Video Marketing 101 – How to Create an Effective Testimonial Video
Testimonial videos are one of the most effective video marketing tactics.
Why? Because potential customers want to know what their peers think. 89% of people read – or watch! – reviews before deciding to buy a product or service. And in a 2020 survey, 79% said they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.
Now combine this with the higher engagement rates of video content compared to text – 95%, if you were wondering – and the value of testimonial videos is clear.
To take advantage of that, you need to know how to create an effective and engaging video testimonial. Here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started.
1. Pick the Right People
First off, you need to identify the right people to feature in your testimonial video.
Reach out to loyal clients who’ve been with you for a while. Check your database for people who’ve been using your platform or product consistently, or who have engaged your services repeatedly.
These customers have plenty to say about you – and can give your audience authentic insights.
Tip: Look for someone who’s had positive personal interactions with you before, or who’s already left you a good review. They might be more than happy to give you a personal testimonial, too.
Once you’ve selected your people, invite them for a video call for a remote testimonial. If they’re near you, you could also set up a local shoot, whichever way is more convenient.
2. Prep Your Questions Carefully
Both you and your customer should be prepared for the shoot. Neither of you should have to think hard about what to say next.
All you need to do is to draw up some questions beforehand. Just send those to your interviewee, and they can prepare their responses ahead of time.
The important thing is that your questions should evoke emotions. Your testimonial video shouldn’t be a list of features, but should highlight how the customer benefits from your product or service.
Tip: Asking people about their pain points is a good start. That means: Let them tell you what frustrated them before they found your product, and how you helped them overcome their challenges.
Here are some questions you could adapt for your list – just pick a few!
10 Testimonial Question Ideas
- What problem did you or your company have before using our … ?
- What result did you get by using our … ?
- What did you like best about our … ?
- What were you skeptic about, and why did you go with … anyhow?
- What made you happy or surprised you about our … ?
- What did your workflow look like before you started using our … ?
- What is your workflow like now?
- What would you say if you wanted to recommend … to your best friend?
- What made you choose our … over any alternative you looked at?
- What are three benefits you got from using our … ?
However useful these questions may be, don’t script the interview totally. Otherwise, the testimonial will sound artificial and inauthentic.
Authenticity is the greatest quality of video testimonials. So, aim to have an actual conversation with your client and capture it as naturally as possible.
Tip: Usually, you won’t appear in the final video. It’s okay to ask your interviewee to restate the question if possible, and to respond in full sentences. For example:
Q: What did you like most about our product / service / working with us?
A: What I liked best about … was …
3. Ready Your Equipment
While it’s possible to record a testimonial with low-end equipment – over Zoom, even – it will necessarily look and feel unprofessional.
Considering the high return value of video marketing, it pays off to invest in higher-quality audio and visuals. It also makes your video editor’s job easier!
Perhaps the easiest option is to rent an indoor studio with all the equipment ready. Of course, you can also set up your own indoor or outdoor shoot.
A good opportunity for this might be an industry event where you have a booth. Or you could even send a videographer to the client!
In any case, the three most important pieces of equipment are:
High-quality mics let you cut back on ambient noise and capture clear audio. Best for this are unidirectional shotgun mics (for example, mounted on cameras) or lapel mics close to the speaker’s mouth. If you’re recording outdoors, wind protection is crucial.
Next, choose high-res video equipment (4K quality is a must). To avoid wobbly shots, put it on tripods.
While having just one is okay, two or three cameras are better. Extra cameras allow you to easily add additional angles, making for a more dynamic final edit.
Lights and Shades
These help you create the right lighting and contrasts for the scene.
In particular, your interviewee’s face has to be lit perfectly. It’s what your viewers will be looking at most of the time, so you want it neither overexposed nor shadowed.
4. Shoot Lots of Footage
Make sure to capture several takes of the entire conversation, and from several angles.
In addition, shoot some b-roll to intercut the final video with. This includes environment shots – especially if you’re filming outside – the results of your work for that client, you and the client standing together, or simply them using your product.
Try to keep the filming process as candid and natural as possible. After all, you want your client to feel comfortable in the setting, and forget about the cameras.
So, don’t fiddle with your equipment, interrupt the interviewee while they are talking, or give them stage directions.
Tip: Do a quick test shoot yourself before the client comes in – that way, you can be confident that everything will work.
5. Professional Editing
Once you’re done filming, you have to tackle the next task: editing the extensive footage you captured into a short and engaging video. The ideal length appears to be between 90 and 150 seconds.
This depends on the audience, though: 30 seconds can be plenty of time to get the main point across. Especially if you’re targeting customers and solopreneurs rather than business buyers.
Editing a testimonial video can be more complex than it seems at first. You have to choose the best angles at every point, incorporate inserts and cutaways, correct lighting issues, and apply filters.
Depending on the look you’re going for, you might also want to add graphic elements like logos, brand colors, and animations.
Make sure to include a call to action – it’s a simple way of increasing video engagement.
If you’re new to video editing or don’t have an editor on your team, it’s definitely worth investing in professional editing services for the best possible result.
You can either opt for hiring a freelance editor – on freelance job boards, for example – or reach out to a professional video editing company. In any case, compare a few different offers and check your candidates’ portfolio for proof of experience and quality.
Tip: Check out the editor or company’s own testimonials!
The Bottom Line
Testimonial videos are a core part of any video marketing strategy, and an excellent way to engage potential customers.
By picking the right interviewees, preparing your questions, choosing the right equipment and shooting environment, and opting for professional editing, you’ll come away with a compelling, human video that clearly outlines the benefits of your product and services.
Ready to give professional video editing a shot?
Look for customers you’ve interacted with positively. Check out good reviews you’ve already received, or thank-you emails. Then, just reach out with a personalized message!
The sweet spot for testimonial videos is between 90 and 150 seconds, or roughly two minutes. Depending on your industry, 30 seconds can be enough.
As the customer, talk about why you chose this particular product or service, and what your benefit was. If something surprised you, mention it!
As the person asking for a testimonial, use questions that will get you candid, but positive answers.
Better not. You want authentic, comfortable clients, not somebody reading off a sheet. That said, it’s a great idea to pick some questions and send them to your customer beforehand. That way, they know what’s coming, and won’t have to think about their answer that much.
You can film testimonials over Zoom, but the quality won’t be great. Setting up a shoot at your place or theirs is better, if possible. However, a decent video call recording is better than nothing, if it’s edited well to polish up the footage.
Tip: For remote clients, you can hire a local videographer.