When you work in marketing, you learn this pretty quickly: You can say a thousand great things about your product, but it will never be as powerful as when someone else says it for you.
That’s why testimonial videos are one of the best tools you have to drive sales up! When prospects are trying to decide whether to make a purchase or not, a genuine and candid opinion from another customer can be the deciding factor to influence their decision.
For testimonials to be effective, though, they need to convey your business experience and the benefits of your product (or service) in the clearest and most authentic way. All while maintaining your brand’s identity and tone.
So, in case you’re not familiar with the ins-and-outs of the format, we’ve got you covered! We’ll go over all of it in this guide on making professional-level testimonials that’ll enhance your next video marketing strategy and help you boost sales!
Why Testimonial Videos Work
When prospects are on the verge of buying something online, one of the first things they usually do is check the comments or reviews sections – few things feel more reliable and trustworthy than seeing how others felt about their purchase.
What’s so great about testimonial videos is that they upgrade the “informing experience” and make it far more compelling. Why? Because they feature people – with real faces and emotions – sharing their very own impressions about your brand, product, or service.
That said, it’s important to highlight here that these videos only work when they feel authentic and natural. People can really tell when an opinion is fake or imposed, especially on camera. So, forcing or staging answers won’t do the trick.
You want to let the customers do all the talking. That way, it’ll be easier for viewers – that is, your target audience – to identify with your customers’ stories and relate that confidence to your brand.
Do it right, and you’ll get to humanize your business, increase trust, and encourage prospects to buy your products!
Testimonials & the Buyer’s Journey
Before making a purchase, people go through a process often called “The Buyer’s Journey.” A model of how prospects become aware of, consider, and ultimately decide to buy a product or service from a company.
In a nutshell, it goes like this:
- Awareness Stage: Potential buyers realize they have a problem or need.
- Consideration Stage: They define the problem and start looking for options to solve it.
- Decision Stage: They choose one of them.
Depending on which stage of the journey prospects are, some messages will work better than others. So, you’ll want to fully understand when and how to use your content to move them further in the funnel.
As for testimonial videos, they are perfect for the decision stage of the journey, when prospects are searching for specific information that can help them choose the solution that best suits their needs.
Every video production is a world in itself – Things can vary according to your product, industry, audience… However, there are three key aspects that you should be aware of before you start the actual production on one of these videos.
As obvious as it may sound, the first and most important thing you’ll need to define is your questionnaire. So, you’ll have to sit down with your team and outline the topics you want to cover with your piece.
Once you define that, use that information to develop all the important questions you intend to ask your customers/interviewee. For example, What was the problem you wanted to solve? What prompted you to consider this product (or service)? What features do you like the most? Would you recommend the product?
Do keep in mind, though, that the idea is to have a conversation, not an interrogation, or a scripted testimony. So, use your questions to simply guide the interview and focus on getting insightful or valuable thoughts from your customers’ unique experience.
Pro Tip: Share your questions with your clients prior to the recording, so that they know in advance the topics you’re planning to cover. That way, you’ll help them feel more confident and better prepared to answer!
Ok, once you’ve got that covered, you’ll need to find the perfect location.
The idea is to choose a place that can add context to your piece while making your customers feel comfortable and relaxed. Additionally, the location should have good lighting and provide enough privacy to shoot without interruptions or other issues.
A spot that usually meets all the requirements named is the interviewee’s offices. Mind you, most people are camera-shy, but being in a place they know, with people they work with every day, can make the experience more manageable and laid-back.
You can also use an outdoor location, like shooting in front of a building or a specific place that’s related to your video’s main topic. But you can’t control the environment (traffic, noise, light, etc.) in such places. So, this type of production is usually much more challenging.
The bottom line is you should go for a location that can help you get your message across effectively and make the production day run smoothly.
Now that you have the questionnaire and the location, you’ll have to work on your visuals. This step involves everything related to your testimonial video’s ‘look and feel’ – From defining the props and camera angles to color, lighting, and graphic design.
The things you can do as far as visuals could fill a book! But at the very least, you’ll want to record from two angles (more on this in a bit), consider the color palette in your “stage” (and how it’ll mesh with your brand’s colors), and making sure your backgrounds don’t feel too cluttered.
When you establish all that, you’ll have to write all your ideas down and develop a storyboard – that is, a graphic organizer that’s going to guide you during production. Helping you understand scene shot sequence, angles, equipment, people involved… all of it to help you manage time and production expectations.
Filming Best Practices
If you decide to handle the production process by yourself, there are some things – mostly technical – that you should account for. Check them out.
