Like many marketing materials, the testimonial video appears deceptively simple. Go interview a happy customer, cut it together, boom, done, wonderful, slap it on the website!

But we’ve seen plenty of bad examples of this format. Customers who clearly just want to get the heck out of there. Customers who sound like they’re reading a script written by your marketing manager. Customers who (suspiciously) say everything about the entire process with your company was beyond perfect.

If you’ve mapped out your customer journey, you likely know that early stage buyers want to be inspired and late stage buyers want to be reassured. Late stage buyers need to know that your company can actually deliver on those lovely promises made in your early stage marketing materials.

Enter the testimonial video. No question, testimonial videos are an effective way to reassure prospects that you’re wonderful before they make their final decision. But I’ll add an important caveat — if they’re done well! 

I really don’t want to say that the secret to an effective testimonial is authenticity… but I’m going to. (Even if, as Guy says in the episode below, “authentic” peaked as an advertising buzzword in 2015. Sorry.) 

These seven tips will help you create authentic testimonial videos that clinch sales.

7 tips for effective testimonial videos

      1. Try to be objective. Imagine your video will be a segment on 60 Minutes
      2. Don’t be paralyzed by the hunt for the perfect customer. Choose the person who’s willing to go on the record for you. 
      3. Skip the cattle call testimonial interviews at conferences. Quality is more important than quantity.
      4. Do a pre-interview with your subject, but don’t give them the questions in advance. You don’t want scripted answers. 
      5. During the interview, don’t be overly critical of your subject. A video interview can be stressful. Critical feedback can deflate an excited interviewee. Keep them calm and confident.
      6. Paint a picture of a human, not of a customer being interviewed. Viewers want to know there’s a real person behind the story.
      7. Tell a story. 

For more on each tip, listen to the episode or read the transcript below. 

Ready to shoot your own testimonial? Start with our buyer’s guide on hiring a video production company.

More resources for a kickass testimonial video

Are you here because your boss said, “Competitor A has testimonial videos! I want one too!” Maybe read this first.

How to get the best interviews out of people

How to optimize your B2B marketing videos on YouTube

And if somehow you aren’t convinced of the value of a testimonial, we shot one that flipped a customer at the finish line.

You can listen to the episode using the player embedded above, or you can read a full transcript below.

Episode transcript

Hope Morley: Hello and welcome to So You Need A Video, a podcast about boosting your business with video marketing. I’m Hope Morley.

Tory Merritt: I’m Tory Merritt.

Guy Bauer: I’m Guy Bauer.

Hope Morley: And today we’re going to be talking about testimonial videos. We recommend testimonial videos pretty regularly to our clients. We think they’re an important part of a robust video marketing strategy, and as part of a planned customer journey for your website, but testimonial videos are trickier than they seem. If done poorly they can actually actively work against you. But let’s get started with just the general and talk about why do testimonial videos work. Guy, do you want to jump on that to kick us off?

Guy Bauer: Sure. Testimonials work because in theory, they are third party testimonials, or third party testaments to how your product or service benefited your client. So they are supposed to be— if presented as independently as possible, as authentically as possible— you would use a testimonial video towards the latter part of the sales cycle, the reassurance stage. So as the deal gets closer and closer to being signed, you’d throw some testimonials into the mix and kind of reassure your prospect that, “Yes, we are real and yes, our stuff works. Here’s some third party telling you exactly how our thing works.” This again, is all in theory in a perfect world, in an Umault world, this is how testimonials would be done.

Tory Merritt: I would say they help prospects see themselves in your product or service, as opposed to you’ve got CEOs talking, people can’t see themselves in a CEO, but they can see themselves and other people like them. So like Guy said, they’re a great tool, I would say consideration to help people recognize what you’re about and see themselves potentially having their problem solved by what you bring to the table.

Hope Morley: Yeah, and like Guy mentioned, that’s in a perfect world. So what happens more not in a perfect world. What are some things that we sometimes-

Tory Merritt: We’re not in a perfect world right now?

Hope Morley: I hate to break it to you. I’m sorry. We’re not in a perfect world. There’s a lot of bad testimonial videos out there. So what do we see that’s in a bad testimonial video and why can that work against you as a marketer?

