The Essentials to Make Flawless Testimonial Videos That Help You Sell
Customers trust other customers; it's a simple fact that can give you a significant marketing advantage if you know how to use it. Testimonial videos, for example, make it easier to convince potential buyers by offering them an honest review from their peers, but only if you learn how to make them – and that’s what this article is all about!
The mechanics behind testimonial videos are quite simple: people trust the opinions and insights of others who’ve bought a product or service they might be interested in.
This simple axiom is what makes testimonial videos such a strategic marketing tool when it comes to increasing a product's sales. When the customer is on the verge of deciding whether or not to buy, an honest and persuasive peer review will likely make all the difference.
But making a good testimonial is trickier than it might appear at the outset.
It takes a lot of know-how to present your product or service clearly and authentically through another person while representing your brand's identity and marketing goals and respecting the honest stance of your clients.
So, if you think you can benefit from a tool like this one, but you're a little lost about how to go about creating one (and do it well), we’ve got you covered! We’ll review a few essential tips and general guidelines on making testimonials that help you sell.
Let’s get to it, shall we?
The Best Option to End the Buyer’s Journey
Before buying, customers go through what is known as “the buyer’s journey”, a process that can be divided into three stages: An awareness stage, when they discover their need or problem; a consideration stage, when they look for options to solve it; and a decision stage, when they pick one of the options.
Testimonial videos are perfect for the last stage of the buyer's journey when customers analyze the options available and decide which one is better.
A good review can make all the difference between your product and the competition’s, and that’s in essence what testimonial videos are: a well-made, high production value, positive review, optimized to improve its effectiveness.
That said, no one will believe or care for a review that seems fake or forced. So, a testimonial video has to be and feel authentic, honest, and natural to work. That’s the key here.
Where to Start? Planning is Key
The first thing you should do is map out and plan every aspect of the shooting ahead of time. It's essential to be specific when considering everything you’ll need during this pre-production phase, as it will help you avoid issues later down the road.
Draft Up a Good Set of Questions
Think about the questionnaire that your customers (stars of the video) will answer in your testimonial. Write questions directly related to your product or strategy, leaving room for the interviewee to explore their answers. Open questions like "Why did you buy this product?”, “Which characteristics helped you the most?" and “Who would you recommend this product to?" tend to be the way to go.
Remember, though, that this can’t feel like an interrogation but a conversation. For an authentic and natural-feeling video, you should make the interviewees feel comfortable.
This is also a good time to choose who will answer these questions and review your product on camera. Find satisfied customers who represent your product's target audience. Extra points if you can find carefree, open people who don't feel overwhelmed in front of a mic!
Take Time to Scout for Good Locations and Visuals
You need to pick the right place to film your testimonial video, and that can be a studio, your company’s office, or any place that fits the tone and general aesthetic feel you want to achieve with your piece.
Remember: the space you use to shoot your video can and should help you set the mood for your testimonial and should align with the message you want to convey.
Once you have a potential location, imagine how you would record there and consider how the shot will be framed. Keep in mind the "rule of thirds” – imagine your frame divided into nine equal squares, and use that imaginary reference to place your interviewee’s location and angle of view from the camera.
Last but certainly not least, consider sound isolation and lighting.
Is the room lit enough as is, or will you need to bring additional lighting on the day of recording? Are there big, natural light intakes you can use to your favor? Poor lighting will make your video look low-quality, and that should be avoided at all costs.
Then there’s the issue of sound. Spend some time in the room to figure out the audio quality you’ll have to deal with. Is the room echoey? Do you hear too much noise from outside?
Repeat this process until you find a location where you can comfortably and effectively conduct a recording without issue. Remember, this will be your raw material from where you will craft your video, and you want to set yourself for success from the get-go.
Light, Camera, Action: Tips for Production
So you figured out your questionnaire, a good location, and the gear you’ll need to record, including things like lighting and recording setups. Now, it’s production time!
Your planning has brought you to this. Whether you're directing the production yourself or have a team to work with you, get ready for the big (and busy) day.
Gather your Equipment and Put it in Place
Lucky for you, we live surrounded by high-quality digital cameras – affordable enough for personal and recreational use, but also for quite a professional production. If you are trying to keep costs at a minimum, you can even use gadgets that you may already have.
Consider your smartphone, as long as you use the back camera (better quality) and shoot horizontally instead of vertically. Also, we highly recommend purchasing a tripod and a stabilizer because they will allow steadier shots.
As for the sound, use an external microphone for better audio pickup. Poor equipment can make your production seem clumsy, or worse; you might end up with unusable chunks of recording.
Make a few test recordings to ensure the mic (or mics) is strategically placed to impede any noise to get to the final recording, especially if you are filming outdoors.
Create a Friendly Space
When directing the interview, don't just ask the questions. You'd better create a friendly, peer-to-peer environment with the person in front of the camera – as you’ll end up with a video that feels more natural.
It’s a good idea to talk a bit with the interviewees before the actual shooting, so they can adapt to the situation and feel more comfortable later – use these interactions to test your gear and setup.
And… trust your team. If you have hired other people to assist you in this task, respect their expertise in this job. Refrain from abusively interfering. This will help you create a healthy workspace and a better testimonial video in the end.
That said, you can still direct your team and show your vision, so the result is exactly what you have in mind. It’s your job to guide your team to craft a good production, making sure that all of the pieces work together.
Postproduction: Where the Magic Happens
Your testimonial video will still need some work when the recording is done, which is where the magic of postproduction comes in.
Postproduction is all about bringing your video to life through editing, which you can do yourself or hire a professional video production company to handle it.
Edit to Create Dynamic Content
Make sure that every second in your testimonial is serving a purpose. Try to stick as close as you can to the two-minute mark as far as runtime goes. Moreover, only use footage that makes the piece more stimulating, informative, and enjoyable, so viewers stick until the end.
When importing your footage into your editing program, start by cleaning them up, trimming pauses, false starts, and filming waste. By doing so, you will reduce their length and make it easier to edit the final sequence.
After cleaning your usable clips, put them into place, and your final video will be taking shape. Finally, work over precise timing and cutting issues until you have a rough piece of footage that represents the base for your testimonial from beginning to end.
Add Transitions, Effects, and Music
Once the footage edition is done, it's a good idea to add editing filters, animations, images, sound effects, colors correction, brightness, and contrast to unify the aesthetics of your video. Do it right, and these elements can help make it recognizable and representative of your brand.
That said, don’t overdo it!
Please don't use too many or too radical transitions or insane effects because they might swallow the attention and negatively affect the effectiveness of your testimonial video. Instead, use simple fades to transition from one shot to another and rather subtle color corrections. Let your content speak, not your editing program.
Finally, choose your music carefully. Sometimes, your video may not need background music at all. But if it does, keep it suitable to your video aesthetic and message.
Editing can be a time-consuming process, especially if you have no previous experience, but it is definitively worth it.
By the end of the editing process, you should have a sleek and consistent piece that's visually interesting and showcases one or more of your clients singing praises about your brand and product.
To Wrap Up...
Although these productions require a lot of work, and sometimes it's difficult to keep a balance between how much you want to express the benefits of your product and the honesty that potential customers are waiting for, we believe that it's worth the effort.
If you decide to make a testimonial video, don't forget to create natural, friendly, and candid videos. Remember that the more sincere the opinions of your customers, the more effective your video will be.
With this information, we hope that you have the necessary tools to create a great testimonial video, which boosts the confidence of your potential customers and skyrockets your sales. Good luck!