The first thing you should do is prepare your camera. Using two or more cameras is the easiest way to have a variety of angles in your video and make it more dynamic. However, if you plan ahead and develop a solid storyboard, you can get many different angles with just one.
The main goal is to have a clean and nice shot of your interview. So, be sure to place your camera at the same height as the people you’re interviewing – You don’t want them looking up or down! We also recommend using a traditional medium shot and doing tight close-ups to capture emotional or relevant moments during the interview.
Another key technical aspect you’ll want to pay close attention to are the microphones. The idea is to choose the type of microphone that best adjusts to the environment in which you’re going to shoot. For example, shotgun and bi-directional mics are good options for indoor productions. If you’re shooting outdoors instead, you should place a foam rubber windscreen over the mic to lower the wind and other noises.
Now, if you don’t have access to a professional microphone, you can use the one on your camera. Just don’t forget to reduce the background noise, echo, or reverb to the minimum. No one likes a video with poor quality sound, especially when it has people talking to the camera!
Last but not least, you need to set up your lights. Just like with sound, bad lighting is a major no. Granted, renting lights for video productions is quite expensive. So, if you’re on a limited budget, you’ll have to make it work with the ones on the location.
The golden rule is to make the shot look as bright and luminous as you can. That way, the audience will clearly see your interviewees’ faces and emotions. Also, check there aren’t any inconvenient shadows casting on their faces.
Directing your Interview
When it comes to the actual interview, instead of just asking questions from behind the camera, sit down with your customers. Doing so is going to help it feel more like a friendly chat and reduce the stress or awkwardness your interviewees are probably going to feel.
On a similar note, the more comfortable people are, the better and more honest their testimonies are going to be. So, pay attention to their mood and body language. Break the ice if they look nervous or encourage them to talk if they suddenly get quiet. Be an interested listener and give them time to think or regroup their ideas when they need to.
For that matter, it’s very important that you direct the interview as well. If you want people to do something differently, tell them. But don’t forget to be polite and specific so they can clearly understand what you need from them.
With your questionnaire as a guide, you can revisit topics that you feel weren’t properly addressed or ask them to elaborate on something interesting they said before. Just remember not to interrupt your clients while they are answering – let them talk. And when you feel it’s time to move to the next question or topic, do it.
Also, it’s very important to film inserts and cutaways to make the testimonial video more interesting and engaging. These shots not only can help you accentuate certain moments of the interview but also fix sudden transitions during the editing process.
For example, you can film certain gestures, elements in the location, the building, backstage footage, the city, or whatever you think is going to be a relevant addition to the piece.
Pro Tip: Take into account the shot’s background. Place the person in a tidy and well-lit spot, preferably that’s not all white or has too many distracting elements.
Ok, once the production day is over, you’ll have to make your testimonial video come alive with the editing process. There are two main avenues you can take: team up with a professional video company or edit it yourself.
Truth be told, there’s a lot that goes into this final but critical part of the process. But, if you decide to take the DIY approach, we have some tips for you!
- Focus on creating a human and enjoyable video that’s around 90 to 150 seconds long. To achieve that, you’ll need to watch all the footage you have a couple of times. Then, and only then, choose the best parts and organize them in a way that makes sense. (You can use the storyboard as a guide.) Also, try to include interesting answers, nice reactions, good camera angles, and everything that can add true value to the piece.
- Editing programs have a lot of features and tools that you can take advantage of to make your piece look flawless and exciting. So, adjust and correct all you need to create a unique and unified aesthetic. Apply built-in filters, color correction, lighting issues like brightness or darkness adjustments, etc.
- Brand your testimonial video to enhance your marketing efforts. Make it clear that the piece is part of your company’s universe. Add your logo and name in strategic parts, such as the beginning and the end of the video. Also, use your brand’s color palette for the footer, lower thirds, and text overlays. If you want, you can include branded graphic and sound elements to make it more fun, like images, animation, or sound effects. But don’t overdo it – the center of your testimonials should be your customers.
You made it – You’ve learned how to make your first testimonial video!
Even though it can feel quite challenging at first, it’s important to remember that it’s all about your customers’ personal – and real – experiences with your awesome brand.
With that in mind, try to keep the interview as natural, friendly, and candid as possible. The more honest and relatable your customer’s answers, the more effective and powerful your testimonial video is going to be.
All in all, we hope you found this guide was helpful. We promise that, if you follow all the tips and best practices included in it, you’ll develop a testimonial video that’s going to foster consumer trust, boost brand awareness, and skyrocket your sales.