Video has clearly become one of the most effective ways to engage people. It taps into more than just a single sense such as the auditory in the case of a podcast, or the visual in still photography. Well executed, video can also touch prospects where it matters most. Their emotions.
One of the most highly effective and convincing uses of video in real estate can be found in client testimonials. They can be invaluable, influencing prospective clients to pick up the phone or write. Done wrong however, they can not only fail to deliver their intended objective, but in fact harm your image and business over the long term.
Banking on extensive experience in advertising, including the management of a major true testimonial campaign for a multinational brand, here are some dos and don’ts for video testimonials.
- ALWAYS feature real clients. The credibility this lends cannot be stressed enough.
- Ensure viewers understand that the testimonial is of a real client. A full screen caption ahead of the actual testimonial, or a small caption that appears during the recording should do it. Some clients may not wish to use their name on the video, so their initials as well as their city and state would do.
- Shoot the video where your client can be naturally happy about the subject being discussed. Their satisfaction would project in their voice and attitude. Inside or just outside the home you helped them buy are good options. A nice backyard with the client’s kids happily playing, or with a spouse smiling at their side are genuine and convincing. If all options are on the table, pick the one with the least noise interference potential (cars, sirens, air conditioner, yelling).
- Prepare and use questions during your interview with the client that naturally lead them to discuss specific benefits you would like to promote. For example, “tell me how important negotiating the deal on your terms was to you, and how you feel your agent was able to assist you in that area.”
- Keep the testimonials short. 10 to 15 second bites are effective and not boring. Your viewers do not want a dissertation about you but, rather, they want to garner a sense of confidence in you before they make their decision on which Realtor® to choose.
- Film the footage at a slight angle so the subject is facing you and not looking directly at the camera. A tripod would make this task fairly straightforward. When editing or selecting the clips that will be used online, under no circumstance should you use material where the client flips between you and the camera lens.
- Mix into your final edit some close up shots on the subject’s face, to create an instant connection with your viewers. Add slightly wider shots to bring life to the video and incorporate some of the background such as a part of the home or kids playing on a swing or enjoying a board or video game. The camera’s focus should however remain on your subject at all times.
- Lighting and overall quality are key. If you are not confident with your own videography skills, invest in someone who does. Film school students may be a great resource and may do your projects for you for free, to build their portfolios.
- Do not use ANY footage that sounds like a sales pitch. Viewers connect with real people sharing their true feelings, and are repelled by sales spiels. Tell your subjects to be themselves and when necessary, ask if you could re-take a scene. A camera play back on location is a good way to decide if a retake of a scene is in order.
- Audio is just as important as video resolution. Use a good quality microphone and test it beforehand.
- Capture important sentences and use them in other online and offline marketing materials such as listing presentations, ads and flyers or postcards.
- Prepare and get a release form signed by your client, allowing you to use the footage and content in your marketing, royalty free.
Director, Point2 Communications