There is a lot of power in a customer’s opinion. Why? Because when a customer is about to make a purchase, they’ll trust their peers’ opinions more than anyone else’s. And that is why customer testimonial videos work so well. A video testimonial shows a real person, a customer of your brand giving their honest opinion about your team and your product. But if you want to produce a video testimonial that closes deals, it needs to be done right. It’s about how you plan for it, from pre-production to post-production; and in which stage of the buyer’s journey your prospects watch it. Let me show you how!

It’s all about perfect timing: The Decision Stage

Video content is the best friend of the buyer’s journey, and there are specific video types that work best for every stage of it (awareness, consideration, and decision). So, what you use is very important.

Customer Testimonial Videos work great for the third stage of the journey, the decision stage.

Because during this stage, your prospects haven’t yet made the much-awaited buying decision, and this kind of video will give them the final incentive they need to make the purchase. Now, let’s cover all the steps needed to create a great testimonial video.

Pre-production

As with all types of video production or recording, pre-production is the first step in organizing all the details of your project. Here, the key lies in asking the right questions to get the right answers. You want your interviewee to tell you what you need to know about their experience with your product, so a good list of questions must be made. Remember to prepare your interviewees for filming, by letting them have a general idea of the topics you’ll be discussing during the interview. Notice that I said ‘a general idea of the topics’ and not an exact question list: You want them to have time to think about their answers, but not too much. If they know the exact questions, they’ll be tempted to learn their answers by heart, which may result in a robotic and fake attitude. Don’t forget logistics! You must coordinate the time and date of the filming, in addition to the location. Choose what kind of environment you’ll be filming in because this will be associated with your brand, and it should support the message you’re looking for.

Technical Considerations

Now, we’ll cover the ‘holy trinity’ of filming: lighting, sound, and camera. Lighting Consider whether you’re going to be shooting indoors or outdoors. When shooting indoors, you can create the right lighting arrangement for your video by adding or removing lights, but usually, you should consider a three-point lighting setup, which consists of a main light, fill lights, and a backlight. When shooting outdoors, it’s good to use a scrim, which is a device used to modify properties of light. With a scrim, you can reduce the intensity or harshness of it. Sound There are a lot of different types of microphones. Some mics capture sound from all directions (like Omnidirectional or Lavalier mics), and mics that capture sound coming from specific directions (like Shotgun mics). You should use the one that goes best with the environment you’re shooting in. If you’re shooting outdoors, you should take into account the sound of the wind. All mics are susceptible to wind and to minimize this; you can place a windscreen made of acoustic foam rubber over the mic (which is called a ‘Zeppelin’). Camera Be sure to position your camera correctly. You want your camera to be at the same height as the subject, so it doesn’t look up or down on them. Using two or more cameras is the easiest way to create a variety of angles in your video, but it can be done just as well with only one camera. If you’re going to use only one camera, though, you’ve got to plan it carefully. You can use a traditional medium shot for the interview, which gives your footage a clean look, but you can also mix it up a bit with some close ups to point out important parts of the message, or emotional moments. After all of this is set, you’re ready to film. Action!

Filming

Make the interview a conversation, and don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions. You want your interviewee’s answers to be real and provide true value, so let them speak freely. You can (and will!) edit any uninteresting parts later. Be careful with the backgrounds in the shot: a busy background, with activity running behind your subject will distract the audience. It doesn’t have to be a white background (in fact, don’t use a plain white background), just find a nice context that’s not too distracting. Also, make sure the background is out of focus.This will give depth to your shot and focus the attention on your subject. In order to give your viewers some context, it’s important to film some extra takes to use as inserts. This inserts will provide context of a location (are you filming in an office, a coffee shop, a park? And is it in Sydney, in Madrid, in Tokyo?), and examples of what your interviewee is saying (you can film some takes that show the process of the work being done with your client, or the final results). Besides context, insert takes also give a certain rhythm to your video: you’ll be breaking up the monotony of nothing else but showing a person talking.

Editing and Post-Production

Now it’s time to take all the videos you’ve shot and mix them up to create a customer testimonial masterpiece! But in order to make it, you must consider these tips:

  • A good customer testimonial video is able to communicate a message in 2.5 minutes or less.
  • Remember to use your brand’s colors. You should have an intro and an outro for your video, using your brand’s colors and/or logo. And also for any other graphic elements you add.
  • Edit your video in a smart way—the magic of post-production lies in the fact that you’ll have all this raw material, and with your expertise you’ll be able to make an interesting and informative video that helps you close sales.

Make it enjoyable and credible, and always respect the spirit of what your interviewee has said.

Let’s wrap it up!

You can tell by now that there is a lot of work in creating a great testimonial video! But hard work always pays off. Remember: It’s important to plan your content carefully. This means, preparing your questions beforehand, choosing the perfect background to film in, and being aware of all the technical stuff, like correct lighting and sound. When planned and done right, a testimonial video is a great tool. It will cement your future customer’s trust in your product and in your brand. And this, of course, translates in more sales!

How are you currently tackling customer testimonial videos? Any tips to share? Questions? Sign off on the comments section below.

Víctor Blasco