Fact: your customers are more persuasive than you. When it comes to telling others how great your organization is, a testimonial from a customer is hugely compelling. A video testimonial featuring happy customers is something that every business should produce.

But, not all video testimonials are created equal. With this guide, you can make your video stand out from the crowd. And, we’ll share some tips on working efficiently and empathetically with your customers to produce engaging, authentic testimonials.

How to find a subject

The hardest part might be identifying and convincing a good interview subject to participate in this video.

Think about your most loyal, longest-standing, highest purchasing clients. They are likely your best bet since they’ve demonstrated high levels of engagement with your brand or product, and can speak from experience.

If you have a brand new business, you might not actually have that type of customer yet. People who just made a purchase are usually very engaged with it, so reach out shortly after a sale. They might be loving the experience, and happy to talk about it.

The exposure the person or their company gains by participating in this video interview might be enough for them to jump onboard. Incentives like a free month of service, or special access to new products or features, are also nice ways to say thanks.

Work around their schedule

Make it as easy as possible for them to participate. Early or late shoots are a no-no, as is asking them to travel large distances.

Ideally, bring your camera crew (even if it’s just you) and do the shoot in their offices, or a similar location where they feel comfortable. If that doesn’t work, scout a local coffeeshop, or check if a nearby co-working space might let you rent a conference room for a couple hours. Alternatively, a professional studio space is always a great option if it’s within your budget.

Strike a balance between polished and authentic

A video testimonial absolutely must be authentic.

If you use a script, it might sound polished and professional, but you will lost that all-important authenticity. Your audience might not even believe that the person on camera is a real customer – they could assume he or she is an actor.

Before going anywhere near a camera, get together with the interviewee for an informal discussion. Get to know them, learn about their experience with your organization, and their impressions of the industry in general. In addition to fact-finding, it will help put them at ease.

Be prepared with some questions. These will ultimately drive the video testimonial. As a starting point, we suggest asking:

  • Where did you hear about us?
  • What did you purchase, and why?
  • Overall, what was the experience like?
  • What did the product or service ultimately enable you to do?
  • Can you suggest any improvements?

This approach ensures that the video strikes the balance between authentic and professional (and you can remove pauses, irrelevant points, and anything else you aren’t happy with at the editing stage).

Get the detail

Above, we shared some questions that you could ask during your preliminary discussion with the customer who has agreed to appear on camera. During the conversation, it is likely many more questions will spring to mind. Ask them!

A comment like: “The service was amazing!” lets the audience know the customer had a positive experience, but not much else. Why was it amazing? What was the impact? “When I started using the service, conversions doubled within a week!” is much more persuasive.

You will notice in the statement above that we quantified how the service benefited the customer. Your audience is interested in timescales, facts, and figures. It helps make the testimonial more engaging, as well as authentic.

One of the benefits of creating video testimonials is getting a fresh perspective. Your interviewee might be able to share some lesser known facts about the product or service. Finding out that your car polish is not only easy to apply, but also helps the car stay cleaner for longer, is something that will be very interesting to potential customers!

Get great footage

The worst feeling for video editors is when you review your footage, and realize important clips will be really hard to use. Avoid this outcome for your video testimonials with these simple tips for easy editing:

  • Obey the rule of thirds when framing the shot.
  • Use more than one camera so you can switch perspectives easily. This helps cover up edits for audio clarity, or to get rid of unwanted noises.
  • Make sure the subject can be heard clearly over your microphone by checking the sound quality with headphones.
  • Use natural light, or soft three-point lighting if possible. Getting the lighting right on a budget is absolutely possible.
  • Make sure they are coached to speak more slowly than normal, and to pause between phrases. What might feel uncomfortable in conversation will make a world of difference when editing.
  • Film it more than once. You might find they explain something slightly better the second time around.
  • Use a tripod or a Steadicam to ensure you have a smooth shot.

Don’t be afraid of negative comments

When speaking to the customer, try asking them about any improvements that could be usefully made to your product or service. This not only makes the video more authentic, it is also a good chance for you to get some valuable feedback!

Of course, focusing on the positive is your priority. In this sense, balance is not your agenda: your customer should be sharing many more pros than cons.

A good technique to adopt is to ask the customer if they had any problems and how they were resolved. In this way, your audience will feel that the testimonial is trustworthy, and will be reassured that they can enjoy excellent customer service. It’s a win-win!

When you are finished creating your video testimonial, why not put it on a page that drives conversions? If a prospect is on the verge of making the decision to purchase, the video could be the encouragement they require.

Have you created a video testimonial? Share it – and your tips – with the SproutVideo community in the comments section below or Twitter!