What do you need to create your own Testimonial Video?
It all starts with a customer and a video camera, but it doesn’t stop there. Testimonial Videos need to be done right if you want to get the best results!
Before we dive into the exciting ocean that is testimonial video production, let’s go through the basics for a bit. What is a testimonial video, and why is it so great to include video in your marketing strategy?
What is a Testimonial Video?
Testimonial videos, (also called Customer Testimonials) show a former customer of your brand speaking about their experience with you. Specifically, testimonials tell the story of how your customers solved their problems by using your product.
These videos are a great way to encourage your prospects to convert. Their power relies on the fact that your customers trust you and your product so much, that they’re willing to recommend you personally.
This could also be said about written testimonials, but video testimonials hold extra value: through video your prospects get to watch a real person, just like them, speaking about how great your product or service is!
Written testimonials can be fabricated, but video testimonials are 100% authentic, and that’s something your prospects can rely on.
People trust their peers, more than anyone else. So, if your customers trust you so much that they make a video about it, your future customers will be very impressed!
Sounds interesting, right? Now that you’re hooked, let’s go through the five essential steps for creating a testimonial video!
1. Prepare your questions beforehand
Boring answers are the direct result of unprepared questions.
In order to get the best results, you must prepare a list of the questions and the topics you need your customer to address. This list should be as detailed as possible because even if you don’t end up using every single answer, it’s always better to have material to spare!
Think about which questions might be key to your message: what were the reasons why your customer choose your product, what were the struggles they were facing, and how was your product a solution for them? And also talk about how your product affected their business, what are their favorite product features are, etc.
Also, think about the questions that could give you some extra insight into the thought process of your clients. For example, you could ask if they were reluctant to choose your product for any reason, and why they decided to go for it in the end.
Write down all of these questions, and take them with you during the filming process. But, should you share these questions with your client, before the interview? Not really.
Yes, you should share with them a general idea of the topics you’ll cover during the interview, but don’t let them know the exact question list!
The reason behind this is strategic: you want this interview to be relatable and authentic, and this means just one thing – your client shouldn’t practice their answers too much, as it will sound robotic and fake.
2. Find the perfect filming location
Scouting the ideal location is one of the keys for creating a perfect testimonial video! But, how can you choose this “ideal location”?
First, show some context to your viewers. Shoot in an environment in which your client feels comfortable because, in these kinds of videos, your business will shine by making your client shine!
Also, be sure to choose a setting that conveys what you want to communicate in your video. For example, you could shoot in your client’s office to provide an ‘executive’, professional vibe, or outdoors if you want something that’s a bit more different (a city square, the front of a building, and so on).
Look at the locations in this example, from Dropbox:
3. “Lights, Camera…”
After you’ve planned your ideal location and written the list of questions you need to ask your client, it’s time to set up your equipment. This means microphones, camera, and lightning!
There are many options and you could feel a bit uneasy if you’re not familiar with some technical terms. For example, there are many kinds of microphones, and you should choose the best one based on your subject and the environment you’ll be shooting in.
You could use omnidirectional mics, that capture sounds equally from every direction; cardioid mics, which capture sounds mostly from the front – also shotgun mics that capture sounds directly in front of them, with no background noise; lavalier mics, that are omnidirectional and can be clipped into clothing (and work great if you’re filming in a place with lots of background noise)...
Also, lightning. There are different techniques for whether you’re filming indoors or outdoors, for instance – when shooting indoors you should consider a three-point lighting setup.
This consists of a main light (which is the brightest and most important, usually placed on one side and high up), a backlight (which illuminates the back of a subject, helping separate them from the background), and a fill light that illuminates some parts of the frame (those that would be in shadows if you only used the main light).
When shooting outdoors, there isn’t a lot of light work you can do, but you can minimize hard shadows on your subject’s face by using a scrim (basically, a diffuser attached to a light stand to soften the sunlight).
And last, (but never least), learn where to position your subject on camera. Think about the frames you’re going to shoot (it’s very important to create at least a quick storyboard, so you don’t waste valuable time), and where your client is going to be in each scene.
Plan it so your subject isn’t facing right towards the camera, but instead just a little bit off-camera(which makes for a very natural shoot). The best way to do this is to place your interviewer right beside the camera so the conversation takes place naturally.
4. “... Action!”
It’s showtime! If you’ve played your cards right, now every element is in place and you’re ready to have a nice conversation with your customers – a conversation that is planned, but not rehearsed or robotic.
Actually, you should use your questionnaire as a guide, more than a script. Guide the conversation towards the themes you need to communicate, but feel free to ask follow up questions and let your client speak. After all, you will edit the video later! Probably a lot of the conversation will be left out, but it’s always better to have too much information, rather than too little.
Ask your interviewee to repeat the phrasing of your questions before they answer. That way, their answers will be full on their own, your audience will have enough context, and you’ll be able to edit out the question later.
Be an active listener, and always be polite and very specific about your needs! Never forget that your clients are using their valuable time to help you.
5. The magic of editing
Editing is amazing! Now that you have so many minutes of raw footage, it’s time to make it into a real, shareable and loveable video.
First of all, make sure your video doesn’t exceed the two or three-minute rule. If your client goes on too much about one particular theme, trim the footage to avoid losing the idea.
- Incorporate some insert takes, like a view of the city, or the office – this will give your audience some context while adding some excitement.
- Make some adjustments to correct lighting issues, or add filters to create specific aesthetics.
- Add various graphic elements, using your brand colors (overlapping text to indicate names and titles, some graphics, a logo, or subtitles)
If you’ve done everything right, your video should look something like this:
This is because, when done right, these videos are not only trustworthy but also memorable and engaging. Creating a testimonial video is a very smart move that will only enrich your video marketing strategy!
Remember, going through all these steps is essential for making these videos the right way. The alternative could be a disaster – a low-quality, poorly edited, and fake-looking video will only set your business back! So you must take care of every detail.
But don’t worry, in the end, it’ll be worth your effort! Are you ready to start?
Víctor Blasco is the founder and CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. He is also an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. Aside from running the business, he loves studying Chinese philosophy and is a real geek for science fiction films and comics!