Testimonials Don’t Convert Conference Prospects

2014.July_Chaos theory!  Teoría del caos! by Jonathan Emmaunel Flores Tarello, on Flickr

You’ve heard the litany:

  • Testimonials are great third party endorsements.
  • Using testimonials will increase your conference attendance.
  • Yadda Yadda

It’s all bull.

Two big reasons you should do it anyway.

1. Smart testimonials will make people pause.

Testimonials can give marketers what they want…a better chance of being heard and considered. Our lives are cluttered with emails and advertisements. So much comes through every day that we’ve become a nation of skimmers. A well written testimonial and photo can stop a skimmer in their tracks and cause them to read your offer more closely.

2. Testimonials build community.

When you highlight one of your participants with a photo and intelligent testimonial, it shines the light on them. People in their network may share or send a note saying “Cool…and I knew you when.” This can earn you a customer for life, especially when you target a core attendee instead of a known leader.

Crafting Powerful Conference Testimonials

Here are five tips to help you earn the pause and community:

1. Hit the Target.

Send the right testimonial to the right prospect. Ever hear that commercial “attention Medicare recipients…..” Well if you’re not a Medicare recipient, you don’t care and stop listening.  Testimonials are the same way and can work for you or against you. Ensure you understand the needs of your prospects and use the right testimonial for the right prospect. Read more on targeting your testimonials.

2. Specific benefits are better than cotton candy testimonials.

Convert your attendee’s compliment into a measurable endorsement that will sway opinions. Keep it short. Get your prospect to stop and think.

3. Write it yourself.

No, don’t lie. But ask follow-up questions and get specific. Most testimonials are generic and don’t grab attention. Don’t forget to get approval on the full quote and off you go!

4. Overcome objections.

Price, location, time out of the office – whatever the objection; use testimonials to overcome conference participation excuses.

5. Make it Real.

Add authenticity and credibility to testimonials by including a full name, title, company and photo of your endorser. Fence sitters will research more when they see that you’ve been endorsed by a person from a similar or known company and/or position.

How effective are testimonials for your attendance acquisition strategy? What other marketing strategies increase consideration or cause a pause?


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  1. Rachel says:

    Great points Wendy. What do you think of embedding Tweets that contain freely expressed testimonials, on conference website and in marketing material? It already has a name and a pic and people can connect and ask that person about their experience and why did they like an event.

    1. Thanks for the comment Rachel. I like the idea with two conditions:

      1. The testimonial should be of good quality – offering specific comments etc.
      2. The person stating the testimonial provides permission and is aware that you would be placing their information on your website and encouraging direct communication. You may already have something on your website that states you have the right to use twitter references for your event, but I would get this extra permission anyway.

      Side note: It can be a little more risky to go this route – what if your testimonial person does not respond or feels differently later. A non response from your twitter testimony may push your prospect away. Not saying you should not go with it, just know the risks before you do.

      If you go this route – let us know how it goes.

      Have a great day!


  2. Rachel says:

    Hi Wendy,

    I totally agree with the risks and making sure to get permission beforehand.
    We’ve done it before and used a screenshot from a very positive tweet into a sponsorship and advertising prospectus. The person was very happy to accept the use of their tweet. In this case, it was a screen capture which showed the exact same tweet, with picture of the real person who mentioned it.


  3. Fantastic Rachel. If you are interested. Share the link to your event and the testimonial. It is always great to see how things are working for different events.


  4. Rachel says:

    Hi Wendy

    Sure, here is the prospectus we created for this annual convention. You’ll see the twitter testimonials on page 5 and 8.

    Let me know what you think.

    1. Thanks Rachel – great example. I have also pinned your prospectus to our Pinterest page.

      1. Rachel says:

        Thank you Wendy. Can you let me know which board you put it under? I’ll check it out.

        1. Hi Rachel – it is under the Sponsorships and Exhibits board http://www.pinterest.com/velvetchainsaw/sponsorships-and-exhibits/

          Have a great day!

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