The Most Powerful Marketing Strategy for 2020
Using testimonials to promote any kind of business has been effective for a long time, and I predict using them will continue to work in 2020 and beyond. In some ways, human nature never changes. We inherently don’t believe what you and your staff have to say about your business since you all have something to gain by singing its praises. Testimonials work because the people promoting you have nothing to gain.
Social media has upped the ante by connecting everyone to oodles of “friends” who are more than willing to give advice about who the best HVAC Contractor is in any given market. These social media recommendations are basically testimonials on steroids. How can you ensure you are the first contractor that comes to everyone’s mind when that social media moment pops up? Easy. Get a testimonial on video from each of your customers. Psychologists have proven once someone gives you a testimonial they are unlikely to go back on what they said. It’s based on the psychological theory of “cognitive consistency.” In a book by Dr. Robert Cialdini, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, Dr. Cialdini outlines his 6 Principles of Influence.
The three main components of the theory of cognitive consistency state that people anticipate consistency in their lives, inconsistencies create imbalance and dissonance in individuals, and that tension motivates each individual to create consistency in order to achieve balance.
Similarly, “social proof” (which is another one of Dr. Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence) is achieved with testimonials. The best way to describe social proof in action is to describe two different scenarios. Scenario #1: Imagine there is a new restaurant in town, and you are considering taking your spouse to try it on Friday night. You drive by at 7pm and the parking lot is empty. What do you automatically think about the experience and the food? If you are like most people, you keep driving and go to one of your favorite eateries instead. Scenario #2: You drive by that new restaurant on a Friday at 7pm, and the parking lot is packed. There are so many people waiting to be seated, the queue is flowing out the front door. What do you imagine the experience and the food will be like now? In this case, you and your spouse are probably thinking, “WOW! This place is hopping. It must be fantastic!” You are basically relying on the opinion of other people to help you make a decision. This is social proof, and testimonials tap into its power from a psychological perspective.
Where Should You Use Testimonials?
Testimonials should be used anywhere and everywhere. Your website, brochures, social media, ads in magazines and newspapers, television, and YouTube are all crying out for you to use testimonials to promote your business. Companies who have millions of dollars to spend on marketing use testimonials to promote their businesses. Even though you don’t have millions of dollars to spend, you can model your marketing after those companies who pay the brightest minds to conceptualize ideas for their messages.
Consider the classic USAA homeowners insurance commercial featuring different families who say they use USAA. Two military families come to mind – the Tenney and the Hayles families. These commercials revolve around their testimonials. Another example is the Farmgirl Flowers commercial featuring Christina Stembel, Farmgirl Flowers’ founder and CEO. She used her credit card to earn $133,000 in cash-back rewards which she used to endure lean times in her industry, and to reinvest in her business. Capital One’s Spark Card took advantage of her great story to promote their business.
At the Heart of Every Testimonial is a Great Story:
If all your clients have to say about you is, “—-HVAC replaced my system. He showed up on time and responded to all my needs. I’m happy with the system. My family is comfortable.” Statements like these are just not enough to persuade people you are the right guy for the job. When testimonials might easily describe you as well as all your competitors, then it’s better than nothing, but it might not be what you are striving to achieve. It doesn’t separate your business and make you stand out as the obvious and best choice.
Now imagine your customer said, “When my daughter decided to have her wedding ceremony and reception in our backyard, I thought it was a great idea. My husband and I knew we were going to have upwards of 60 people milling around our house and hanging out in the yard. We thought we had planned everything perfectly. Wouldn’t you know our HVAC unit decided to give up the ghost 4 days before Kim’s special day. I was literally freaking out. Kim was in tears. But Tim, with —-HVAC, got over right away and somehow got everything working again. I was so thankful. What a blessing it was to work with —-HVAC. They really saved the day.” Can you see how this story separates Tim from all the other HVAC Contractors?
Author’s Note : Lisa Newhouse is the content marketing specialist for MiTEK Wrightsoft, an ACCA Corporate Partner.
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