How to Make a Good Patient Testimonial Video

Testimonial Videos are Good Medicine

When I search the internet, I’m surprised that so few healthcare businesses are using patient testimonial videos.

The marketing power of testimonials is incredible and undeniable. Video takes the testimonial to a whole new level. When done right, a video testimonial can:

  1. Provide social proof for you and your practice – nothing personal, but prospective patients will trust others before they trust you.
  2. Allow you to hand-pick the kinds of patients you want to attract
  3. Fill your schedule with more of the kinds of procedures and treatments you want to provide

These kinds of results are what we all want from our marketing. So why aren’t more healthcare providers using the power of patient video testimonials? When I ask my healthcare colleagues, I realize that it’s not their fault. They’re overwhelmed by the process and the technology. They say things like

  • I don’t know where to start
  • I don’t have the time to figure this out
  • It’s too expensive
  • I tried it and it was a big flop
  • Yada, yada, yada

I understand the concerns, but none of it is true. Once you understand the principles of a great testimonial, the rest is easy. You can easily learn how to make good patient testimonial video. Just take the first step and then the next and the next. Before long, you will be a pro at this – I guarantee it.

Patient Testimonial Videos

Video Testimonial Strategy

Everything you do in business should be strategic. Random activities create random results. If you’re marketing is not performing like you’d hoped, it’s likely due to a failed or non-existent strategy.

Video is not a strategy. Video testimonials are not a strategy. They’re just tools in your overall marketing tool-belt that help you achieve a desired result.

The biggest mistake I see in testimonial videos is a lack of strategy. I know you think your patients care that your office is friendly, gentle and clean. It’s kind of true – they do care. But that’s not the reason they chose you over the office down the street. Today’s patients expect these things. Not being friendly, gentle and clean is a reason people will leave your office but not reasons they will join.

Your patients and potential patients really only care about two things:

  • Can you solve a problem they have but don’t want?
  • Can you facilitate a transformation they want but don’t’ have?

I’m sorry but that’s it. Everything else is either background noise that they tune out or baseline stuff that they expect from modern dentistry.

So, in terms of strategy, always have the end game in mind before you start any marketing project. Before you ever pick up a camera, you should know the answers to the following three questions:

  1. What do I want to be known for?
  2. What kinds of problems do I want to solve?
  3. What kinds of transformations do I want to facilitate?

Now you have a direction and a video testimonial strategy. You want to shoot testimonials of patients who clearly had a very big problem solved or a very specific transformation as a result of your care. Just filming happy people who love your practice is great for the ego, but does nothing for the schedule.

So every day, survey your schedule and find patients who have had major problems solved or experienced major transformations. These are the people you’ll consider asking for a testimonial.

Let your successfully treated patients tell the world how you solved their problem or facilitated their transformation.

How to Ask for Testimonials

So many clinicians and team members are afraid to ask for testimonials. It makes no logical sense but sometimes the brain isn’t logical. I promise you that the worst case scenario happens inside your brain – it’s all a lie. In reality, nothing bad is going to happen. Your brain is tricking you into believing that.

So take the advice of Susan Jeffers Ph.D and simply “Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway”.

Here are some basic guidelines to use when asking for a testimonial:

Choose wisely:

Video is way more honest than text. This can cut both ways. Video’s power is in its honesty – it’s very hard to lie on video. So be sure you’re picking people who are truly happy with the problem you’ve solve and the transformation you’ve facilitated. Also try to choose people who have fairly animated personalities. It is video after all – lights, camera, ACTION.

Ask for feedback, not testimonials:

Researchers say that people feel more comfortable giving feedback than providing a testimonial. A testimonial seems more formal and scary. People can feel put on the spot when asked for a testimonial. You’ll get better and more genuine answers if you ask for feedback.

Just ask:

Be honest, non-scripted and humble. It’s OK if they sense you’re a little embarrassed or anxious. It’s real – people like real. It could go something like this: “Mrs. Jones, would you be willing to help me out with something? It would mean so much to me if you would take a minute to give us some feedback on your treatment. No pressure at all. You’re just such a star here in our practice. I’d love to record your comments. If you don’t like it then we won’t use it. Are you game?”

Prepping the Patient

You want the patient to be prepared and relaxed but not rehearsed.

You need to control the video content so the testimonial will fulfill your specific goals and strategy. I think the easiest way to do this is with a question and answer format. The point is to give the patient a brief overview of what you’ll be asking them and how you’d like them to answer. Let them know:

  1. It’s going to be a very casual question and answer format
  2. You don’t have to have anything prepared – there is not script
  3. Here are the questions I’m going to be asking you …
  4. I would like you to answer in full sentences – not just one word answers
  5. I’d like you to repeat the question back in the answer – for example: “If I ask – What problem were you having when you decided to come to our office? You would reply – The problem I had was … “

Under no circumstances allow them the answer your questions before the camera is rolling. The first “take” is usually the best and most authentic.

