How To Use Parent Testimonials To Attract More Prospective Students

How To Use Parent Testimonials To Attract More Prospective Students

July 16, 2021
(Reading time: 5 - 9 minutes)

You may be familiar with the VCP process. It is a business idea that says Visibility leads to Credibility, which should lead to Profitability. If you are doing what you should do with your content marketing efforts for your private school, then you have the visibility down. To help bolster your credibility, you can use parent and student testimonials.

People influence people. Nothing influences people more than a recommendation from a trusted friend. A trusted referral influences people more than the best broadcast message. A trusted referral is the Holy Grail of advertising.

These guiding words by Mark could not be any more accurate and vital in today’s competitive marketplace. This is especially true for private schools.

Testimonials from current parents of your students are the quickest and inexpensive way to promote your school in the community and online. Prospective students and parents can rapidly dig them up by speaking or browsing social networking websites like Facebook or seeing them on your Google My Business listing.

As a result, online testimonials are a vital resource that you and your school administrators should use since they will affect and influence prospective students and their parents.

Parent and Family Testimonials

Testimonials vs. Reviews

Merriam-Webster defines a testimonial as a character reference and a statement that testifies to what benefits have been received by those giving it. It also states that it is “evidence” or written proof of the product. It also defines a testimonial as “a statement testifying to benefits received or a character reference while a review is defined as “to give a critical evaluation of.” What this means for your school is that you have to deliver an exceptional educational experience.

This begs the question, is there a distinction between a review and a testimonial when people write about their excellent experience with your school?

The short answer is yes! Reviews should be fair and unbiased, and any evidence that they aren’t will make them lose their credibility or, even worse, hurt yours.

Testimonials are what your students and parents say about you, which you desire to be positive, and as such, you get to choose which ones are published or posted. In contrast to reviews, testimonials are naturally biased because they are from delighted clients who you have chosen to talk about your institution.

When it comes to a testimonial, you will want to highlight your best ones. However, a word of caution when it comes to influencer-type marketing or sponsored testimonials, you need to tread carefully as it can be a slippery slope in which the credibility of your word-of-mouth marketing can be undermined.

You will, of course, highlight the finest. They may appear to be sponsored advertising, but they are not.

Remember that before enrolling a child in your school, parents want to know if they are making the proper selection.

Therefore can testimonies be believed, and how reliable are they? 

It should go without saying, but yes, your testimonial should be believable and reliable.

Social proof underpins the impact of a parent testimonial. This is a psychological and sociological phenomenon in which people mimic the acts and behavior of others in order to make the "right" decision. It's also similar to "herd mentality," in which one's decisions are frequently significantly affected by their peers.

If a prospective parent reads another parents' testimonial about your school on your website, they are likely to create a similarly favorable image of the school.

Prospects will often project their children or themselves onto the testimony. They want to see that students who are similar to them attend the school and have a great experience.

According to Bright Local, "90% of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business." In addition, users will seek reviews across many different channels, be it online and offline. 

79% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family. These days, word of mouth can come from outside a consumer’s social circle, with an online review having a ripple outside of a happy (or unhappy!) customer’s peers.

Bright Local

According to Animoto, 56% of people find customer testimonials helpful. To further prove this point, WikiJob and VWO performed an A/B test in which they listed three testimonials from their customers and their impact on sales. As a result, they reported an increase of conversions of as much as 34%.

3 Types of Parent Testimonials

Here are three types of parent testimonials that will help you and your school to attract more prospective parents:

Quotes

A good quote or excerpt of a longer testimonial will go a long way in helping your marketing efforts. In addition, if you can include a picture of the parent, student, or both will add additional validity to the quote.

  • Depending on the space, the layout you provide, and style, you may want to consider just a snippet and linking to the complete original.
  • Make sure their images are bright and represent them in a positive and successful light. In other words, don’t use their personal Facebook profile image with the car selfie.