Guy Bauer: The biggest mistake I see people make is they treat their testimonial video too much like a brand asset. So too much like a TV commercial, or the way TV commercials used to be. They treat it too much, like all buttoned up and perfect. It’s in fact the imperfections that make the testimonial feel real, because real people aren’t perfect. Your high level brand assets, your awareness and to some extent, your consideration phase assets, do need to be polished and on point and on message and everything, but testimonial videos… I use the metaphor if you think of the Rolling Stones, when you hear Rolling Stones, they leave mistakes in. Like they hit the strings too hard and they twang the … They don’t perfectly hold their notes so they’re a little off.

Guy Bauer: There’s imperfections all throughout Rolling Stones, but that’s what makes the Rolling Stones so good. So I see the biggest thing is again, being too perfect, which then goes against the whole reason of it looking independent and third party, and uninfluenced by your brand. Too many affectations.

Hope Morley: That’s what we’re going to get into in this episode. So now we’re going to dive into seven tips we have to get those authentic testimonial videos. So not to guarantee you that you’re going to have imperfections in your video, but to try to do your best to get that authentic testimonial experience that will work to help reassure those late stage buyers that you have the right product, and that you’re the company to go for. So we’ll dive right in with tip number one, and this is to start and try to be … Tip number one is try to be as objective as possible. Your inspiration for this is to think about 60 Minutes. How would 60 Minutes present your customer testimonial?

Guy Bauer: Yeah. 60 Minutes is the gold standard of everything, and the older I get, the more I just become absolutely convinced that 60 Minutes is the most pure form of storytelling. So think about it, if Lesley Stahl were to do a story about your company, or about your company having an impact on one of your customers, even if Lesley Stahl is doing a piece about Tom Hanks, what has Tom Hanks ever done to anyone that they would try to do a gotcha interview, but 60 Minutes will always throw in contrast.

Guy Bauer: So there’ll be some point of the interview where Lesley Stahl will say, “But Tom Hanks, many people are saying that you didn’t stand up enough to the forces of, I don’t know, some government that you were shooting in and you’re placating to the government,” right? They’re going to, 60 Minutes will always challenge the person they are interviewing, even if they want to do a favorable piece about the person. They know it’s because there has to be balance. If it’s all too good and too perfect, everybody’s warning systems go off that again, life isn’t perfect. So we start thinking, it’s propaganda.

Guy Bauer: Like in North Korea everything is, “Oh, our Supreme Leader does everything perfect and everything is great.” We all know that that’s wrong, there is no such thing as that, perfect. So 60 Minutes will do that because they must maintain credibility the entire time, because if they come off as not credible, you will never watch again, and 60 Minutes I think is one of the longest running programs in TV history, and that’s how they do it. So how do you use this in your testimonial is, don’t make it like a North Korean piece of propaganda.

Guy Bauer: Not everything went perfect. Something happened in this journey that your customer took with you. Include it. Let them talk, let them speak, because if they’re giving you a testimonial, that means that at some point you made it right now and think about it, how disarming that is. If you watched a testimonial about some brand you’re interested in working with, and a customer came on and said, “Yeah, in the end we got what we wanted. It was great, but we did have some roadblocks and some missteps along the process, but ABC Corp made it right. And even when they did mess up, which they did a couple of times, they always made it right.”

Guy Bauer: So many brands are like, “Oh no, we can’t say anything that we messed up anything,” but why not? You will mess up something, and it’s so disarming because you have to understand that every one of your other competitors are North Korea-izing their testimonials. So just the fact that you have contrast and you’re authentic makes you more credible, makes you like 60 Minutes, and now that makes the piece seem more like a real third party testimonial, which then gives you all the testimonial juice.

Guy Bauer: So actually, I would argue that even if you did do everything right, try your best to put contrast in. It’s like this metaphor I’ll steal from Donald Miller, it’s like a loaf of bread. If you bake bread without salt, it tastes weird.

Hope Morley: Oh, it’s not good.

