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What do you think?

March 29th, 2006

Hi guys and gals,

Brad Fallon showed us all what’s possible with Internet video for product demonstrations, but what about companies that sell intangibles.

In my case, I sell advice and training (with a dash of insight) in the form of seminars and home study programs. How do you demonstrate the value of education with video?

One answer, I think, is customer testimonials.  My challenge is how to convey the total mass of testimonials  I have without showing hours of video.

Here’s my first experiment in this area.  Please take a look and then post what you think. (Don’t worry about hurting my feelings.  I’m looking for ways to improve, not for a pat on the back.)

How can we make it better? Is there a better way to attack the problem?



Thanks to Joe Chapuis for making this project happen.

Categories: Video to Watch Tags:
  1. fw
    March 29th, 2006 at 16:49 | #1

    How about a bit of ‘interest screening’ and a database so that you show not a random mass of video but a testimonial from somebody in an area related to the viewer. If I sell, say, ‘dog-training’ a testimonial from an accountant probably will carry less weight than a testimonial from say somebody involved with horses.
    You can contact me as to where to send your payment.

  2. March 29th, 2006 at 16:54 | #2

    Hey, Ken –
    I like your “slide’ view at the top, but on my monitor set at 800 x 600, the faces are pretty small and I can barely read the names.
    One bit of food for thought …
    If it were me, I’d be sure to have more of the ‘average-person’ testimonials (as opposed to guru testimonials) … unless you’re going after more of a ‘guru’ audience demographic.
    All the best –
    Chip Tarver

  3. Tony Ostian
    March 29th, 2006 at 18:08 | #3

    Ken, I agree with Chip Tarver’s comment about adding more ‘average Joe’ type testimonials to ramp up the relatability factor.
    So, as part of your ongoing marketing strategy, you may want to consider making a strong push for more of those at your upcoming System seminar…unless you have enough of them in your archives.
    Otherwise, it looks swell!
    Tony Ostian
    “THE Web Copy Guy”
    Certified Master of Webcopywriting

  4. March 29th, 2006 at 19:22 | #4

    Wow Ken,
    I know you were not looking for a pat on the back
    but you are going to get one.
    You took “social proof” and put it on steroids!
    I love how you have them ALL gathered at the top then
    down the side with a blurb about each one.It really brings
    the project home!
    Dave Dutton

  5. Ken McCarthy
    March 29th, 2006 at 19:46 | #5

    Hey guys,
    Thanks for all the comments so far.
    I kind of fell in love with the “wall of testimonials” idea, but I can see the interface isn’t optimal.
    For one thing, there are in fact, plenty of regular folks giving testimonials (10 of the 21) so if that’s not coming across, they’re buried in the interface.
    Also, if you read the commentary, with the exception of Wayne Yeager and Rob Bell, ALL the gurus on the page were Internet BEGINNERS at the time of these recordings… Perry, Mike Stewart, Tom Antion, Alexandra Brown, Martin Wales, Howie.
    The System is where they all made their big breakthrough on the education side.
    So yes, they are gurus, but these are the gurus when they were still pretty raw students. I guess the only way to convey that is to build a site around that single theme.

  6. J
    March 29th, 2006 at 20:31 | #6

    Just so you know (because it could be important for you later on)…the thing that sold me was the fact that you knew someone who is successful (online) that I knew. So the trust automatically transfered.
    Referral idea more or less.
    The video didn’t work for me at all at the time because I didn’t have flash 8. Now I have it though and testimonials look pretty good!

  7. March 29th, 2006 at 20:32 | #7

    Maybe instead of doing a whole other site…make a big headline and state the fact that “You May Recognize These People Now As Guru’s But Only AFTER They Attended System training.
    Dave Dutton

  8. March 29th, 2006 at 20:57 | #8

    I enjoyed the testimonials because I met some of these people when they were beginners on the internet. It was great to see them again and to read of their success because of attending the Seminar. I did not find that surprising! I liked the pop-ups appearing after their video too. Clever! You don’t miss a chance! Keep up the good work!

