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Hold a Testimonial Gathering Party

Gathering and utilizing authentic customer testimonials is a great way to a) get closer to your customers and b) offer proof that your company delivers. People can be very motivated by the comments of their peers.

I often find that while most business owners understand the power of testimonials, they don’t always know the best way to acquire them.

So, here’s an idea that I think works on a number of levels. (I actually got this from a participant in a workshop I did for Apple Specialists attending Macworld.)

Why not create an event around gathering testimonials. Invite your best customers for a networking social happy hour. Promote the event as a chance to network, swap stories and star in the creation of new marketing materials for your company. Give it a Hollywood theme. (This probably isn’t something you would do large scale, this is for those customers that are advocates already.)

Hire a videographer and photographer and then throughout the course of the evening, let your customers cycle through the video seat to tell their story of success with your firm. Most people enjoy being on camera once they do it and the whole group will be entertained by the event and feed off of each other’s energy. (This is something you should be doing anyway so why not do it all at one time.)

Yes, this is a bit of a self-serving event on the surface, so I do believe you need to be very selective about invitees and keep it very light and fun – participation in the testimonial part is completely voluntary. But, I think you will find that your customers think this is great too. (Wine helps)

Another way to motivate your customers to participate is to offer to allow them to also create a quick video overview of their company while at the event that they can use in their own marketing efforts.

Once you capture the video, audio and still photos from the event, you’ve got a testimonial and success story library that could infuse your marketing materials, broadcast and print ads for years. And, you’ve created a customer loyalty and community building event that just may become next year’s hottest party to crash!

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  • http://www.business901.com Joe Dager

    I think it would be fun. So many of our customer processes forget to include that word and what a way to create a community around your company or product!

    Thanks, hmm January 19th, maybe!

  • http://barjdcommunications.com JudyAnn Lorenz

    Well, sure, it is self-serving at any level, but I think it is time to be frank with the customer. “We want your testimonial because you are valuable and we’re having the party to make it an especially pleasant experience for you.”

    I would make sure the customer has access to their company overview and testimony as well. After all, if it is worth all this, lets go further and make ourselves an associate that the customer wants to ‘brag’ about being connected to. Become a name worth dropping!

  • http://www.tourismkeys.ca/blog @toddlucier

    Getting testimonials is not optional if you are serious about your business.
    Travel and Tourism biz would have a difficult time with this type of event, but other ways of generating positive reviews are just as critical. I think this link gets the point across with a couple of examples showing how tourism biz can create buzz.

    http://www.tourismkeys.ca/blog/2008/12/how-to-boost-revenue-20-climb-to-1-on-tripadvisor/

  • http://www.mintek.com chris kluis

    This might be a fun thing to do during a trade show.

    Your customers are probably close by already and they could enjoy a nice night.

  • http://www.mayraruiz.com Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

    I think this is a fun idea, assuming that clients are local and/or close by. I especially like crowding folks for this purpose together in person under the umbrella of fun because the opportunity for video testimonials becomes more feasible; and video anything tends to attract more attention and engage more eyeballs than standard PDF case studies or content (text-only) testimonials. And the fun, party ambiance will put folks in a good mood … perfect for testimonial delivery :)

    In general, I think it’s always a challenge to get testimonials because people in are … well, very busy. They mean well and they want to help (assuming you did a bang up job) but sometimes, they forget or don’t get to providing you with a quote or testimonial on *your* time; you kinda are stuck waiting for their supportive words on their time.

    I have one client who really needed a client’s testimonial for a case study contest they were trying to participate in and it was like pulling teeth and NO there wasn’t any animosity or bad customer service blood. Simply that the big wigs that can give the most impressive testimonials and more nitty gritty project details were/are *busy* … and top that with a global set up where folks are spread out throughout the world and you may be in testimonial S.O.L.

    But generally, if people are tickled pink and over the moon with all that you do and have done for them and their business, it really shouldn’t be that hard to get them to share some kind words about who you are and how you have transformed their operations, sales or business.

  • http://www.dwellgo.com Elizabeth Naylor

    This was a fantastic article! We have tried taking clients to coffee and then filming interviews afterward, but the energy hasn’t been what it could be by adding more people. Why we didn’t think of that is beyond me! Thank you so much for your wisdom! I look forward to how this will improve our reviews!

    Thanks again,

    ~Elizabeth

  • John Jantsch

    @Joe – go for it – Jan 19, better get those invite out.

  • John Jantsch

    @Chris – I like the trade show idea – might cause a little buzz on the floor for you too.

  • http://marketingwizardsalliance.com Katie Langston – Small Business Marketing Wizard

    This is a fun idea! I have several small business clients and I’m going to recommend it to them.

    @Mayra–getting testimonials from busy professionals is seriously a pain. One thing I’ve done with good success is asking them for permission to write up the testimonial FOR THEM based on things they’ve told me, and then send it over to them for approval. I tell them to change anything they want–though usually they just tell me it looks good. :)

  • http://www.drewschiller.com Drew Schiller

    John, this is such a great idea. Thank you for sharing! One of my clients has logistical trouble filming all their testimonials and I think this may be the answer to their troubles.

  • http://www.ychange.com Small Business Marketing

    I love this idea. I preach a like idea for naming a product. You invite your friends to a product naming party. Actually, it makes sense to invite the customers to do this.

    Thanks John.

  • http://www.lotusjump.com SEO Software

    pretty elaborate plan, but i like it! this sounds like a great way to increase the sense of community among the most valued members of your tribe.

  • http://www.seoresults.co.za/pages/seo-tips/ SEO Tips South Africa

    Excellent idea! It is fun and out the box, something different that people will enjoy participating in, giving your image the best boost possible in the process. There is no better salesperson than a satisfied and happy customer.

  • http://survivingarecession.com Surviving A Recession

    It is a great idea. It is fantastic marketing. People are always happy at these types of events.

  • http://www.homedeliverymedical.com Michael

    thanks for sharing, what a great idea and building relationships!

    Michael

    HomeDeliveryMedical.com

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