How to Record Affordable Customer Testimonial Videos

Nov 28, 2022 | Collect, Engage

Recording affordable customer testimonial videos has never been easier thanks to advances to consumer devices’ cameras and microphones. 

Steven Sodeberg, an Oscar winning film director, even shot an entire movie on an iPhone.

Some of the best movies ever have been made on shoestring budgets. The best filmmakers know that it’s not the equipment that makes a great movie – it’s the content. 

So if professional filmmakers can make movies on iPhones, why can’t your customer testimonials be recorded with consumer grade technology like phones and laptops?

After all, it’s the content that really delivers the social proof, and we know that testimonials can boost a site’s conversion action by over 30%

You don’t have to spend five figures on customer testimonials! 

Some of the worst movies ever have had big budgets. Remember the film John Carter? No?

John Carter was one of the most expensive movies ever made. It lost Disney $200 million! 

Video production companies will try to convince you that you need:

  • Lots of expensive lights
  • Two or three expensive cameras
  • Travel costs for their team
  • Enough audio equipment for a full season of the Bachelor 
  • 10 hours of editing

These items add up fast. We have seen customer testimonial video shoots quoted for over $15,000!

Five figures for a testimonial is expensive!

While we can appreciate the craftsmanship of professional directors, gaffers, and editors, your business probably doesn’t need to cough up that kind of cash. 

The output of a big budget customer testimonial production is a well-lit, easy-to-hear video.

Production companies do the simple things right. 

  • The video’s lighting isn’t too bright or dark. The customer giving the testimonial can be easily seen.
  • The testimonial has good audio. The customer’s voice can be easily heard. There is no loud background music.

Essentially, testimonial production companies make videos that are easy to watch.

But easy viewing videos can also be recorded at home by a customer with access to a modern laptop or phone. 

We’ll show you how to advise your customers to make awesome, high ROI testimonial videos for you.

Ask for a testimonial and explain why it helps other people

People are wired to help each other. 

Researchers Jamil Zaki and Jason Mitchell conducted a research project on altruism and came up with a hypothesis: People feel good when they help others, not because they want to avoid bad things happening to them, but because behaviors like kindness, generosity, and reciprocity are inherently rewarding. Helping makes us feel good.

We’re all in this together

If you are a small business working on acquiring testimonials, you know that testimonials can greatly benefit your business and livelihood. 

You also know that leads count on customers testimonials to make purchasing decisions. 

So explain to your customer how their testimonial will benefit others. 

Hey Bob,

Thank you so much for going with my business to pressure wash your driveway. 

Would you consider recording a video testimonial for our service? We’ll show you how. 

As a small business owner, testimonials are really helpful. Your testimonial can help folks searching for a new pressure washing company. We want people to learn that we have a great service.

Thanks for your time,
Susan 

You might be thinking, “when should I ask? Should I call?” 

We’re write a handbook to cover this in more detail, but here are a few pointers:

When should you ask for a customer testimonial?

  • 1-2 weeks after an eCommerce purchase
  • 12-48 hours after a service 
  • via automatic request software (if you have more than 5 customers a week)

Automatic request solutions like TrustSpot make requesting testimonials incredibly easy. If you have more than 5 customers a week, you will definitely want to move away from manual requests.

If you’re a new business it might make sense to pick up the phone and call your latest customers, but that doesn’t scale. 

We advise manual testimonial requests if you have less than 5 customers a week. 

Regardless, asking for the testimonial isn’t the final ask. You need to ask your customer to follow a few short, clear directions for recording the testimonial. 

Give customers clear directions for filming testimonials

Picture this – you’re out fishing on a beautiful day. 

You cast your fishing rod, and for once, your lure doesn’t land in the trees. Yes! 

You wait a few minutes and sure enough – a big ol’ fish comes and bites your lure. This is great! Just like you hoped. 

Now that fish bit, what do you do? 

When you don’t give clear recording directions to customers, it’s like getting a fish to bite but not reeling it in! 

A customer testimonial that is hard to watch, unclear, and too long is useless. 

Directions can make or break a testimonial…and a track meet!

If you’re going to ask a customer for a testimonial, make sure to give them direction. 

Let’s talk about what kind of directions you should give your customers. 

Eliminate distractions from the testimonial video

A good customer testimonial video should have zero distracting elements. This is 2020s! Humans don’t have the attention spans to support…let me check that notification…what we were talking about?

Oh yeah! Attention spans. 

According to Cross River Therapy, the average human attention span is 8.25 seconds. For scale, a goldfish’s attention span is 9 seconds. 

Distractions in a customer testimonial video gives leads an excuse to navigate away from the video. 

  • A busy background means leads focus their attention on the setting instead of your customer’s story. 
  • Bad audio means leads have to drastically adjust their computer volume up or down. 
  • A wobbly camera will make the testimonial look rushed and unprofessional

Eliminating distractions in video testimonials helps your leads concentrate on the content. This is the main message to convey to your customer. 

Let’s get more specific on how to eliminate distractions. 

Find an appropriate background for the video testimonial

Video background make an important first impression!

Your customer’s video backgrounds need to be well-lit and organized.

Because most consumer video devices auto adjust for lighting conditions, the testimonial should never be recorded in front of a window. 

Bad Video Background

Image credit: Skillcrush

Good Video Background

Image Credit: JiaYing Grygiel

Testimonial videos shouldn’t feature pets or screaming children

If your customer is recording a testimonial, ask them to:

  1. Film around the child’s nap hour. You know, every parent’s favorite moments of the day. Just kidding, of course! 
  2. Take pets outside or move them to a separate room. 
  3. 3Turn off loud household appliances like dishwashers and washing machines. 

Eliminating surprise audio contributions helps leads concentrate on your customer’s testimonial. 

Stabilize the recording device

The shaky cam effect is a well known video recording technique in Hollywood – to fill the audience with anxiety!

You don’t want your customer testimonial to look like a scene from the Blair Witch Project, do you? 

Leads will lose focus on the content of the testimonial if the camera starts to shake. 

The best case recording device is a laptop, but our data shows that the majority of video testimonials are recorded on a phone. 

If your customer is recording the testimonial on a phone, ask them to lean the phone against a steady surface. They might think their selfie technique is perfect, but hand controlled cameras will wobble. 

Our conclusions on cost effective customer testimonials

  1. Unless you’re a public company, you should think long and hard about paying five figures for a customer testimonial production company. 
  2. You can use an automatic testimonial requesting service to ask customers for testimonials AND explain best practices for recording
  3. Best practices for recording testimonials are simple, don’t cost money, and won’t add that much time to a customer’s day

We hope you enjoyed reading! 

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