We are continually pressing our clients, readers, and event attendees to make better use of social proof in the marketing of their education programs. This concept, popularized primarily through Robert Cialdini’s must-read classic Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, refers to the tendency we all have to look to others for behavioral cues and, in general, to do what we see others like us doing.
One of the most common forms of social proof is customer testimonials, and one of the most compelling ways to convey testimonials these days is by video. With that in mind, I wanted to share the following example from the National Wood Flooring Association that we spotlighted a few weeks ago in our Leading Learning online community. (You can find this in context on the main Web page for NWFA education.)
A few comments, in no particular order, about why we like this so much:
- This is clearly an actual member talking and he is clearly identified by name and company.
- He clearly addresses the benefits and the value he has received from NWFA training, and he does it in a way that feels entirely natural and believable.
- It’s front and center on NWFA’s main education page – which is exactly the kind of place where you want strong social proof.
- A relevant training option is referenced and linked to in the context of the video. This is something that the few organizations that use social proof well almost always miss – connecting a strong testimonial like this to a specific training offering. (Bonus: When you click, there is actually a video that effectively promotes the referenced offering.)
- This is a style of video that can be created with relatively limited resources. The most important elements – a real member talking in a believable way about value and links to related offerings – could be put together with any good digital video camera, a room with decent lighting, and a commonly available video editing program like iMovie. (I know from talking with them that NWFA produced this in-house and used Adobe Premier Pro as the editing tool – currently $15.99 a month through Adobe Creative Cloud licensing.)
It would be hard to exaggerate how much more powerful a video like this is than the lackluster descriptive text found on most catalog pages. This is much more likely to connect with a potential learner at both an emotional and a logical level and lead to action.
NWFA has gone so far as to create a whole series of videos, but even creating one – by using, for example, our “every event is a production event” approach – could have a huge impact on your success in marketing your education programs.