By RDBA Executive Director, Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Aside from a person’s own experience, nothing has more impact on their decisions than the opinion of other people they trust. This is why so much effort is put into word of mouth marketing. It’s also the reason social media has exploded over the past several years; social channels provide instant, direct dialogue with other individuals on a vast range of topics.
This opinion exchange makes testimonials an essential tool for retail dietitians in both the marketing of and communication on the return-on-investment of healthy living programs and services. Others’ successes and voices act as third-party endorsements. They’re viewed as unbiased feedback instead of self-promotion. Testimonials can drive other shoppers and community members to participate in your programs. One heart-felt story from a loyal shopper can make retail leadership buy-in to health and wellness initiatives at a heightened level.
Within the work of a retail dietitian, there are many opportunities to capture testimonials. The key is to ask and keep asking. When gathering testimonials, focus on the problem in shoppers’ lives that you are solving and how this relates to the other programs you offer and the other client groups you are trying to reach. Have you had a shopper loose a significant amount of weight after participating in your weight loss program? Or a client whose A1C levels have dropped after working with you? What about that family who now has family meals together at least four nights a week after attending your cooking classes or other programs? They’re all great spokespersons for the problems you can solve in consumers’ lives.
Some suggested questions to use for capturing testimonials include:
Ask for testimonials at every opportunity and let the words of others speak for you. Use the testimonials to market your programs and services in social channels, intercom messages, flyers and brochures that promote your programs, video segments, and shopper emails. When using testimonials as a part of ROI communication, provide as much backstory as possible on the shopper, include photographs if available, and tie in financials where appropriate. Keep testimonial in the words of the shopper – if they make grammatical mistakes, run the text with those mistakes to keep it authentic.
Real life experiences with your programs and services can be one of the most effective tools in marketing them to shoppers and retail management. Capturing testimonials gives you the information needed to capitalize on your successes and continue to grow your business.