Social Proof: How To Get It And How To Use It
Your products and services are amazing, I know it, and you know it. The problem is that you're not making many sales and you don't know why.
There could be any number of reasons for this:
The copy isn't right.
Your materials aren't engaging.
You're not sure how to market correctly.
Let's assume that you have these spot-on. Your website is engaging, you have amazing photos, and you have been sharing your products and services like crazy.
So, why are you still not making sales?
The answer to this question could lie in the psychology of your potential customers. At a base level, people are social beings who have a pack mentality. We want what other people have, and we let others make decisions for us.
Also, the more expensive something is, and the more complicated, the more research is needed. Think about it, whenever you've gone to book a holiday (vacation) or buy a new car, or even a household appliance, you want to know that your money is going to get you something worthwhile. And you want to make sure that the seller is genuine.
So you check out the statistics, the ratings, the reviews. For services (mostly), you'll read case studies and success stories that help cultivate an understanding of how these services can work for you too. People (around 53%) often have a FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to purchasing decisions.
This is social proof.
Types of Social Proof
Social Proof helps the decision and buying process and builds credibility for your business, products and services. There is a range of social proof that marketers use:
Customer Reviews: One of the most powerful forms of social proof, and talked about a lot in this article already; customer reviews can help bridge the gap between your indecisiveness and purchasing a product or service. It provides a snapshot of how the products and services are perceived by other people who already have them. 97% of purchases made online are based on the experience of others.
Case Studies/Success Stories: Often misunderstood and not written with the reader in mind, case studies are customer reviews on steroids. Mostly used for B2B brands, they show how a product or service works for your customer. Case studies are evergreen and extremely versatile. To find out more about case studies for your business, check out my services here.
Expert: Experts in your industry recommend your products and services. This could be dentists recommending your toothpaste, for example.
Celebrity: Celebrity endorsement gets your products and services noticed by many. The more popular the celebrity or influencer, the more attention you'll grab. Think about how Pepsi has used celebrities for years within their marketing campaigns.
The use of numbers: Statistics help people to find trust in what you're selling. It shows (in numbers) the impact of your services. Strategically placed numbers can boost your credibility and show your expertise exponentially.
The wisdom of your Network: Don't underestimate your friends and family. They can hold sway and recommend your services and products to others for you. Getting referrals from professional colleagues is another way to boost your lead generation and sales.
Certification: Certification from regulatory and awarding bodies that hold sway with your customers can help cement trust in your brand. For example, a restaurant with a five-star food hygiene certificate will get more business than a three-star or two-star rated restaurant.
Social Proof in Numbers
With 97% of all purchases being made based on social proof, can you really afford not to have it for your business?
91% of people trust reviews as much as family and friends recommendations.
Reviews are trusted more than advertising - a whopping 83% of people believe this.
Collecting as many reviews is great, but on average, 90% of people read less than 10 reviews to make a purchase.
82% of people (myself included) seek out negative reviews and ratings.
94% of people actively avoid making a purchase based on negative reviews.
Reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant according to 83% of buyers - that's why collecting reviews regularly is essential.
Case Studies can increase sales from 185% when implemented correctly.
Where and How To Use Social Proof
You have plenty of options, particularly for reviews, testimonials, and quotes from your existing customer base. Make sure you put them where they'll be seen and as close to your Call To Action as possible.
On your website: Don't just stick them on a page of "Testimonials" or "Reviews". Put them everywhere on your website. On each page - particularly near the CTA. If you sell specific products or services and have reviews for each one, then put them on the page for that specific item.
Review Sites: Creating accounts for your business on Trust Pilot, Google My Business, Yelp, Tripadvisor, and other review sites will give your customers somewhere to review your products and services personally. You can also embed these into your website.
Social Media: Creating a business page on Facebook will give your customers somewhere to leave reviews on the platform. Your customers can share other reviews, testimonials and ratings throughout social media. This increases the number of people talking about your business, and the number of potential new clients you can reach.
Remember: Your most powerful tool is the customers you already have. Make the most of them to show your prospective customers that your products and services are the answers they have been looking for.
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