At Projectline we have produced dozens of testimonial videos for our clients all over the world. We have also seen hundreds of videos that are just short of great due to a few common mistakes. Occasionally we are even asked to go against our better judgment and knowledge to create a video that is less of a true customer story. We resist when we can.
Lighting? Good sound? A huge production team? Hiring the right consulting firm to help? No, these aren’t where the most critical mistakes are made.
If you are just embarking on your first customer or partner testimonial videos or you need a refresher, let me share with you the 3 most common mistakes that can render a video significantly less impactful. As helpful as they can be with most content, don’t let your branding manager or your senior executive bully you into changing your true testimonials into marketing mush:
- Don’t narrate the story. Here’s the thing: if YOU are telling the story instead of your customer, you are losing the single most powerful effect of the video. A narrator can and will say anything their client asks of them. A customer will not. Let your customer tell the story, because they’ll be more trustworthy. Ask them questions that bring out the full story from beginning to end. To that same end, do not have your customer memorize a script or specific ways to say things. Let them break your brand rules and be genuine.
- Don’t appear in your video. Your audience isn’t interested in what you have to say about your own products or services. Even if your Account Manager, Technical Consultant, or Customer Service Rep was instrumental in the customer’s satisfaction, don’t interview your internal team about how great they are or how they helped. Let the customer tell the story. Let your customer talk about them if it was important.
- Don’t over-emphasize branding throughout the video or place product logos in every shot. We’ve all seen videos where the company shows the product logo every time the customer says the product name! There is no need to show your product logo over and over – in fact, it disrupts the story and turns a genuine interview and customer testimonial into one more piece of marketing fluff. Include your logo and URL at the end of the video with a call to action.
You can have the tiniest budget video, but as long as you let the customer tell the real story, you have gold in your hands. Don’t let over production and micro-management overshadow a real life story. Go forth. Record. Share.
[The videos above are ones we're proud of. One highlights one of our own happy customers, and the other is a video we produced on behalf of a client.]