1. Set Expectations
Being on camera can be nerve-racking for some … err most, actually. So help your customer feel at ease by setting appropriate expectations. Explain the schedule for the day of the shoot, who else you’ll be bringing with you, and any other details you think they should know. Offer guidelines on what your customer should wear and think about before you come for a candid conversation. Share your vision for the video, too.
2. Skip the Script
Memorized lines crafted by a marketer sound like memorized lines crafted by a marketer. And isn’t that the whole reason you’re creating customer testimonials anyway? To step out of the marketing box and into real conversation?
You’ll certainly want to provide your customer some sort of guideline ahead of time on things to talk about, so they know what’s coming, but this will be more like the questions you might ask during the interview or helping them to identify the areas of your product that they love or business results you drove.
On the day of, just sit down and have a conversation. The more candid, the better.
3. Fart to Start
No … not actually. This is a video marketing term used to explain the concept of capturing attention from the get-go. Okay, fine – you caught me. I just made that up. But hey, capturing attention early on is key in video and plus, you’re going to remember this one now, aren’tcha?
Feel free to stray away from an intro screen with your brand information and the introduction of who you’re talking to and what they do right away if it’s boring and blasé. Blasé doesn’t capture attention. Blasé doesn’t encourage continued viewership. And blasé certainly doesn’t drive sales. So think outside of the box and capture attention in 10 seconds or less. Depending on your brand, something like a quick off the cuff (yet intentionally placed) blooper is always a great way to start in a light-hearted-human way. These little things make for powerful testimonial videos!
4. Benefits, Benefits, Benefits
Nobody cares about the features of your product. Well, not really. What really captures viewers are the benefits you provide for customers and the problems you so smoothly solve. So instead of focusing a customer testimonial on “automation” think of “time saved”, instead of “web-based” think “easy access”. Think benefits all the time.
5. Keep the Video Short … but the conversation long
Video testimonials, like most marketing videos, should be kept short. The sweet spot is about 45-60 seconds, although anything up to 3 minutes can work. But this doesn’t mean that you should only spend 45 seconds interviewing your customer – that would just be awkward! So take your time. Encourage a genuine conversation and more casual chat where there just happen to be cameras chilling in the background. The more genuine the conversation, the more believable the testimonial.
Keep in mind that you’ll probably use multiple snippets from the conversation, so don’t worry about having one 45 second segment from your half hour discussion that’s pure gold. You can create that goldmine in post-production.
6. Aim for Simplicity
Cramming every single benefit into one video might seem like it will get you the biggest bang for your buck. But … wah, wah … it might actually do the opposite. Firstly, it’s probably difficult to fit all of those benefits into such a short video and secondly (and probably more importantly), consumers can only digest so many messages within a short time period. Stuff your video with too many benefits and the viewer will become overwhelmed and walk from your testimonial video without taking away a single thing.
7. Share the Screen
Great conversation is one thing, but captivating audio unfortunately doesn’t make up for blasé visuals. Which means that a 3 minute video of a talking head can get really boring really quickly, regardless of how interesting the testimonial is.
In post-production, make sure to share the screen with a variety of footage to provide visual stimulation. Even something as simple as offering multiple camera angles of your customer can add interest. Other ideas include product shots, text on plain background, or b-roll footage like yours or your customer’s office, the streets outside, or a field out back.
Whether you’re creating your very first video testimonial or you’re a video testimonial veteran, keep these things in mind on your next customer shoot and you’re sure to have better conversation that produces an interesting and compelling video.
Remember the key is to produce believable video testimonials, so in order to do that, make your client comfortable, have a genuine conversation about the benefits they are experiencing, and edit some short but engaging testimonials in post-production. You’ve got this dear marketer.
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