“Social proof is the new marketing” according to Aileen Lee at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers. And mastering the art of the customer testimonial can lead to on-site conversions as high as 68.7%. Increasingly web marketers must understand the importance of social proof and how it can be used to influence strategic business decision making. So what do we mean by social proof? Social proof, or informal social influence refers to the use of social validation in marketing, whereby prospective customers are more likely to purchase products and services if there is a powerful and compelling customer statement at the point of transaction.
1. Understand What You’re Dealing With
Social proof must be used in our everyday marketing activities. Good examples of social proof can include customer case studies, recognisable company logos on your site, customer testimonials and vanity metrics. Of these examples, today we focus on customer testimonials and why they are so important in your marketing activity. Well crafted customer testimonials enable us to connect with potential buyers who possess similar behavioural traits and characteristics. They are also aspirational in the sense that they can convey the calibre of customers you deal with. When well executed customer testimonials can be highly effective. When poorly executed, customer testimonials can harm your conversion rate.
2. Harness The Power Of The Crowd
Social proof is effectively harnessing the combined power of your existing customers, to increase your ongoing probability of generating new leads and sales. Potential customers want to see who you have worked with and what they say. In order for new customers to feel good about working with you and your company, they want to see that your existing customers are similar to them, and that they’ve enjoyed a positive experience when dealing with you. Stanley Milgram, an American social psychologist conducted an experiment. He asked a group of people to stand in a busy street and look up 10 stories towards an empty office building. Milgram found that 4% of people would stop and look upwards when a single other person was doing the same thing. However, when a group of 15 people were standing looking upwards, the number of people joining in jumped by 40%. When you’re buying stuff, you’re comforted by safety in numbers. You want to know other people have had a positive experience with the product or service you’re buying.
3. Focus On Your Top Customers
There’s a reason why Chanel use Brad Pitt in their aftershave advertisements. Think about how you would feel if Vern Troyer was trying to sell you a bottle of perfume. It’s not that we’re dissing Vern Troyer, but as a consumer trying to make an informed decision, you’re more likely to want to aspire to Brad Pitt. For Chanel one of these guys will have a much stronger impact on conversions.You could have the greatest customer testimonial that’s ever been written, but if the person behind the testimony lacks credibility, you’re more likely to turn prospective customers away. If you’re looking to attract big brands as customers but don’t have any in your portfolio, try working with someone for free or at a discounted rate. Possessing a big ticket brand in your customer roster will always pay dividends in the long haul, if you can capitalise on it through social proof marketing.
4. Display Results & Overcome Objections
It’s all too easy to use generic sales words like ‘fastest’ and ‘best’ in your testimonials. What people want to see are ‘real’ testimonials. It’s automatically assumed these days that your product will be fast or good enough to meet buyer evaluation criteria. Effectively what you want to say to prospective buyers is, “Imagine you could achieve an x% increase in your sales, if you’re skeptical as to how this can be done, click here”. What you’re doing is creating a statement that aligns with your potential customers motivation and directing them towards FAQ’s that can overcome objections, before the buyer even realised they existed.
5. Customise Your Testimonial To Fit Your Audience
There’s no point in developing a one-size-fits-all testimonial designed to capture everything you want your satisfied customers to say. The route to success entails developing bespoke testimonials that are individually tailored to your target audience. If there’s too much information the testimonial will appear convoluted and is more likely to cause confusion amongst potential buyers. A fantastic way to achieve this, is to create for your different products and services. Each landing page is designed to communicate with a slightly different target audience and you can tweak your testimonials to suit.
Here at Waracle, we work with innovative businesses from all over the UK to develop web based strategies to increase the volume of your traffic and convert more prospective customers into buyers. Waracle develop high performance apps for iPhone, Android, iPad, Facebook, web and smart TV for customers including Virgin Atlantic, O2 and the NHS. Richard Branson said of the iPhone app for Virgin, “This app will bring benefits to millions of people from all over the world to help make their lives better. The ROI far outsrips the cost of development”. If you’re an innovative business, agency or brand seeking app development services or strategic online marketing consultation, contact Waracle today.