Customer testimonials are one of the most effective ways for startups to establish credibility and a well developed testimonial leveraged in the right way can build brand recognition. Video customer testimonials are an especially impactful form factor because your product’s benefits can be brought to life by a user avoiding the sometimes overly “salesy” tone of a typical marketing collateral. We asked several video experts for advice on producing compelling video testimonials and this is what they had to say:
1. Choose Your Customers Carefully
When selecting a customer to feature, consider someone who has already recommended your company to others, as this person is more likely to accept an invitation for a video shoot. Some companies feature customer testimonials from Twitter and Facebook on their websites. These would be ideal individuals to follow up with for an in-depth conversation. Nicole Carter of Creative Flame Media also suggests strategizing invitations according to the company’s target market.
2. Location Matters
Video production experts (Wistia, Friendly Human) agree that the best location for a customer testimonial is in that person’s regular environment, like an office. The customer will not only be more relaxed and comfortable (not to mention less inconvenienced) on his or her home turf, but you’ll also be able to capture extra footage (B-roll) of the customer working or doing daily activities. B-roll can greatly enhance the visual aspect of the testimonial.
There are, however, financial benefits to shooting customer testimonials at a central location if you have scheduled back-to-back shoots. Reducing set-up, breakdown and travel time for the production crew can make a video shoot a lot less expensive, says Carter. Atlanta-based video production company Friendly Human’s production crew actually edits while filming to turn around a product quickly and reduce costs for everyone. What’s most important though, says Carter, is for the video style to match the company brand.
3. Tell a Compelling Story
The content of the testimonial may not be as obvious as it seems. The customer should speak about his or her experience interacting with your company, but there needs to be more to make it compelling. Carter recommends honing in on a problem and how it was solved, as well as the differentiators among competitors.
4. Prepare Ahead of Time
This may be the most important component. Friendly Human provides customers with a form to fill out prior to the shoot which not only helps the customer mentally prepare, but gets the production team ready to ask questions and guide the conversation.
Salesforce.com recommends beginning with a friendly conversation and general questions about customers’ work and career. This gets them warmed up and provides for a natural transition into questions about their relationship with the company or product. Carter poses the same questions in different forms in order to get the best, most natural answer out of the customer.
In essence, an effective customer testimonial video will feature key customers in the environment that best represents both the customer and the company. Getting a natural, persuasive testimonial takes adequate prep time and a thorough production crew. Applying these principles will put you on the right track towards a successful customer testimonial video.
Photo Credit: Kevin Buckstiegel via Flickr