Even if your product seems intuitive to use, it’s helpful to have some kind of demonstration or tutorial to explain what it is and how it works. Unfortunately, many brands attempt to give a product demo with their own hands, explaining their own creations to their users. These can be effective, but it’s actually more effective to put your products in the hands of real users.
For example, rather than showing off their own styling iron, TYME recruits everyday users to experiment with their main product. Rather than showing a video of everything that’s included in a box, LootCrate relies on its visitors to take their own videos of the experience.
So why is this a better strategy?
Benefits of User Product Demos
These are just some of the benefits to relying on users for your product demonstrations:
- A more “real” demonstration. When you start showing off your own product—the one you’ve worked on for months—you’ll know how to navigate it easily. All your movements and explanations will be premeditated, scripted, and rehearsed, and your actions won’t mimic those of a user seeing your product for the first time. Putting your product in the hands of real users will result in a “real” demonstration of the product. That does come with some weaknesses (which we’ll discuss in the next section), but they’re often worth it for the appearance of a more believable experience. Remember, your demo video isn’t necessarily about the product itself; it’s about the experience of using the product.
- Illumination of non-intuitive features. Unfortunately, no matter how well designed your product is, there are bound to be some non-intuitive features included in the finished product. Putting your product in the hands of a real user will lead them to explore these non-intuitive features in a real environment, showcasing them to users who are unfamiliar with them, and quite possibly, giving you more information with which you can improve the product further.
- More trust (and conversions). Any kind of video testimonial, review, or demonstration from another user is going to make other customers on your site trust you more. Anyone can claim that their product is the best on the market, but it’s far more believable when an actual customer makes the same claim. People tend to trust other people like them, far more than they trust entrepreneurs or salespeople. That’s going to result in you securing more conversions as more people watch your video.
- Less work. If you encourage your existing customers to make their own videos, encountering your products for the first time, you’ll spare yourself the effort of creating those videos yourself. This is the basic premise behind user-generated content, which is a strategy to procure more content from your users, rather than producing it all yourself. Of course, you’ll need to incentivize the video production somehow, such as by offering discounts or free products to product demonstrators, if you want to earn more content.
- Social credibility and share potential. Finally, you’ll likely earn some social credibility if you use product demonstrators who have their own followings and influential circles. Anyone who sees and knows the user giving the demonstration is more likely to engage with the video, and may even share it with their friends and followers, greatly increasing the reach of each video you produce this way. It’s especially useful to get the help of social influencers in your niche (such as product reviewers) if you can.
What to Watch Out For
However, there are a few weaknesses to consider:
- Less predictability. First-time user experiences are rarely predictable, especially if your product is new. You’ll run the risk of a reviewer hitting a snag or not knowing what to do next.
- Less thoroughness. It’s unlikely that a natural reviewer will be able to explore as many details of your product as you will. That can be good for keeping the video concise, but may overlook key details that make your product unique. Giving your user reviewers some pointers, or features to highlight, before they make the video can help—but it may also make your video feel more scripted, limiting its effectiveness.
- Loss of brand voice. Finally, the average reviewer won’t speak to your audience using your signature brand voice. This can compromise the overall brand experience, which is a helpful tool in pitching the product.
If you can compensate for these weaknesses and take advantage of all the strengths that user product demonstrations offer, you can secure more consumer trust, more conversions, and overall, more profitability. Instead of trying to show your own product to your users, let them do the work for you; you’ll end up with a more engaging demo.