One of the proven marketing techniques I find so many organizations do not take full advantage of is social proof in the form of good testimonials from customers and members. This is particularly surprising in the case of membership organizations, where a sense of affiliation and loyalty are absolutely essential for generating sales of educational products and service.
There are many ways to go about getting testimonials without a great deal of effort. It just requires a little planning and a few simple – and often free – tools. These include:
- Always having video camera on hand at your meetings. You don’t need professional video equipment – a relatively inexpensive digital video camera or your cell phone video camera will be fine in most cases. You may want a simple, compact tripod to go with it.
- Keeping an audio recorder handy. Again, your cell phone may work for this, or you can get a relatively inexpensive digital recorder like the Sony ICD-BX112. (The advantage of a dedicated digital recorder and a camera separate from your phone are that these can usually be passed around to staff members and volunteers much more easily than your cell phone can. That said, as easy as it is to share audio and video files these days, the advantage of separate audio and video equipment has diminished significantly since I first started writing on this topic.)
- A digital camera (which, again, may just be your cell phone). I strongly advise having pictures of actual customers and members to go along with any text-based or audio testimonials.
- Fields on your paper and Web-based evaluation and renewal forms where you can ask customers/members to provide testimonials – preferably with an example of the type of thing you are looking for.
- Simple, straightforward language on a release form or any other forms on which you ask for testimonials. This language should, at a minimum, allow you to use the testimonial along with the person’s name and image.
Armed with these tools, you can easily collect a wide range of testimonials to include on your Web site, in your conference and seminar brochures, and all other marketing materials. No rocket science here – it’s just a matter of planning to do it and consistently executing on that plan.
Part of what prompted me to write about this topic today is that I noticed John Jantsch has a good post over on the Duct Tape Marketing blog on 5 Ways to Get Your Customers to Create Content for You. Much of the post actually relates to obtaining testimonials, and John (as usual) has some great tips, including:
- A One Question Survey (with a Net Promoter twist)
- A Video Appreciation Party
- Dial-In Testimonials with AudioAcrobat
I encourage you to read the full 5 Ways to Get Your Customers to Create Content for You post. More importantly, if you have not been making testimonials a priority as part of your promotional efforts, start today.
P.S. – See also: