campaign.
Back when we were reaching out individually to customers, we’d ask them to record a video on their computer and send it back to us in an email. We’d send over a list of technical specifications and recording suggestions. Honestly, I think that just turned people off. We were making it too difficult.
Then came VideoPeel. This tool, which we have a lifetime deal on in our store, enabled us to build a landing page with a clean, simple interface. Users could record and submit a video in just minutes. The best part was that these pages were so easy to set up! After I signed up for VideoPeel, I had a page for testimonial requests built and ready to use in literally under 10 minutes.
You can also use VideoPeel to create separate campaigns – we had one page for our agency and consultant customers, and another one for Software Fund applicants. This helped us tailor the message to each audience where it didn’t sound generic.
You can view all your testimonials in one place, and VideoPeel sends you an email every time a new video is submitted.
Key Lessons and Takeaways Learned from Customer Testimonial Requests
Make it as easy as you can
One of our biggest lessons I learned was the power of convenience and accessibility. If you’re asking a customer to take the time to leave you a testimonial, you really need to make it as easy as you can for them. Their time is valuable and they’re doing you a favor. It’s essential to make that entire flow intuitive and quick.
As we learned from the lack of response to our initial testimonial request emails, customers don’t want to think or work too hard when it comes to providing testimonials. Video testimonials, for all their benefits, can require extra steps without the right tools.
Reward customers for their help
On a related note, be sure to reward your customers for helping you out.
The more generous you can be, the better. Sure, a 20% off coupon could help them save a few dollars, but giving them a free tool is such a better way of thanking them for their time! After all, customers need some incentive if they’re going to go out of their way for you. (Think of how often you’re willing to help a company out for free.)
Automate where possible
Another key takeaway is to make your life easier by automating where you can.
Mixmax enabled us to build great templates and audience segments, significantly expanding the reach of this campaign and saving us a ton of time.
Meanwhile, VideoPeel helped us create a “set it and forget” it page that handled the recording, submitting, and managing of video testimonials. All we had to do was log in and review the videos.
You’ll hear that the best marketing is a line out the door. Why? Because there’s no clearer social proof than seeing people willing to wait in a line just to buy something from your business. Video testimonials are really just the digital version of that. Any business can come up with great ad copy or slogans, but satisfied customers are ultimately a company’s greatest asset.
That’s why video testimonials should be a cornerstone of any marketing plan. It all starts with a simple request.