A Beginners Guide To Producing Video Testimonials

Andrea Palmer

Published Thu 08 Jan by Andrea Palmer in Creating Better Content and Marketing More Effectively

This article gives you some practical guidance on how to produce an effective video testimonial. 

Video testimonials can be powerful and are a great way to gain trust from potential customers. A video testimonial can help to:

  • Build a story that engages your audience
  • Show prospects how real people have used your product or service
  • Overcome your potential customers' reservations
  • Create a buzz about your product or service 
  •  Convey information to individuals or organisations with short attention spans

So let's get started: follow these tips and produce an effective video testimonial.

Video Length and Script

The length of the video should be around 30 – 40 seconds. I recommend scripting your video content so it doesn't run too long. 

Three reasons to have a script:

  1. Helps the subject to remember what comes next
  2. Helps the subject to relax -  It may take several times to get the script sounding natural, so practice a few times until you're happy
  3. Helps the subject to keep to the main points

The Client Testimonial

It’s worth having a think about what kind of questions you want your customer to answer.

  • Your questions should evoke answers which will describe benefits for potential clients / customers. However, it's essential customers' answers should be a natural language, spoken in their voice not yours
  • Be specific - The customer testimonial should talk about specific problems, solutions, features, benefits and outcomes
  • Effective content - An effective testimonial should explain what the customer's experience was before, during and after they purchased the product / service. Using a genuine story gives context to the testimonial and makes it reliable
  • Gaining trust and social proof - Add photo stills if appropriate: business names, social media handles and website links to help establish the credibility of the video

Composition

  • Avoid busy backgrounds when shooting the video: distracting backgrounds can ruin a great testimonial
  • Check nothing appears to be growing out of your subject's head like a vase of flowers
  • Make sure passers-by can’t walk directly behind while you’re shooting

Recording

To avoid spending huge amounts of cash on equipment here are my recommendations:

  • A Digital SLR camera with Full HD movie capabilities is my preference - however, I've seen decent videos produced with no more than a common smart phone or Flip camcorder
  • Use a sturdy tripod to mount your camera to avoid unfocused videos
  • A mic stand is essential: it will hold and position your microphone - without a stand your microphone would pick up and record all sorts of knocks, bumps, and vibrations that would ruin the take

Audio

  • Test your audio equipment is working correctly: does it give off a quality level of sound?
  • I recommend you use an external microphone over an internal one as generally the sound quality is much better
  • Practice a few times to find out the best distance for sound levels from microphone to subject: the voice should be crisp and clear
  • Find a quiet room to record in, with windows closed
  • Dispel background noises, record and play back to listen for unwanted background noise

Lighting

  • Place your subject near a good light source, like a window. The window must cast a good even light to the side / front of your subject
  • It’s not advisable to place the subject with the window behind them as this will cause a silhouette
  • Bright sunlight on your subject can cause harsh shadows so it’s best to avoid this
  • Look to position the subject at an angle that minimises shadows on the face
  • Using a reflector on the opposite side of the light source is a good way to reflect the light more evenly on the subject

Video Editing

Video editing programs have a lot of effects you can add to your video. However, it’s often best to keep it simple

  • Avoid drowning out the most important message - your customer’s testimonial - with unnecessary bells and whistles
  • I do recommend adding your customer's name, company name, website address and social media handles as this gives authenticity to your video

Last but not least:

For optimal results - Add the video testimonial to your website, social media pages and upload to YouTube.

I hope you have found this article helpful. If you have any questions or would like more advice on Video testimonials please go to our ask an expert page.

1 Comment on A Beginners Guide To Producing Video Testimonials

  • Left at 10:00 Richard Flewitt

    Hi Andrea, thanks for posting this. Most of it is very sound advice - to my mind a video testimonial, or even better a short case study is the best device any company can use to let their best customers do the selling for them

    We produce customer video testimonials and case studies for a number of national companies and I would add a couple of comments:

    If you are going to post a video like this on your company home page you really need to think bout the quality of the video and the content.  Viewers to any website cognitively make judgements about the quality of the service or product they are looking at from the quality of the site itself and the content on it - so a badly lit photograph, for example might say to a prospective client that you can't be bothered even to get e decent photo taken, so why will you be bothered to look after me professionally.

    This is a little different if you have a customer video gallery or a YouTube channel - these are more like blog posts and people now accept that its all about the content.

    My second point is that I would strongly recommend NOT EVER writing a script for a testimonial.  As soon as someone is reading or remembering a script they are disconnecting from the emotion of a message.  A testimonial should be by a customer using their own words in their own natural language.  There is a whole load of non-verbal communication going on when you use video that lets the viewer see that the message is genuine and authentic - these disappear if someone is trying to remember, or is reading from a script.  Have a couple of key words as reminders by all means, but never, ever get them to read a script.

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