Customer testimonials are frequently used by marketers to increase conversion rates, yet they don’t necessarily have to be delivered in a written format.
Video customer testimonials are often much better received than their text-based counterparts and it has been stated that video enjoyment can increase a customer's purchase intent by ninety seven per cent. Furthermore, web pages that display video are shown to have superior time-spent-on-page metrics.
Buyer personas are known to inspect reviews before making an important purchase decision, and testimonials are particularly influential for those teetering on the edge of conversion, which is why customer testimonial videos are perfect for the consideration stage of the inbound sales funnel.
The best testimonials are ones that are credible, compelling accounts of a personal experience that somebody has had with your product or service.
They essentially take the form of a customer story, followed by branding and a call to action.
Identify the right interviewee
So who should you choose to be the customer for your corporate video? A really good candidate for the job would ideally be someone who is at ease on camera, able to improvise, confident and full of energy.
However, the most important thing is the customer and their story. Prospects are looking for a human element in your marketing and want to be able to relate. Nervousness on camera can be coached, but enthusiasm and appreciation are hard to fake.
Your sales team might be able to help you find a customer that really fits the ticket, and if they have developed a strong business relationship, it may even be sensible to ask them to reach out personally to request an interview (and possibly even to have them on set during filming.)
Remember, you can coach people through camera shyness. Authentic testimony is more valuable than finding a great spokesperson.
Set expectations for the shoot
You can set your customer at ease by covering the basics of a day on set long before they arrive:
• Who – Who will be present during the shoot and what will their roles be?
• What – Guidance on what they should wear, bring and do. (Choice of clothing, where to park, proof of ID on secure sites, whether refreshments will be provided.) And if there are particular things you want them to share in their presentation, it's worth letting them know beforehand.
• Where – The location of the shoot. Will it be in an office or work space, or would you benefit from hiring a special venue? For a customer testimonial however, the story and the speaker are key, so the background is often somewhat secondary.
• When – What time will they need to be on set and will there be downtime? For example, if you have multiple set ups, then perhaps they would want to bring something with them to do in those break periods.
How to prepare your customer
Your customer might have questions before the film day about whether they can do anything to prepare for the video.
In the case of a customer testimonial, your purpose is to provide the stage for an authentic, heartfelt comment on the way your company operates. This could take the form of a story, an interview or casual conversation.
In contrast to educational or explainer videos, it isn’t necessary to compose a full script.
However, your speaker doesn’t necessarily have to fly blind. You can make them more comfortable by providing a simple structure for their appearance in the form of interview questions. Depending on the personality of your contact, you may or may not wish to send these questions beforehand.
Some people appreciate being given time to collect their thoughts, some people may have limited time to prepare, and others might prefer to give spontaneous, off the cuff responses.
Nevertheless, you can prepare your interview questions in advance. You can also give your customer advice on ideal answer length, as well as how to structure their response in an ‘edit-friendly’ manner.
Here are some example questions to get you going:
- Who are you and what do you do?
- What problem led you here? Tell us how you found us.
- How did we change things for you?
- What does life look like now, how have things improved?
- Why did you choose us?
- What has been your experience working with this team?
- Do you have any advice to share with people who may be facing the same struggles you were?
It can be tiring being on camera for long periods, so allow time for breaks. If a speaker is nervous, they may take a little more time to film, so be prepared to step in with words of support and refreshments.
Feedback provides good direction, but over-correction can be off-putting, or worse, patronising. Try not to interfere with the content of what your customer is saying because, whatever their approach, a customer with genuine warmth towards your business will inspire confidence in viewers.
For your shoot, be sure to secure a place that is quiet, private and free of distraction. If you are enlisting the services of a professional video production company they may well be able to guide you on suitable locations.
Minimise disturbances by letting other users of the area know ahead of time about your plans to film. Written notices of filming will also help reduce the risk of audio spoilage or interruption.
Choose a location that has lots of room. Once you have your crew, equipment and star assembled, things can quickly start to feel hot and crowded. Adequate space to breathe will make your customer comfortable and also open up the scope for using a variation of different camera angles.
For the most part, a customer testimonial will take the form of a talking-head video which will emphasise the personal, human element of your piece.
However, that doesn’t mean to say there isn’t room for graphics.
You might like to highlight quotes for example, or use text overlays. Graphics help people to absorb the information, they appear in preview windows, they make for a good screen grab and they add a visual interest.
B-roll (supplementary shots spliced in) are another potential asset you can use to illustrate key points. These bells and whistles will be budget dependent, and it’s also important to remember that it may increase the production time.
There is nothing to stop you from sharing your customer testimonial video on your favourite social media channels however, for this you may wish to use a shorter excerpt.
This type of video is most appreciated by potential customers deep in the consideration stage, and those people are more likely to browse your website for relevant information than your social pages.
However, if you do feel like your customer’s story would be suitable for all stages of the inbound methodology, there are upsides to sharing on social - one being that you can engage in long-form storytelling in an arena that is usually restricted by short word counts.
Customer testimonial videos are about convincing potential buyers to take the plunge and invest in your product or services by demonstrating a history of customer satisfaction.
They are a creative way to explore the many reasons people in the consideration stage should move forward and invest in your offering.
Most importantly though, a sincere and well-executed customer testimonial clearly demonstrates why prospects should chose you instead of your competition.