If you are interested in a product or service what is one of the first things you do? Ask someone and/or research it right? We travel a lot. When we are looking for restaurants or activities to do in a new city, we go straight for Yelp!! We look for the rating and THEN we read the reviews. We make a decision based on the satisfaction of people who have taken the time to relate their experience. We count on it! So my question for you is, are you taking advantage of your most engaged members by asking them for testimonials for your membership organization? Are you routinely gathering statements of customer satisfaction and then sharing them in any format available to you? If not then SHAME on YOU!!
In our blogpost last week, The Single Most Important Thing You’ll Ever Do for Your Organization, I said, “it (engagement) is heavily rooted in emotional attachment to some value the organization is offering……engagement is a mutual exchange of value.” A customer experience is an emotional thing. A testimonial can share how the solution you provided eased a particular pain for that member. You then have the opportunity to align one member’s experience with pain that may be shared by many others. It’s a real emotion, shared by a real person, and it can be felt by others who may have the same challenge.
Your marketing/advertising campaigns may be brilliant, but guess what? They are launched by you, paid for by you, to promote you. Your audience is savvy enough to know that. Testimonials are an unbiased, statement of value, from someone who was happy with their investment. The best part is, while marketing/advertising campaigns can be very expensive, testimonials are free! Testimonials build your brand out, establish credibility in a valuable way and provide you with the power to leverage that experience with others. Sharing those experiences during a sale, could actually help you overcome objections. Ken Blanchard in his best-selling book, Raving Fans, says “Just having satisfied customers isn’t good enough anymore. If you really want a booming business, you have to create raving fans.” Well, testimonials are the free and easy way to create Raving Fans!!
Testimonials can be collected in several forms; video, written, social. A couple of rules right from the start. Make sure to ask for permission to use the content, don’t edit or re-write without permission, if it’s a written testimonial add a picture when you use it, always give the name and business credit for the member giving the endorsement. Now you are ready to go!!
Here are some tips for gathering testimonials for your membership organization:
- Add a “review/testimonial” section to your website. Invite people to share their experience.
- Actively engage in asking your members to post testimonials on your Facebook page.
- Ask for recommendations on your LinkedIn organization profile.
- Set up a YouTube account for your organization. Each time you load a video, give appropriate credit and use a title for the video that identifies the core experience the testimonial is relating. For example, “getting new business”, “help with an issue”, “making connections”, “hiring new employees”, or “business marketing success”.
- Build testimonials into your communications goals for the year. Set a goal for the number of testimonials, the type and establish a timeline for where they can be used most effectively.
- For video there is no need for expensive equipment. A little flip video is very inexpensive and easy to drop in your bag and most cameras and smart phones have video capability. It doesn’t need to be professional, just real!!
Remember, people engage emotionally. People do business with those they “know, like and trust”. Testimonials are the BEST way to expand your brand and recruit more members for your organization. And, because they came to you via an engaged member, they are more likely to be engaged themselves!! If you are NOT capturing messages from the people who like what you are doing then start NOW!!! It’s not rocket science. When someone says something positive, stop right then and ask them to repeat it for the camera, or post it on FB or send it to you in an email. Before you know it the engagement of that one, wonderful member, will open the door for NEW “Brand Apostles” for your organization!!! Roll camera…….
To get your mind going check out the video below featuring testimonials for one of our clients – Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce