With all the talk about social networks and social media these days, a subject line with “social” in it grabbed my attention. Robert Middleton of Action Plan Marketing used it with “proof” in a blog post last week. He reminds us that, “People will more likely buy something if you can offer proof that others have bought the same thing and gotten favorable results.” Middleton was talking about good old fashioned testimonials and customer stories as “social proof”. This should not come as a surprise, but it is surprising how few businesses use testimonials and customer stories on their websites and in their brochures.
Of Middleton’s suggestions on how to make social proof work for you. Here are three that I particularly like:
- Prepare stories about client successes to relate when someone asks what you do – “Perhaps the best way to explain what I do is to give you an example of a client I worked with recently…” This tends to be more effective than most “elevator speeches.”
- Drop names appropriately – If you’ve worked with certain clients who are known and respected, don’t keep it a secret. List them on your web site. Bring them up in conversation with some degree of subtlety, making sure not to reveal proprietary information.
- Incorporate audio and video testimonials and case studies on your web site – The bottom line is that sound and sight are much more persuasive than just the written word. The best of these talk about real results achieved with your services.
The phrase “social proof” may have come from Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, by by Noah Goldstein, Steve Martin and Robert Cialdini. Middleton cites the book in his post.