Think back to a time when you experienced excellent service from a business.
Perhaps you were fine dining at an Italian restaurant, where the atmosphere was friendly and inviting, and the meals cooked to perfection.
Maybe you were spending the night at an elegant hotel, one with brilliant customer service. You took out your credit card, you transferred a sum of money to a stranger’s bank account, and in exchange, you received an unrivalled service.
Imagine with me for a second that that business came to you and requested you to tell your family and friends about their excellent services.
What would you say? Would you be willing to promote them?
Your answer would probably be yes.
You would at least consider it. Right?
When businesses supply customers with high-quality service, customers tend to feel more inclined to tell others about the positive experiences they had with them.
Whether it is via a LinkedIn post, a tweet on Twitter or a snappy Facebook status on their newsfeed, most customers are more than happy to share their excellent customer experiences.
In the marketing universe, when a customer promotes a brand through buzzworthy discussions, we call it ‘word-of-mouth’ advertising.
Word-of-mouth advertising is the process of actively encouraging conversations about brands, organisations, events and resources.
In word-of-mouth advertising, the key is to identify the elements of a brand that have the power to generate buzz.
Word-of-mouth marketing makes for a powerful marketing tool. Want to know why? Here are two reasons:
Word-of-mouth advertising strategies aim to spark an exponential referral chain that helps drive traffic, sales and lead for your brand.
Through word-of-mouth advertising, businesses essentially borrow third-party influence to sway the purchasing decisions of potential customers strategically
Sounds perfect. Right?
Hold that thought.
Word-of-mouth advertising is an effective marketing strategy, but there is a more proactive alternative.
Rather than always relying on customers to vouch for your business, you can be a little creative.
Enter social proof.
What is social proof?
Social proof is the idea that we rely on the feedback, actions and attitudes of the people around us to determine our decisions.
Before opting to use a product or service, many consumers tend to consult other consumers, to gauge their opinions. It’s human nature for us to trust what the majority thinks, and this trust can play a significant role in the purchasing decisions we make.
Hence why retrieving authentic, positive feedback is an effective strategy when it comes to attracting new, valuable customers.
Feedback can make or break a business’ credibility.
When a potential customer browses your landing page, and they run into a positive testimonial from an industry expert they admire, they’ll feel more compelled to become your client.
When a potential customer is searching for a restaurant to dine at, and they finally find one that scores multiple five-star reviews on Google, they’ll feel more compelled to book a reservation.
There are many more examples.
Many different marketing strategies fall under the umbrella of social proof.
In this article, I’ll break down three different types of social proof and the compelling ways you can use social proof to build brand awareness.
Content may be king, but your business' online reviews also matter.
A customer review is a review of a product or service made by a customer who has purchased, used or had any other experience with said product or service.
What makes online customer reviews so effective is that they empower real customers by granting them the ability to tell your story. If the story they tell is right, you’ll be able to motivate potential customers to convert.
Here are two pieces of data that may ignite your interest:
To gain a better idea of your business' customer experience and service quality, many customers will take to consulting their trusted customer reviews, written by their online peers. Some customer reviews will include a quality rating based on a 10-point scale or five stars.
There are different types of customer reviews, and some are more effective than others.
Customers tend to trust the third-party review platforms such as Trustpilot more than others. The reason being is, reviews on third-party review platforms cannot be curated, edited or deleted by businesses.
SkyClub is one example of a business that uses trusted third-party reviews to enhance its credibility:
You can display customer reviews in many different places. On email signatures; ad campaigns, the checkout page of an eCommerce store and even on product pages.
You may think that your products and services are excellent, but your potential customers, however, may still have their reservations and doubts.
Before customers draw out their credit cards, they want to rest assured in the knowledge that your business will serve them well. They want proof that your company is reliable and trustworthy.
That is where testimonials come in.
The benefit of testimonials is that it validates current and past customers, helping them to connect more strongly your business as they line up with target audiences. Additionally, through testimonials, your current and past customers can step forward and vouch for the quality of your business.
When a potential customer reads a positive testimonial, they can enter the sales process with less doubt and uncertainty.
Sales messages are way more believable when they are backed up by someone other than your sales rep – when they come from, say, authentic customer feedback.
Here are three examples of the messages marketers generally use to influence what their customers do, buy, and even think.
You should, ideally, display testimonials on the popular pages of your website.
On the Formation Media website, for example, we feature testimonials on our ‘About’ page, where our satisfied clients can share their experience working with us.
Sometimes, a positive message from a customer who benefited from your services is enough to persuade other customers to convert.
Affiliations can help you to showcase your business’ association with a company, an organisation or an individual.
On the Formation Media website, we display our affiliations on the homepage:
Want to learn more about the strategies you can use to rejuvenate your marketing? Get in touch with the Formation team here.