  9. March 29th, 2006 at 22:04 | #9

    Hi Ken,
    I think I agree with “fw” in that there could be a break down of industries (possibly a list of industries in a left hand column). This way, a person could glance down the column, find their industry or an industry related to them and see how “The System” can catapult their particular business.
    I like the array of people (guys and gals) of all walks of life which will make it open to all.
    I really! like the idea. Brilliant Job.
    -Kelly Muldoon

  10. Ken McCarthy
    March 29th, 2006 at 23:37 | #10

    Here’s a site that handles the “testimonial interface” problem in an interesting way.
    Check the bottom of the page:

  11. Gary Dumke
    March 30th, 2006 at 00:20 | #11

    Hi Ken – I have to agree with Chip – you need more of the average Joe guys or gals–people who weren’t CEO’s, business owners, consultants etc. I have to believe that is and will be many of the people who follow your advice. Also maybe incorporating some interviews from your Home study program – just a thought – I know I would relate a lot better to the “no name guy”

  12. March 30th, 2006 at 04:28 | #12

    I like the way you have the page set up. It
    makes it easy to select the one you would
    like to see and hear. I also think the idea
    of catagorizing the testimonials. Keep up
    with the inovations, yours are hot.
    Robert Morris

  13. March 30th, 2006 at 09:04 | #13

    Hi Ken,
    A couple of things…
    1. How do you demonstrate the value of education with video?
    You can demonstrate the value of going to a seminar to be educated by giving your visitors video samples of the seminar.
    More important – and this is something I’ve very rarely seen – you use visual images to make your points.
    I don’t know about you but I’m SICK TO DEATH of talking heads on online video and images that have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the message being delivered.
    If you watch just a half hour of television news you’ll learn how to use visual images and props to get your point across on video.
    2. There is a VERY clever way of using these videos but I’m not revealing it in an open forum because the technique may be open to abuse.
    Feel free to email me though.
    Kindest regards,
    Andrew Cavanagh

  14. March 30th, 2006 at 09:48 | #14

    Dear Ken,
    Here are several suggestions.
    You know your game, but here’s what I think are NOT OK with the videos.
    1-There are two many videos! You said, correct me if I am wrong, that the length of an internet video should not exceed 2 minutes. Well, the total of all the videos together exceed the 2 minute attention span. Plus, I am tempted to rush to several videos, and my attention is scattered.
    2-What is the market you’re after? I know you know, but a long list of videos means you’re not concentrating on one specific market. Perhaps, I am wrong. But think about it.
    3-What is the “MESSAGE, THE BIG BENEFIT” you want me to remember after I watch the videos—what is the USP? USP might sound old, but I guess it will give your video (s) focus.
    4-Could you test different videos? One video at a time, with one specific benefit, with one specific focus, to one specific audience in mind?
    5-In the interview, with Perry Marshall, I would keep something like a headline :”Perry Marshall, Prominent Google Adword Expert” during the whole testimonial…so that people will associate the picture with something they are familiar with…Google, google adwords.
    6-Show keywords as the customer is speaking. If the customer says, “I got a lot of valuable info I can use tomorrow to grow my business…” when the person says that …show the words:” valuable info I can use tomorrow to grow my business.”
    If one customer says: “Last year, I learned one technique that translated into 1000000 in profits for my business..” show something like:”One technique brought me 1000000 in profit”
    7-Perhaps, Reality in Advertising has more things to reveal to you, and me and others who are thinking of creating videos for the web.
    8-Oh, yes! One little appearance of you, the mastermind behind the System. The appearance can be a short intro to the customer’s testimonial or a short comment at the end of the customer’s testimonial, a comment about the customer’s current success and an invitation to join the next System. Better, you can make it sound as some kind of news, breaking news about internet marketing…
    9-Perhaps, a short follow-up video with someone like Perry Marshall, the video would highlight the big benefits he got that helped me become so successful, and repeat the USP of the System.
    10-One last thing: I quote the customers in the blurb, use their own key words, mention the SPECIFIC results, or SPECIFIC benefits the customer got with the customers own background.
    No pat on the back, you said. No pat on the back, you got.
    Swans G Paul

  15. March 30th, 2006 at 09:55 | #15

    Hey Ken,
    Don’t change a thing! I LOVED your “Wall Of Testimonials”, never tire of the “Talking Heads”, some of whom are good friends and even cruise clients, and especially liked the black frame w/play button image, the thumbnails and the end calls to action.
    Now I would build a similar page of video snippets, excerpts from each speaker at your breakout sessions as content samples from your new format.
    As a reminder, before becoming the “Cruise Guru”, producing dozens of seminar events at sea for niche marketers, even Captain Lou attended a SYSTEM Seminar!
    All the best!

