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If they’re happy and you know it, get a testimonial

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What is it we love about online shopping? Yes, the convenience of having items delivered to your doorstep is nice, but one of the driving forces behind the success of e-commerce is access to user reviews. How many times have you scoured the feedback of others before pulling the trigger on a purchase? You’re not alone.

According to an annual study by BrightLocal, 84 percent of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. Fifty-Four percent of people will visit a website after reading positive reviews, and 74 percent of consumers say positive reviews make them trust a local business more.

What does that have to do with member testimonials? While that study looked more specifically at consumers reacting to local business, the human behavior translates to association membership. The fact is, people tend to trust or at least get influenced by the thoughts of others.

Member testimonials aren’t a new phenomenon; associations have used them for ages. But what has changed is what we know about how testimonials work and how to make them more effective. When it comes to getting members to speak on your association’s behalf, consider some of the following things to get the most from your free advertising.

While a positive statement about your association is nice, a stale promotion can fall flat.

“I was hesitant about joining the association, but I did and I’m glad I did. It’s great.”

Positive? Sure. But what people want from testimonials are what they want from online reviews: details. In a lot of ways, you want the testimonial to tell a story. Why was the member hesitant? What was holding them back? What made them join, and what makes it great? How does it solve their problem?

Associations Now produced an article about going beyond the typical testimonial, explaining how an organization can take a testimonial and craft it into a useful story. A growing tool for conveying these stories is video. Not only are you taking the member feedback, you’re packaging it in a way that makes it engaging and personalizes the individual to the viewer.

MultiView took this approach with one of its own member partners, Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS). This video testimonial tells the whole story. It provides background on the association; explains the need they had; details their decision process; and conveys how their decision positively impacted them.

Another solid practice when utilizing member testimonials is to look deeper than the overall organization. For example, Destinations International, also a MultiView partner, offers a unique tool in the destination marketing industry – its DestinationNext roadmap for member organizations. As a significant benefit to members, Destinations International sought testimonials specific to this benefit, using recognized members of the industry to help pitch the successes they experienced with the tool.

Consider it this way, if you were looking at a specific pair of Under Armour shoes, you’d like to read reviews about that particular pair of shoes, not just comments about Under Armour shoes in general.

There are plenty of ways to use testimonials to your association’s advantage. It starts with a relationship and then asking for the feedback – but just as important is packaging that feedback in a way that makes it most useful to the potential members.




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