Whether you sell services or products, nothing engages prospects and convinces people to buy quite like hearing a genuine testimonial from a client explaining what they think of you. It’s good when it’s written, but it’s even better when it’s delivered with sincerity on camera.

Testimonials offer evidence you really do sell the best widgets, or deliver an unrivalled service that takes away some of the problems your customers face.

Whilst everyone knows a written testimonial could be false, or drafted by the business for the client to say, video testimonials are not only tough to ‘fake’ they demonstrate a genuine commitment from a client to show their appreciation for their supplier.

How you use the finished testimonial is up to you, but we’ll cover good ways to make the best of any video testimonial in a follow-up post. For now, you need to make a great testimonial video and here are a few pointers to help build your confidence.

Explain in detail, set expectations and open big

Your client is likely to find the prospect of appearing on camera quite nerve-racking, so put them at ease by carefully explaining your schedule for the shoot and setting appropriate expectations.

Tell them who will be there and why, how long it all should take, along with any suggestions for the location of the shoot, or anything specific they should wear.

It’s fine to explain what you hope your client will cover and even work on what they might say and the key words you might like them to use – but no script. It has to be genuine and authentic.

Although you might want an opening screen highlighting your brand and business information, with the introduction to the subject of the video, it can be all a bit formulaic.

Capture the viewer’s attention with an outtake laugh from your client or an off-the-cuff remark. Think creatively and make the first 10 seconds something that makes people want to watch the rest.

Talk about problems solved and outcomes achieved

This video is not an advert. Do not just go over the features of your service or product and focus on the problem you solved. Ideally get your client to detail how they benefitted from dealing with you.

Hopefully the problem will be one faced by many viewers, so focus solely on the time you freed up for the client, the reduction in cost, ease of use, simplicity.

Only squeeze a few key messages into your video and hope for one big moment of gold that every viewer will remember – so much better than lots of different messages which can overwhelm.

It doesn’t have to be short, take as long as you need for your client to tell their story; but remember a minute is a good length and three is still watchable if it’s interesting.

You should be filming for much longer though, with a view to edit it down to a short, punchy presentation – or more than one, so you have a series of videos.

Lights, camera and remember the action

Encourage a relaxed conversation with your client and leave the camera alone once you have it set-up and running – nothing kills the mood more than a wannabe film director interrupting the flow.

Remember, the more relaxed your client is during the conversation, the more authentic the final testimonial will appear, which makes it more believable. And believable is persuasive.

Don’t make the whole video just your client’s talking head. It’s good to get a personal take, but don’t overdo it, particularly if you’re creating a longer testimonial.

If you’re shooting the video at your client’s premises, try to get some interesting footage you can drop into the video in post-production – it’s called B-roll, by the way.

When filming on your own, you can even stop filming part way through the interview and move the camera to a different position to give a new angle on your client. Then re-ask an earlier question.

Remember, your aim is to create a believable video testimonial, designed to help sell what you did for this client to others suffering similar problems. Think business, not BAFTA.

And if all else fails, call in a professional who can help deliver what you need. The power of good video testimonials for your website and social channels, ensure the cost is money well spent.