Testimonial Videos tips and best practices

There is none out there who doesn’t need video marketing. I’m sorry, “there is none” has always sounded weird to me. Let me rephrase: everyone needs video marketing.

Considering that I’ve literally met every person in the world, I know what I’m talking about.

Jk, lolz.

But seriously, if you are selling something then you should take part in the most effective medium for marketing (I’m talking about video).

And as it turns out, it’s not as daunting as some make it out to be. Can’t come up with an idea for a video? No problem. Don’t know where to start? That’s ok.

I’m about to tell you about testimonial videos. I mean, this is Michael’s secret stuff here!

Check this out, I’m gonna give you lots and lots of pointer, tips, pieces of advice and other such goodies about how to pull off a killer testimonial video. And by killer I mean one that converts leads into clients.

Before you leave, make sure you download the free testimonial video checklist at the bottom of the page.

These are in no particular order. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Keep Your Viewer Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed  

Part of the responsibility here rests on the editor of the film, but in general the thought here is to keep it short.

Most professional marketers will suggest a video 45-90 seconds long. If you start to go longer than that then you risk losing the attention of the customer and possibly losing the sale.

Occasionally you will want to go longer like the example below:

A longer video might be more appropriate for fundraisers, Galas, and other live events. Online it is usually best to keep it to the point.


For those who don’t know this stands for “Keep It Simple Intelligent Contributor to Society”. At least, that’s what it means to me.

Don’t get too cute with your video. There is a time and place for off-the-wall editing and tons of animation and motion graphics.

When you go overboard, you will distract your potential customer from the reason they are watching the video in the first place: to see why they need you.

Normally we are all for pushing the boundaries creatively, but the priority in a testimonial video needs to be the testimonial itself, not the production. With that being said, make sure you read the last point!

Keep it Real

If you write your own testimony, it will sound like you wrote your own testimony. You don’t want that. Even if you’re a good writer you’d have to find a convincing actor to say it on camera.

Don’t do that. Let me repeat: don’t do that.

Making up your own reviews and testimonials is not only unethical, but it’s lazy, it’s cheap, and most people can see right through it.

Keep it real, keep it honest, and keep it heart-felt. Let your interviewee speak their mind. Get them talking and keep them talking. Genuine appreciation communicated through bare honesty will go pretty far.

It’s ok to ask them to talk about specific things like value or service, but don’t put words in their mouth. Let them express their own feelings about your company and watch as the sound bites come flying out.

One more no no: don’t have them exaggerate their feelings. Over-the-top emotions look fake and that is the last thing you want in your testimonial video.

As I keep saying, honesty is the best policy, honestly.

Benefits = Benefits

What do I mean? I’m so glad you asked ☺

Keep the focus of the video on the benefits of your company for your customers. They don’t care about how awesome you think you are. They are watching the video to hear from a unbiased and honest opinion.

Share with them the benefits of your product/service through someone outside of the company and they will give you the benefit of their business.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Ben Franklin said that and my guess is that you’ve heard it before.

Before you start rolling the cameras you should know what questions you are going to ask and the general responses you’re going to receive. Don’t be the guy who tries to wing it and ends up piecing together crap with more crap.

Do your research, talk to the interviewee beforehand and get a feel for what they’re going to say.

But here’s the thing:

Don’t write a script. There is no need to script out your testimonial interview because the best comments come from the heart.

Now doesn’t that make you just want to go, ”Awww”?

It’s true. If you try to script out what they’re going to say then it won’t come across as natural.

If they script it out themselves then you might still struggle with the same thing. That totally depends on the person speaking.

Also, don’t show them your questions before the interview.


You want spontaneity. You want spontaneity. You want spontaneity.

Spontaneous answers often reveal the truth of how people feel much more accurately than any script. Let them speak and keep them talking.

Try to See Beyond the Person

I don’t mean peer deep into their soul. That would just be creepy.

No, I mean the background. Make sure it isn’t too busy and that it’s relevant to their business. The testimonial will feel more authentic if it is set in a place that reflects what the person does or is at least a good clean background that’s pretty generic and looks professional.

“You have not because you ask not.”

The context for that quote is the biblical author James, the son of Alpheus, speaking to the early Christian Church about the fact that they were not following God, but instead their sinful desires.

The thought translates perfectly into testimonials (and other reviews for that matter).

It’s ok to ask for a testimonial. If you don’t ask, you are not going to get the testimony, the quality, and the content that you need to close future sales.

If someone uses your product/service and then leaves a raving review, contact them and try to get them on camera saying more great stuff about you.

If they aren’t comfortable on camera, find someone else. They’re out there. You just have to go get them.

Testimonials Should Relive Fears

No, no, no! Typo! Yikes. Testimonial videos should RELIEVE fears. They should dispel fear.

Try to guide your interviewee through specific questions in order to get them to say how your product/service was easy to use or how your team finished a week before the deadline or your people are actually fun to work with, etc.

The key to knowing how to do this is to know what fears your potential customers have. Know your customer! Know them!

Do they fear missed deadlines? Cost? Too much stress? Others’ opinions? Inefficiencies?

I don’t know the answer, but you need to. Figure it out if you don’t know already and start getting your best sales team (and I’m not talking about your fellow employees) talking about them and how unfounded they truly are.

If their fears are legitimate, then maybe you should hit the drawing boards again.

It should be consistent with your brand

I’m talking about content, video style, and pretty much every other aspect to these videos.

Viewers will become confused if the people in your testimonial videos are saying things that go against what your website or other marketing materials say. When they get confused they walk away.

Im Confused Meme

Your testimonial videos should look and feel like other videos made by your company.

Don’t have any other videos? Not happy with your other videos? Click here for a brand new experience in video production.

iPhone? Check. Amateur? Check.

But the iPhone can shoot really nice video!

Yes, but here’s why I say that. Using an iPhone to record any kind of video for that matter usually means that you're going to use iMovie or some other consumer program to edit the footage.

That means that you probably are not very experienced in editing video.

And that means that you probably don’t really know a whole lot about video production.

And THAT means that the video probably isn’t going to be very good.

There is a time and place for iPhone footage, but marketing materials for your company that need to come across as professional is not it.

I can see a few of you Apple fanatics with your don't-you-talk-down-to-my-iPhone face right now. Yes, there are a few people who can take iPhone footage and make it spectacular, but most people who want to use their mobile device are not a part of those few.

You should be striving for top quality in your marketing strategy and videos are no exception. They very efficiently give an impression of your company into those eager minds of your viewers. What kind of impression do you want to give?

Listen to me. This next sentence will bring your testimonial videos to a whole new level very quickly.

Hire a professional production company. 

The quality of your videos will immediately jump up in quality if you can hand them over to a company you trust.

Video guys (and girls) think differently and have probably done testimonials before. They are creative, resourceful, and pretty much the coolest people around.

If you need help finding a company check out our post on the top 5 things to look for in a production company.

Hire someone who knows what they’re doing. You won’t be disappointed that you did.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this post.

Have some thoughts? Leave a comment below!

2015-06-12 20:48:05