May 25, 2016

How to Shoot A Great Testimonial Video With Your iPhone

The marketing power of written testimonials is incredible and undeniable. Video takes the written testimonial to a whole new level. When done right, a video testimonial can show prospective new patients two things that are essential to competing in the new economy:

  1. Social proof that you and your practice are trustworthy.
  2. What it’s like to be a patient in your practice.

Video Builds Trust and Trust Builds Practices

Believe or not, your patients care more about your trustworthiness than your competence. The conclusion of some fascinating research conducted over fifteen years in more than two dozen countries was reported in Amy Cuddy’s new book, Presence. According to the data, we value trust over competence. In fact, across all cultures studied, people only care about competence AFTER they have determined a person to be trustworthy.

Seth Godin confirms just how essential trust has become for success in the new economy:

“In the connection economy, trust and relationships are the new currency. It's not a soft thing you do in your spare time, it's the heart and soul of your business.”

This is where video shines. Nothing instills more trust than watching another human tell us about their amazing experience of what it’s like to be a patient in your practice.

Asking for Testimonials

Many dentists and team members are reluctant to ask patients for testimonials. Relax, it can be as simple as 1-2-3.

1. Choose wisely:

A video’s power is in its honesty—it’s very hard to lie on video. So be sure you’re selecting people who are truly happy, enthusiastic and animated about the experience of being in your office.

2. Ask for comments, not testimonials:

Researchers say that people feel more comfortable giving comments than providing testimonial. Patients can feel put on the spot when asked for a testimonial. You’ll get better and more genuine answers if you simply ask for their comments.

3. Just ask:

Be honest and vulnerable, non-scripted. It’s OKAY if the patient senses you're a little embarrassed or anxious, that’s real and people like real. It could go something like this: “Mrs. Jones, would you be willing to help me out with something? Would you take a minute and let me record a few comments about your experience of being a patient in our office? No pressure at all and if you don't like the video, then we won't use it. Are you game?”

IMPORTANT: Video testimonials cannot be used to demonstrate your clinical capability. When patients mention specific treatment, it becomes a HIPPA compliance issue. Not to worry, because video testimonials are your best trust building tool, and trust trumps capability.

The Setup

Simple rules the day when it comes to the spontaneous video testimonial. All you need is an iPhone and an external microphone.

An iPhone

Thanks to Apple, all we need to make a quality video testimonial is our phone’s camera. You’ll want to hold your iPhone horizontally with a way to keep it stable. For stability, a tripod or monopod is your best bet. But you can also learn to develop a stable grasp much like a finger rest in dentistry. Curl your fingers and thumb around the phone, brace your elbow into your abdomen, and grasp your wrist with your opposing hand. Voilà . . . the human tripod.

Lastly, be sure to align the camera so it’s square to the patient with the lens at their eye level.

An external microphone

Poor audio will quickly make your testimonial video annoying and unwatchable. Viewers tend to ignore poor video quality, but bad sound is a deal breaker.

Though the iPhone has great video quality, the internal microphone can’t provide the sound quality you need. That’s why I recommend an external microphone specifically designed for the iPhone. My current favorite is the Rode VideoMic Me—a mini-shotgun style microphone. It’s a compact, lightweight, high-quality directional microphone that connects directly to the iPhone microphone/headphone jack. Try it, you’ll like it, and you’ll never again have to settle for crappy audio.

The Shoot

Shooting the actual video is the easiest part!

  1. Turn on your equipment and make sure it’s working
  2. Hold your phone horizontal
  3. Position and frame your patient so they are centered and the lens is eye-level
  4. Do a little goofy dance to get them to relax
  5. Hold the camera stable
  6. Ask them to say a few words about the experience of being a patient at your practice
  7. Hit record

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

Don’t be afraid to let it get a bit emotional—joy, laughter and even some tears are just fine. What a video does better than any other media type is display emotional truth. It’s a good thing. If you can create an emotional connection with potential patients, they will become a fan before they ever meet you in person. Go with it.

It’s also helpful if the patient mentions the doctor’s name and city. This tags the video for the search engines and makes them easier to find on Google and Facebook.

Keep in mind the first take is usually the best, so don’t let them rehearse their answers. Make sure you are ready to shoot when they’re ready to speak.

The Edit

The only editing you should do is to clip the dead space at the beginning and the end of the video. That’s it. Over editing a testimonial can turn off viewers. Many viewers will wonder whether a highly edited video was staged. You want your video to look exactly like what it is—a spontaneous, unscripted declaration of love for you and your practice.

This kind of editing can easily be done inside your phone.

Where Should My Videos Live?

Your videos should live everywhere you have a digital fingerprint.

  1. Your company Facebook page
  2. Your fully SEO optimized YouTube channel
  3. Your website
  4. Your Google and Yelp profiles
  5. Your LinkedIn and Twitter pages

Because of its social nature, Facebook is a perfect place for your videos when building trust is your primary goal. It’s easy to do:

  1. Upload the video from your phone to your computer.
  2. Click “Add Video/Photo” at the top of your News Feed or Timeline
  3. Select the video from your computer
  4. Click “Post”

For maximum visibility on Google searches, your patient testimonials should be SEO optimized and live on a fully optimized YouTube channel. You want people to find your testimonials when they’re searching for dentists in your area. There is no better place for this than the world's second largest search engine, YouTube. Just make sure your channel and the videos are strategically optimized for your desired keywords. YouTube and Google will take care of the rest.

It’s also a good idea to embed the YouTube videos on your website. I suggest that you create a separate page for your testimonials and include some SEO optimized text to help them get found on Google searches.

Get a Signed Release

Make sure your patients sign a video release form. In fact, don’t use any video for any purpose unless you have a signed release. This includes your team members. If you take a video of them, they, too, need to sign one.

The release should give you permission to use their image and video in all media, including social media, in perpetuity. Good release forms are available through HR for Health or LegalZoom. Of course, it never hurts to ask your attorney if you are conforming to the rules in your state.

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 powerful, trust-building, video testimonials.

If you would like to go beyond the basic video testimonial and shoot professional-looking marketing videos for your practice, I have a free guide that will help set up an inexpensive video “studio.” Feel free to click the link and download a copy.

About the Author


After practicing for nearly 30 years, Dr. Curt Eastin retired from dentistry in 2012. He now helps dentists with what he believes to be the two most important skills for business success in the new economy—sales and marketing. Dr. Eastin is the creator of the PIVOT Case Presentation Framework—a scientifically valid five-phase process that builds trust, connection and understanding, and helps you to present treatment plans that are both appropriate for the pathology and agreeable to the patient.

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