Social Proof Marketing: Why social proof is useless without customer proof at the top

Credibility Marketing: Why social proof is inadequate without having customer proof at the very Top ?

Enough has been written about Social Proof, and how it helps conversions and lead generation. Absolutely ! No doubts whatsoever. But how do you prioritize and what is a must-have versus nice-to-have among’st the social proofs ? where should you put your money ?

Firstly, lets start with what is social proof ?

In simple terms social proof is the power of a group. The inherent human psychology of ‘Follow the Herd’ mentality unraveled and applied to marketing in a very good way. Prospects and visitors to your website get influenced positively by facts and figures that assure them that they are in good company.

Now, what factors should you consider when you look at the various social proofs ?

There are 5 things you need to keep in mind in choosing the social proof you want to brag about .

1. Credibility

The credibility of the person or source of information is very important. There are 2 factors here –

A. Is the credentials of the person (or source) known or can be verified easily (eg. google)?

B. what is in it for the person who is vouching ? ( what is the vested interest, if any ?)

2. Quality (versus Quantity)

It is important to show volume numbers to showcase the wide adoption of your product or service, but it is much more important to showcase that what you are providing has been valuable to the people who matter the most – the ones who have been using your product or services in the past – your existing customers.

3. Buyer Persona (versus no persona)

People get influenced by what people similar to them say and do. You need to think what can help you to convince your prospects that people with similar persona as theirs have been using your services.

(to know more about buyer persona, see this informative post by Tony Zambito – What is a Buyer Persona? )

4. Storytelling

Presenting content in a story format has proven to be much more effective in engaging the audience. therefore you need to think what proof allows itself to be presented  in a story format.

5. Authority matters

According to Seth Godin, we always look up and pay attention to people who have the authority in the subject. Think who is in the best position to vouch for your capabilities as the service provider ?

(to know more about authority and why it matters, see this post in Copyblogger by Seth – Striving for Authority)

Finally, so what is the pecking order of priority in choosing your social proof ?

Based on the above 5 criteria, i would rate them in the following order.

1. Customer testimonials (quotes, photos, videos, case studies, logo, benefits metric, etc)

2. User reviews

3. Kudo tweets and posts in social media by customers

4. Endorsements by 3rd party (Influencers, Celebrity)

5. Media coverage (as seen in …)

Social Proof Marketing: Why social proof is useless without customer proof at the top - Top 10

6. Partners and awards

7. Trust and security seals

8. Social sharing stats (number of shares, re-tweets, likes, follows)

9. Product and service usage stats like emails sent, pages created, goods shipped, etc

10. Subscriber base voume stats like number of users, customers, followers,  etc

Of-course, if you can show all of these and more – should i say – go knock yourself out !

Summary: Customer Social Proof in the form of testimonials ( quotes, case studies, reviews, tweets, photos, videos, logos, endorsements, benefits metric, and more) must be on top of your social proof points showcase because they are much more effective in persuading your prospects to do business with you. Therefore it is in your best interest to make it a priority to collect them, and publish them all across your marketing.

let me know what you think ?

please share via commenting. thanks, anupam

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anupam_bonanthaya_customer_rivet_founder_ceo

Anupam Bonanthaya is an experienced Customer Success Marketer and the Founder of CustomerRivet – The Social Proof Marketing Experts

Rivet.ly – Hosted Our-Customers Page

Get More Leads and More Conversions by Optimizing the use of Testimonials, Success Stories, Case Studies, Videos, Reviews, Customer Photos, Tweets, or any other Social Proof, in your Marketing.

Ask for a Demo today to see how it can help “Transform Your Customer Success Marketing”. OR Contact Anupam Bonanthaya via LinkedIn

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see some best practices on usage of customer testimonials

1. Email Marketing: Testimonials help increase click through rate, get more CTA conversions.

2. Content Marketing: Testimonials help increase blog conversions, and get more leads.

3. Landing Page Optimization: Design success story and case study pages for conversion

4. Best Practices : A-Z customers – examples of cool our customers page

5. Best Practices: Hero Image Testimonials – Examples of Cool Home Pages

6.  Best Practices: Contextual testimonials – examples of features pages that rock

7.  Best Practices : How to keep testimonials real, and reasons why not to fake them

8. Content Marketing: Increase email newsletter click through and CTA conversions using testimonials

see other posts related to social proof

1. The Psychology of Social Proof & How to Build Trust in Your Business by Andy Crestodina at Unbounce

2. 7 Things You MUST Understand When Leveraging Social Proof in Your Marketing Efforts by Gregory Ciotti from Hubspot

3. Why You Must Have Social Proof On Your Blog by Julie Neidlinger at CoSchedule

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Email Marketing: Testimonials help increase click through rate, get more CTA conversions.

