One of the most powerful forms of advertising is the use of a testimonial. Most people are much more impressed and find it more credible when one of your clients says something good about you than when you say how good you are. Let's face it the best form of advertising is word of mouth. So if you can get some good written and video testimonials they will have a similar effect. What has more impact? An ad that has us spouting off about how great we are and how we are the best or one that has several customers saying how great you are and how you are this and that. By getting testimonials it provides proof that your product or service is what you say it is. It builds credibility and reputation. It also builds a loyal bond between you and the customer in the ad.

One of the most powerful forms of advertising is the use of a testimonial. Most people are much more impressed and find it more credible when one of your clients says something good about you than when you say how good you are. Let's face it the best form of advertising is word of mouth. So if you can get some good written and video testimonials they will have a similar effect. What has more impact? An ad that has us spouting off about how great we are and how we are the best or one that has several customers saying how great you are and how you are this and that. By getting testimonials it provides proof that your product or service is what you say it is. It builds credibility and reputation. It also builds a loyal bond between you and the customer in the ad.

Over the past seven years we have created a campaign to acquire as many testimonials as possible. During that time we have compiled close to one hundred of them. We have them in both written and video format. We have ads that use just testimonials and they have worked very well. We also use them in our brochures, flyers, yellow page ad, website and DVD brochure. The best part is that it is easy to do.

Here are two ways for you to acquire testimonials.

1. Send out a testimonial form to your best ten customers. If you want to send more go for it! It is best to call the person first and explain to them that you are looking for feedback from your best clients and would they be willing to participate in a testimonial campaign? Let them know that you will be sending them a form with questions that will take about five minutes to complete. Explain that you will be using their name and testimonial in your advertising and that it would be greatly appreciated if they would be willing to tell others what you like about the studio. You will also want to get a picture of them that they authorize you to use. You can arrange for them to come in and have one taken at the studio at a time and day that will work for everyone. I know that some of you may think that this is a bit pushy or you may worry that you will be bothering people, but I can tell you that the opposite is true. When we have asked people to participate they feel honored that we consider them one of our best customers. They are more than willing to be a part of it and will tell others that they were asked. One year we had three parents that we did not ask, come up to us and say that they would like to be a part of it if we wanted them to! The testimonial form that we use is in the downloadable form area and you can change and alter it to get the answers you are looking for.

The questions you ask are very important because you do not want to get vague responses. If you tell them just to say what they like about your studio then that is all that they will talk about and they may not bring up the specific points you are looking for. It is best to ask pointed questions like, "What benefit did your child get from taking classes here?" "Why did you select us over the other studios?" "In one sentence, describe your experience at our studio." These questions will also give you insight into why they did choose you and what benefits they really think that their child is receiving. You can then also create an ad that will focus on the reasons why people chose your studio and what added benefits their child will get by taking classes with you. Check out the sample ad we have in the download area.

2. Create a video testimonial day. Once you have arranged everything including setting up appointments for the people to come in at a convenient time and arranging someone to video the testimonials, you will be ready to go. Then it is just a matter of making each person feel at ease in front of the camera. Obviously the more prepared everyone is the more relaxed the session will be. I recommend that you do the written testimonials first so they understand what you are doing. You can use these testimonials on your website, create a DVD brochure (Check out the studio biz articles from January) or create a video that has the testimonials and some of your recital or show numbers. You will then have it available to play on a television at your studio during a trial class day or other event. Video testimonials are very powerful and once you start to collect them they will work like no other form of advertising you have used.

If you do nothing else this month go and call your best customers and get testimonials from them. It will also be a chance for you to have a quick chat with them and will give you the opportunity to tell them how much you appreciate their business. "Testimonials are reputation power that will lead to sales power!" Jeffery Gitomer