We all like to be individuals, don’t we?
Yet, the “hive mind” mentality seems to kick in at purchasing time.
The thing is that when we are buying things we like to know that the hard earned money we are spending is on the right product.
It doesn’t matter if you are a billionaire or a child with a weekly allowance heading towards the chocolate, we need to know that we are spending our money in the right place.
Where does this come from?
It mostly comes from being burnt too many times and being left with the feeling we have been wasting money.
And, we’ve all had the feeling that we’ve wasted money.
So, to pick up a bigger share of your target market and to make your marketing more effective you’ve got to leverage Social Proof to get other people to vouch for you and convince your customers they are making the right choice.
The types of Social Proof
Understanding the different types of Social Proof is key. By using the right type of social proof in the right type of marketing you can boost response and engage your audience with confidence.
There are 5 main categories of Social Proof, and in order of importance they are:
- Experts and industry opinion leaders
- Users of the product
- Crowds of people
Improving your marketing
There are 7.3 billion people on this planet.
It’s a shame to say it, but the harsh truth is that your target market is probably a minute fraction of that! So, it’s really important to maximize your returns any way you can right?
By using social proof, we can improve our marketing ROI.
There’s a bit of groundwork to do first though!
And, I’ll show you how:
1. Sales feedback
During the buying phase, it’s best to reduce friction and slide the customer to the finish line. You want to guide them through the checkout as smoothly as possible.
But, right after their payment has been you can then ask them for a review or some feedback.
Keep it brief though – just one or two key questions plus a box for additional comments.
It’s important to distinguish here that this isn’t a product review – essentially this is a review of your sales procedure. Though, in getting this you can utilise this feedback to enhance your procedure and make it welcoming to more people.
This is probably the most overlooked area and yet so very much needed, because by understanding why your customers are your customers you can then start to attract more of the same!
For an online checkout this is simple, for a brick and mortar store you are going to have to get your staff to ask the question during the chit-chat at the register, marking down answers on a tally chart basis for example.
2. Product Reviews
OK, so this is by far the best deal closer you are going to get.
This is the User Social Proof
By far, the social proof based around users is the most widely used and adopted form. It can be very successful if you use it right.
Again, for an online store this is really easy. Amazon is a great example of this – you read the product description, and then as you scroll down the user reviews are right there, good and bad! And it’s easy to leave a review.
For a physical store you’re limited with space to display reviews, so pick one or two products and produce a banner or some other artwork to display near the product and have a couple of reviews on it, or some statistics like 9/10 people (200 votes) rated this product at 3.8 out of 5.
3. Referral scheme
Your customer is now a user of your product or service, and assuming they are happy with it they will be willing to tell others about it, specifically their friends.
And of course, you value the opinion of your friends higher than any sales person or snazzy looking marketing piece.
So, it’s a double whammy, the referral scheme combines two forms of social proof.
User + Friend.
The best of it is, a referral scheme is super simple to put together and doesn’t have to give away lots of free things, you can enter people into draws, give out reward points or anything you like. Just make it worth your customers while!
4. Invite an Expert
The most captive form of social proof is from an expert.
If an expert talks about your product or service, and your audience recognizes this person as an expert in this field it will hold a lot of impact.
How do you get an expert?
Usually with a great deal of hard work (or luck). Once you’ve got a bit of success under your belt you can then start to attract experts to talk for you, which you can do in a variety of ways such as:
- Google+ Hangout
- Facebook’s Meerkat
- Twitter’s Periscope
- PR product launch at your store or another venue
5. Email follow-up
If you didn’t get a chance to grab a review this is your moment of glory.
The email follow-up is particularly key for the brick and mortar store because it’s the best link you have to join the offline purchase to an online marketing campaign.
Once the customer has left the building they’ll start using the product, but they will become busy and going through the hassle of finding a way to leave positive feedback is not exactly high on their to-do list, is it!
So, in you slide with a “hope you are enjoying your brand new …., why not tell us what you think of it…” and bam you’ve got the person re-engaged and back into your marketing funnel.
This is end-to-end marketing, and without the follow-up email you are losing repeat business!
6. Viral marketing
We all wish that we could put out a Tweet or a status update and see it rocket around the world and produce a wave of people not wanting, but needing our products.
Oh, how we wish for it.
Well, the truth is that it’s less likely to happen if you are selling something. Yes, there are exceptions – if Armani offered a worldwide half price sale the Twittersphere would go crazy.
But for the less well-known companies the aim is brand awareness. I’ve not really seen many “advice” based viral tweets they mostly seem to be based around entertainment or a statement.
The subject of viral marketing is huge, but the basic movement is to find out what really makes your audience tick and then communicate something that will really connect with them.
This is a great way of generating large sums of money to fund new projects.
But the extra benefit you get is that you are leveraging Crowd Social Proof as well.
A large group of people is less likely to be wrong, which is why when we see a queue of people outside a nightclub or bar we want to go in there as it must be popular. The same goes when Apple launch a new product, you see people camping outside the stores in droves, and it all adds to the proof that it’s a great product.
Crowdfunding is more for new businesses than existing, but not exclusively so. Just Google Crowdfunding for more information.
OK, it’s over to you.
You can get started on this right now, and you should.
Start by getting your email follow-up templates written and proofread, and you can get your website specialist to integrate a feedback form for post-purchase reviews.
Oh, and don’t forget to work out a good referral program – you know that word of mouth marketing is the cheapest and most effective form of marketing there it is!
What are you waiting for?
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 7 Ways to Instantly Boost the Social Proof of Your Marketing
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