  16. Ken McCarthy
    March 30th, 2006 at 10:01 | #16

    Captain Lou! Long time no see.
    Guys if you’ve never met Captain Lou, you’re missing out on an experience…
    Anway, back to business.
    I want to thank everybody for the comments and advice.
    Keep them coming. It’s a huge help and hopefully everyone will get something valuable from the process.
    A special note to Swans: I owe you one. That was a gold-plated analysis. Much appreciated.

  17. March 30th, 2006 at 10:22 | #17

    I loved the videos and the concept, BUT the volume was too low. I turned up my speakers, but still TOO LOW to understand what the people were saying. It must be me, since no one else mentioned it.

  18. March 30th, 2006 at 10:29 | #18

    Hi Ken,
    Great page.
    I have a DVD you sent out before last year’s System in Chicago that has some of the same footage on it.
    I saved the disc because I thought it was a very good marketing piece (it made it into the swipe file :-). This does all provide very good “social proof” which will seal the deal for many folks “on the fence” about coming.
    I think you have a pretty good mix of people on the page. Not all people interested in the System Seminars will know them all. They will know some however which is good too.
    I also think this is a good example of what SHOULD be done (at the very least) today. Capturing those early video clips was a stroke of genius even if you weren’t sure exactly how you’d use them at the time. It is becaoming too easy to put something like this together. Anyone not doing video or at least audio testimonials is missing a great opportunity.
    Looking forward to May!
    Keep up the good work.
    Sam Knoll

  19. March 30th, 2006 at 11:00 | #19

    Dear Ken,
    Wow. Simply amazing! It all plays quickly and well too. Really impressive.
    Could you do a blog post on how you encoded these clips and embedded them?

  20. March 30th, 2006 at 11:27 | #20

    Hi Ken,
    In general I like the wall of testimonials. I agree with others that say that you should include the average Joe.
    Maybe have the testimonials organized by categories of users, of topics. Something like that.

  21. Beth
    March 30th, 2006 at 12:33 | #21

    Hey Ken,
    First off, I like the way the video page is set up. Sure, the “wall of faces” at the top is really too small to bother much with, but it looks great visually and shows that you have choices below, and you can scroll down the page to see the pictures larger before clicking to start the videos.
    Having the brief synopsis about the featured person and what they do next to the video box is an excellent idea. The harried viewer can pick and choose and it’s not necessary to watch ALL of the videos (in response to the person who said it was too long). Choices can be good, as long as they’re not overwhelming. It also allows the viewer to see a sampling of the range of business endeavors people are having success with online. The length of each video is perfect: just enough to get a taste, but not so long that you can’t wait until it ends.
    Love the video clarity visually and sound-wise too. I’m just full of compliments today! 🙂
    I would agree with some, however, that it would be nice to see some videos of “average Joe’s”, for lack of a better phrase (no one’s ‘average’ in my book) rather than tons of known online marketing names, even if the videos WERE made before they became well known. Keep them, but also offer some examples of people who perhaps work “under the radar”. That would be encouraging to people just starting out: To know that there are others actually making a living online who don’t necessarily end up joining the “guru crowd”. Always seeing the “same old crowd” and hearing their stories over again can make internet marketing start to appear like a “good ol’ boys [and a couple of girls] club” (no offense to anyone intended).
    There’s my opinion, for what it’s worth. I appreciate all that you do, Ken. Thanks!

  22. March 30th, 2006 at 13:33 | #22

    I see opinions here, and they make sense and have a point. I see that way you did your video testimonials and the way some say you should have done it all might make sense.
    Gurus, (I hate that word, don’t feel like one, I just a guy who loves what I do) or no gurus. More average Joes and less average Joes.
    What matters is you did it, you doing it. You are putting full motion video on webpages and the response from suspects, strangers, and people who don’t know any of us is all that matters.. The testing will reveal the results. Example here is a test I got email just this morning. One of my customers increased his print brochure requests by 400% in a day @ http://www.GrandCanyon.com. He increased his Google CTR from 1.5 to 17.5 by saying watch “free videos online” in just one of his campaigns.. Now he is adding that to all his PPC campaigns.
    My experience has been for over 6 years now when I present my products, information and marketing messages in an audio-visual format on my websites, the response is well worth the effort and expense. (Which is basically just time for me as all my software and hardware is paid for.)
    People don’t always read website copy because of laziness, impatience, and people like me, do not comprehend from text alone no matter how well crafted. But we all watch TV and listen to radio.. What has worked there for years now works on the web the same way.
    My parting comments.. Just Do It (Oh heard that on TV from Nike, sorry.):-)