The Script

The script is for you or your team member who is shooting the video – not for the patient. It’s simply a list of questions you want the patient to answer. They should be prepared in advance so the entire process can be quick and spontaneous.

In general, you should ask three types of questions. Ones that define the problem they were trying to solve or the transformation they desired, ones that show your solutions are the answer to those kinds of problems or desired transformations, ones that anticipate and overcome common objections to the treatment.

The questions will vary somewhat depending upon your intended outcome and strategy, but here are some core questions to consider:

  1. Hi Mrs. Jones! Would you introduce yourself – your name and where you’re from?
  2. What was the main problem you were having when you decided to come to our office for treatment? OR What kind of change were you hoping to achieve when you decided to come to our office for treatment?
  3. How was this (problem or desired change) affecting your daily life?
  4. In what ways did (solving the problem or creating the change) change your daily life?
  5. What were you most worried about before having the treatment?
  6. How do you feel about those concerns now?
  7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?

The Setup

I very strongly recommend creating a dedicated space in your practice for shooting video. It is really the only way to make sure your video creation is both spontaneous and professional. Without a dedicated video space, I tend to see any or all of the following:

  • It’s such a hassle to set up the equipment that you eventually stop creating videos
  • You rush or hack the setup and end up creating crappy, unprofessional videos
  • It takes so long to set up that your patients get irritated and the testimonial is a bust

The basic setup requirements for a professional quality testimonial video, roughly in order of importance include:

A quiet, private environment

Quiet is a must. The last thing you want is distracting office background noise – especially if you’re a dentist! Ideally, there should be no competition for this space. I don’t recommend you try to share a consultation room. If your private office is big enough, you may be able to carve out a space for video – or just give it up to video. Would you rather have a fancy private office or an appointment book full of the procedures you like on the patients you love to work with?

A clean, organized, clutter-free and distraction-free background

This can be a neutral colored wall, a seamless paper photography background or a casual setting with maybe a chair and side table. I really don’t recommend treatment rooms. They tend to be distracting and intimidating for most people.

A video camera or an iPhone, stabilized on a tripod and in landscape orientation

I cover most of this in the “common mistakes” section below. For, just know you should set the camera so it is square to the patient and the lens is at their eye level.

An external microphone

Ya, I know – iPhones have an internal microphone. They’re fine for casual kid or kitten videos. But they are completely inadequate for the professional quality video you’re wanting to produce. Poor audio is the biggest reason people won’t watch a video. From a view-ability perspective, good audio quality is more important than good video quality or even good content. Crappy audio is the most common mistake I see in beginner videography. It is so easy to fix.

If the environment is relatively quiet, an omnidirectional lavalier microphone is a great choice. If the environment is a bit noisy, either a unidirectional lavalier or a shotgun style microphone will do a good job of recording the voice while eliminating the background noise. If you’re using an iPhone, you’ll also need an adapter cable so you can plug the microphone into the headphone jack.

Inexpensive Studio Lights

Ideally you full control over the lighting when shooting video. Quality lighting can make the difference between a subject looking like a “creeper” or a “keeper” on video. Compact fluorescent softbox video lights are inexpensive and will make your patients look their absolute best on the final video. The ideal setup would be two lights on the patient and one on the background.

The Setup Summary – Set It and Forget It

How you go about setting this up is somewhat dependent on your situation. My preference is a dedicated video room with a neutral seamless paper background, a nice sitting area, an iPhone on a tripod, a lavalier microphone and iPhone adapter, two softbox lights on the patient and one light on the background.

The goal is to create a space where you can set it and forget it. When you’re ready to shoot a video, you just walk in, grab a copy of your script, turn everything on and hit record. Anything less is a compromise. I get a lot of push-back on this. No one thinks they have the room. Again … would you rather have a big private office or an appointment book full of the types of care you love to do on the patients you want to work with?

For more information on equipment and setup, you may want to download this free guide:

Free DIY Video Studio Guide

The Testimonial Shoot

Shooting the video is what most people stress over the most. If you’re still with me, this is now a piece of cake. You already know your strategy (what kinds of patients, problems, transformations and procedures you’re targeting), your patient is prepped, your script is ready, your video room is set up and you’re ready to roll.

At this point you turn on your equipment and make sure it’s working, position and frame your patient, clip the microphone to their clothing, do a little goofy dance to get them to relax, hit record and start asking the questions from your script.

The goal is to produce a video that is professional and conversational.

