Rick Barron
Rick Barron 1 November 2019

Power of Video Testimonials

Testimonials are simple customer appears on camera to champion your product and share their story. If done right, they can be a very powerful marketing tool for your brand.

What’s in a video testimonial?

Testimonials are simple customer appears on camera to champion your product and share their story. If done right, they can be a very powerful marketing tool for your brand.

Unlike sales videos or fireside chats, production quality matters. Testimonials need to be visually appealing, concise, and even-paced.

Before you begin filming, ask yourself three questions:

1-Who should you interview?

The person you place in the interview seat should help you accomplish your mission. That is, they should be able to convey the value of your product or service in a way that guides your prospects down the funnel.

They should be:

  • Credible: Select someone who your audience will identify with. Often, that means an individual whose title suggests knowledge, such as a thought leader, or the head of a department or an executive. But it could also mean a teacher or purchasing manager, depending on who you sell to.
  • Believable: This one is very important so that your video testimonial is authentic. Select a customer that’s had some quantifiable successes so they can come prepared with statistics and empirical evidence that your product works.
  • Capable: The person you interview must have the internal clout to help get the testimonial approved internally. There’s nothing worse than crafting an entire video only to have it shot down by the customer’s legal or PR department. Note: you may want to check with your PR department first to get by in.

2-When and where should you film your customer story?

Broadly, there are three places you can film testimonials:

  • At your events: If you film at summits and conferences, you have a captive audience and can capture up to dozens of testimonials. But there are downsides. You’ll need to pull dedicated staff away from your event to manage the filming. You’ll never get as much time as you’d like with each customer, nor interview multiple people at each firm.
  • At the customer’s offices: If you send your video production crew to the client’s offices, you get to tell a deeper story. You’ll talk at length with multiple stakeholders who may talk more openly because they’re feeling less pressure to perform. The downside, however, is the time investment, you’ll likely only capture one testimonial in an entire day’s worth of filming. Another factor is the set-up time. If you take this option it’s best to plan and schedule ahead. Even better, get your equipment staged the day prior to the filming so as to avoid any unforeseen delays on the day of shooting.

A dedicated studio: Should you be lucky enough that your company has its own in-house studio, that’s even better. With your own studio, you have your own crew on staff, along with the camera and sound equipment in place. Even if you sub-contract crews for your own in-house studio, you have the location available, so it’s one less thing to worry about.

3-How can you prepare for production?

A single outstanding sound bite can sometimes take tens of hours of interviews, footage, and edits to produce. The more you plan and prep, the greater chance you’ll give your team of asking the right questions, eliciting the right responses, and getting to that sound bite faster.

First and foremost, find a strong interviewer who can guide your interviewee to the right conclusions, but who also deeply understands your product. They’ll need to:

  • Put the subject at ease
  • Keep the conversation flowing
  • Ask product-related questions
  • Tie the dialogue back to the larger narrative

Get your logistics questions resolved well ahead of time. Identify all the people and equipment you’ll need, and don’t skimp on what might seem like trivialities. Hair, makeup, and professional lighting help make prospects look good, literally, and can help ensure they don’t resist approving the video because their face looks shiny.

Deploy multiple cameras to capture multiple angles. This gives your video editors more material and gives you plenty of backup equipment in case things break. And of course, skilled talent is a must, an experienced producer, director, and post-production team can help you create great videos faster.

Once you have the footage, don’t rush the post-production. Boil it down, cut it, boil it down, and cut it. Take your time and distill the video to its most essential parts. That means not skipping the sound bite edit, where the video editor clarifies the timeline, or the creative edit, where the editor adds B-roll, product shots, and overlay graphics to make the whole thing flow.

Have a plan (but don’t use a script). Recording a video testimonial without any plans on what your customer will say is an accident waiting to happen. Have an idea of what you’re going to talk about when you start the process, but avoid having a script. Using a script is a sure way to make the testimonial sound stilted and unnatural. Over time you’ll find that balance between being prepared and improvising. It’s a skill that takes practice.

Create a list of questions to ask the interviewee during the testimonial so that they have an idea of what you’ll be asking them when the day comes.

4-It’s the ‘Why’ not the ‘Features’

If there is a best practice to follow in a video testimonial, it’s top focus on the ‘why’. Customers can go to your website to look up the features of your products or service. What they want to know is ‘why’ should they bother.

Use your video testimonial to discuss one customer’s pain points and problems, and how your product or service helped solve them. This type of delivery is the hook that will connect with real people looking for solutions to real issues.

Ask questions that get at emotions. Why did you start looking for a solution to this problem? What was the most frustrating part of running your business before you found our product or service? What does our product or service allow you to do differently?

Again, customers want to hear about benefits, not features. Establishing a narrative with concrete problems, solutions, and benefits is what makes for a powerful testimonial.

5. It takes an emotional connection

Facts and statistics about your business will be convincing to some people, but before you appeal to your potential customers’ heads, you need to get to their hearts.

That’s where emotion comes in.

If your audience can connect with the emotions of your testimonial subject, you’ll have a very powerful marketing tool. Seeing that one of your customers was frustrated, overwhelmed, or struggling, and that your product or service made helped them get closer to the ideal they’d hoped for, is very convincing to potential customers.

6. Cut to the chase

After the completion of the video, it’s time for the real work…editing. Best to keep the video should be short. Two to three minutes is a good goal. That might not seem like nearly enough time, but remember that viewers don’t have a long attention span: they want you to get to the point immediately.

Take away: Video Testimonials Are About One Thing

If there is one thing to remember, all of the best practices above come down to one thing: making your video testimonial connect with your potential customer. You can use all of the state-of-the-art production technology you want, but if your testimonial isn’t making a connection, lack emotion with your customer, it’s not going work.

Which is why it’s a great idea to get feedback from the audience of your videos. Send your finished testimonial out to a few of your customers to gauge their reactions. Get feedback and tweak your formula.

Need more inspiration? Check this great website showing 21 powerful Video Testimonial examples.


About the author

Hi, my name is Rick and I thank you for reading this article!

I explore to learn new stuff every day and here I will share all my experiences and thoughts with you.

You can also find me on Twitter and Instagram. :)

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