Guy Bauer: It’s actually awful. It’s inedible. But if you make bread with too much salt, it’s also inedible, it’s awful. Bread just has to have that perfect pinch of salt, and that’s exactly how I think you should think of inserting contrast, i.e., things that didn’t go right.

Tory Merritt: We actually have testimonial from one of our clients on our website, and I think it’s actually particularly powerful because it mentions that there are parts of our process to start with that they didn’t think would be useful, and at the end they realized it was the most useful part. If that testimonial just said, “Yeah, everything was great,” I’m not sure that it would be as powerful as, “I had my doubts, and by the end I realized why those were good things about the process.” So like Guy was saying, let people explain what their doubts are, because that’s what your audience is looking for. They have doubts themselves. So if you can help people recognize that they’re not the only one with those doubts, and then go ahead and allay those fears by showing experiences of people with the same thoughts, it’s a lot more powerful than just saying, “Everything was great. They’re awesome. I love them.”

Guy Bauer: Yep.

Hope Morley: Absolutely.

Guy Bauer: Humans, why do we have this adverse reaction to TV people like, remember the, Carleton Sheets, no money down and you can become rich or whatever. We all know that that’s snake oil. We have that reaction. You don’t want your brand to look like snake oil, because nothing is perfect. Nothing is a cure all, nothing is a panacea. Hey-o.

Tory Merritt: No panacea.

Hope Morley: All right, now that we have the panacea, all right, so tip number two, jumping off, think about channel 60 Minutes when you’re planning out your interview, tip number two is, don’t get paralyzed by the hunt for the perfect story or the perfect customer. Choose the person who’s excited about your product and who’s willing to go on the record for you. We see a lot of clients that they might have someone who is willing to go on the record, which is a big deal, like someone who is willing to do a customer testimonial for you, you might look at them and you say, “Yeah, they’re great, but our target persona is really from a bigger corporation or they’re female, and this guy’s a male.” But if you just spend all your time looking for the perfect customer or the perfect person to go on camera, you’re never going to actually make your testimonial video.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, don’t-

Tory Merritt: Imperfect… Go ahead.

Guy Bauer: No, no, no, we were going to say the same thing. Let’s say it at the same time. Perfect is the enemy of good.

Tory Merritt: Perfect is the enemy of good. I was like, “Wait, which way [crosstalk].” Were we going to go the same way? But it relates perfectly to the point that Guy made in point number one, which was actually your search for the perfect may be the undoing of a good testimonial that’s actually useful, because it’s too perfect. Or you just never get one. It’s like a lot of things in life. If you keep searching for the perfect version of it, you’re going to do nothing instead.

Guy Bauer: Just ask my wife, hey-o.

Tory Merritt: Does that mean Jen settled, or what does that-

Guy Bauer: Yeah.

Hope Morley: That’s exactly what that means.

Tory Merritt: I’ll let you take it from there.

Guy Bauer: No, yeah. She doesn’t watch this. So it’s okay.

Tory Merritt: We love you, Jen.

Hope Morley: Anyway. Yes.

Guy Bauer: I got nothing to add, that’s exactly right. You got to, minimum viable product and everything, you just get something on the books. You can always demote it later too.

Tory Merritt: Right, you can always do another one if you do find, that the nice thing about video, testimonials don’t need to be expensive so you can do it fairly economically, and then if something better comes along, you can always make another one.

Guy Bauer: Yeah.

Hope Morley: Yeah, and that’s a perfect lead in to tip number three. So speaking of trying to be economic with your testimonials, one thing we do not recommend doing, which we hear from clients, is getting testimonials at conferences. It seems efficient, it seems economical, but recording a customer testimonial at a conference is often actually worthless. Guy, do you want to explain a little bit more about this?

Guy Bauer: Yeah, and I’ve done a million of these so I know from firsthand experience, and yeah. At the surface, it seems like a very smart idea. “Hey, we’re at a user conference. All of our users are here. This is the perfect opportunity, let’s get them. We’ll arrange in one hour segments, or half hour things and have people come, and then they show up, sit down and take off their badge and answer five questions in a row. Everyone answers the same five questions, and then we’ll either make 40 different testimonial videos or make some compilation thing.”