Also don’t be afraid to let it get emotional – joy, laughter and even some tears are just fine. The thing video does better than anything else is display emotional truth. It’s a good thing. If you can create an emotional connection with your target audience, they will become a fan before they ever meet you in person. Don’t fight it.

The Edit

For testimonials, the editing should be minimal. Over editing a testimonial can turn off some viewers. We live in such a scammy, yucky world that many viewers will wonder whether a highly edited video was staged. Some editing is fine. I suggest one of three options:

  1. The Easy Edit: Trim off the garbage at both the beginning and the end so the video. The final cut will start with the patient talking and end when they’re finished. In this scenario the viewer will hear the questions being asked and any additional banter between you and the patient. Most of the time, this works just fine.
  2. The Advanced Edit: Start with the Easy Edit – trim off the beginning and the end. But this time also trim out the questions being asked. In the final cut, the only person heard speaking is the patient. The best way to hide the edits is to place static slides with the questions written on them between the individual clips. This takes a bit more time and requires additional editing expertise. After you’ve done a few Easy Edits, give this a try to see how you like it.
  3. The Outsourced Edit: For someone with a bit of editing experience, a testimonial video edit is basic. There are scores of people on Fiverr that can do the job for about $5. You can also search Craig’s List or your local high school’s digital arts program.
Editing Software

There are a variety of options for editing software. The free options are fine for basic trimming and clipping. The best free editors are

  • Windows Movie Maker for PC
  • iMovie for Mac.

If you’re looking for something with a bit more horsepower, I am a big fan of Adobe Premier Elements. It runs $99 and is often discounted to $69. It is available for both PC and Mac. [Note: I just checked and Adobe Premier Elements is $69 until 3/31/15]

The other low-cost editing software I highly recommend is called ScreenFlow. It also runs $99 but includes a screen capture video option – so you can record what’s happening on your screen. This is very handy for recording tutorials and FAQ videos. It is only available for Mac. However, Screencast-o-Matic is a very economical screencasting software for both PC and Mac. So don’t feel like you’re losing out by going with Adobe Premier Elements.

The Call to Action (CTA)

Every marketing piece you produce must have a core objective. Specifically, what do you want the viewer to do after seeing your video. This is the call to action or CTA. This is not a place for subtly. You have to be very specific. Your CTA should clearly tell the viewer:

  1. What you want them to do – Call you for an appointment, schedule a consult, fill out a form, click a link, attend a talk …
  2. Why they should do it – Clearly state what’s in it for them. How will they benefit from your CTA? An incentive works very well to encourage people to take action.
  3. How to do what you’re asking – Click the big orange button, fill out the form on the right, phone our office at 123-4567 …

The easiest way to create your CTA is to make a 16:9 aspect ratio slide in PowerPoint. Write out your CTA and save the slide as PNG or JPEG. Then insert the slide into your video editor – making it the last clip of your video. Extend its length so it runs for 10-15 seconds. If you outsource the edit, the CTA action slide should be part of the deal. If you (or your editor) knows how to use lower third graphics, this can also be a great way to place your CTA.

Where the Video Should Live

For maximum visibility on Google searches, your patient testimonials have to be fully SEO optimized and live on a fully optimized YouTube channel. You want people to find your testimonials when they’re searching for the solutions and/or transformations. There is no better place for this than the world’s second largest search engine – YouTube.

It’s also not a bad idea to embed the YouTube videos on your website. I suggest that you create multiple category style pages for your testimonials – segmented based upon the target market the video is intended to serve. People are not going to sit and listen to all your testimonials – only the ones they care about. So make it easy by segmenting and labeling them appropriately.

Two quick caveats about embedding YouTube videos on your website:
  1. Don’t expect your website embedded videos to rank on Google. YouTube will beat you every time and that’s OK. You want them to be seen and YouTube is the best way to make that happen. Just be sure you do everything you can to drive those YouTube viewers back to your website.
  2. You have to tweak to the embed code. If you don’t the YouTube “Related Videos” will not show on your website. Trust me, you don’t want this. Sometimes these related videos may promote a competitor or endorse something that you do not agree with.
If you have a WordPress based website, here’s how to fix the related video issue:

YouTube allows you to manually turn off related videos when embedded on a website. Simply add “?rel=0” (without the quotes) to the end of your video URL. That tweak to the embed code instructs YouTube to turn off the related videos. The tweaked code would look something like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzOOy1tWBCg?rel=0

An alternate solution for a WordPress website is to automate the process using the Hide YouTube related Videos Plugin. It will disable related videos for all the embedded YouTube videos on your website. Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.

Promoting Your Testimonials

Testimonial videos are useless unless they get seen by the target audience you’ve defined in your strategy. Your biggest promotional source will be YouTube – that’s why they live there. Just make sure your channel and the videos are strategically optimized for your desired keywords. YouTube and Google will take care of the rest.

