ARCHITECTURE of a great Customer Testimonial

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You know you need customer testimonials.  

They provide your prospects with social proof of the value you provide, and help them determine if working with you, supporting your cause or purchasing your service is right for them.

So what makes a great customer testimonial video and how do you get customers on board to participate?

Let’s first look at the ARCHITECTURE of an effective customer testimonial.

Whether you are doing a simple webcam customer story or a robust, branded video, there are three key elements to creating powerful testimonials.  And by powerful, I mean testimonials with the ability to communicate your value proposition and inspire action, be it for people to learn more about your organization and offerings or to take the leap and purchase/donate.


When looking at context, you want to highlight the issues that this specific customer has that maps to pain points that the majority of your prospects have.  Pain points that your product/service address or solve.

You also want to highlight that this customer, the one telling their story, is similar to your prospects.  If your solution addresses large companies, highlight the size of your customer's company.  If your solution helps entrepreneurs, highlight the fact that your customer is an entrepreneur.  If your solution impacts only dairy farmers… you guessed it.

WALLS:  Solution

The next element of a great testimonial is to have your customer talk about what solution you provided.  If your product/service addresses multiple areas, you can cover multiple solutions.  

For example, if your software product solves a business problem and is easy to implement, you can create a set of questions that targets both the business problem and resource issues.   

ROOF:  Benefits

This is what you’ve been waiting for!  Why do your customers or your audience love you?  

Again, they may love you for many, many reasons, but if you want a testimonial that helps convert onlookers into buyers or fans, it is best to highlight the types of benefits that your prospects are seeking to achieve in their life or business.

Focus makes a difference.

Does having an architecture make your testimonials all look and sound the same?

If you think having this three part structure in place will create bland, cookie cutter videos, remember there are different types of houses, and many ways to approach creating this content. 

Not only that, but Hollywood uses a three part narrative structure all the time and keeps coming up with creative films for a large number of audiences.

Building on this basic structure, you can now leverage a variety of styles to create testimonials that will resonate with your audience.  

Several years ago, I was producing partnership videos for IBM.  At that time I was watching other tech company customer testimonial videos to see what other people were doing.

At the time, Oracle was primarily a database company, selling database software to engineers. Oracle’s customer videos utilized the three part architecture, but with simple ‘talking head’ format with a basic white background, and employing white flashes to cut between one point to another. 

Now, if you look at Oracle’s customer testimonials for their software application solutions, you see that their testimonial videos incorporate use case scenarios, showing scenes that help business people relate to their technology.  They employ a different approach for a different audience, technical folks versus business users.

If you are selling a lower price point product, webcam captured testimonials may suffice.

There are a variety of ways to leverage the basic architecture to create great testimonials that show your prospects how you can make a difference in their business, or show your supporters how you can positively impact their cause.

The important element across these different approaches is to create the testimonial in your clients' words.

Now that you have the architecture, how do you find these customers for your video testimonials?  

I’ll address that in the next blog post.  In the meantime, do you have any questions you want me to address in the next post or tips you want to share?  If so, please post in the comments section below.