Guy Bauer: It makes so much sense, but it’s actually God awful. There’s no other way to put it.

Tory Merritt: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Guy Bauer: There’s a few things at play when you try to do this. One, is just think about it, imagine 60 Minutes trying to do their story on whatever in 30 minutes, and at a conference. So you have to understand that people’s mindset, when you arrange for them to take a half hour out of their conference experience, they’re just trying to get rid of you as fast as possible. I see these folks, they come in and they’re like, “What do you want me to say?” Then what you’ll get is a bunch of testimonials that are like, “ABC Corp …” And there’s two cameras. So it looks like this, “ABC Corp did a great job at doing …” Because you have to edit around everything.

Hope Morley: It’s constantly cut back and forth, yeah.

Guy Bauer: Because no one said anything right! And they’re literally sweaty because you don’t have time to clear the sweat up and makeup, you have no time for that. So they’re just in front of a backdrop and they’re literally, metaphorically at gunpoint, and they will do and say whatever you want to make you go away because they don’t feel special. A testimonial should be like, “Hey, we love working with you so much. What we want to do is send a crew out to your place.” Obviously this was pre-COVID but, “We want to send a crew out and we want to spend a day with you,” or a half day with you, whatever.

Guy Bauer: There’s a feeling of like, “I am special. And you think that my case is worth sharing with the world,” but just think about it. When they know that it’s just a cattle call, because they get this all the time, they’re not coming in there like, “Oh, I have a story to tell.” They’re just like, “Give me the five questions …”

Hope Morley: The five questions and then my voucher for a free lunch.

Guy Bauer: Exactly, if they even get that. So again, we have to go back to the beginning of this episode, is why do a testimonial in the first place, it’s supposed to be an independent third party testimony, a testament of how your company works. It’s supposed to be authentic, and if people are sweaty at gunpoint, two cameras chopping them up. Guess what? People know the two camera trick. They know it. Everybody knows the two camera trick, that you could string together sentences using two cameras. It’s not that it hurts your brand, it just does nothing.

Hope Morley: With a testimonial it’s really about quality over quantity, getting 20 testimonials that are just choppy and cut together and look like you’re holding their puppy hostage off-camera, they’re not going to do you anything good.

Guy Bauer: Who would do that? That’s awful.

Tory Merritt: The other one’s so much better though.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. I know. I’ve got a new one now, holding their puppy. I can be like, “Say it. How did we serve your needs?”

Tory Merritt: It’s a toned down version, I like it. 

Hope Morley: I’m not really one for gunpoint, but yeah.

Guy Bauer: Tell us about the customer experience or the puppy gets it! But yeah, it’s always the sweaty upper lip and just like the deer in the headlights, because I’ll tell you, when we do testimonial videos, it takes me a half hour just to warm a person up. Just asking a bunch throw up questions, to get them comfortable under the stage lights. Hope and I recorded a masterclass that we’re going to be unveiling soon, and I’m a professional, I do this for a living, for the first half hour to 45 minutes I was sweating, red-faced, I think I was even having hives.

Hope Morley: Can confirm.

Guy Bauer: Yeah, and I was just like … I couldn’t say anything. Everything was so stale and staged, and it took me 45 minutes just to get used to like, “All right. There’s a light there. Okay. Okay,” to feel comfortable.

Hope Morley: Yeah, you get out of your own head, you just start to be like, “Oh my God, the camera’s on me. Am I saying the right thing?”

Guy Bauer: Yeah. So when you do the cattle call conference thing, your whole time with that person is in their awkward deer in headlights, flushed hives, you see it, the hives it’s incredible. So yeah, Don’t do that. It’s a bad idea. What you could do is if you are in a conference, maybe try two in a day. That could be something.

Tory Merritt: If they have the time.

Guy Bauer: If they have the time, that’s the other problem.

Tory Merritt: It’s usually not.

Guy Bauer: They’re not there for you.

Tory Merritt: They’re there to maximize their time with their clients and customers. Yeah.

Guy Bauer: Correct, they paid to be there.

Tory Merritt: Yeah.

