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What Makes a Good Video Testimonial?

December 1, 2020 | Video Testimonials on Websites

A good video testimonial is one that converts your prospective customers into new customers.

Video testimonials are being used more and more every day – apps that automate the testimonial collection process are one reason for this increase.

The demand for daily ‘content’ on social media is also driving the increase in online video – some experts believe video has a higher retention rate than text so blogs are being replaced by video marketing for local SEO.

So, what makes a good video testimonial that persuades people visiting your website to click ?

The answers to these questions in this blogpost will help you create a good, persuasive video testimonial:

  • What types of video testimonials are there?
  • Who should be in the video testimonial?
  • Should a business owner ‘selfie’ with a customer in a testimonial video?
  • What should your customer say in a video testimonial?
  • How should you make the testimonial video?
  • How long should the testimonial video be?
  • What else do you need for the testimonial video?

What Types of Video Testimonials Are There?

There are two general types of customer video testimonial – videos where the customer is alone in the video and videos where the customer is being interviewed:

Which type of video testimonial is better?

It depends, in most small businesses, peoples’ time is expensive and they can’t step away to interview a customer every time there is an opportunity for a video testimonial.

However, you can ask that employee to step into the video with the customer, in close proximity, to interview the customer and you build trust with new customers.

Viewers can see how two people interact on video. Smiles, laughter, touching, hugs – all these things reinforce human connection – which builds trust with the viewer.

The Proximity Rule says the closer two people are together the more trust is built. Trust is built even with a viewer who is just watching the video.

Mirror neurons in the viewers’ brains can’t tell the smiles, laughter, touching and hugs are only in video and not in real life – the m irror neurons react as though the viewer is smiling, laughing, touching and hugging. Trippy, right?

Your call as to which type of video testimonial you want – the Interview Technique video will need two people and will probably cost more money and time but will play better on social media – more Likes, Shares, and Comment.

The Individual Testimonial is faster and easier for most small businesses to accomplish.

Who Should Be in the Testimonial Video?

The customer should be in the testimonial video. This question helps to answer to the first question: What Types of Video Testimonials Are There?

If you chose the Interview Technique then you need to put someone skilled at interviewing in the video with the customer. Not everyone is skilled at interviewing another person so we have provided a script. The script follows the classic 3-act story structure:

  1. Set-up
  2. Incident
  3. Resolution

This 3-act structure is very simple but EVERY story ever told follows this basic script. Don’t try to overcomplicate it.

The reason the script is important is that video storytelling can be a powerful tool for your business.

A good, persuasive testimonial video can compel prospects to call your business, seeking help for their problem. Help which you provide.

What is the Set-up?

The set-up is the beginning of your story, or interview.

Again, this needs to be very simple so your employee can guide your customer. The employee will simply read the script. The script will ask the question:

“Who do your friends know you as?”

The question is phrased this way to give context to your customer – “I’m Tim, but my buddies know me as the guy who is always ready for mountain biking or a game of volleyball!”

That’s it. You’ve set-up the story. You’ve introduced the ‘hero’ of the story – the customer.

BTW, new customers watch the video online will see themselves in the role of your current customer – the person telling the story.

What is the Incident?

The Incident is what happened to the ‘hero’ of the story. This is, literally, the thing that began the story.

In Star Wars, the incident that began the story was when 2 ‘droids’ landed on Luke Skywalker’s planet and asked him for help to rescue Princess Leia.

Your incident will be much simpler than the Star Wars storyline. Again, just follow the script. Here is the question:

“What were you feeling before you came to see us?”


“What was your problem/challenge before you came to see us?”

The goal is to have your customer describe WHY they came to see you and WHAT specific problem you can help them with. This is the ‘meat’ of the testimonial video.

The customer is always the hero of the story. Their problem is the incident that starts the story.

You, and your product or service, is the thing that helps the hero overcome their problem and resolve the story.

In Star Wars, Luke discovered ‘The Force’ and used it to fight Darth Vader.

You, and your product or service, are ‘The Force’ (I’m really loving this metaphor!).

It’s OK to let the customer speak freely here for as long as one or two minutes, especially if their words, their face and their tone of voice convey emotions like fear, pain or suffering.

