Whenever I’m on vacation with the family, we often found ourselves in the midst of uncharted territory.
Whether I was looking for a place for breakfast, a smoothie, coffee, lunch, dinner, etc. – all of our decisions were influenced by one thing:
It wasn’t enough for a business owner to claim that they were the “best.” We wanted to see that others felt that way too.
…And your buyers are no different.
Let’s say it’s 6:30pm on a Saturday. The streets are busy. You’re in a new city and looking for someplace to eat dinner. As you’re cruising the boulevard, you come across a restaurant that has an appealing menu, good looking décor… But as you glance inside the restaurant, you notice that it’s half full.
If you’re like most people, you instantly become a little skeptical – especially when you see that the restaurant across the street has a bustling line out the door.
Which restaurant are you more likely to assume has better food?
You see, we use SOCIAL PROOF to guide us in our decision making process… If others are doing it, it must be okay.
Wikipedia describes social proof as:
“A psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others reflect the correct behavior for a given situation… Driven by the assumption that the surrounding people possess more information about the situation.”
People naively believe there is wisdom in crowds.
When I was in high school, one of the only “real jobs” I had (before going full-time into business for myself) was as an ice cream scooper and window attendant at a restaurant. When I showed up for my shift in the morning, my boss would say:
“Park your car right in front of the restaurant because we want other people to think we’re busy.”
It worked and brought in more patrons.
Interestingly enough, no matter how smart you are, social proof influences your own buying decisions.
A while back, I decided that I would try the Ketosis Diet so I could experience the enhanced mental performance many of my entrepreneurial friends claim to enjoy. In order to track the macros I’m eating, I wanted to purchase a mobile app…
But with the plethora of endless options, which one should I choose?
I picked this app:
I figured: “With 1,537 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars, I can’t go wrong.”
It didn’t matter how much it cost (several competitor apps were free) or whether or not it had the most features (it didn’t). I purchased it because if all those other people did (and liked it), I must be making a smart decision.
So, why do I tell you this?
Because I’m continually shocked by the amount of entrepreneurs who don’t leverage this simple little technique to boost sales and increase conversions.
Social proof is a simple, low-hanging fruit strategy that can instantly put more money in your pocket… And it’s a critical component of the sales funnel when you’re trying to establish CONFIDENCE with your consumers to reassure them that they’re making a smart decision by choosing to do business with you.
Consider the statistics:
- Over 70% of Americans say they look at product reviews before making a purchase (Source)
- Nearly 63% of buyers indicate they are more likely to purchase from a site if it has product ratings and reviews (Source)
- Product reviews are 12 times more trusted than product descriptions from manufacturers (Source)
And it doesn’t matter if it’s B2B or B2C… We’re consumers, and our buying habits at home often overlap with our buying habits in the office. At home or at work, we still want to make smart decisions.
In Part 2, we’ll look at a couple specific examples of businesses using social proof to bolster their marketing, and give you 10 ways you can incorporate it into your own business!