Video Testimonials

Capturing, editing, and posting video testimonials of parents can seem like a lot of work, but studies have shown that testimonials far outperform merely still photographs and text. In a 2019 survey, Wyzowl found the following:

  • 79% of people have watched a video testimonial to find out more about a company, product, or service.
  • 9 out of 10 people say they trust what a customer says about a business more than what that business says about itself.
  • 77% of people who have watched a brands testimonial video say it has played a part in convincing them to buy their product or service.
  • 2 out of 3 people say they’d be more likely to make a purchase after watching a testimonial video demonstrating how a business, product, or service had helped another person like them.
  • 37% of people believe testimonial videos are effective because they’re more authentic than a business’ own pitch.
  • 42% of people say testimonial videos are effective because they showcase an actual person and help the viewer understand their story.

Thanks to improved internet and streaming technology, videos are quickly becoming a must-have for any website these days, especially schools. The ability for parents to observe and listen to other parents about talk about the school and their child’s education builds trust and influence.

Social Media Posts

Your website isn’t the only place you can use testimonials, and you may also leverage parents' testimonials on social media. This can happen in various ways:

  • A testimonial provided by a parent will often be shared on their own social media pages. This gives your school added exposure and may be linked back to and/or shared from the school's account.
  • Happy parents are probably the most powerful marketing tool you have at your disposal. Encouraging them to leave reviews on your Facebook page and your Google My Business listing is huge as it leverages both the parent’s influence and that of the internet,  thus creating a win-win for your school.

While we encourage both approaches to posting, do your best to make sure that their postings are visible to the public so that they may be read, appreciated, and shared by everyone. Promote your school’s website whenever possible.

Location Is Key

Determine beforehand how you will solicit testimonies from your parents. There are no qualms about it; there will be work involved to gather these, but most likely, asking students and parents to write a testimonial is the most successful approach.

You can also utilize online tools and methods to help you gather them quickly and easily. 

A survey-type form can be used and promoted through, website links, email, and your social media pages. . Here are eight things to think about when utilizing parent testimonials on your private school website:

  • You can create one page on your school’s website to highlight all your testimonials. Your testimonial page is the perfect place to communicate and tell stories of the numerous benefits that children and parents have experienced.
  • If you want to display testimonials on your site, place them front and center for maximum impact. It can be helpful to include a photograph of the parent who provided the testimonial as well.
  • Include testimonials on your landing pages where visitors are asked to fill out a form. Whether prospects are filling out a form to download an e-book or checklist or enrolling for an Open House, worry and skepticism are readily dispelled when they can read a testimonial from a comparable parent who took the step and their child benefited.
  • Individual testimonials or snippets may also be placed on the sides or even the header of your website pages, and when clicked, will take you to the main Testimonials page.
  • You can have a simple form on your site that you can direct parents to leave a testimonial. This makes it easy for both you and them.
  • Consider adding your current testimonials on the same page, thus allowing parents to see what other people have written.
  • Ensure to promote both the Testimonials page and the form on your social media pages and/or in your email newsletter to parents.
  • When responding to parent emails, you can provide text links to your website and the testimonials form.

Always remember the value of testimonials: they build trust and credibility, especially when written by parents and students. Unfortunately, testimonials published by your teachers and staff may be misconstrued as a "sales pitch."

Testimonials also help dispel parents’' mistrust about your institution since they come from people to whom they can connect or relate.

Conclusion

Using parent testimonials on your private school's website and social media pages ensures that your school is making use of one of the most potent marketing tactics ever!

When prospective parents are deciding whether or not to enroll their children in your school, real-life stories, anecdotes, and examples may be incredibly motivating—knowing what kind of testimonials to look for and where to look for them will undoubtedly increase your chances of success.

If you need some help with your private school’s website or marketing efforts, reach out to us. We offer a free consultation and would be happy to help!

Adam Bennett

Written by:  |  July 16, 2021

Adam is the president and founder of Cube Creative Design. Since starting the business in 2005, he has created individual relationships with clients in Western North Carolina. He places great value on the needs, expectations, and goals of the client.

See Adam Bennett's' bio: cubecreative.design/about/adam-bennett