  23. March 30th, 2006 at 13:55 | #23

    Never ask for critique and then debate it. If someone thinks there are too many guru’s thats their opinion, that you asked for? You are better off with a summary to all the feedback that you received, which by the way I thought was great. Your comments may give off the feeling that maybe you made your mind up about this system video advertising and don’t really want the feedback. Be careful!
    For your eyes only.
    Dave Patrick

  24. March 30th, 2006 at 15:14 | #24

    For sure I missed the fact that this was “before they became famous”. I would strongly hilite that.
    And although it has come to be expected, and there may not be anything you can do about it, the self-promo’s reduced the credibility of the testimonial to me.
    Additionally they added time to the actual clip and made the person not look so “like me”.
    Thanks Ken for letting us in on the evolution of a great project.

  25. March 30th, 2006 at 15:47 | #25

    I think it’s a very good start, but I find the page too busy and the thumbnails too small.
    What if you were to set up the thumbnails as a slide show, with maybe half a dozen at a time displaying? Or, rotate them randomly, so a slightly different batch comes up when the page is refreshed or a visitor comes back to the site? Should be easy enough to do within Flash, or with a bit of Javascript.
    All in all, I’m impressed.

  26. March 30th, 2006 at 18:06 | #26

    Oh, very cunning! “What do we think,” you modestly ask.”Just have a look and let me know.”
    If ever there was a clever way to get everyone to visit your site and subject themselves to a brilliant sales pitch, this is it.
    Not an in-your-face buy-now sales pitch, No this is far more subtle.
    Ken, the whole thing is brilliantly conceived and technologically fabulous. I think it is the most effective sales pitch I have ever seen – and I’ve seen plenty over plenty of years. I’m a real meany with compliments, too, but when I see consummate planning and execution I have to say so.

  27. March 31st, 2006 at 03:45 | #27

    If I may say so, I think some of your correspondents here are failing to see the wood through the trees.They are pouring over the brush strokes in the paint and failing to see the picture.
    What was the aim of your email? To get people to look at the blog. Well, all these commentators went and looked – so it worked, didn’t it?
    What is the aim of the site? To get people to say,
    “Wow 1, This Seminar training must be good.” and
    “Wow 2, I wish I had a site like that.”
    Well, that works too, doesn’t it? It doesn’t have to be thrown in the face of the visitor – “This is my USP” – impressive without boasting is good,
    The “wall” of testimonials with the mouse-overs so one can view before choosing which to play, and then the exit panel, are touches of a master.
    There are some people who would tell Rembrandt how he could improve this brush stroke and that.Some people!

  28. March 31st, 2006 at 07:32 | #28

    I appreciate your post, but…
    In all fairness, if you’ll re-read what I actually wrote, I think you’ll see I didn’t debate anyone’s comments.
    In fact, I state my agreement with what several people pointed out, mainly…
    Some of the detail I wanted to convey with these videos – the fact that so many people got their start in Internet marketing at the System – got lost in the shuffle because of my interface design.
    I like this first version and I think it has certain merit, but I also see ways it can be made much better.
    I think the lesson here is that while video alone can be impressive, ‘old fashioned’ interface and marketing issues still rule the day – and always will.
    Watch for Version 2.0. Coming soon to a theater near you 😉
    Thanks for all the comments and suggestion so far. I appreciate them all!
    – Ken McCarthy

  29. March 31st, 2006 at 10:37 | #29

    Hi Ken-
    As always, I look forward to your posts and learning from your expertise! These videos are great and promise to be a terrific tool for your business.
    I particularly like that they are brief. There is a good mix of individuals that represent all types of small business. Being new to the online community that was an important aspect for me. I could relate to them since many started out just like me.
    If the tool is to get people to attend The System Seminar–it worked. Although I already was aware that it existed, I wasn’t sure the level of education was appropriate for me. This helped solidify my intent to attend in 2007.
    I have been keeping in tune with multimedia for the web to see how I might implement it for a few clients. You are always a resource I use because I know you tell it like it is 🙂
    Thanks for being on the cutting edge and doing it well!
    Paula Bonelli

  30. March 31st, 2006 at 12:06 | #30

    I hate to say this, but I will because I think it will help you: what video?
    I don’t see a video, or a link to a video, using Firefox on a Windows XP machine. I’ve had similar problems trying to view other video “examples” you’ve sent. (Though usually I can see where the video is and it either doesn’t work or the quality is so bad I can’t tell what the people are doing OR saying.)
    This makes me considerably less enthusiastic about internet video than you seem to be.

