by Jill Fanslau
Ever see an advertisement for a fitness program? There’s typically a “before” photo and an “after” photo of a customer who followed the workout.
On the left is a “before” photo of a shirtless, slouching man. He’s pale. Average-looking. He’s not smiling.
Then, in the photo on the right, the same guy magically turns into a tall, bronzed, Greek God with an eight-pack of cobblestone abs. His biceps are the size of bowling balls. He’s ridiculously happy.
They barely look like the same person. But that’s the point, right?
You can relate to the guy on the left, but you want to be the guy on the right. If lefty could do it, so can you!
I may be exaggerating this a bit to make my point, but here’s the thing: Social proof works.
What is social proof?
The gist of social proof: When people are uncertain, they’ll look to others for guidance. In marketing, social proof can be a powerful psychological trigger to influence people to buy a product or service.
Social proof is so effective because it helps your customers confidently make a decision. You’re providing evidence that your product is beneficial, has more fans than just your mom, and can positively transform people’s lives.
Luckily, you don’t have to get your customers to go shirtless to provide evidence that your product works. (If you’re not in the fitness industry, that would be . . . awkward.) There are other ways to do it.
5 Ways to Include Social Proof in Your Emails
Social proof #1: quotes
Ask a satisfied customer for a quote about why they love your product or can’t wait to try it. Or grab quotes and comments from your social media feeds.
When a new subscriber reads that other people are excited about your product, they’ll be more likely to take action, too.
Jonathan Goodman, the founder of the Personal Trainer Development Center, uses quotes from his social feeds as proof of happy customers. This helps drive more sales for his latest issue of Fitness Marketing Monthly, a print newsletter delivered to subscribers’ doorsteps.
Social proof #2: numbers
Marketing professionals use data all the time to persuade people to buy a product or donate to a cause. They call it the “Statistics Appeal,” and it’s based off research that shows people generally trust numbers. So use numbers and stats that tie directly to the success or quality of your product to give perceived weight to your product.
Brian Dean, the SEO expert behind Backlinko and an AWeber customer, uses his numbers to prove why he’s an expert in SEO on YouTube. He uses this as social proof for why you should sign up for his course.
Social proof #3: ratings
Have 5/5 stars on Amazon or Google? Let your subscribers know!
Great reviews or ratings provide social proof that others recommend your business or products, which might compel prospects to click through to the order page or check out the reviews. If your subscribers see others taking positive actions, they will be more inclined to buy.
Below, you can see how Henneke Duistermaat of Enchanting Marketing ends her 16-part snackable writing course with links to buy her two books. She also points out that they both receive 5/5 star reviews.
Social proof #4: influencers
If you have famous customers, tell your subscribers. Or have them give you an endorsement that you can include in your messages. People are more likely to buy a product if they admire a person or business that uses it.
Social proof #5: case studies
Have a customer who is extremely excited about your product or service? Ask them to relay their experience to you, and post it on your blog or website. Their story may entice others to try your product, as well.
Ramit Sethi uses case studies of happy students to sell his 6-Figure Consulting Program.
Social proof — when used to drive home why you’re an expert in your field and why your product can help transform your subscribers’ lives — can exert immense influence over your readers’ actions. But like any other email marketing tactic, social proof only works if you provide your audience with compelling, helpful content.
Ready to get started adding social proof to your email marketing campaigns?