Testimonials from satisfied clients, positive reviews on Yelp, numbers data, professional association logos — these are all what marketing experts call social proof, and they are an excellent way to gain the trust of prospective clients. While they are successful in many industry sectors, they’re especially so for retail service businesses which rely heavily on reputation and word-of-mouth.
Here are a few tips for making social proof work for you.
Use effective testimonials.
A couple of sentences saying that everything was great aren’t very interesting — or convincing. Choose ones that:
- Mention a specific benefit the client received. “I looked so good at the class reunion that my old crush never took his eyes off me.”
- Answer a question or potential objection. “They really captured the spirit of my wedding with their candid photography. Worth every penny!”
- Include keywords that people would put into Google when looking for businesses like yours.
- Include the name and photo of the person commenting — much more credible than a stand-alone quote.
Monitor the review sites.
They are a great source of testimonials. Even more important, you need to stay current with what people are saying about your business — good and bad — so you can nip any problems in the bud.
Present numbers/data proof compellingly.
Unless yours is a volume- or speed-driven business, people won’t much care that you “served over 15,000 clients last year.” However, they will be intrigued to learn that “25 clients are getting a buff body right now.” This combines a benefit with the number, showing how your success empowers the client’s success.
Display professional recognitions.
The social proofs mentioned above all come from the client’s peers. This type of proof comes from respected authority. You could use:
- Logos of professional associations you belong to
- Awards you’ve received
- Media coverage you’ve received
- Better Business Bureau logo
Social proofs in advertising and marketing are not just effective, they’re cost-effective. Many of them are even free. That’s great news for any business with a finite marketing budget. And what we’ve discussed here is just the tip of the iceberg. In future articles, we’ll cover how to obtain social proofs, how and where to use them and how to measure their success in attracting new clients to your business.