Have you ever held yourself back from buying something, simply because you read some bad reviews? Bought something only because someone recommended it? Or sorted products by “popularity” on a shopping site?
Yes, we all do that. We want to make the right decisions and maximize value, so we rely on the intelligence of crowds. If many other people purchased a product and are happy with it, it’d be a good choice for us too. And that’s how “social proof” works.
Everyone adds customer testimonials on their site. But can you combine email marketing and social proof to build your brand and bring more people to your site/blog?
That’s what we will look at in this post. I will show you five practical (and easy) methods to embed social proof in your emails. But before that, some basics on using social proof in marketing.
Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that forces us to believe that “If X is doing this, I should do it too”. When we read “1000+ customers across the globe are using our products”, our brains process it as “if 1000 people are happy with this product, maybe I should try it too”.
Social proof is a psychological technique that uses the actions or beliefs of others to influence our own behavior. In email marketing, social proof can be used to build trust and credibility with potential customers.
Some examples of social proof in email marketing include featuring customer testimonials or success stories, mentioning the number of customers or users a product or service has, or featuring endorsements from influencers or industry experts.
The most effective sources of social proof marketing as a blogger are:
I follow some popular bloggers. Their writing resonates with me and I want to be like them. So when they talk positively about a product, I (and other followers) want to try it too. The lesson? If we can get some influencers to endorse us, our brand, or our products, we will gain good traction. Btw, we can always start with second or third-tier influencers or influencers within a small niche. Top guys are not going to pay attention to us (or are going to be too expensive), so best to work our way up from the bottom!
When your clients explain why they chose you, or why they follow you, or the results they’ve created in their lives by working with you – their experience works as a huge “anxiety removal” for other prospects. Even if your customers are not influencers or top brands, authentic reviews from real customers (especially the ones that describe the problem and solution) always work. Even negative reviews can work in your favor at times.
Numbers used in social proof have a magically positive correlation with conversions. Large numbers (that are not rounded up) work better. If you’re just starting out, focus on representing some aspect of your experience or your customers in numbers. For example, if you are a freelance writer, you can mention “Every 4th article you’ve written in 2022 was featured on a top 500 website”, or “Working with Fortune 1000 clients since 2010”…
Now that we’ve seen the top three social proof techniques, let’s see how we can use social proof and email.
Mention your top-performing blogs in emails
It is difficult to rank all your blogs organically. I have learned it the hard way. But as bloggers, we can try different ways to promote our blogs.
With that in mind, I started highlighting some of my top-ranking blogs in each email/newsletter I sent to subscribers. Here’s a screenshot of one such newsletter :
I listed a mix of old and new, top-performing, well-written blogs. Since these blogs were already doing good, I expected to see higher CTR (click-through rate) and higher traffic from email.
And the strategy worked very well. Apart from higher clicks and traffic, I observed another interesting result – higher time on site. Readers continued exploring other content on-site on their own. And higher engagement is good for everything – search engine placement, reader satisfaction, conversion…
Include an inspiring customer success story in your emails
Testimonials work on websites. But will they work in email? Yes, adding customers’ testimonials to your emails can drive value. But I recommend going a step forward. Use customers’ stories. A bit detailed, explaining the ups and downs, well-narrated success stories can motivate our subscribers and develop a positive mindset towards our offerings.
When you speak with a customer, they will tell you their perspectives in bits and pieces. Then you will need to develop a story out of it and narrate it to readers. But, that’s not too hard as we are already fond of storytelling, isn’t it?
Any customer success story or case study should have three segments:
- The challenges a customer was facing
- The solution you offered them
- The results they noticed after incorporating your solution
- Most of my emails were text-heavy and boring to some extent
Here’s an email from EmbedSocial that inspired me:
You can see how EmbedSocial has explained their customer TrovaTrip’s success story. The brief and crisp mail efficiently highlights how they helped TrovaTrip and what were the results.
Use the power of numbers to grow email list or traffic
Adding numbers to our emails can make a lot of difference. Now you may ask, what type of numbers? Well, anything that uplifts our social proof and builds trust for our email subscribers. Here are some types of numbers we can try:
- Numbers of social media followers or email subscribers
- How many times a blog post was read, shared, commented on
- Number of blog posts that rank on Google’s first page
- Numbers of years experience as a blogger, author, creator
- Numbers of different countries where our readers live
- Count of customers, or new customers who signed up last month
A lot of things can be turned into numbers. Be creative and think about what will work for your readers.
Remember, you can use numbers to drive traffic to a page or product. And you can also use numbers to increase subscribers to another list.
Talking about achievement is also a great way to engage your email subscribers. An award, a major client win, a cause you started supporting, a new team member, a new product, an interview with someone, getting featured on a popular website… There may be so many big and small achievements we keep getting. But then we keep them to ourselves because we’re modest.
You don’t have to be too modest. People want to hear about your progress, that’s why they signed up to your list. So do share your accolades with your readers. It will create a positive feedback loop.
Take a look at this email I received from Unsplash:
Honestly, it doesn’t really matter to me or any of the subscribers of Unsplash that the brand has raised a whopping amount. But, the fact that they shared it with me, makes me feel valuable and raises my trust in the brand.
We must learn to harness the power of social media. As a blogger, I always try to balance email marketing and social media to execute successful marketing campaigns. And a great way to balance both is this – add at least three social media icons to your emails. This can result in two outcomes:
- Our email subscribers will visit our social profiles to check what kind of content we post, how much value we add, and how many followers we have. They might as well start following us there
- If we have a good number of followers, we get to demonstrate social proof and win the trust
Making social proof a part of our email marketing strategy is the need of the hour. Use any one technique I mentioned here in your next email. Then use some or other form of social proof in your next five emails as well.
To use social proof effectively in your email marketing campaigns, you can highlight your top-performing blogs, include inspiring customer success stories, use numbers to showcase your experience or customer base, share milestone achievements, and link to your social profiles in your emails.
Your readers will respond and you will get positive results. Don’t get disappointed if you don’t get results on the first attempt. Keep exploring until you do. By incorporating social proof into your emails, you can build credibility, increase conversions, and drive traffic to your blog.