Hope Morley: Yeah, and so that leads into our next two tips, which are really how to get the best interviews out of these customers, that you’re asking to be in your testimonial. So tip number four is, once you’ve identified this customer, you’ve decided you’re going to do the testimonial. So have your director, your production company, your video agency, have them do a pre-interview, talk to the person before they show up with the camera, but don’t give them the questions and don’t over prep your customer that’s going to be featured.

Tory Merritt: That’s the worst, is watching an interview that clearly has no soul or life, and the person is trying really hard to say it, especially when it’s brand names or product names and they’re trying to put it in the order that it’s trademarked or whatever, to make a marketing person happy. It just comes across as, no one calls your product by its four word trademarked name. So when you’re pushing people in a testimonial, great do that in your top of funnel, do that in your brand film obviously. But for testimonials, as long as it’s close enough, the more you force it, the worse it sounds.

Tory Merritt: The more you try to get them to say like, “Well, these are what our key audiences are worried about. Make sure you talk about this, this and this.” It’s a hot mess. I mean, you can guide them a little bit so they know what you’re going to ask them as a general topic. But as soon as you give them questions, they come back with you, like you did in school sort of like a quiz. They say, “You need to write this in a full sentence. Don’t just write the answer.” So you’re like, “my favorite color is …” and it just starts to sound …

Guy Bauer: I come from talk radio and in talk radio, my boss, Jonathon Brandmeier gave me some great advice because I used to try to, I would interview our guests before they would come on with Johnny. But in doing that in depth pre-interview, I took all the awesome bites. Right? The first time you ever say something is always the best. The second time you say it, you’re trying to recall what you said the first time. So the second time you say something, is at best an attempt of recalling a really good line you had. So don’t pre-interview. A lot of folks, what they’ll do is they’ll come in, they’ll have the subject come into the room and then the marketing person will start interviewing or telling them exactly what to say and whatever.

Guy Bauer: All you’re doing is you’re piling stuff onto this person’s brain of stuff they have to be careful about and be concerned about, that’s before they even get used to the lights and the director like me, it’s like, “Hey …” and like craft service and eating M&M’s and stuff. There’s too much stuff, don’t over prep because what you’re going to do is force them into bad acting mode, where they try to recall what they said to you that was so great the first time. Ask round about questions. So another thing too is if, say a subject, we get this a lot. Well, our subject wants to know what the questions are. They really don’t. They’re just trying to make sure that you’re not trying to get them, to zing them, they just want to make sure they look smart.

Tory Merritt: And they’re practiced.

Hope Morley: And they want to be prepared.

Guy Bauer: That’s right.

Hope Morley: People want to do a good job.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. So instead of giving exact questions, just give topics. “We’re going to ask you about this, about your rotary girder, about whatever, whatever, whatever.” Don’t give them the questions. The first time I ask you a question is the best answer you’ll ever give. Even if, even if you use, um, uh, guess what, we can edit all that. It’s the delivery of those words that’s the most pure it will ever be. Then if I make you do it again and again, and again, all you’re doing is making a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy.

Tory Merritt: And you may actually miss out on some key components of a story if people have already felt guided through what they’re supposed to say. There might have been a story that they would have told you if you hadn’t kept them bundled in, but now you’ll never know about it because it wasn’t part of the outline or the path that you gave them. So you miss out on something potentially very powerful for no reason other than trying to overly prep them or force feed them what you want them to say.

Guy Bauer: I love that point.

Tory Merritt: Thank you.

Hope Morley: Yeah, and a related tip, so tip number five here is, don’t over prep your subject. Tip number five, don’t be overly critical of them during the interview.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. You have to understand that people are scared of the hot seat, to them it’s this thing, and everyone in the room is looking at them. The camera people, the marketing people, their own people. If you think about it, they’re really scared of their own people because they don’t want to like, look like they screwed it up. There’s so much pressure, and then for you to criticize them is, all you’re doing is just beating them down, and that’s how you get the testimonials that are like, “Dude, just tell me what you want.” like they just look like they’re … You can just see it. They’re just telling you what they want.

