/ Mixpanel

Making and measuring a testimonial video for your startup

Like most startups, we want potential customers to come to our site, within seconds see that our solution will fix their problem, and then click the big shiny “Sign Up” button. A big part of this process involves trust; how much does the potential customer trust you in order to sign up to your product?

We decided to do a few of the basic things in order to begin establishing trust, including adding logos of companies using our product along with written testimonials with a picture of the client. I think most of you would agree with me that these are basic components on any SaaS product’s marketing site, because let’s be honest, not many people want to be the first one or the only one using a product. It’s the way we’re wired. If I’m a restaurant owner, I want to see that other restaurant owners have had success while using the scheduling software I’m about to try.

While these written testimonials were important, we wanted something more. We decided to try something that would instil trust while educating potential clients about our restaurant scheduling software.

To the video-mobile

We started discussing shooting a few video testimonials. The process to get a testimonial video for your startup can be a bit overwhelming to organize, so I’ll break it down into each step we went through to make it happen.

Step 1: Select which customer to interview

If you have customers close to home, then you should get to know a few of them really well. These ones will be your best candidates. More importantly, however, make sure that you pick someone who is outgoing. You’ll get better results when a camera is put in front of them. Pairing that with your client’s honesty will give you a genuine and enticing testimonial video.

It just so happens that we have a handful of customers using us in our hometown so we knocked on their doors. The first video we did was with Jodie. She’s a franchise operator of a 300+ location juice franchise called Booster Juice. We had been working closely with her and getting feedback on the app, so she was an obvious choice for us.

My email to Jodie asking her about the video testimonial was short and sweet:

7shifts-email-jodie

Awesome! Obviously, this is the response I was hoping for.

TIP: Always propose a time when signing off on an email. Ending emails with “Let me know if that works for you.” rarely works. This is because you’re making them think about times that would work for them, and this often leads to no reply. Do the work for them and make it easy for them to reply with a yes or no.

Step 2: Decide whether to hire someone or do it yourself

For us, the quality of the video was just as important as the message being conveyed. That’s why we decided to work with a local film team called Living Sky Media. They do great work and were able to deliver within our budget.

If you aren’t able to afford hiring someone, then you can always do it yourself. There are some great tutorials on how to do that and if you’re bootstrapping your company. The Wistia Learning Center also has a lot of great video tutorials of how you can pull off a good video without expensive equipment.

Step 3: Prepare your questions

You should prepare your questions at least one week ahead of time to give your customer a chance to prepare their answers. Here’s the list of questions I had sent to the video crew and Greg (the star of our second video) before we did the testimonial video shoot at Victoria’s Tavern.

7s-video-questions-greg

By the time Greg was sitting down in front of the camera, I asked him the questions and he answered them like a pro.

Step 4: Video basics and positioning

The best way to do these types of videos is for the interviewer (myself) to stand beside the camera guy. The camera guys would then ask me to read my questions to Greg and told Greg to always look at me to respond. This ensures that the customer never looks at the camera – their eyes should be locked on the person asking the questions.

When you ask the question to your customer, try to get them to respond in a way that provides context. This is because your question is not going to actually be in the film, so the customer has to respond in a way that provides context to the viewer.

For example, one of my questions for Greg was “Do you think restaurant scheduling software is necessary in our day-and-age?”. If he replied on film with “Yes, it’s definitely necessary, I can’t imagine a world without it.”, the viewer has no idea what “it” is. The correctly phrased response would be “Restaurant scheduling software is definitely necessary. I can’t imagine a world without it.”. See the difference? This is something you might have to coach the customer through a few times since it’s not a natural way to respond to a question.

Try to get responses that are short – it makes it easier for the film crew to cut the footage. For our shoots, sometimes the response a customer would give would go on for 20 seconds. We would then have to stop and tell them to say the same thing in about 5-10 seconds. It makes it a bit difficult for the customer because they have to rephrase it to be shorter, but short and concise responses to questions tend to yield better results.

As a general rule of thumb, you have 10-20 seconds to capture a person’s attention before they either decide to continue browsing your site, or drop off. Wistia provides some good data on this finding as well. Communicating your value proposition is something you should strive to do early on in the video.

Now that you’re done shooting the video, it’s time to hit the editing room. During the editing process, Riley from Living Sky Media asked me to sit beside him for about an hour to ensure that the shots that made the cut were ones that were most important to us.

riley-video-editing

Step 5: Upload and measure your video

We used a combination of the Wistia API, Mixpanel and Optimizely to see which videos yielded the most sign ups and captured the most engagement.

When we heard about Wistia, we knew we would use them to host our videos. The fact that we could upload our videos and then have access to stats instantly was an easy-sell. We uploaded both of our testimonial videos (below) to Wistia and started to watch the stats creep in. What we’ve seen so far is that the second video (that we just launched) is more appealing to restaurant managers and owners, which we were now targeting.


In the image below, Wistia tells us what city the user watched it from, which parts of the video they re-watched, and where the user dropped off. Wistia also provides other stats, but I recommend [signing up for a free account](http://wistia.com/free/new) with them and poking around yourself.

Here’s a sample bit of Wistia API code that we use to send data over to Mixpanel. As soon as someone clicks play to watch the video, an event is sent. As soon as the video reaches the end, we send another event to Mixpanel telling it that the user watched it until the end.

Next, we wanted to use Mixpanel to see how many people watched the video and proceeded to sign up vs ones that signed up without watching the video. To do this, we use a a combination of mixpanel.track(), mixpanel.register() and mixpanel.register_once(). Using mixpanel.register() and mixpanel.register_once() ensures we’re setting default properties that get sent along with any calls to mixpanel.track().

mixpanel.register_once({ watched_video:false});
We set our default watched_video property to false when the user first visits our page. Since register_once() only sets data if it’s not already set, it will only ever successfully set watched_video to false once and will persist throughout the users session.

As soon as the user watches our video, we call

mixpanel.register({ watched_video:true});
to over-ride our previous default *watched_video: false* attribute. watched_video being set to true will now persist throughout the users session.

So now, the user likes what they see and they want to sign up, so they click the sign up button. We make a call to

mixpanel.track('signed_up');
to track that event. Since mixpanel.register() sets up default properties to send over each mixpanel.track() request, it will send the watched_video property that contains true or false. This is what will tell us whether or not the user watched the video before signing up.

Viewing the difference between those that signed up without watching the video and those that did is pretty easy.

First, log into your Mixpanel account.

mp-trends

In the event panel, click your “sign_up” event. This will bring up all the properties associated with this event.

mp-sign_up

Find the “watched_video” property and click on it.

mp-watched_video

You’ll now see difference between those that watched the video and signed up and those that did not.

mp-graph

If you’re noticing a lot of sign ups occurring after the video was watched, then maybe it’s time to take it up a notch. Maybe your next step will be A/B testing a set of different videos to see which one yields the most conversions.

I hope this helps with getting your testimonial video started!

Jordan Boesch

Jordan Boesch

Jordan is the CEO @ 7shifts. Jordan grew up working in his dad’s restaurant and fell in love with the industry–the rest is history.

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