The times where companies monopolized the discourse around their products and services already gave way to a new era.
Thanks to social media and user-generated content, we’re living in a time where what customers say about your company or products is more important than what you say about yourself. Which is precisely what makes testimonial videos so great.
Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a place in marketing for pieces like animated explainer videos and traditional ads. That said, testimonials leverage people’s love for video content by putting your happy customers in the spotlight. Since most potential consumers are more inclined to trust a peer, few things work better as a piece of advertisement for your business than a satisfied client singing your praises! Used wisely, testimonial videos build trust with your prospects and nurture the consideration stage of their buyer’s journey, enhancing your sales funnel’s effectiveness.
Of course, you’ll only get those benefits if you are able to create a high-quality testimonial. Best way to do that? Well, that’s what we are here to talk about.
1. Start Strong with an Organized Preproduction
There are a lot of things you can do to start your videos’ creation, but 3 of them are essential:
- Pick and prepare your customers: Pick a client that truly represents your core audience and is excited to participate. You don’t need a Hollywood star, as you’ll prepare your client before shooting. Share a list of the general topics you’ll be talking about during filming so they aren’t caught off-guard. Additionally, you should meet them in person to get to know each other and dial down the potential nerves the whole setup often causes.
- Develop a good questionnaire: You’ll need specific questions that can get you some insightful thoughts about the customer experience with your brand, but without railroading the interviewee. Questions like “What were you looking for when you found out about us?”, “Why did you pick us?” and “How did our product work for you?” are essential pieces of a good testimonial video questionnaire.
- Search an ideal location: To add credibility to your testimonial video, you’ll need to interview your happy customers in a proper setting (AKA a place where viewers can get some context). The kind of service or product you offer and the chosen customer should inform the location you go for, be it their offices, your office, or some other place. Additionally, the location should be well lit, calm, secure, and provide enough privacy to record without issue.
2. Put On Your Director’s Hat During Filming
Once pre-production is done, you are ready to move on to filming. However, filming a testimonial video is more than just pressing the record button on your camera. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind at this stage:
- Think about the camera setup: Position the camera at the same height to prevent a feeling of looking down to the interviewee. The frame should be a medium shot but you’ll have to adjust it during the interview to zoom into the customer’s reactions. Also, be sure to capture more casual takes of your customers when you’re not interviewing them. Use these candid takes to enrich the final product.
- Sit down with your customers: Even though you won’t be in the take, it’s best if you sit down close enough to your happy customer and talk in a conversational tone. This will allow you and your interviewee to be more comfortable, while also letting you put the camera close by to better capture them without feeling intimidated. Also, mind the background! If you sit the client in front of a plain background, people watching can end up getting bored really quickly. If the background is filled with people or activities, people can get distracted. Find a good midpoint with a rather static, but non-uniform background.
- Give directions when needed: Don’t shy away from directing the whole thing to get what you want out of your shots. Ask for clarifications, encourage the interviewee to talk when they feel nervous, think of new questions depending on your customers’ answers, or even suggest a change in the location, the customer’s position or any other thing you feel might benefit the video.
- Get some inserts and cutaways: Film the interviewee from a different angle to get other kinds of reactions, get the surroundings, and even film the backstage. If you suspect a particular thing can end up being a nice addition to the video, get it. It’ll be best to toss it out in the editing room than not get a nice shot in the first place.
However, all of these directorial concerns shouldn’t distract you from the more technical aspects of filming that can also make or break your testimonial. Good news is that you don’t have to know all the tech things involved in filming, though. But you should at least be aware of these two essentials:
- Use a proper microphone: If you don’t have access to a professional mic, you can use the one built into your camera. Just remember that you’ll need to limit the noise to the maximum in these instances. If you can get your hands on a separate mic, however, you should capture the sound with it and then edit it together with the video at the end to get the best possible sound.
- Turn the lights on! Professional lights for video are expensive and hard to come by, which is why you’ll have to do with the lights you have on location. Turn them all on, but be sure that you don’t cast a shadow on your customer’s face. If you’re shooting outside, pick a sunny day to get the best colors but remember to stay away from shadows and from direct sunlight that can make your interviewee uncomfortable.
3. Make it All Come Together During Editing
Now that you’re done filming, it’s time to piece the parts together and finish your awesome testimonial video! You’ll need to know how to use an editing software to do so or enlist the aid of a professional video production company. There’s just too much that goes into editing to cover it in a single piece, but if you are taking the DIY approach, make sure that you:
- Watch everything you film several times and make a selection. You’ll have to carefully pick the best moments and you’ll only be able to do so if you know your material from top to bottom. Look for good answers, little reactions and good context shots. Make notes to help you keep track of everything as you are putting it together
- Edit out everything that looks out of place. Modern video software can take your video to a whole new level by applying color correction, built-in filters, brightness adjustments, and even by steadying a shaky video.
- Put your brand in there. Generating brand awareness is a vital piece of your video marketing efforts – Which is why all business videos should have the company’s colors and logo somewhere in there. So, be sure that your testimonial video has yours in place when possible. Additionally, you can insert a card or box to put in the customer’s name and business or even some text to underline a good answer.
Once you’ve accounted for all these aspects, you’ll have much easier time putting your awesome testimonial together.
Some Parting Thoughts
As you’ve surely noticed, filming a good testimonial video is hard work. It involves paying attention to a lot of details, planning the different stages accordingly, and even stepping into technical aspects you might not know that much about.
All in all, it can feel a bit overwhelming at the outset, but as long as you remember that it’s all about the customers’ stories and their real experiences with your brand, you should be alright.
Getting a happy customer in front of a camera can be extremely beneficial for your company, provided you know how to get it through the screen. It won’t be an easy feat, but you’ll do much better if you keep in mind and follow the suggestions above.
The reward will be a video that solidifies your status in front of your prospects as a trustworthy business that knows how to keep its clients happy.