Email Marketing: Testimonials help increase click through rate, get more CTA conversions - Best Practices with Examples

So how can you increase the click through rate and conversion from your emails ? In simple terms how can you increase the chances of your recipient taking that next step by clicking on that button or link after reading your email ?

Email as a marketing tool is still very much alive and kicking, in-spite of the exponentially growing clout of social media. The primary reason for this is the fact that the first thing that everyone does in the morning is checking their emails !!

The smartphones and tablets have made emails even more important because now you can access them 24/7. Not everyone checks their Facebook or Twitter pages multiple times in day, but that does not apply to their emails.

Emails are no longer recommended for cold mailing though (also called spamming), but they are highly recommended for engaging customers to take the next steps – whatever is the desired CTA (calls to action).

Emails can be used to achieve goals like more usage/adoption in a SaaS/Subscription business, or more purchase/reduce abandonment in a retail/eCommerce site, or even take your customers through the lead maturing steps. Whatever is the end goal, emails serve as an effective way to help in the conversion of your customer.

It is very effective when the goal involves getting  the customer back to your site because with emails you can go to them, to their inbox, to bring them back to you, unlike any other channels.  This is also called a drip campaigns or drip marketing, and most email marketing tools have features to setup and manage the emails and the auto-responders.

There are many articles where email marketing experts tell you the 100 things you can do to improve the conversion from your emails! I would definitely recommend you to read all of that because they are all good suggestions 🙂

After you do that, I just have one suggestion for you – embed testimonials in your emails ! Add snippets of your customer testimonials in your emails. When i say testimonials, it includes any of these  – logos, customer names, quotes, stories, spotlights, case studies, videos, photos, reviews,  etc, etc. A dash or pinch of your customer’s vouch adds the much needed credibility to whatever you are trying to say to extra convince the recipient to take that next step.

I have a couple of good examples from Vocus today.

(disclaimer: i am in no way associated with either Vocus or any of their companies showcased here. Neither am i paid by them for mentioning them as a best practice)

Example 1. PRWeb (a press releases company)

The welcome email from PRWeb. I need to admit that the customer testimonial with the photo and the compelling quote is very engaging, and definitely tempts you to get started in using PRWeb’s press release services.

Email Marketing: Testimonials help increase click through rate, get more CTA conversions. - Best Practices with Examples - Example of PRWeb - Vocus

Example 2: iContact (an email marketing company)

The Download whitepaper email from iContact. The customer testimonial idea is good and makes it interesting.

Email Marketing: Testimonials help increase click through rate, get more CTA conversions. - Best Practices with Examples - Example of iContact - Vocus

Bonus Tip: If  there is something i would like to change here – there could have been a better choice for the actual customer and quote used because Chris here is talking about how good iContact is as an email marketing tool, and he is not talking about the “10 rules for successful email marketing guide” that this email was about.

See my other posts from our best practices series

Content Marketing: Testimonials help increase blog conversion and get more leads. (Best Practices with Example)

Best Practices: Testimonials that Convert – Example of a Success Story Landing Page Optimized for Conversion

Best Practices: Contextual testimonials – examples of features pages that rock

Best Practices : Keep them (testimonials) real – reasons why not to fake it

Best Practices : A-Z testimonials – examples of cool ‘Our Customers’ tab

Best Practices: Hero Image Testimonials – Examples of Cool Home Pages

Summary: Embed customer testimonials in your emails to increase the click through rate and conversion rate from your email marketing campaigns. But make it more relevant by using testimonials that are contextual to the topic of the email.

Please share your experiences and opinions via commenting. If you think this will be valuable to any of your friends, please share.

thanks, anupam

……………………………………………………………

anupam_bonanthaya_customer_rivet_founder_ceo

Anupam Bonanthaya is an experienced Customer Success Marketer and the Founder of CustomerRivet – The Social Proof Marketing Experts

Rivet.ly – Hosted Our-Customers Page

Get More Leads and More Conversions by Optimizing the use of Testimonials, Success Stories, Case Studies, Videos, Reviews, Customer Photos, Tweets, or any other Social Proof, in your Marketing.

Ask for a Demo today to see how it can help “Transform Your Customer Success Marketing”. OR Contact Anupam Bonanthaya via LinkedIn

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See also

1. Email Hacking: Improving Your Conversions With Every Email

2. Testimonials: The Ultimate Social Proof for Email Marketing

3. 21 Autoresponder Ideas to Grow Your Business