Peer pressure doesn’t have to be negative. In fact, peer influence is an unbelievably effective marketing technique. Testimonials have long been a cornerstone of marketing. Peer influence is not relegated to product reviews, either: even non-commerce sites like GoodReads and Pinterest show the impact of peer opinions. Whether you are promoting a product, a service, or a continuing education course, the effectiveness of peer influence cannot be denied.

Still unconvinced? Just think about the last time you had to hire a plumber. How do you choose? You most likely compared the online reviews on the best candidates. One may have looked good at first, but after reading a few of the 1-2 star reviews, you wonder how they’re still in business. The one with forty 5-star reviews, however, may get your phone call. If you’ve been using the same plumber for years, think back to what made you choose this person over other professionals. Did you ask around for recommendations? This is the same when you are trying to market a continuing education course.

The best way to harness the power of peer influence marketing for a continuing education course is through case studies and student testimonials. After all, a course like this is a major investment of time and money. Most students who are interested in continuing education will do thorough research to make sure that the course will be worth everything they will put into it. There’s no doubt that reviewing online case studies and testimonials will be part of that research.

Here are just a few more reasons why you need to begin compiling case studies and testimonials.

1. Case Studies Establish Trust

If your previous students were satisfied with your course as a whole, kindly ask them to provide a positive evaluation. Prospective students will give more weight to reviews from actual students who have your course. Marketers often refer to the phenomenon of being influenced by reviews from other users as “social proof.” Such social proof enhances your program’s reputation.

2. Reviews Empower Students

Everyone wants to be heard. If you tell your students that their opinions matter and could be used to improve the course, they will feel more empowered and engaged. Not only will they be more inclined to offer genuine and helpful feedback, but your students will also feel more invested in your program and your school. Confidentiality is often cited as a concern with testimonials and case studies, however. While this concern is perfectly valid, administrators can take simple steps to preserve the privacy of the student reviewers. You can use first names only or even just the initials to protect their identities. Additionally, software solutions like XenDirect will keep all data and content safe, a huge concern in today’s age of the internet.

3. Testimonials Can Improve Courses

As we previously mentioned, sometimes your students will offer advice for improving your course. Smart administrators recognize the value of such feedback and make curriculum changes accordingly. If you have the right software, you can streamline this process. Did you know that XenDirect allows you to manage your course directly from the software itself? Users of our software have access to over 250 reports., automation tools, management capabilities, and expansive tracking.

4. Each Will Add SEO Opportunities

Search Engine Optimization is an extremely effective way to boost your program’s visibility online. It utilizes the power of the world’s most popular search engines to ensure that your school or course will appear earlier in search results. But how would case studies fit into all of this? Since these testimonials will (or should) be posted on your site, they increase your keyword density. Thus, they can improve your search result ranking. Now, you should not edit the testimonials themselves to add keywords (adjusting the student reviews would miss the point of having student reviews), but you could include keywords the testimonial section’s introduction. And many reviews will naturally include keywords that you need anyway. For example, a testimonial could be the following:

“This course helped me better understand the better business tactics of today and effective leadership strategies.” –Nakia W.

You can see that this testimonial includes several major keywords (“course,” “business tactics,” and “effective leadership strategies”) organically, no augmentation necessary. SEO is crucial to online marketing, and your case studies will provide you additional opportunities to utilize it.

5. The Content Will Stay Relevant

Unless the course changes completely, your case studies will be what marketers call “evergreen content.” As the name implies, evergreen content stays relevant long after originally posted. These case studies and student testimonials will remain pertinent to the program for years to come.

Case studies help in nearly every aspect of marketing your course. Worried about how to collect and manage this content? Good news! You can gather feedback using XenDirect’s innovative interface and features!

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Author Rick J. Stern

Entrepreneur Rick Stern built Xenegrade Corp with a focus on service to educational organizations. With an MBA from Simon School of Business at the University of Rochester and over 20 years continuing education management, his experience provides valuable insight into the needs, demands, and trends of the continuing education market.

More posts by Rick J. Stern

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