Contributing Bloggers

Event Testimonials – Marketing Tool or Just Webpage Clutter?

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Take a look at any random selection of event websites and you’re sure to come across some testimonials from past participants. Perhaps your own event website contains comments such as “I enjoyed myself at this event” or “This conference was the best that I’ve ever been to,” or even “The after-dark parties were awesome.”

Testimonials are proof that people, even complete strangers, found your event valuable — and potential participants like to have this kind of evidence. At their best, testimonials can give people the confidence to click through to your event registration form; at their worst, they’re just empty sentences cluttering up your page.

Now, take a long, hard look at the testimonials on your event website and ask yourself which kind they are. Not sure? Here, then, are the elements of a great testimonial.

Credibility

Although studies have found that people do trust recommendations from strangers online, it helps to have the person’s name and company associated with each testimonial to give it credibility. Offer a link-back to the company’s website as a ‘thank-you’ for giving you the feedback. Other aspects of credibility include how many such events a participant has attended and whether they’ll come back.

Specificity

Hearing that the event was great doesn’t really help in the decision-making process when people’s time and budget are limited. People need specifics – particular aspects of the event that went well or were outstanding. Feedback that your keynote speaker has, in the past, spoken about her latest research and made herself available for panel discussions is more useful than just knowing that she’ll be there.

Authenticity

Strange though it may seem, testimonials are not directly about you or your event — they’re about your participants’ experiences there, especially the benefits that they obtained from attending. Testimonials with authenticity answer the basic question “What’s in it for me?” Great examples include “The staff were especially helpful to someone who has no experience organizing conferences.” and “My boss was impressed with my knowledge of the latest marketing trends that I got from your seminar.”

Now that you know what makes a great testimonial, the trick is to ask for them in such a way that makes it easy for your participants to provide them. We have a testimonial request template that does just this — check it out.

Jim Romanik

Jim is the president and co-owner of ePly Services. While studying business, event registration was still largely a burdensome manual process and being one to always look for the most efficient way to do things, Jim envisioned an online process. What began as a business plan that he submitted for a course on entrepreneurship has gradually evolved into today’s system that simplifies the work of event planners throughout North America.