A close second promotional partner is Facebook. Posting the videos on your business page is a good start. Boosting your video posts and/or creating Facebook ads of your video posts will dramatically expand your reach for pennies on the marketing dollar. The ability to target your ads to match the demographic of your intended audience makes Facebook ads powerful and economical.

Common Patient Testimonial Video Mistakes

The few testimonials that I do see online are – uhmm, well, how do I say this … not that good. That’s they aren’t living up to their potential. It’s a shame because most of them could be fixed with a few small tweaks.

Here’s a list of the most common problems I see with testimonials and their solutions:

Thinking the main benefit of testimonials is that it helps people choose you

It’s true that testimonials help provide social proof and that makes it easier for people to trust, and ultimately choose, you. That’s not the biggest benefit. Helping specific people choose you for help with specific problems is where testimonials pay the rent. Be strategic with your testimonials. Don’t just make happy patient testimonials. Instead decide what you want to be known for and what kinds of problems you want to solve. Now go make some make happy patient testimonials that prove you can solve those specific problems for those specific people. Now you’re cooking with fire!

Perfectionism

If you wait until something is perfect before you’re willing to post it to the internet, you’ll never post anything. Nothing is ever perfect. It’s OK for your video to be good enough. And what’s “good enough” will change over time. Your first videos will not be very good – there I said it. You’ll find all kinds of very logical excuses not to post them. These excuses are nothing more than lies your brain is telling you. It’s not your fault, your brain is trying to keep you safe. The problem is, you’re not in any real danger – the whole thing is a lie.

Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without.

Confucius

Doing and practicing is the only way to get better. Let your first videos be what they are. Do your best, post them and move on to the next one. Before you know it, you’ll have mastered this art and can worry about the next big crisis that your brain is lying about.

Poor Audio

There is really no excuse for crappy audio. It practically guarantees people won’t watch. This is so easy to fix. I’ve written a blog post that will easily help you solve the issue of crappy sound.

Shaky Cam

Unless you’re trying to produce the next Blair Witch Project, shaky videos are a distracting rookie mistake. Put your camera on a tripod. If you’re using an iPhone, you’ll also need a tripod adapter. If you absolutely can’t use a tripod, find a way to brace the camera so it is as steady as possible.

OOPS – No Signed Releases

Don’t use any video for any purpose unless you have a signed release. This includes your team members – they need to sign one too.

I’m going to steal from Fred Joyal here – “Don’t use the video if the patient won’t sign a release. This is true of all photos and video that you do with patients. And the language should include: for use in all media, including social media, in perpetuity. Use LegalZoom or an attorney to make sure you are conforming to the rules in your state.”

Thanks Fred!

Issues With Framing and Orientation

For iPhone videos, shoot with the camera in landscape (horizontal) orientation. This will produce a final video in an HD aspect ratio so you won’t have any “black bars”. Also, mount your camera so the lens is parallel to the horizon, square with the patient and at the patient’s eye level. Enough said.

Studio Lighting

Good lighting will not only make your videos look better, it will make your patients look better. Softbox video lights cast a very flattering “soft” light on your subject. It’s hard enough to watch yourself on video without looking dark and shadowy. Do your patients (and viewers) a huge favor – learn how to properly light your videos.

Poor Patient Preparation

Most patients will be nervous about shooting a video. Especially when they think they’ll have to speak off the top of their head. Put them at ease by letting them know that they don’t have to figure out what to say. Most patients calm down when find out you will guide them through the process – that it will be a very casual question and answer conversation. If they are still reluctant, let them know if they don’t like the final result – you won’t use it.

Overly Produced

Don’t get too fancy! Basic editing is all you want and need. Overly produced testimonials often look staged. The video should look spontaneous and natural.

Under Produced

You don’t want fancy videos, but you DO need to get the technical stuff right. Make sure you’re in focus, framed correctly, have good audio and adequate lighting. Viewers will judge you negatively if your videos are not professional quality. And your patients will not want to be on the internet looking scary. Get the technical basics down cold.

Free DIY Video Studio Guide

 

And … Scene – That’s a Wrap

Well there you go. If you follow these suggestions, you will be way ahead of the crowd in creating video testimonials.

If you’re just getting started with online video marketing, you may need some extra support. I have a few resources that you may find useful.

I hope you find this information useful. It would mean a lot to me if you would leave me a comment below. Let me know if you’re using testimonial videos and what challenges you’ve had.

One More Thing

Would you like this entire blog post as a PDF file? Cool, I thought so. Click the image below and it’s yours!
See ya next time!
Curt

Patient Video Testimonials

 

 

Curt Eastin

Dentist - turned video marketer, coach and all around rabble-rouser.

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