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If given the opportunity, you can talk for hours about why your trade association is critical. But why should people believe anything you say? If you're accepting a paycheck from the organization you're speaking about, your words might not be trusted.

Testimonials are different.

Experts say testimonials are a form of "thumbs up" provided by someone who trusts you, feels happy with your product, and is willing to talk about it. If someone is on the fence about joining your association, a testimonial could make a big difference in their decision-making process.

But all testimonials aren't created equal. You'll need to do your homework to come up with the right concept and execute it properly. Here's how to do just that.

Who Should Appear in Your Video?

Authenticity makes for an effective testimonial. A paid actor, no matter how well trained, can't match the emotion and allure of a real person speaking from the heart. Thankfully, you have plenty of people ready to talk about your benefits.

Consider highlighting certain groups in your testimonials, such as:

  • New members. People join associations based on perceived value. That's especially true for young people.
    Ask your newest members to explain why they joined and what they learned so far. Better yet, ask them to highlight what they expected and what they got instead. If your viewers can see themselves in these videos, they might be more likely to join.
  • Business leaders. Scan your member rolls for presidents, vice presidents, and C-suite members. These executives join associations to ensure that their organizations seem trustworthy and up-to-date. They also have a lot of connections who respect their viewpoint. Ask them to discuss the benefits they have received since joining your group.
  • Employees. Put your expertise on display by highlighting the work you do every day for your members. Ask some of your skilled team members to step in front of the camera to discuss their roles.
  • Donors. Trade associations and other nonprofit groups must honor donor intent. The money they accept must be spent as the donor dictates.
    Ask some of your major donors to highlight the specific causes they support with their funds. Many will likely be happy to illuminate why these causes are so important to them.
  • Recipients. Does your association support a local cause, like a Little League team? Do you choose a charity to support with member donations? Have you stepped in to help a business or an individual in need? These stories showcase how dues and other payments make a difference in the world. Recipients can share their stories very effectively.

Every association is different, and chances are, you have another speaker on deck who has the perfect story to share with your audience. Think creatively, and put the mic in front of those who have the best message to share.

4 Topics to Cover in Testimonials 

Speakers drive testimonial content creation. They discuss what they know and feel passionate about. But sometimes, thinking about topics that inspire you could help guide your spokesperson requests.

Consider creating testimonials that highlight:

  • Jobs. Experts consider trade associations career centers, even if it's uncommon for organizations to promise jobs to all members. Someone who found a position on your group's job board, met a crucial connection at your event, or qualified for a promotion due to your classes has an amazing story to share about membership in your organization.
  • Networking. The opportunity to network is considered a top benefit of trade association membership. People who used their conversations to broker deals, find a job, or connect with a mentor can talk at length about how you've helped to straighten and further their career paths.
  • Advocacy. Large corporations join trade associations to gain access. As BP puts it, these organizations want to provide both input and advice. They want to ensure they are heard. If you've allowed this kind of access, let someone from the organization explain why that matters and how you helped.
  • Education. Whether you hold classes, handle events, or conduct certifications, you help your members prepare for success in your field. Let a recipient explain how it works and how it leads to real results.

If these ideas aren't right for you and your organization, don't fret. Ask your members why they joined and why they will renew their membership for another year. They may give you topics you never thought of before.

Tips and Tricks for Expert Testimonials 

You have mere seconds to grab attention with a video testimonial, and you'd like every moment to count. Follow a few best practices to ensure that you've made the most of this epic opportunity.

As you're reviewing testimonials, think about:

  • Efficiency. The best testimonials have a tight focus. Don't publish versions in which your speakers ramble on and on about things that don't add to the business and its profitability.
    Think about the value proposition of your video, and use the content that sticks to that theme. Save the rest for later. It’s always a good idea to edit down the content to the best bits.
  • Language. It's tempting to write a script for your speakers, but your viewers will sniff out inauthentic content. Let speakers use their own words to describe you and the work you're doing. You might be surprised with the genuine content they come up with.
  • Specifics. Ask your speakers to quantify their statements. Don't let them use phrases like, "I got a lot of help." Instead, encourage them to say things like, "I closed a $10,000 deal based on a connection I made at an event." Before they hit record, ask them to pinpoint a few details to highlight.

Don’t worry about fancy backdrops, intense music, and professional studio setups. No one expects polish from user-generated content. Guide your speakers with these tips so they can send you clips you can really use.

How to Ask for Help 

Some members will send you videos even if you never ask for them, but most people will need a push. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your community. But follow these tips to ensure your outreach is effective.

The best testimonial requests are:

  • Timely. Your association just did something amazing for a person or an organization. Ask for help right now. Those good feelings may fade quickly, and you want to capitalize on them when the moment is fresh.
  • Short. Don't waste anyone's time with a long discussion of why you need help and what you hope to do with it. State your request as quickly and efficiently as you can. Reread your request a few times to ensure it is concise and clear.
  • Spontaneous. Scour your review sites, including Yelp and Facebook. Look for comments written by your members and constituents. When you find one, reach out. Ask the person for a video testimonial follow-up, and stress how much you appreciate their time.
  • Easy. Highlight that you don't expect perfect filming skills from anyone who helps you. Explain what you want very clearly, and point out that anyone can make a good video from a phone and it only takes a few minutes. Make the process as straightforward as possible.

Want to learn more about creating an engaging marketing plan? Join us for “Digital marketing strategies for ultimate content promotion” on Feb. 4, 2021. Attendee’s will learn digital marketing strategies for effectively engaging your audience with high-quality content published in all the right places. RSVP now!

Sidecar Staff
Post by Sidecar Staff
January 31, 2021
At Sidecar, we create the professional development tools a leader needs to grow their career and their purpose-driven membership organization, like associations and nonprofits. The skills you’ll learn within our growing community, interactive workshops and from our step-by-step courses will drive innovation, empower strategic thinking and institute cultural changes wherever your career takes you.