Tory Merritt: They stop, like they stop actively trying to do a good job and like, “You just tell me and I’ll do what you say to get it over with,” and that’s what we see is people, it’s just like anything in life, if you criticize someone not constructively, you’re not helping them in any way or letting them try it a couple of times before you tell them it’s wrong, it’s going to get worse. You’re never going to get what you’re looking for because they’re scared. Right? We’re all scared of rejection.

Tory Merritt: So Guy, you talk about this as, you don’t tell them necessarily it was wrong, you let them do it a couple time, and you’re just like, “Let’s just get another one,” see if they may be correct it themselves or say it slightly differently, so you don’t have to tell them it’s “wrong.” Or after a couple of times like, “Love it. What if we try …” You give them direction that allows them to still feel like it’s their thing. As soon as you take someone’s agency away, and it doesn’t even feel like their testimonial, at that point, they’re kind of like, honestly, they’re like, “F you, just tell me what you want so I can leave, I don’t care anymore.”

Guy Bauer: Never interrupt somebody. So even if they’re totally screwing up everything, don’t stop them, let them go. Even if it takes two to three minutes to let them burn out their answer. What you could do is just punt the question for three questions from now. Don’t even say, don’t even tell them that they screwed it up. Just make a note, like, “All right, I’m going to ask this again at the end of the interview.” And what you could do is, if say they got the company name wrong, you say the company name right, and don’t say they got it wrong. Just go, “Okay, great. Now, what did you think about ABC Corp?” However you pronounce your name, help them without … Do your darnedest to not criticize whatsoever. If you must, use this, and I learned this from Philip Bloom, he makes it the video’s fault.

Guy Bauer: So you go like this, say that they’re just not getting it, they’re screwing it up still and you have to go. You go, “All right, you’re doing great. Everything is great. Now listen, just for the sake of the video, if you can, just say you bought the diamond package just for sake of the video.” And now what you do is it’s not you telling them they suck, it’s the video and our corporate overlords. “Just for the sake of the video, can you say that?”

Guy Bauer: It’s softening it. It’s just making it where it’s not their fault. It’s just the video’s fault and corporate or whatever. Then now they’ll be like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally.” Make sure also you reserve any of the things that you want them to say, do that at the end of the interview, all the way at the end. Because if you let them speak, like Tory said, if you let them have agency and control their story, then at the end, when you’re like, “We got everything. Just for the sake of the video, can you say that you went to the stars or something,” then they’re like, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, totally. I got that for you.” And they’ll do it believably, because you’ve given them ownership, they’ve done it-

Hope Morley: They’re comfortable.

Guy Bauer: And they’re ready to go anyway. They’re comfortable. They’re like, “Yeah, tell me what you need.” You’re a friend.

Hope Morley: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and that does take us to tip number six here, which is another production tip for your testimonial. And tip number six is paint a picture of a person, not of a customer being interviewed. So ideally tying back to why this doesn’t work, ideally at a conference or things like that, if you can think about what 60 Minutes would do, again, with this testimonial. Interview them at their office, not your office, or at their home, if that’s relevant, and try as much as possible to keep your brand out of it. Don’t take them to your office and put them in front of your logo that’s behind them, because suddenly that suspension of disbelief that you have from your viewer is going to be completely gone, because they were just reminded the whole time that this is sponsored by ABC Corp.

Guy Bauer: I hope there’s not really an ABC Corp that we’ve been bashing.

Hope Morley: I’m sure there actually is. 

Tory Merritt: We’ve been bashing for years.

Guy Bauer: We get sued.

Tory Merritt: They’re coming for us.

Guy Bauer: “How dare you. Our testimonials are great.”

Tory Merritt: Yeah.

Tory Merritt: Well, this is where I think like Hope was saying, the location’s important, and then I hope I’m not ruining the next tip, but having footage from their life and their experience as part of a testimonial if it’s appropriate, is important. Maybe that is just at work because that’s all that you can get. Or maybe it includes their family, if they’re open to letting you … We do some patient testimonials and it’s powerful to see them as a human, not just someone who takes a pill or an injection or whatever, but recognizing that again, people are people and that’s how we relate. We don’t relate to a testimonial itself, we’re relating to a person who’s had an experience that could be similar to ours and it worked out well for them, and we want it to work out well for us too.

