Making a Testimonial Video


The respondents in our annual 2015/16 Video Content Marketing Trends let us know why they are looking at Testimonial videos as the top priority - because they know there is no better way to show that they really do have a great product or service.

Princeton Neurological Surgery wanted to stand apart in their field and a well-crafted Testimonial video would do the trick. We filmed eight of their patients and heard nothing but amazing things.

One of eight patients we interviewed for our client's testimonial video. Just like the others, she had only amazing things to say about Princeton.


In this case we're talking about setting up the right background. One of the most important things you can do is make sure your video looks professional. That starts with making sure your client is in a spot that will keep all eyes on them - not looking at clutter, messiness, or too much activity. Also, make sure your audio background is not too distracting. That means no talking, no air conditioning noises, no traffic noise, etc.

In the shots below (thanks to Production Assistant William for sitting in so we could get the lights and camera set up) you can see we made sure the door was closed, the lamp was moved over for ambience, we got some of the business name in the shot, and we cropped out the bookshelf on the wall. For audio, we shot on a weekend when the building was quiet, and turned off a water feature on the wall that was making noise.


First, decide what you really want the testimonials to say. To use our client as an example, they wanted viewers to know that their medical practice is caring, has personalized service, is very effective, and treats all their patients like family. There were many different directions they could have gone, but it all boiled down to two things; Customer service and positive outcomes.

Don't ask too many questions. Remember that a good testimonial video is not too long. So if you ask too many questions, you're going to throw away a lot of footage. Think back to what the testimonials need to say and focus on that.

Use open questions, not closed questions. For instance, start questions with "Can you tell us about..." and "In your words, can you descibe..." Stay away from questions like "Was your experience...." and any question that can be answered with a 'yes' or 'no.'

Let them speak from the heart. We say this everytime we write about Testimonial videos because it's so important. Tell your clients beforehand the kind of information you're looking for but don't share the real questions with them. Why? Because they'll rehearse before the shoot and come off as insincere, or they'll get frustrated because they keep forgetting what they planned to say.


It might sound bad to say it, but not all your clients are going to be good for your testimonial video.

Choose clients that are very interested in helping out. We call them "ambassadors" - people who benefitted so much from your service that they can't wait to tell the world. On the other hand, if you ask them if they want to be in your video and they take a while to decide they probably shouldn't take part. Don't worry, they don't dislike your brand. They're just not as excited as the next person you're going to ask.

Choose clients who will be comfortable on camera. How can you tell? You really can't. But you can ask if they think they'll be nervous once the little red lights on the camera start flashing. You'll get a sense from their answer as to how they'll be when they sit down. 

Explain to them what they should expect. Are you hiring a real production team for the filming or are you planning to do it yourself? How long do you think you'll need them on the day of filming? Will there be makeup available? Giving this type of information will make them more comfortable and make the shoot go more smoothly.


To quickly get your viewer's attention, start with something they'll relate to. In the example of our client, viewers are going to relate to something that has happened them (an ailment) and the effect it has on their life (pain, loss of confidence, sadness). You're not trying to darken the mood, but your viewers will know they're listening to someone who is going, or has gone through, the same thing as they are. 

Tell how your product or service changed things. In the example videos in this blog post, it's very clear that our client has helped people overcome some real problems, and has helped people get their quality of life back. If your brand has helped people save money, include that. If you have made something easier for clients, include that.

Ask your clients something fun. In this instance we asked each person to sum up their experience with Princeton Neurological Surgery in one word. Amazingly, eight different people came up with eight different words. And even though it's a very short answer, it's extremely effective.

Princeton Neurological's testimonial video is a great example of how one should be created.