  31. March 31st, 2006 at 12:18 | #31

    Hi Dawn —
    I helped Ken develop SystemGrads.com.
    Sorry to hear you’re having trouble viewing the videos. Unfortunately, internet video can sometimes be a tricky beast to master.
    Would you mind if I contacted you directly to try and troubleshoot this?
    For example, I’d like to know what, if anything, you see when you try to view one of Ken’s videos at Google Video:
    Thanks for taking the time to provide your feedback, Dawn.
    Best Regards,
    Joe Chapuis
    joe at hotbizz.com

  32. Eddie Rushton
    April 1st, 2006 at 22:41 | #32

    Hey Ken,
    I’ve enjoyed all your commentary and insight about the future of video on the internet. I believe most people cannot even imagine just how big video is going to be in the very near future! If you think about it, video over the internet is the “last frontier”. Speaking of the guy in Florida with his own T.V. station, I have my own T.V. station also over the internet, right from my home. There is a company right now that is doing some amazing things with video technology / communications. I would be happy to share with you some of the incredible technology they currently have and some that they are about to unvail in the coming months. This is no April fools joke!
    Eddie Rushton

  33. April 2nd, 2006 at 13:59 | #33

    To all “Hello World” affiliates:
    With all due respect to you and the company you represent, I’m going to request that you no longer include links to this company and its offers on this blog.
    It’s getting out of hand and, in all fairness, the hype-to-reality ratio is a bit high in this one.

  34. April 2nd, 2006 at 14:01 | #34

    Videos are very clear and audio is also.
    However, they all seem to be cut off in mid-sentence.
    I like the short bios and the slide preview at the top.
    All the best,

  35. April 2nd, 2006 at 14:16 | #35

    Hi, Ken!
    Looked at the page, watched a few clips… And was appropriately impressed! Personally I think it’s the most effective use of video I’ve seen online so far!
    I couldn’t agree less with those saying you need more ‘Average Joe’ testimonials – who cares if you can impress those who don’t know the biz? So can the average tech writer in my local newspaper…
    For me, it carries a lot more weight hearing Ali say it was up to her hopes – opinions from people like her, Perry and Mike Stewart carry a lot more weight with those of us in the biz.
    But that’s the beauty of your video wall – each can find what they want. There ARE comments from newbies, comments from pros, and from those in between. No matter what level a person is at, there are videos there from people they can relate to. Each visitor customizes their own experience to what interests them – what better ‘Pitch’ can be devised?
    Clean, professional & appealing to the broadest possible market – hard not to pat you on the back for that, big guy!
    Keep ’em coming…
    Doug Champigny.
    PS – One question – How did you get Mike Stewart to behave for that long? Not his typical video appearance… DC.

  36. April 2nd, 2006 at 17:42 | #36

    Well, some pros and cons – I liked the technology but maybe too much on one page of the flash objects. It a little bit slowed down my not so uber cool laptop :>
    p.s. I’m still mad that you canceled System workshop in London in October 2005!!! grr

  37. April 2nd, 2006 at 18:13 | #37

    This video came from a produced program that had fancy dissolves in between each speaker (and we misplaced the originals!) My editor was able to get rid of the dissolves, but he had to cut each video a little short.
    How did I get Mike to behave? He was still a student when this was shot. They all behave when they’re students. It doesn’t last long, believe me 🙂

  38. April 2nd, 2006 at 22:26 | #38

    Hey Ken,
    Awesome stuff!
    I’ve been following along with this blog keenly and I was blown away with this idea of yours. I hope you don’t mind but I plan to “borrow it”.
    Critically???? I do agree with most of Swan’s comments although from someone new to the System Seminar – as in knowing about it but not having been yet (naughty naughty) – maybe you could break up the testimonials with a paragraph or two of more info on the System between the testimonials….? Just a thought, I’m no marketing guru. My point being so you don’t have to click away from this page to find out anymore info.
    So I guess I’m saying why not make it into a subtle video selling page.
    I hope this makes sense.
    I look forward to your next blog entry with bated breath.

  39. April 2nd, 2006 at 22:56 | #39

    Your wrote:
    I hope you don’t mind but I plan to “borrow it”.
    Borrow away! That’s what the blog is for.

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