Build a Trusted Brand

Behavioral marketing and social proof: Finding the right customer touchpoints

Wednesday, March 14, 2018
behavioral marketing and social proof

Stop us if you’ve heard the following tips and strategy advice:

  1. Personalization is everything
  2. You have to map your marketing to the customer funnel
  3. Customize your CTA based on your visitors’ intent.

And we can go on...

Sometimes we get a little ahead of ourselves and are so focused on the ‘what’ without giving you information about the 'how’. That’s all going to change today.

We partnered with BounceX, a behavioral marketing company (to say the least) for a great conversation about social proof, behavioral marketing, and finding the right points and times to leverage social proof to maximize its effectiveness.

Don’t worry, we don’t just talk about what you should be doing, we give you specific examples and offer real tips on getting it done. Ready to check out the presentation?

Watch the webinar recording below:

The rise of social proof

When we're talking about social-proof strategy, I just want to see how we're currently utilizing it. So just very broadly, how are brands currently utilizing social-proof like in broad strokes?

The advent of all these different kinds of social media platforms have really put social-proof on a pedestal that we haven't seen in a long time. Prior to social media platforms like Instagram, like Facebook, like Twitter, really the majority of advertising and marketing was relegated to display ads. But right now people are really utilizing the voice of their customers in their social media. They're retweeting people, they're reposting, they're interacting with their customers. And then they're taking whatever is seen over there and putting that on their website, on their landing pages, on their advertisements. And that's actually starting to, I'd say creep into other different platforms that aren't necessarily social media platforms, but they're more of community platforms, and that's something we're seeing on Trustpilot. Trustpilot.com is a consumer site where people can view and leave reviews, and a lot of the content that's being left there are clients in our companies are actually using them.

They're taking reviews that they really enjoy and they're putting them on their website, they're posting them on Twitter, they're posting them on Facebook, and they're posting them on ads, which I think has been a really cool use of our site.

Where to place social proof

Is there a place where people may not be placing a lot of that social-proof that could be like one of those high octane moments of like high success? Or just keeping it in that broad web of social-proof? Is that just the best strategy to look into so far?

There are so many different kinds of social-proof. You have reviews, you have testimonials, you have things like usage metrics, how many followers you have, or how many people have bought a certain product or used your company. Different kinds of social-proof are best utilized at different moments.

For example, if you're selling a product and your audience or website visitor is on a checkout page, you really want to put a product review right there because it really will give the buyer that extra nudge, or maybe that extra point of confidence that says, "Oh, this piece of product works exactly the way we want it."

But if you are, for example, wanting to capture a broader audience in more top of the funnel channels such as social media, you might want to just highlight your ratings. So if you have a 4.8 or 4.4, you just want to highlight that and get some interest going from whoever's checking out your website or checking out your social media.

Utilizing social proof

How are businesses utilizing social-proof? Is there any sort of real estate people may not be realizing? What are you seeing in terms of that broad social-proof web, those reviews, those images, what are you seeing in terms of success there?

There is a lot of room to leverage social-proof at all different points of the funnel. Like what we do, how we measure different points of the funnel... We're looking at low intent, medium intent and high intent visitors very simply. And so from very high level, the way that we are measuring those different levels of intent or one way that we measure those different levels of intent for say a standard eCommerce business is different pages on site.

So if somebody is on either a homepage or a category page, they haven't shown a lot of affinity for a specific product. So at this point, we really want to establish trust as a brand, and to establish that trust as a brand, we want to leverage social-proof on the global level for that brand. For example, this can be anything from as seen in the New York Times or as trusted by one million customers to date, something that's a little bit more broad or a little bit more general.

Then as somebody gets a little bit deeper into the funnel, say, they are on a specific product page, they're showing really some intent for that product, but maybe they need a little bit more nudging or a little bit more nurturing before they actually make that purchase. So if somebody is reviewing a product, or looking at a product, and engaging in a product by clicking on different product images, you know they're interested in the product, you know that they're considering whether or not they want to actually purchase that product.

That's a really great moment to leverage different reviews that somebody has left on that specific product, assuming that the product obviously has high reviews.

What are the main opportunities from leveraging social proof?

What are the main opportunities we're seeing in terms of utilizing social-proof both on-site and in an acquisition strategy?

Trust is definitely the biggest one. Trust is a really big topic right now, and we're seeing that there's like a crisis in trust right now. There was an Edelman study that really took a global view on trust and it seems like trust is way down on everything from governments to businesses, to people and even experts. And I really think that's going to start showing its ugly head very soon.

Some businesses, at least the ones we work with, have really taken a proactive approach to that. Fabletics, I don't know if people are familiar with that brand, but they're a lifestyle apparel brand. They have an entire section of their website dedicated to reviews, and they really run the gamut of the kind of social-proof that all companies can take advantage of. So at the top of their website, they actually show what their aggregated reviews are, and I think they're probably, I think 4.6 across several different measurement or metrics.

Then they go a little deeper, they highlight a couple of key reviews from some choice customers, and then even below that, they really take a top to bottom funnel strategy with this webpage. Below that they have more in-depth client's story, so for whoever wants to really see, okay, how are people really interacting with Fabletics? What do people really feel about Fabletics? They have that covered from everywhere, from a rating, to reviews, to actual client stories. So I think that's one of the main opportunities that brands have.

I'd say another opportunity is really using social-proof as an extension of customer engagement and customer advocacy. With things like referral marketing, with things like customer advocacy, those strategies when implemented well can be so, so valuable to a company from an ROI perspective in terms of increasing retention rates, in terms of increasing order values and lifetime values of customers, just because a referral, or a recommendation, or a review from an existing customer is so valuable because it's really authentic, it's genuine.

