How to produce the best customer testimonial video
Every marketer worth their salt knows that having a good product to offer and amazing content to display, is necessary to gain brand visibility nowadays. But closing the deal requires multiple levels of interaction with your target audience.
Once they know your product and have compared it to other options, they need to know if your brand is worth trusting. And one of the best types of content to do so revolves around sharing other clients' stories, and thus to reframe your marketing strategy: customer testimonials.
Testimonials excel in their ability to project how your solution played a real, positive role in solving your clients' problems and how others can benefit from them as well.
Today, we are going to talk about how testimonials can be a key part of your video marketing strategy. And help you understand the most relevant issues involved in creating compelling and effective content of this style.
Planning Your Testimonial Video
Way before you start thinking about recording equipment or session schedule, you need to know the general direction you want your testimonial to take. Decisions such as the questions you'll ask or the location you’ll use will have a fundamental impact on how effectively you convey and support your message.
Let’s see the basic preparations you need to make during the pre-production stage.
Designing the Questionnaire
What makes testimonials valuable as marketing tools is that they are first and foremost authentic. Satisfied clients can transmit their emotions to their peers by talking about their own personal journey with your brand.
So, when preparing the questionnaire for the interview, keep in mind that overly scripting your interview can backfire. Your goal shouldn't be to have speakers respond mechanically to your questions but to elicit sincere and interesting answers from them.
That said, there are three broad categories of questions that are generally useful for thinking about whether your testimonial questions are right on target.
- First, you want to get the interviewee to discuss his background, specifically about the challenges, fears, and needs he had before encountering your solution. A general good lead is: “What problem were you trying to solve before finding our product?”
- Ask them about their experience while using your product—whether they found it easy to set up, start using, and if they were happy with the results.
- Finally, ask them to make their own personal assessment (“What did you like the most about our product?”) and why they would recommend it to others.
Selecting an Appropriate Location
The most important thing that you need to know about choosing the right setting for your video is that the shooting location will determine many crucial production decisions – as well as having an impact on costs.
Shooting in outdoor locations, such as in the front of public buildings, park, or in a historical square, tends to have very low costs. It could also give you a beautiful scene that will make your video unique. However, shooting in open spaces, you have zero control of the surroundings—poor weather, lighting, and sound conditions, as well as privacy issues, can work against you.
For such reasons, many prefer playing safe with an ordinary recording set, which could be a studio, a meeting room, or even a quiet place at a restaurant. Sure, the costs can be higher and logistics more involved, but there you will be able to anticipate and plan for any problems with the environment. Consequently, videos produced in a private place tend to be of higher quality.
Key Practices to Make Filming Easy
It goes without saying that regardless of the quality of your next-generation smartphone, you will need something better than a shaky recording device to produce compelling video testimonials.
In this section, we’ll mention some of the essentials you need to account for the filming process, and how it’s simply not true that you need to spend thousands of dollars on high-quality equipment.
Choosing the Right Equipment
Getting your hands on a good camera shouldn’t involve a huge investment on your part. If you or someone in your team owns a mid-range or high-end DSLR camera, you have a piece of great equipment for your interview.
You should also know that many camera shops and suppliers rent professional equipment at reasonable prices. So, if you want the best quality for your video, be sure to get in touch with local providers to see what they have to recommend for recording interviews.
Now, the quality of your visuals is only as good as that of your sound: it’s equally important to find proper microphones to record the voices. Choosing the best microphone depends a lot on the location where you film. Usually, a shotgun, bi-directional mic is the best option to record the voices of both speakers in a closed environment.
But if you are conducting the interview outdoors, a hands-free, lavalier mic works better for you, as it significantly reduces ambient noise and records sound more faithfully.
Positioning: Interviewee and Interviewer
Many people have a tendency to stare directly at the camera (who doesn’t?), so you need to find the right position to minimize this urge. To achieve that, follow these tips:
- Put the camera at approximately the same height as the interviewee’s eyes.
- Then place the subject at either the right or left side view of the shot, leaving a long side space in the frame.
- Have the interviewer sit near the camera on the same side as the long side, so that interviewees focus their attention on him.
Directing the Interview
The best directing advice you can give when recording the interview is to encourage interviewees to openly speak their minds and express at length. It doesn't matter if they turn out to be very chatty—you can always apply your selection standards during editing.
What you aim to produce is an interview that seems warm and friendly, so that your interviewees feel comfortable during the recording session, and that your viewers can later sympathize with their stories.
Be on the Lookout for Key Moments
You want to use your equipment wisely, so you have good material to work with later in the editing process. For example, it’s a good practice to play with different camera shots and lighting to highlight special moments in the conversation.
Of course, it is almost impossible to plan the moments of emotion. But you can use your most important questions as leads to be alert.
Finishing Up! Best Post-Production Tips
At the post-production stage, you want to put things together so that your video serves its intended purpose. As in the case of any other type of marketing content, such as animated explainer videos, there are a few basics yet powerful details you can’t forget to add to make your testimonial stand out in the eyes of your audience.
Apply Filters for Color Correction
Using the best equipment available for your interviews will not guarantee that the quality of your shots will be perfect. Sometimes you will need to make adjustments to correct lighting or shading issues. To do that, you can apply filters to either brighten or darken your video’s visual composition. If post-production isn't your strong suit, you may need to outsource video editing to make your video flow together nicely.
Add Informative Lower Thirds
You want to add overlaying text to give viewers the context of your video. You can use lower thirds to identify the speaker’s name, the company where he works, as well as the position he holds.
Also, lower thirds are very useful to keep viewers engaged with interesting information and details. It can be something as simple as letting them know the location where the interview is taking place or some key facts and data points that emerge from the discussion.
Complete Your Video with Effective Branding
Before you finish the editing process, you need to make sure that your video is a unique piece that viewers can identify as your brand. Use your brand colors to customize the text, footer, and lower thirds that you incorporate in your video.
Another good practice is to add your brand’s logo in the video. Be very minimalistic when you do it: you don’t want your logo to be too intrusive or distracting.
Video testimonials are your best move to boost the levels of confidence that customers have towards your brand.
Creating a great testimonial interview involves two core aspects. First, it needs to look authentic—your targets rely on this type of video to get a firsthand perspective on your solution. So, when you craft one, be sure to make your questions open and let the interviewee speak freely.
Secondly, the quality of testimonials depends a lot on their production value. Put an extra effort to find the best equipment, setting, and crew to create your video. Trust us: the results will be worth it!
Victor Blasco is the founder and CEO of Yum Yum Videos (animated explainer video company), 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! The force is strong...