You can’t go without client testimonials. Yes, it’s nice when someone writes one up for you to post on your website. But unfortunately, people tend not to trust those very much and can be rather dry and repetitive. You need your valued clients in the flesh testifying why your company made them happy. If you’re struggling with putting one together, here are a few tips to inspire you to create effective and memorable video testimonials as part of your marketing portfolio.
Casting the Characters
Happy customers are the obvious choice and different types should certainly be covered over the course of several videos. If you offer many types of services, create testimonials to showcase each or at the least those projects that highlight some of your best work. But don’t overlook the possibility of featuring a successful collaboration with a partnering company as a form of testimonial. This is an easy “get” as you could trade by doing an interview for them so both parties can benefit from the production. You could even create a single video for both of you to use on your respective websites or social media pages, saving a little time, money and effort on a dual-purposed testimonial.
The satisfied customer interview could also be interspersed with clips from employees who participated in the project or helped solve the customer’s challenge. A great way to add more personality to the piece is having an employee talk in about how they got to know the customer or by saying something funny or interesting about the interviewee. If you can get some lightheartedness or humor in, those videos often prove the most sharable. Think of customers who have a unique story to share or whose journey sends a powerful message.
Directing the Show
If you’ll be creating testimonial videos regularly (and you should!) try to use a person from your team who is good at interviewing. No one coming to mind? Think of the person on your team whom everyone talks to and gets along with. The one you always hope makes it to happy hour. He or she will probably be great at interacting with your subject, even if they’ve never done it before and it’s not in their job description. A good interviewer doesn’t just read the questions but can formulate new ones on the fly in response to the subject’s personality and interests. Even if the questions start out off-track, they can result in some colorful conversation that will make your testimonial stand out and most importantly, be memorable! You can always edit out truly distracting or off-topic bits.
An interview doesn’t have to be just a body in a chair. You could show your subject at the location where their story takes place or in their own environment. Adding a little movement and variety to the interview can make the piece more interesting to your audience. Include clips of the service or product in action and shots of your team members working with customers or on the product you’re featuring.
Prepare your questions beforehand. If you don’t already have what you want to ask in your head, get a small team of employees together for a brainstorming session. Who better to ask what the interview should include than the people involved? Your team members might enjoy the participation and offer the added benefit of looking at customer relations from a fresh angle. Try to come up with questions that will add color to your video while still covering the main points you want to cover.
If you are doing the filming yourself, scope out the location beforehand to make sure you have the right lighting for the time of day you plan to meet and that the background noise and crowd size nearby is appropriate. If you hire a professional video production company, they will oversee all of these details for you.
Try not to coach your interviewee; you don’t want the interview to come across as scripted and therefore sounding like bad reality TV. But do let them know what to expect to make them less nervous and so they have time to think of their responses. Give them some helpful direction such as letting them know it’s OK to be themselves and let their personality show through. Let them know you will represent them in their best light and that you will be carefully editing later so not to worry about stutters or do-overs. Give them information about the location so they can dress appropriately if it’s to take place outdoors and so they can be comfortable whether seating, standing or moving around.
Structure Your Story
Structure your interview as a story or at least outline it as one, to begin with. Let the subject tell who they are, what obstacle or challenge they faced, how they came to use your product or service and how the results solved their problem. But remember every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Sounds obvious but you’ll see testimonials out there (and stories for that matter) that fail to capture the point by skipping the conclusion or the setup, leaving the audience uninspired and quick to forget the whole thing. By all means, be creative, just be sure to check off the points you want to hit and that your video clearly highlights your product or service. And don’t forget to have a call to action, even if it’s just your contact information at the end.
Making sure you have video testimonials as part of your branding efforts is simply a must-do. It’s invaluable having your own satisfied customers tell others why they should choose you in the most digestible format available. Check out some of the best examples here and look around online at those created by companies you admire for ideas and inspiration. Above all, use your video testimonials to highlight the best your company has to offer, from the very people who support you.
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