In 2007, I was hired as an On-Air Fundraising Producer at the North Texas NPR affiliate. At the time, fundraising goals were coming up short, the drives were taking forever and they were getting complaint calls from listeners. It was my job to develop a brand new content and messaging strategy in order to right the ship.
Fortunately, I was successful.
Even though I improved how our team asked for money on-air, I found myself wondering if there was anything more I could do with that strategy. Even if we gave a clear reason why people should donate...the audience knew we worked there. So, in their mind, we were basically getting paid to share messages about why they should give.
So, I decided to invite donors to come to the station and record interviews about why they give and why they think it's important for others to do so. I didn't script any of it. I interviewed them, edited their comments down to the best answers and put a music bed underneath it all. I produced several of these, and each person had their own story.
In 2017, you could say testimonials are impacting all kinds of companies. Just like in my experience, they make a significant impact on how people decide to spend money. You have to be aware of what your customers are saying about you.
Many organizations may not realize that there are testimonials about their business being shared right now. Even worse, if a lot of bad things are being said, it has likely hurt their bottom line. Thanks to social media, blogs and websites (like Yelp), more and more consumers are making decisions based on:
1. Suggestions from friends/family online
2. Reviews posted by other consumers
3. Content produced about a company/product
This is why marketing departments need to make sure they can evolve past their reliance on advertisements and develop content that engages an audience. People trust their peers WAY more than than an advertisement. This trend is consistent with my own habits. I frequently do searches for content and reviews written about a company or product before taking the next step in the purchasing process. In fact, I have even searched company reviews on Glassdoor before applying for a job.
Social media has given the consumer a lot more power. They know how to do the necessary research before making a purchasing decision. That's why about 70% of the decision to buy has already been made before the customer even makes contact with you.
So, now your content and messaging strategies have to incorporate testimonials as well. You need to know what people are saying about you. If it's negative...you need to engage them in new ways, improve their experience and change their mind. If you have people who love you, turn those people into advocates for your brand.
Develop your own content that features quotes and testimonials. Engage your audience on social media, and make it easy for them to express their love of your company, product or brand.
Simply put, you need to care about what other people are saying about you. Your target audience cares, and they're already listening.