Here is an example of a good answer to the question:

“Well, I hurt my back while mountain biking and it’s been over a month and it’s getting so I don’t sleep well. The pain is starting to shoot down my leg. I was getting pretty desperate!”

Your video viewer perceives emotions, facial expressions and tone of voice more deeply than spoken words. Again, if your customer has more to say, is emotionally compelling and clear of thought – let them speak!

We discuss video longer than 2 to 3 minutes in the next section, below.

What is the Resolution?

The Resolution is what happened to the ‘hero’ of the story?

In Star Wars, Luke defeated Darth Vader and rescued Princess Leia – end of story (well, sort of…)

Your story will be much simpler. You want your customer to wrap up their experience by answering the following question:

“What are you feeling like right now?


How did we help you solve your problem/challenge?”

Your customer will respond something like this:

“Well, I’m riding my bike again and I can sleep though the night after 6 weeks with Dr. _______. I can still feel my back is stiff but the pain is SO much better!”

Get the full Online Influencer Masterclass from Thinkific.

The Benefits of the Interview-style Video

If your employee ‘guide’ and the customer are in the video frame together the Proximity Rule predicts that online viewers will trust your business more, simply because your existing customer trusts you enough to allow you, or your employee, in close proximity.

BONUS: If your employee and your customer complete the script with a laugh, smile, high-five or a hug then THAT emotional connection is VIDEO GOLD! 

Should a business owner ‘selfie’ in a customer testimonial video?

The business owner should ‘selfie’ in the testimonial video if at all possible.

Doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, physical therapists, chiropractors and veterinarians all struggle in EXTREMELY competitive markets.

How do you stand out?

Put your friendly face on social media!

What Should Your Customer Say in a Video Testimonial?

You should guide your customer using the scripted questions we just discussed but do not try to ‘script’ their answers. Let them speak their own truth. Trust the process. Your customer may surprise you.

Sometimes you will be happily surprised with the quality of your customer’s testimonial; sometimes you may be unhappily surprised.

Not every video testimonial will be a winner. You may decide not to use a testimonial; even those where the customer is eager or enthusiastic. Maybe their presentation is just ‘off’ or their words don’t reflect your business culture and values.

One piece of advice you CAN give your customer about their testimonial is this: when you ask them a question, ask them to repeat the question IN their answer IN the video.

The first question from above, re-phrased with this advice:

“Who do MY friends know me as?

“I’m Tim, but my buddies know me as the guy who is always ready for mountain biking or a game of volleyball!”

This way, the their answers contain the question IN THE VIDEO so the viewer can understand the complete thought.

How should you make the testimonial video?

You should make video production as simple as possible.

Dozens of video production experts we have worked with have told us to focus on these four simple strategies:

  1. Your story – described above.
  2. The camera – use a newer generation tablet or phone. they all have GREAT cameras now. You can use a dedicated camera (eg: one that is not also a phone) but you don’t need to.
  3. Lighting – face a window and shoot during the daytime. Shoot outside. If you don’t have a window or you can’t shoot during the daytime then follow these simple lighting tips. (link)
  4. Audio – we use a microphone because our experts told us to, and it makes a BIG difference. We recommend this microphone. (link)

    Even new model iPhone microphones are not very good so don’t rely on the in-dwelling audio of a phone or a tablet.

How long should the testimonial video be?

Your video testimonial should be as long as necessary to tell your entire story but not so long that your viewers engagement starts to taper off. How will you know how long to make your video? You’ll need video analytics. YouTube provides great analytics. So do most other video hosting platforms.

In the beginning, most websites do not have much traffic so they won’t have any way to measure their user engagement. Shorter videos seem more prudent in this phase.

After you have posted several videos and you have some web traffic to analyze, you can see which videos get more clicks, likes and comments. You can see which headlines and thumbnails attract views.

Once you know what your viewers are interested in, try making longer videos.

In your analytics dashboard, watch for the point in the video, if any, where the viewers drop off. That is where you need to improve your content or stop the video.

Encourage your viewers to watch the entire video

One way to encourage your listeners is to begin the video with a list – ‘Top 5 ways to succeed at _________’ – this is called an ‘open loop’ and people are encouraged to finish the entire video, get to the 5th item and ‘close the loop’.

Get more ‘in-depth’ video strategy for social media with Justin Brown’s podcast on the Social Media Examiner.