Having confidence in your brand is great, but it can only get you so far.
You need to back your claims up with evidence.
Having a satisfied customer vouch for you can be far more effective than churning out dozens of self-promotional content pieces. If you’re looking to leverage your content towards attracting potential customers, show them how you’re helping existing customers. 62.6% of marketers say that client case studies are effective at generating leads and are a critical component of a winning marketing strategy. They tie first place with content marketing and beat every other approach on the list.
The reason why is simple. Instead of focusing on yourself, case studies focus on your customers. They give new leads a window into the world you’re helping to create.
Video amplifies the trustworthiness of case study content.
Transitioning away from traditional customer stories (i.e. blog post format) towards video case studies is worthwhile. Instead of reading about a customer’s excitement about your product, your users can literally see the excitement on that customer’s face. The psychological impact is clear.
What makes a great case study video?
Compelling case studies have proven themselves to be valuable conversion generators for a variety of industries. They are especially valuable for organizations that sell complex, expensive products.
The more invested users have to be before converting, the more the success story of a satisfied customer will resonate with them. This is why enterprise customer story videos tend to perform more successfully than small businesses.
Marketers who want to learn how to make a great case study video need to focus on three trust-building factors first:
- An authoritative customer interview.
- Complimentary shots of the office.
- Post-production graphics and narration.
Let’s look at how successful video marketers incorporate these factors into the customer story video production process.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown:
Pre-production includes everything that you plan before the day of the shooting. There is a lot of work that needs to be done before you start filming anything.
1. Choose the right customer
The customer interview is the centerpiece of your case study video. Your top priority is finding an individual customer who is motivated to provide a glowing review of you and your company.
Ideally, this person is in a position of authority who benefits directly from your business. If they don’t have hands-on experience working with your products or services, they won’t know what to say.
Keep in mind that an employee of a lesser-known company may be more excited about your product than someone who works for a big, well-known company. You might find that honest enthusiasm is more conducive towards creating a good case study, compared to a recognizable logo does.
2. Lead the interview process
Make sure that you come to the interview prepared. Make sure to come up compelling yet easy to answer interview questions. Use the pre-production process to get an idea of how your customer feels about your product. If you can agree on a story that fits, the entire interview process will be far easier to steer in a positive direction.
Interview preparation can be difficult work. The more time you spend preparing, the smoother and less stressful the actual interview experience will be.
3. Pick a viewing format
Is your target audience going to view the video on a desktop or on mobile? This is an important question you’ll want to ask early on. The answer will change the way you approach the entire filming process.
If you are thinking about shooting a mobile video, try setting up your shoot for vertical viewing.
Vertical video format can perform well on social media and other news feed-oriented platforms. Keep in mind that 90% of Twitter users engage the platform via mobile.
4. Use the proper equipment
The single most important factor you need to consider when shooting a case study video is lighting. Great lighting can make smartphone camera footage look professional. Steven Soderbergh famously filmed an entire feature film using an iPhone. If it’s good enough for an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, it’ll be good enough for your case study subject and video.
Production and shooting
Once you have picked a customer to interview, established the story you want to tell, and picked a place to tell it, you’re ready to film.
This is where your pre-production preparation is going to pay off:
1. Don’t veer off course
During the course of the interview, it’s natural for the dialogue to take unexpected turns. Everyday conversation is full of uncertain asides, half-articulated thoughts, and full-blown diversions.
Film dialogue – thankfully! – is not.
Part of leading the interview means catching these slip-ups and addressing them. Ask your customer to avoid industry jargon and to patiently pronounce acronyms your audience may not be familiar with.
Don’t be afraid to re-shoot responses that veer away from the customer use case scenario. You’ll be thankful you did.
2. Shoot more footage than you need
The vast majority of raw footage you obtain will be thrown away. The typical low-budget filmmaker shoots six seconds of material for every single second that makes it on-screen. For big-budget superhero movies, this figure can shoot to 400 seconds of material for every second on-screen.
You won’t need so much material, but you will need more than you publish. Having the option to add footage will translate to positive results.
3. Sweat the details
Developing a shot list can help you break the shooting day down into manageable chunks. This is especially useful for shoots that take place in multiple locations. You’ll want to spend some time organizing every little detail that goes into shooting day.
This includes setting up the interview location and ensuring it’s quiet enough to successfully record audio. It may include making wardrobe or hair adjustments – just about any visual element you’d overlook in regular life can end up looking odd on camera.
It’s a good idea to overestimate your shooting time in order to compensate for these unforeseen complications.
There is one thing you should do before loading raw interview footage into your video editing software:
Send a thank you email to your interview subject and their immediate superior. This will go a long way in maintaining a good relationship. These people took time out of their busy schedules to help you market your product, after all.
Plus, if anything goes wrong on the technical side of post-production, you may need to re-shoot. That will be much easier to do if your interview subject enjoyed your time together.
1. Add graphics and narration
Just about any video editing software will allow you to add graphics and voiceover narration. Adobe Premiere is the premium solution favored by professional filmmakers, while Biteable and Lumen5 are ideal for less experienced users learning how to make case study videos on a budget.
For a complete rundown of the best online video editing solutions click here.
You may even wish to outsource video editing to a freelance professional on a case-by-case basis. An experienced freelancer may be able to help you achieve the polished final result your customers are looking for.
2. Let your customer help promote the video
Remember sending that thank you email to your interview subject? Now they are that much more likely to share the final result on their social media pages and broaden your video’s exposure.
Most customers are happy to earn themselves the extra exposure that your video creates. If they are reluctant to share the video, you may be able to sweeten the deal by offering a backlink to their website from yours.
The benefits of cross-promotion are too valuable to pass up.
3. Wrapping up!
Don’t forget to enable closed captioning for your video. Most mobile video players automatically mute embedded video content. An overwhelming majority of Facebook videos are viewed with the volume off. You’ll need those captions to capture users’ attention and convince them to turn the volume up.
You may also wish to divide your case study video into chapters to improve user engagement. If you are using a professional video hosting platform, you can monitor user engagement and adjust your settings to optimize the results. Appropriate calls-to-action can be added at the end of th video, so interested viewers’ data can be captured. Be sure to check back on your video and monitor its performance regularly.