In today’s digital age, customers have a way of researching several businesses before finally settling and this can be a critical period in the customer journey. Giving your customer all the needed proof to buy may help you stand a better chance than your competition.
A new customer has landed on your website, gone through all your sales copy or you just finished an interview or client meeting and now the ball is off your hands while the prospective client seeks out information to confirm or debunk all your glamourous claims.
Social proofing is reducing doubts in the mind of your prospect by showing them what other people are saying about you, how you have made the change and how this applies to your new prospect. In CLX Institute, we show you how to present these messages without appearing artificial or overtly pushy.
In a world of information overload, people check for confirmations before making that commitment and you are better positioned if you are the one handing them the information they seek.
Social Proofing come in several forms of information
- Case studies
- Video Interviews
- Security Icons
- Star Ratings
Some technical services may need a full-blown case study to properly illustrate the effect of the service rendered. Say your company consults for crop farmers. You may need to present a documented process of providing your service, how fast, smooth, easy to apply, replicable and many other variables that would add value to your case study.
In the case of a case study, you may provide just a few lines that summarizes the benefits derived and add a link to the full case so it doesn’t become a deterrent to customers that are already convinced and wouldn’t need to read the whole document.
Website Reviews: This could be product reviews from e-commerce site like amazon.com or service reviews from job platforms like Fiverr. In any case, provide the name of the platform from where the review came, name and picture of the person. Providing additional information like name of company and job title when like COO or CTO adds extra layer of trust to the review.
Testimonial: This could come in an email sent as a feedback from a satisfied customer. Make sure to add the obvious details like name of client or the company of customer, role in case of a company and maybe a link to the company website.
Video interviews: Videos has become one of the most valuable form of social proofing material. Follow some of the best practices for video interviews bellow:
- Start with a Punch: The first sentence of your video should be attention grabbing; you must not start from exactly the beginning of the video. Introductions could be made in-between lines.
- Keep it short: It is not very important that it be long, keep it within 30-45 seconds. Remember your prospect didn’t log into YouTube to watch videos so you might as well avoid making it the main thing in their journey to buying your product. Below the video you might add a link to a longer version of the video if it is critical that the video be that long.
- Provide concrete data: Again this is crucial to making your materials more believable.
- Avoid Filters: You are not on Snapchat or Instagram, make it as natural as possible without necessarily appearing disorganized/amateur. Decent smart phone can record usable videos in a calm and neat environment.
- Beginning and End: Pack your points at the beginning and at the end of the video making it sustain attention with the opening sentence and memorable with the closing punchy sentence.
- Use Connecting words: using connecting words like “because, notwithstanding, ” etc, this helps connect the thoughts with each other and help keep attention of the audience.
Data: you might be selling an item and wants to present how well accepted the item has been with other customers, you will need to provide relatable data like
“15,000 pieces sold within the first one month representing a 47% lift in overall revenue and 39% increase in profit”.
Give out numbers that is meaningful to the reader looking to join the crowd of other happy customers.
Security Icons: The use of security icons can help reassure the prospects that the website is secure for online payment and safe for their personal data
Badges: Using industry recognize badges on your site and products may help indicate quality of what you are offering as the regulations require. Like MAN or ISO badges in Nigeria.
Star Ratings: Star ratings as we see in e-commerce websites can be very impactful for comperism shoppers critical on product reviews and ratings for best purchase judgement
More Tips on Social Proofing:
Be clear: Providing details makes it sound more believable as people are not expected lie with details or that would be outright unethical.
Details trump jargons
Provide as much details as possible. Easily agreeable details like time-scope of service delivery, capacity of company, technical demand, financial investment and return-on-investment could be powerful when applicable.
Provide out-bound link: If you are making reference to materials on another website, provide links to them, this not only appears convincing to your prospect but have effect on how they will view other social proof materials.
Context: This is key as the information provided would need the proper context to drive powerful impact. For instance, if you helped a Startup spread into international market in two years of operation, state it. The significance of speed may provide the needed effect for your prospect to be convinced.
Common Mistakes in Social Proofing.
- Choosing the wrong customer: Your choice of customer is key to getting a good testimonial for subsequent sales. Before you settle on the customer to reach out to, ask
‘is this my ideal customer’.
You could have served the company well but they don’t fit into the type customers you ideally want. They could be too small, too big, not in the ideal product category, out of business, in an underrated industry, in an underserved economic environment and so it won’t have the desired result.
- Offering incomplete information: You want your social proofs to look as natural as possible. Add first and second names, location, and headshot of the person.
- Not using your proof to support any concrete claim: If the testimonial doesn’t support any definitive claim it will sound very vague and artificial.
- Allowing the customer to figure out the rest of the information: When you use “AS SEEN ON” that’s indicating having featured on a national tv network or national daily, give details that can be verified.
- Always provide a proper context for your information: If the customer is saying they had a lift in sales as a result of your service, let them state the percentage of lift or the actual amount of lift if that is preferable, but whichever one, let it be significant.
For a comprehensive course of Social Proofing pls visit CXL Institute.
Chukwuebuka Justus Asogwa is a post graduate student of Digital Business: A joint program from MIT and Columbia Business School, with interest in Digital Enterprise and Platform Businesses in Africa. He works with Agroyields Africa Ltd, an Agritech company in the production and retail space in Nigeria. Connect with Chukwuebuka on LinkedIn, Twitter or send him a mail via email@example.com