Here’s one thing we see too few of: testimonials.
What’s so special about them? Well for one thing, they minimise WTWSTWTWe live in a time of endless claims from endless sources. Most claims – we’ll save you time, make you money, we are worthy, we can lower interest rates, I never sexually harassed that staffer, we will turn back the boats, this tax will save the planet – are met with WTWSTWT.
WTWSTWT = “Well they would say that wouldn’t they.” You want to avoid that response.
The more marginalised your audience, the less likely they are to take the word of an institution. (AKA: you.) Generally speaking, a socially excluded audience displays lower trust and greater cynicism.
They might however take the word of a peer – which is where testimonials come in. Think of them as a substitute for word-of-mouth.
Here’s a series of simple example and damn good ones at that; from Break Thru Employment Solutions.
Use testimonials every chance you get. On your site we try using testmionials from donors, bequestors, volunteers, employees, clients, family of clients, patrons, stakeholders, the Minister – whoever . Use them early and often.
We think that if you can orchestrate testimonials on video they will be more powerful still. Testimonials also allow you to show, not tell, your audience about your values.
We trained a group of adult education providers in 2011. They struggle to engage one key audience – middle aged men returning to study, after a short formal education and long term unemployment. Talk about WTWSTWT! Testimonials from their tribe might be a small way to break down the barrier.