6 Tips for Filming Powerful Customer Testimonials

Picture this: you just got off the phone with a customer and they are super excited about the product or service that you delivered to them. It’s made a major transformation or improvement in their life, either professionally or personally.

Now is the time to capture their testimonial on video so you can put it on your website and share it on social media to build brand equity and social proof for your business.

But what’s the best way to capture a video testimonial? How do you choose the right subjects? How do you get them to open up and how do you structure the testimonial in a way that’s going to best storytell your brand?

Here are six steps to capturing the best testimonials from your customers:

  1. Choosing Subjects

First, you have to choose the right subject to give the testimonial. Any customer you have can usually make an effective testimonial, but if you want stories that are going to be the most impactful and drive real business results, there are three factors to consider.

The first factor is how well your customer fits into the archetype or persona of the target that your brand is trying to serve. If your average demographic is women in their 20s to mid-30s, then that’s the type of customer you want in your testimonial. Using people that look like your average customer is effective because target prospects will more closely identify with what you have to offer.

The second element to consider is how powerful your subject’s story is. Did your product or service result in a minor change or was it a large transformation? Where did they start and where did they end – what was the arc of their journey? You want real numbers and real results, the qualitative or quantitative aspects that make powerful stories.

Third, consider how well your potential subject can communicate a message on video. I’m certainly not saying they have to look like a movie star or have a golden voice, but you do need to be confident that they can effectively communicate and tell their story on camera.

If they’re really not comfortable in front of the camera, it’s better to get a written testimonial instead of capturing them on video.

2. Prepping Subjects

Once you have chosen your subject, you must prep them. In a lot of cases, the people you’re interviewing will never have been on camera before. They’re going to be a little nervous. Even with people that are naturally charismatic, once they have the camera in front of them, they tend to clam up.

Since you want organic answers, I generally don’t advise sending testimonial questions in advance. However, one thing you can do is prime your subject with starter ideas about the process they went through, the problems your product solved, the experience of working with your brand, the results they achieved, the overall quality of the product or service – anything you can give them to get their mind thinking about what they’ll say on camera.

Once your subject arrives to be filmed, don’t jump straight into asking them those testimonial questions. Have a little ice breaker moment instead. Ask them what they had for breakfast that morning or have them talk about their family or anything that makes them comfortable,and conversational so they can forget about the camera.

After filming so many testimonials, I’ve realized that people new to video will stumble and glance at the camera for the first few minutes before they settle in. When you get past the initial nervousness, your subject’s speaking settles into a natural rhythm and they start to really tell their story effectively.

3. Ask Open-Ended Questions

I first learned to ask open-ended questions back in high school as editor-in-chief of my school newspaper. I realized when I was doing interviews, if I asked a question the interviewee could respond to with a yes or no, it would make for a terrible quote.

It’s the same thing with testimonials. You want to ask questions that they have to expound upon. In other words, ask “how” or “why” questions or just attach a “could you go into a bit of detail about that?” if they didn’t provide a substantive answer.

4. Ask Follow-Up Questions

Sometimes it’s the follow-up questions that get the more emotional, genuine responses from your subject. When asking your initial questions, you’re fact finding. You’re looking for important information that your subject can go into further detail, something that elicits a deeper response.

Say your product has to do with weight loss. While you’re asking about your subject’s experience with the product, you learn they had a family member who died of a weight-related issue. You can then start to probe how that experience affected the subject’s own problems with weight and you end up with a much more emotional, resonating response because you asked an effective follow-up question.

When interviewing, it’s also okay to also ask people to repeat themselves. In most cases, especially with those who aren’t practiced on camera, your subject responds to questions with a stream of consciousness, not all of which will be relevant to the testimonial.

Asking your subject to restate a specific idea or sentence allows you to isolate the most important part of what they’re saying and ultimately makes things easier when editing the videos together.

5. Problem/Solution/Result Structure

The mistake that a lot of people make when doing video testimonials is they focus too much on the result and not enough on the problem. The most effective testimonials use customers who were initially skeptical of the product or had a specific problem that was then resolved by using the product or service on offer.

It’s the problem that people are dealing with when deciding between brands, so your testimonial needs to clearly communicate the problem in relatable terms: where were you in your life before you found this product? What issues were you having, what were you struggling with?

The solution is both the service that you provided as well as the experience of working with your brand. Your product may be similar in many way to your competitors’, but if the experience of working with you is elevating and worthwhile to your customers, their testimonials and stories will really separate your brand from related products and services on the market.

When discussing results in a testimonial, you need to cover both the external and internal benefits. The external benefits are the tangible advantages your customers gain as a result of your product or service, such as saved money, lost weight, or any concrete manifestation of the result.

The internal benefits are the intangible, abstract advantages experienced from within. How did the product make them feel? How did it change how they think about themselves? How did it change their approach to life, their family, or their job?

A lot of times people think they want the external result when really they’re looking for an internal transformation. Make sure you capture those emotionally-charged moments on camera. They can make the difference between a good testimonial and an amazing testimonial.

6. Smile!

People will feed off your subject’s energy, especially if it’s positive. It’s easy to get caught up in your own head when deciding what to say on camera, but your subject’s body language is just as important as their words.

Always make eye contact, smile, and nod along with your customer. The more you smile, the more positive they’re going to be, and the better testimonial they’re going to give.

Those are the six steps to creating great testimonials for your business. Choose the right subjects, prep them well, ask open-ended questions, ask those follow-ups that dive deeper, create the problem/solution/result format, and remember to smile so you have high positive energy as the interviewer.

Do all that and your testimonials will be producing real results in no time.


Interested in learning more about the testimonial process or need some expert advice? At Golden Arm Media, we have years of experience filming quality testimonials for a variety of clients.

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