If used properly, it just can provide enormous benefits, and I think the earlier in the funnel that companies can use that or utilize that, the better. Again, we talked about social media, social-proof, it's right there in the name, definitely companies should be using their own customer's voice, their own customer stories as part of their brand.

Then I would say that the third opportunity is actually something that something I just mentioned, is really taking advantage of social-proof as part of your brand. I think for a lot of E-commerce companies who may sell products, it's a little harder to differentiate themselves, I think with service companies where really you make it or break it on the back of your own service. Your reputation, and your brand, and your credibility matters so much.

The digital environment is essentially mature enough for a lot of industries, including eCommerce industries, the competition is higher than it's ever been. So what's actually going to differentiate companies from each other? I think it's their brand, I think it's the reputation, and that's really one of the biggest opportunities where social-proof can make a difference.

How to ask for social proof

So what are the main ways you ask for those moments of social-proof? How do you ask for reviews in a way that's respectful of the time of those clients and of those high LTV customers? What's the game you see play here? I know you can talk about that all day, but let's see if we can boil it down to a couple of minutes.

First things first is companies need to ask. We've been talking to a lot of different clients and prospects, they're scared to ask for reviews. They think, oh, well, they're going to give me a bad review or they're not going to say anything good, but really it's the opposite. In what we've seen, we have over 100 million reviews on trustpilot.com. We've seen that the companies that aren't asking for reviews often have the most negative reviews, and the companies that do ask for reviews often have very high ratings.

Because honestly, if you're a company that cares about its customers, that cares about its products, and cares about its services, for the most part, you're going to do a good job and you're going to get those high marks from other customers. And if you do get some bad reviews, you should pay attention to that and shore up some of your weaknesses. So definitely first step to getting reviews is to ask for reviews. Email works best. The way our service actually works is we have an automatic feedback service function, which asks for review as soon as the purchase is complete.

And we also actively encourage our companies to ask for reviews and remind consumers to leave a review. So this is a reminder service that you can set either like a week after your first review invitation or a month after, and usually you need to tailor the review solicitation by purchase. If you are, for example selling a washer dryer, a big ticket item that has a lot of life in it, you may ask for a reminder six months later after purchase, because that purchase is still very relevant. But if you're selling something like an iPhone case, you might just want to send a reminder a week after that.

Constantly engaging with your customers by reminding them, by sending them those emails, that actually gets those response rates pretty high. Overall, when it comes to asking for reviews, it really needs to be integrated as part of a customer engagement strategy, which is something that I mentioned in the past. Really reviews are a two-way street; it's a reflection of companies, but it's also a way to collect feedback from your customers and for your customers, because you should be utilizing that feedback in the form of reviews to improve your business and improve your company.

By interacting and engaging with your customers, whether you're sending them review emails, whether you're asking for reviews via social media, or even sending out surveys, maybe putting a way to collect a review on your website, those are all different touch points, where you're interacting with your customer and you're telling them, "Hey, we value your opinion and we want to be better for you."

And there's a lot more to discuss there as well in terms of like how to ask for these reviews and how to make that sort of a respectful relationship. But I want to make sure that as we cross the halfway mark here, that we're also talking about how to leverage all this amazing social-proof, all these amazing reviews that you've been generating, because most of our E-commerce brands here have a lot of great reviews right now. It's just right now, we're not super sure where to utilize them in the funnel.

Danielle, you already really set up this conversation super well in terms of like where in the funnel are we going to use that great social-proof. We talked about low, medium and high intent users. I feel like we already have low intent pretty well covered in terms of, hey, like you put reviews on Facebook or on Instagram. I don't think in your Google, that would make too much sense in terms of your ad sense strategy. I think we have it... There as like an acquisition channel, it's one of those trust-building things.

Using social proof to retain and acquire customers

When you have that high level moment, people have abandoned their cart and you have that ability to send them a cart amendment email, or try to them somehow, maybe through Facebook retargeting. Where do you see reviews play in there? Would they be more of a distraction or would they be more of something that's valuable for that real estate? And how can we navigate that strategy there as well?

Cart abandonment emails are actually some of the most successful ones to place reviews on. One of our clients, NewYorkDress actually was in an experiment and added reviews to their cart abandonment emails, and they saw their click through rates skyrocket, I think 220% in one month. And we had to double-check their math because we almost didn't believe how successful that was. And we've since then encouraged a lot of other companies to do the same thing and they've really experienced a lot of success in terms of comparing cart abandonment emails without reviews, and then cart abandonment emails with reviews.

When I say reviews, I'd say, it could either be reviews or it could be ratings. I'd say, really pay attention to the way you're formatting your emails and the way your emails look. If there is space or it makes sense for you to add a review, put that in there. But I think if it feels a little wedged in, just put in your rating. Sometimes a 4.8 out of five is just as strong as a single person's review. So I think that's one of the best examples that we have.

I think another great example, and this is a little less for eCommerce, but definitely for digital marketers, but on key landing pages, I think on your most high traffic landing pages, you definitely want reviews on that and there are two reasons why. One, we have, I think hundreds of case studies at this point really highlighting how reviews on landing pages have increased conversion rates and really increased revenue. We definitely have some hard numbers on that.

But also they show up on your Google advertisement and your paid ad search. They show up as rich snippets stars, and rich snippets stars in Google's own words increase CTR on those results by 10%, and ConversionXL just recently, came out with an article where they were looking at the effectiveness of those rich snippets stars on those paid searches, and they saw that they increased on average click through rates by 35%. So there's definitely a two-prong benefit to adding reviews on your key landing pages, as well as everywhere else throughout the buying journey, in order to convert more browsers into buyers.

If you'd like to find out more social proof, what it is and why you need it, check out the article below!

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