7 Tips for Creating Effective Client Testimonial Videos

Let your satisfied customers stand in the limelight and share their personal story with your brand to boost your small business' reputation.
Video testimonials can create an authentic and personal connection with potential new clients and customers. (Photo: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock)

Employing video in your marketing strategy is not only effective for improving your search rankings, but if done right, can bring a new level of authenticity and legitimacy to your business through social proof.

According to Sam Chontos, president and CEO of web design agency Three Vistas, “Having video testimonials instantly adds credibility to the written content on your website.”

The good news is you don’t need a be a professional videographer or have a big budget to create a quality video that resonates with your audience. Follow these simple, cost-effective tips to film your own customer testimonials.

Focus on the solution

“Base every testimonial around a problem that was solved,” advised Chris Tinard, head of production for HireStory, a video production company.

Good testimonials tell the story of what life was like before buying your service or product, how the customer’s life was improved by their purchase, and why that should matter to other consumers.
“People want to do business with people they like, but they need to do business with people who help make them successful,” he said.

Keep the message genuine

While scripted interviews provide brands with greater control over the content of their videos, they can also diminish the authenticity of the message, said Tinard.

“Many companies are tempted to create a script when tackling client testimonial video projects. This way they can control the brand, the message and the feel of the final piece. However, the real effectiveness of any testimonial comes in the genuine response of the client. If the client appears to be reading, you lose a lot of credibility in the content,” he explained.

Chontos echoed this sentiment: “An unscripted format comes from the heart and feels more real.”

Before you start the interview, Chontos advised jotting down notes on the main points you want the video to cover. While you’re setting up any equipment, spend a few minutes building rapport with the interviewee and making sure he or she is comfortable and ready to talk when the camera starts rolling.

Related: Press Pass: 5 Tips for Talking to Reporters

“Set expectations; let him or her know mistakes happen, and that it’s expected,” he advised. “Throw in some jokes during this time to set the tone for the interview, which should be conservational, not just a list of questions.”

Additionally, he advised to always keep the camera rolling, to catch any off-the-cuff moments you wouldn’t want to miss.

Select the right clients


The most important part of the video process is finding a passionate interviewee with an honest, firsthand account of their experience with your business. (Photo: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock)

When you select the right clients to participate in a video testimonial, their own story is all you really need.

“Client testimonials are great because every client has their own reason for doing business with you and their own story about that experience,” said Tinard. “Think about your [brand’s] greatest strengths and look to include clients who you feel experienced those strengths firsthand.”

Remember, the purpose of a client testimonial is to attract more business, so seek out customers who are similar to you target market to create a more impactful connection with your audience.

Keep it short

Tinard said the most popular videos on YouTube are typically less than two minutes in length, so keep your testimonials short and on-point.

“To avoid viewer boredom (and ultimately distraction), keep your video lengths at one or two minutes. Otherwise, your video may be bypassed and quickly forgotten.”

Related: 3 Ways to Use YouTube Videos to Bring in More Business

Look at your framing

“Backgrounds will either add to a piece or take away from it,” Tinard noted. “An all-white backdrop can look really clean if the interviewee has a bright, solid-colored shirt — but not so much if he or she is also wearing white. Look for clutter in the background and make sure there are no items sticking up behind the person’s head.”

For dress code, Chontos recommended interviewee attire to be simple and professional. Advise against clothes with patterns, as it can be distracting on camera. Also avoid overly trendy fashion statements so your video doesn’t appear dated and stays relevant for use in the future.

Pay attention to lighting


Pay attention to lighting basics, and stay away from shooting interviewees in front of windows, in order to avoid a backlit silhouette. (Photo: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock)

While you don’t need to buy expensive lighting equipment to achieve a great looking video, it’s still important to pay attention to how the lighting impacts your shot, said Tinard.

“Fluorescent lighting can make anyone look washed out and dull. If possible, shoot in an area that allows you to take advantage of natural light. Shoot next to a large window — with the window in front of the interviewee,” he said, because a window in the background will result in your interviewee appearing as a silhouette on camera.

Related: Why Video Should be Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy

Ensure audio is clear

Even if it’s not feasible to bring in a professional audio system, “it is still possible to capture clear, crisp sound,” said Tinard, giving your testimonials a more professional feel.

To achieve this, make sure the interviewee is close enough to the camera and film in an area with minimal background noise. Shooting by an elevator or air conditioning unit, for instance, is probably a bad idea. Also pay attention to acoustics. Capturing video in a carpeted area will cut down on the echo.

Because it’s the next best thing to a personal referral, testimonial videos can have a tremendous effect on people’s purchasing decisions. Be sure to publish your videos on your website, put them up on YouTube and share on your social networks.

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