Last week a SaaS company CEO asked me, “I got our first 20 customers through personal relationships. How can I get more?”

Since her customers are happy and successful, I suggested one idea:

Make and share customer testimonial videos.  Let your fans help you sell.

Why?

  • Testimonials work because they provide social proof from people like your prospects
  • Videos are 200% more engaging than text because videos convey humanity and emotion (and many other reasons)
  • People love watching videos (YouTube is the second largest social network next to Facebook)
  • The videos will be useful whether she decides to invest in outbound, inbound and/or web sales.

Do you have successful customers?

Here’s how you can make and share your own customer testimonial videos without spending $10,000.

1. Ask

“John, you and Acme have succeeded with AwesomeSoft.  You could help people solve their problems by telling your story.  Would you be willing to star in a success video?”

Tell them how long it will take.

“John, we’ll come to you.  The entire process should take a couple of hours.”

Provide incentives if needed.

“John, as a thank you for your time and effort, we’d love to provide you with two free tickets to the AwesomeSoft user group.”

2. Prepare

First, watch some great customer testimonial videos.  Make notes about what you like.  I’ll use one from AtTask to illustrate my key points.

 

Second, create a script that tells a story.  Use the story arc structure.   It works for Hollywood.  It’ll work for you.  Notice how the AtTask video follows this structure.

 

Story Arc

 

To write your script, interview your customers and suggest key points as well.

Also generate ideas for b-roll to add variety.  In video, it’s better to show than tell.  Talking head videos are boring.   For example, a Trek employee never says “Trek makes bikes.”  You just see people making bikes.

Here’s an example of how you might organize your interview notes:

 

Interview notes

 

Then turn your notes into a “script” by making a storyboard.

  • Don’t specify in detail what the customer is going to say.  Bullets are fine.  The storyboard just helps you organize your shots so you don’t miss any.
  • Don’t make your customer memorize a script.  On shoot day, you’ll ask questions and customers will respond in a natural way on camera.
  • Don’t make your product the star.  Your customer is the star.  It’s not about your product.  It’s about what your customer has been able to achieve with your product.
  • Don’t create the “perfect” storyboard.  It will change on shoot day.  For now, good is better than perfect.

Here’s a template you can use:  B2BSalesVP.com Customer Testimonial Video Storyboard Template

Third, get your video equipment ready.  You can get a complete smartphone video kit for less than $200: B2BSalesVP.com Business Video Gear Guide.

If this seems like a lot for you, hire a local film student to produce your video.  He might do it for free or for a low price to build up his own portfolio.

 

3. Shoot

General tips:

  • Use your storyboard to make a list of the shots you need.
  • Cut setup time by shooting out of order.  You don’t need to shoot shot 1, then break down your equipment and shoot shot 2, etc.  You can shoot shot 17, 3 and 10 together because the setup is the same.  Then you can get shot 5.
  • If you’re using a smartphone, shoot in landscape mode, not portrait.  Use a tripod and an external mic.

Interview shots:

  • Shoot in a well-lit place with the light on your customer’s face.  A common mistake is to shoot the person in front of a window with the light coming in from behind.
  • Put your customer in the left or right third of the frame.
  • Put the interviewer next to the camera so the customer talks to her, not the camera.
  • Keep the camera rolling and do several takes.  You can always cut what you don’t need.
  • Ask one question at a time and let them answer.
  • Nod, smile, etc. to make the customer feel comfortable.
  • Get several shots of the same interview.  For example, shoot the entire interview once in medium from a left angle, once in medium from a right angle and once in close-up.  You’ll get a variety of shots to choose from later in editing.

B-Roll:

  • Find shots that show the customer’s personality, culture and work activities.  AtTask does a good job of this.  As the viewer, you know where you are.
  • Take shots of employees working.  It adds variety and shows off the customer’s people.
  • Use a tripod.
  • Get several shots from different angles.

 

4. Edit

Editing is where your video comes together.  You’ll select the best interview and b-roll shots and arrange them in the right order.  You’ll add graphics and music.  At the end, you’ll have a professional-looking 1-2 minute video.

Do-It-Yourself

If you’re a beginner and would like to do the editing yourself, use iMovie for Mac (free) or Adobe Premier for Windows ($100).

I’ve included links to editing software, books, tutorials and tips here

 

Outsource It

I can do basic editing, but this is one task I usually outsource because I can spend a little bit of money and get much better results.

Videopixie can edit your testimonial video for $150-$300.

Vidaao is another service.  They don’t list their prices.

Or you can find a freelancer on ODesk.

Whatever service you choose…

  • Share with your editor candidate 2-3 videos that show the type of video you want.
  • Ask her for 2-3 examples from her portfolio.  If she hasn’t done anything similar, don’t hire her.
  • Check at least 1 reference to get a sense of her reliability, quality, communication and cost.
  • Provide your editor with your storyboard so she knows how to organize your raw footage.  To save time, review the raw footage and make a list of the shots you want including the start and end times for each clip.
  • Ask her for an estimate before you start work.  Ask her if she’ll do the project for a fixed price.

 

5. Share

Now that you have an amazing video, share it with the world.

1. Upload your video to YouTube or Vimeo.

2. Embed it in your website

3. Share the link in your email and newsletter campaigns.  Share the link on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

 

In Conclusion

Customer testimonial videos are powerful.  But they take effort.  And you won’t be great at it right away.  But do it because you’ll get better at it.  And you’ll get more customers.

What else?  Did I miss anything?  Do you have ideas on how to make great customer testimonial videos?  Share your thoughts in the comments.

Happy Selling!
David

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