People looking for a new product or service often look at a brand’s reviews and feedback from past customers to get an idea of the level of quality. The more positive reviews a business has from past customers, the more new customers will trust doing business with them. It’s a consumer trend that has proliferated since the emergence of online business and will likely remain a key factor in purchase decision making for a long time to come.
Online reviews are the most common example of a socio-psychological phenomenon known as social proof. It works along the lines of ‘if everyone says it’s good, then it must be good’ and is a lynchpin of doing business. If you are interested to know more about how to use social proof to increase sales follow the following guidelines:
Asking for feedback
Online feedback is very influential. In one survey, about nine out of ten consumers said online reviews influenced them as much as recommendations from friends and family. Of them, 72% said they would only decide to go for a business after reading a positive review. (1)
It’s interesting to note that online reviews have become mainstream in such a short time (they’re only around 20 years old). As demand for information has increased over the past few years, companies have learned that having positive feedback can help to give them an edge over the competition, and even outperform them.
To maximize this potential, experts recommend asking customers to leave a review after providing a satisfactory service. Make this process as easy as possible for them by automating it using integrated smart business software like Jobber which has been designed specifically for companies operating in the field service sector.
There’s no need to try to inundate the reviews page with reviews. The same survey also reported that 24% of consumers would start trusting a business after reading two to three positive reviews, while 32% would do so after four to six. To appear less biased, it also pays to have feedback on multiple sites, not just on the business’s website. (1)
Who doesn’t love a good story? One study has suggested that the human brain is hardwired to be more generous or compassionate upon hearing a touching narrative that evokes emotion. Equally important is that such a story also captures attention, crucial for marketing your business.
Compelling storytelling is not advertising. It is not trying to sell something, nor is it an advert. Instead, it is inspirational in some way, maybe to evoke action, and engage people with your brand. (2)
Creating a good story boils down to three elements: a relatable character, a challenging conflict, and a resolution that provides closure. In order to get this right you need to be able to:
- Identify the ideal buyer persona,
- define and stick to the core message,
- decide on a storytelling approach,
- choose a storytelling medium, and
- formulate the call to action. (2)
Posting user-generated content
There’s probably no better proof of the quality of a business’s products and services than a video or photo of a customer using them. Marketing experts refer to these as user-generated content, and a growing number of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) brands plan to leverage more of it in the future.
User-generated content makes for a great way to increase sales for several reasons. For starters, the customers themselves made it, not the business or the marketing agency it hired. As such, it won’t appear as advertising to others while vouching for the business’s reputation. On top of that, it drives engagement, brand awareness, and lead generation. (3)
With the consumption of user-generated content on the rise, adopting this in a future marketing strategy can bring wonders. In a way, online reviews and customers’ videos and photos using your products or acquiring your services qualify as such content. But there are plenty more examples. Regardless, make sure to give credit to the customer where it’s due.
Working with influencers
Using known personalities to endorse a brand can be very powerful. A recent study showed that the return on investment for influencer marketing can be as high as USD$5.78 for each dollar spent. (4)
Social media influencers have become a very powerful marketing tool for all kinds of reasons. While not all will be suitable to endorse your business, there may well be others who are. A good way to determine this is to know the influencer’s audience and match it with the business’s customer base. A sizeable follower base may sound impressive, but higher engagement produces better results.
As these examples have shown, social proof works for increasing sales. Many companies may already have these in place, in which case they should continue to nurture them to sustain their future growth.
- “The Importance Of Online Customer Reviews [Infographic]”, Source: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-importance-of-online-customer-reviews-infographic/
- “The Ultimate Guide to Storytelling”, Source: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/storytelling
- “How to Leverage User-Generated Content to Boost Sales”, Source: https://neilpatel.com/blog/how-to-leverage-user-generated-content-to-boost-sales/
- “The State of Influencer Marketing 2020: Benchmark Report”, Source: https://influencermarketinghub.com/influencer-marketing-benchmark-report-2020/