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More people than ever are informed buyers. When we’re ready to purchase something, we need to know that other people–ideally those we trust–have already purchased what we’re considering and that they approve of its performance.
From a marketing perspective, this provides your brand with a vital resource. Social proof. Whether the CTO of a major firm is considering new vendors, or Sally Jones on Main Street is buying a present for her sister’s baby shower, social proof is one of the most powerful elements you can provide to help in the decision making process.
We’ve covered the power of social proof for brands, why it works, and how to display it in your marketing campaigns at length in recent articles, but what about actually acquiring social proof? How do you encourage customers to provide testimonials, leave reviews, hop on camera to gush about your amazing service?
Let’s take a closer look at what it takes to actually generate the key pieces of social proof your brand can use to launch more effective, impactful marketing campaigns.
A single testimonial can increase the conversion rate on a sales page by 34% and 97% of consumers say that online reviews have a direct impact on their buying decisions. No one wants to go on a blind date with a new product or service. They do their homework, and the more information you can provide up front, the more likely they are to engage.
No website is complete without the direct words of your customers conveying the effectiveness of your work. But getting a testimonial is easier said than done. The same is true for case studies, which expand on testimonials dramatically and provide a plethora of quotes and references to use in your marketing materials.
So how do you get them? The following steps are useful in approaching the process:
The goal of a testimonial is to provide prospects with a visual of what it means to be your customer. They want to not just see that your product or service is effective, but understand what it means to work with you. How do you engage with customers? What is your service like? What types of results can they reasonably expect? If your testimonials and case studies focus on these questions, they will be much more effective.
There are many channels through which to request customer feedback. Ideally, you use them all. They include:
Happy customers are precious resources and they may not stick around forever. Changing economics, a shift in needs, or a bad experience can make them inaccessible in the future, so strike while the iron is hot to leverage social proof to its fullest in your marketing efforts.
Go one step further and show what your product or service can do for your customers. This takes several forms.
We maintain a large portfolio of our recent work so prospects and clients alike can see who we work with, the work we’ve done for them, and how it stands out in the crowded marketplace of ideas.
If you produce bespoke products for your clients, they should be featured prominently on your website as examples of what you can do, ideally with examples for each type of service you offer and each industry for which you offer the service.
If you sell a product that solves a specific problem, show before and after examples of that product’s impact on the target audience.
Whatever you sell and however you sell it, your prospects want to see the end results. Examples of your work, first-hand accounts of the efficacy of your product or service, and logos to go with both are vital to build trust and establish credibility.
By creating an intentional process that identifies when to engage with customers and clients to ask for their testimonials, makes it easy for them to say yes, and rewards them for their participation, you can build a library of social proof that will help promote your business effectively throughout the selling process.