20 Tips For Creating Great Testimonial Videos

location testimonial video shot

20 Tips For Creating Great Testimonial Videos

Testimonial Videos are a great way to give a potential client the confidence they need to trust your company enough to buy your product or service.  Any company can claim to be “the best” or “the fastest” or the most reliable, but having real people on video, make those claims for you, make those claims a lot more believable.  

If you’d like to try your hand at making a testimonial video, here are a few tips that will make that video as professional and as effective as possible.

1. Don’t select boring people to interview.

A good interview subject is someone that is informed, intelligent, and articulate.  They need to understand what’s going on and what you’re looking for.  They need to be at ease talking in front of the camera and they need to be willing to give you enough time to conduct a good interview.  In contrast, some people just aren’t cut out to be an interview subject. They freeze as soon as the lights click on and it’s all down hill from there.  Never push to get someone to be interviewed, if they’re at all skeptical, don’t bother then any more.  There’s probably a good reason that they don’t want to be in front of the camera.  Instead, go for those people that are anxious to praise your company to anyone that will listen.  Those are the people you want.

2. Choose subjects similar to your target market’s demographic.

Probably the best marketing strategy is to find interview subjects that are demographically representative of you target market.  People tend to relate to people most like themselves.

3. Don’t be fake.

The worst thing is for a testimonial to come off as fake.  It totally undoes everything a testimonial video is supposed to do.  The subject’s answers must be their own words and come off as genuine.  One thing to avoid is having the subject read their lines, even if they’re the ones that wrote them in the first place.  To be effective, a testimonial video must come off as 100% real.

4. The interviewer should not be in the video.

Some interviewers are tempted to put themselves in the video, asking the questions.  I suggest against that because it tends to distract from a good testimonial video.  You want the viewer to be concentrating on the story being told by the subject.  Anything else if just a distraction.

5. Ask the right questions to get the answers you want.

Your questions should be designed so that they lead the interview subject to come up with answers that fit your narrative.  If the answer doesn’t do what you need it to, then rephrase the question and ask it another time.  Sometimes, it’s good to ask the question a second or third way just so you have more to work with in the editing process.  And every once in a while, the subject will surprise you with answers that give you things that you didn’t even think of, then end up being better than you’d ever come up with yourself.

6. Prep the subjects. (but not too much)

When you ask someone if they would be interested in being in a testimonial video, they’ll usually have a good idea of what you want, but it’s still a good idea to let them know a few things. Explain to them the following things:

You will be asking lots of questions and you’ll be editing all that down to a relatively short video. 

If they fumble, pause, or make any errors, you’ll edit them out. (That will take the pressure off)

They should answer using their own words.

They should feel free to emphasize the feelings or emotions they felt.

Try not to be stiff.

Pause a few seconds after every answer (to help in editing)

Explain the “story arc” of the interview.  That may help them give you want you want.

Tell the subject why you chose them.  If you do this correctly, you can drop some hints as to the things you want them to cover in their answers.

7. Keep in short.

People seem to like videos more than reading, but at some point, too much is too much.  Testimonial videos should be as short as possible, only long enough to tell the story.

8. Pick an appropriate location with as little ambient sound as possible.

The best locations for a testimonial video is a place that relates to the story being told by the subject.  If the solution to the person’s problem was centered about their home, then their home would be a good location for the shoot.  You’ll want the location to be interesting but not distracting.  If it’s not practical or possible to shoot on a location related to the story, at least choose one that is natural to the story and not totally out of context. Again, the background should not distract from the interview.

If possible use at least two cameras for the interview.

Make sure you have great sound

9. Shoot plenty of B-Roll.

In case you don’t know, B-Roll is video footage shot related to the subject of the interview, that can be edited in to help with awkward cuts and transitions.  It also makes the interview more interesting by giving the viewer something to look at besides a talking head.  You’ll usually want to shoot the b-roll after the interview so that you can include things that were mentioned by the subject.

10. Shoot with multiple camera with different cropping.

Using multiple cameras has several advantages.  First off, it gives the viewer a more interesting video to watch.  Have different crops and angles is always better than looking at the same old angle for however long the video lasts.  Secondly, being able to cut between multiple cameras allows the editor to hide mistakes and in the end, create a video that is much smoother and more professional.

11. Shoot lots and edit down.

You can never shoot too much video.  It’s always better to have way more then you need rather than not enough.  When you’re conducting the interview, you want to make sure that you have a complete story to tell.  I’ve tried to edit together videos without enough options to choose from, and I can tell you, it’s no fun.

12. Use the “story” structure as the basis for the testimonial.

  It’s a very effective way to make a believable video and it goes like this:

  • Introduce subject and the reality before the problem
  • Subject has a problem
  • Subject struggles with the problem
  • Subject discovers your company and you solve their problem
  • The new reality is so much better.

See more on the Story structure format to Testimonial videos

13. Have the subject look at the interviewer, not the camera.

If the subject looks directly at the camera, it looks like they are narrator,  instead of the person being interviewed. Testimonial videos tend to work best when they come off as an interview.

14. In the editing, music adds to the emotion.

Music can make a big difference to a testimonial video.  You’ll want to keep it subtle, but music tends to bring along an emotion with it that can effectively communicate the story being told. 

15. Ask open ended questions.

You don’t want to ask questions like “how many people lost their jobs?” Because they might answer with a couple words that you won’t be able to edit into your story.  You’d be better off phrasing your question something like “tell me about how this effected your employees and how many people lost their jobs”.

15. You’re looking for answers that express emotions and feelings.

Remind the subject that expressing their feelings is a good thing. Answers like “I has having a problem with my accounting” isn’t as good as something like “I was just so frustrated with my accountant.  I wasn’t getting the service I needed and I didn’t know where to turn”.  

17. Keep you attention on the subject, not on your notes.

The interviewer should be listening with an expression appropriate to the emotion of the unwire being given.  As an interviewer, give your full attention to the person you’re interviewing and forget the next question. You want the person talking to feed of the emotion and response you’re giving them.  If you don’t pay attention, you’ll never git that raw emotion that makes for a good Testimonial interview.  You can look up the next question on your notes after the subject is totally finished with their answer.

18. Leave gap between the subjects answer and next question.

One big mistake a novice makes is to cut the subject’s answer short with another question or a response.  Doing this makes editing a nightmare.  It’s called “stepping on someone’s line”, and it kills many a good interview.  Let the person finish their answer and leave a couple second gap before you say another word.

19. Make sure you get great sound!

When it comes to video, many people thank the sound quality is more important then the video quality. People will put up with so-so video quality but few will stick around to watch a video with poor quality sound. It’s not only unprofessional, but its so annoying that most people can’t take it.

20. Ask the subject for a recommendation while looking right into the camera.

At the very end of the interview, ask the subject to look right into the camera and give you a recommendation.  You’ll be able to use this in multiple ways for other projects.  These short little snippets can be used for social media posts or montaged together with others to create an entirely different video.  Trust me, it only takes another minute or so and it pays off in spades.

Well, that’s it, 20 tips to make great, effective Testimonial Videos to help you company sell more products or services.  Making professional testimonial videos is not an easy process, and you might want to hire a professional to make one for you.  If so, please consider Adams Apple Creative to help you out.  If you’d like to talk with us about doing your video, please feel free to Email us or call us at 412-434-0575.

Learn more about Testimonial Videos Questions and Concepts

Learn more about Testimonial Interview Questions

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2820 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

(A Pittsburgh Video Production Company)