Tory Merritt: Seeing them holistically, not just sitting in front of a camera, it’s much easier for me to connect with them than just, “Oh, they said it’s great.” There’s some things, you’re buying paper or something on Amazon. I feel like I don’t need to know their life story, they just need to tell me it went in the printer and it was fine. But for something bigger that you’re transforming your business or a very expensive solution that you’re purchasing, or a product, what is their struggle, what are they dealing with and how it helped them make their life better, is what I want to know. Not just the bare bones fact of, it worked.

Guy Bauer: Yep. I agree.

Hope Morley: Exactly. And that takes us into tip number seven, which is looking at the testimonial as a whole, and really when you go back and have your production team or agency team edit it, keep in mind that a good testimonial should be a story. It should not be a Q&A with a person sitting in front of a camera.

Guy Bauer: Every company on the planet can list all the things that their company does, and every company on the planet can, as long as they’re in business, can get a customer to look into a camera and list a bunch of stuff. Every company, your competitors can say the same stuff you can. The ground that we need to fight over is not what they’re saying, it’s how they’re saying it. The one who is more authentic wins, always. The one that looks more believable, and authenticity is a buzzword. Actually, it’s kind of past it, I feel like it peaked in 2015, and now it’s kind of whatever.

Tory Merritt: It’s expected.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. It’s expected, right?

Tory Merritt: But it’s still important. People are still not doing it well.

Guy Bauer: Yes, you’re in a war of credibility and telling a story is the easiest way to win that war, and make sure it’s un-company affected as possible.

Tory Merritt: And there are little ways of doing that, I would say. Guy, you edited a video for a client, I don’t know, almost a year ago. I think, and getting into the testimonials can be hard, right? How do you get in without it just being like, “I love this product.” There was a moment, we had a husband and a wife on a couch in their home, and there was a moment where they were looking at each other, like who’s going to start, and it was just so relatable and heartwarming to see two people being normal and being like, “I don’t know, how do we do this?” It just felt really, really authentic, and it was a nice way into it where it would’ve just been like, “Client X love their product.” And you’re just like … Versus seeing these two people in a moment, you see the relationship between the two of them and just their humanness, to start the whole thing off.

Tory Merritt: You’re already like, “Okay, these people aren’t … Why would these people lie to me?” You know what I mean? These people are doing this because they believe it. They don’t have to be here if they don’t want to be.

Guy Bauer: Yeah. You have to understand why you’re using a testimonial. You’re using it to reassure, to make people believe that you are real, which you are. That’s the thing.

Tory Merritt: You’re real.

Guy Bauer: So why shoot yourself in the foot? Why shoot yourself in the foot over just poor implementation of a testimonial video? You should watch this podcast episode and do what we say.

Hope Morley: Then you’ll make all the sales.

Tory Merritt: Relevance, authority. Yeah.

Hope Morley: So thanks for listening to this episode, to recap our seven tips for getting the most authentic testimonial videos possible. Tip one, try to be objective. Channel 60 Minutes as you’re making your video. Tip two, don’t be paralyzed by the hunt for the perfect customer. Choose the person who’s willing to go on the record for you. Tip three, don’t record your testimonial at a conference and don’t make it a cattle call if you can avoid it. Tip four, do a pre-interview with your subject, but don’t give them the questions and please don’t over prep the person. Tip five, once you’re in the interview, don’t be overly critical of your subject, they are doing a favor for you, let them speak. Tip six, paint a picture of a person, not as a customer being interviewed. It’s not a Q&A, and then tip seven, make your video a story.

Hope Morley: All these tips will be posted on our website at umault.com. That’s U-M-A-U-L-T dot com. I’ll also share some resources. We have some great resources on how to get the best interviews out of people. So once you’ve got this testimonial going, we can talk a little bit more about how to get a good interview out of the subject. Lots of great content, we’ve gathered that all for you. So thanks for listening today. If you’re watching this on YouTube, please like, subscribe, leave us a comment. If you use any of these tips in your testimonial videos, let us know. We love to hear from you and thanks for listening.