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Testimonial interviews are one of the most effective forms of modern marketing. While they’ve been used by promotional professionals for decades, testimonials have never been more beneficial to companies’ bottom lines in today’s atmosphere of social proof.

Online reviews and testimonials are now trusted by 88% of consumers. That’s just as much as recommendations from friends and family! And it’s easy to see why.

Over the last several decades, consumers have become less trustful of what businesses say. Actually, 96% of consumers don’t trust advertisements at all. 

But 97% of consumers believe testimonials and peer recommendations are the most believable type of content.

Consumers are over traditional marketing, and potential customers want to know what real people think about the products and services they’re considering purchasing. Testimonials have been reported to increase consumer trust in a business by as much as 72%. So when they see testimonial interviews, their confidence is bolstered, and these potential customers are much more likely to convert.

If you aren’t using testimonial interviews to market your business, you should be. Here are a few of our tips for making good videos to highlight customer experiences.

Create a testimonial interview video storyboard

Start by laying out the general structure of your video. Think about your big-picture goal. Are you trying to make more sales, increase brand awareness, or make customers aware of philanthropic or charitable efforts? 

Then ask, how do you want to communicate your message? Do you want the video to show a montage of testimonial interview snippets, or do you want to tell a story? Keep in mind, 92% of consumers report wanting brands to make ads that feel like a story.

Think about the information you want to include in your video. Will you need to supplement the testimonial interviews with statistics, infographics, still shots or b-roll? These are important elements every testimonial video should have so your story has context and dimension.

The actual testimonials will be the focus of your video, but you should break up the flow a bit with either some of the above tools, or even just simple transitions between questions, answers and subjects. Creating a storyboard to establish the testimonial layout allows you to plan for these things and makes the post-interview editing process much easier.

Pick a visually interesting scene for the testimonial interview

Unless you’re selling disinfectant, avoid a sterile environment for your interviews! Find a welcoming spot related to your story and interesting enough to give life to the subject. Generally, anywhere outside satisfies this requirement.

If you have room in the budget, consider shooting in multiple locations. The depth and dimension of the video will be increased, and viewers will more easily remain engaged. If you can’t shoot in more than one place, then change your shooting angles between interviewees. This method will help you achieve the same type of contrast as changing the background.

Scout your locations in advance to make sure they work well for shooting. If you find your site is a bit too distracting, consider a new location that will draw focus to your interviewee rather than what’s going on around them

Select the right subjects for your testimonial interviews

The people you pick to represent your brand will most certainly affect the success of your testimonial interview video. So choose wisely. They should have some authority and embody what your company stands for. Pick people who represent the brand well and are natural conversationalists. You want the interview to flow like a conversation. And your final choices should have just the right amount of energy on screen so they don’t distract from the content.

Prepare for the testimonial interviews

After picking your interviewees, go back to your storyboard and craft questions for video testimonials based on the goal of the video. List everything you want to highlight in the video, and write questions that naturally lead to the points you want to hit. Your testimonial questions should be well-researched and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the business, company mission and customer experience. 

Give interviewees enough time to prepare before the interviews too! Most importantly, provide them with a list of possible questions. While you don’t want them to sound rehearsed, you also don’t want to waste time waiting for them to craft an answer on the spot. No one wants to be put on the spot coming up with answers to unexpected questions. And given a little time to get creative, your interviewees might come up with an amazing perspective you’ve never even considered.

Also be sure to instruct them on what they should or shouldn’t wear (no bold patterns, please). And make sure you remind them to repeat the question at the beginning of their answer.

Conduct thoughtful testimonial interviews

Don’t go into these interviews as if you’re… conducting an interview. Sounds contradictory, right? Rather than a formal question and answer session, think of these interviews as chats. The more natural you make your testimonial interviews, the more real the interview will appear on camera.

Although you’ll have your prepared questions, think of that list as a guide rather than a script. Keep the conversation flowing as if you’re talking to a friend. 

If you naturally stray away from the guide, that’s fine! Not allowing a natural progression to the conversation could mean you miss out on some great soundbites and tidbits. It’s even okay to bring up mistakes and blunders the customer may have experienced. Their positive experience with your response to a challenge presents a great opportunity to showcase your commitment to customer service. 

And if the conversation doesn’t go as planned, there’s nothing to worry about. Ultimately, you have the final say over the edited version.

Evoke emotion during your testimonial interviews

No matter how you format and edit your final product, your testimonial interviews will tell a story. And storytelling is powerful. According to a Nielsen study in 2016, advertisements eliciting an emotional response from consumers increased sales by 23% when compared to traditional ads.

This isn’t an anomaly. Time and again, studies show that emotion positively impacts sales. Another study conducted by Neuromarketing examined 1,400 different advertising campaigns. They found that campaigns with purely emotional content worked twice as well (31% over 16%) as those without emotional content.

Editing your testimonial interviews is essential

Some people are afraid to edit testimonial interviews out of fear they’ll inadvertently change the intention of the interviewees’ words. Yes, you should be careful not to misrepresent what was said, but editing is an important part of making any video.
So when you’re conducting the interviews, get as much footage as possible. More is more in the editing room. You don’t want to start work on your testimonial interview video only to learn you don’t have enough footage. You’re far better off with too much video than too little.
So how long should a testimonial be? This goes back to the goal of your video and what you want to communicate. If the testimonial video is a traditional commercial, then 30 seconds is the limit. If you’re talking about a complex, industry-specific topic and you plan to share the video on your website or LinkedIn, then you could reasonably make the video a few minutes.
About 70% of people trust recommendations from strangers. That’s why one of the many reasons testimonial interview videos have become so popular. Are you using this valuable marketing tool to promote your business?
If not, now’s the time. Start planning your next testimonial interview project to increase consumers’ trust in your brand and boost your sales.

At Explainly, we can help record high quality, live-action testimonials for you. If you’re interested in creating a successful testimonial video, contact us today for a free consultation. 


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