We’ve outlined the 3 key ways you can achieve this to drive sales and loyalty from your prospects and existing customers.
1. Build Social Credibility
You can’t sell sizzle, you need to develop trust and credibility in your marketplace for long term success.
As referenced from Warren Buffet,
“trust is a matter of reputation — individual and company — built over long periods of time. It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”
We live in an online world where everyone has their guard up and is suspect about being sold to and taken advantage of. More than ever it is critical to establish true credibility.
The ironic fact is, in order to develop credibility in today’s marketplace, you don’t in fact have to have a real track record. As you read this you may question this statement, however, the concept of social proof suggests that in order to prove you are trustworthy, you just need to show that people already trust you in order to convince them.
Robert Cialindini referred to this phenomenon in his book Influence, stating, we view behaviour as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it.
Social proof is the key to effectively selling the product or service you are marketing. There are a plethora of ways to develop social proof, with some being far more effective than others.
We’ve outlined the key areas we recommend focusing on to build credibility:
Online Testimonials and Case Studies
This is the surest way to build credibility and trust in your brand. Anyone can talk the talk and sell the dream, but these days we are all far too savvy to fall for this without doing our own research. Testimonials and case studies provide the perfect opportunity to clearly communicate the positive experiences and stories of your customers without doing a “sell job”.
There are plenty of formats to communicate this information and to get started we recommend creating a case studies section on your website with a page for each. You can check out an example here of our client the John Hughes Group. Within this page outline key facts and stats to share from their experience, these can include the return on investment, client happiness, total sales, total leads and many other key performance indicators your customers would find imperative in purchasing your product or service.
Endorsements and Brand Ambassadors
Receiving official endorsements and building formal brand ambassadors for your company is a very effective method of developing credibility and trust. We have always been influenced by reputable people when making buying decisions and this avenue can provide a real boost to your brand. We note that this avenue generally requires either an existing relationship with someone of influence or the budget to encourage this partnership.
Social media influencers can often be acquired via a contra relationship where you provide your service or product in return for them promoting your brand via their networks. We recommend reaching out to influencers relevant to your product or service and considering visiting sites that assist in the development of these partnerships.
There is no doubt showing off client logos on your website and marketing material is a cost-effective and easy approach to building credibility and trust. A word of warning here though, don’t list brands on your marketing material that you didn’t truly engage with, as this is a really bad look if one of your prospective customers learns of this fact.
The more data and specifics you can add about your case studies and clients the better!
See an example below of a client logo board:
Awards and Industry Certifications
Enter awards and industry certifications! Most businesses are so busy in the busy work that they forget to enter obvious industry awards and miss staying up to date in certifications. Visit your local chamber of commerce, Google industry awards and entrepreneurial awards and start throwing your hat in the ring!
Displaying these awards and certifications on your site builds trust in prospects that are fearful and unsure of which company to engage with. Having these certifications and awards displays maturity, success and capability in your field, which immediately overcomes anxiety your prospects experience or the many of the reasons to they would typically avoid buying.
2. Create Urgency and Opportunity (or scarcity!)
We all know the feeling…you’re at an event enjoying yourself and then you hear that the bar closes in 5 minutes… argh! You run to the nearest drink station you can find and start ordering more than you really need as you know this is your last chance…
This is the jedi art of developing scarcity, which, if done strategically and tactfully, will lead to the cash register ringing and ringing! That’s what we all want, right?
There are many studies that outline the fact that the fear of potential loss is a far greater motivator than the possibility of gaining something. Have you heard about the marshmallow experiment? It’s a famous study conducted back in the 1960’s that tested hundreds of children, ages 4 and 5. It revealed the impact of delayed gratification and long-term success. Ultimately, those that can display self discipline and postpone immediate gratification for later outcomes had higher cognitive and social capabilities later on in life. It’s definitely worth a read to understand how our brains process urgency and scarcity.
There are many ways to develop scarcity in your marketing, some more tacky than others. Let’s look at some examples below on how you can develop scarcity and urgency:
A ‘limited time only’ offer that can be claimed until X time (the sooner the better!)
Offer a limited amount of tickets to an event – X amount of tickets remain, buy now to avoid missing out!
Offer a discounted price
Happy hours – promote your discounts during certain time periods e.g. selling flights between 5pm and midnight on Thursday’s only
Urgency is all about importance and time. You are in control of creating this feeling. Urgency and scarcity combined compel action resulting in conversion and revenue.
3. Appeal to the Amygdala
At the end of the day we are all animals, and we can either ignore this fact or play the game. Inside all our brains is an almond shaped cluster of neurons that guides much of our subconscious responses. This primitive part of your brain can trigger you to take actions before you are even aware of it. This part of the brain is often referred to as the “buying brain” that is instinctive and acts on impulse.
Our brain is inundated with loads and loads of info every day and week; some say more than a laptop can hold. Studies reveal people receive as much as 34 Gb of info everyday. Research has also shown the average person takes in over 20,000 words everyday but only about 20% is absorbed by the brain. Based on this, as you can imagine, the need to have your product/service stand out is a must.
This subconscious area of our brain is the driving force behind purchasing decisions across the buyer journey from initial awareness and interest to consideration, intent, purchase and the loyalty phase. Companies that learn how to truly interact and engage with this part of the brain, without manipulating, experience long-term success.
Through marketing online, you can’t appeal to the usual sensations of touch and smell so you need to appeal to these senses in your writing.
What comes to mind when you read these sentences?
The aroma of freshly caught fish from the fishing boat (smell).
The salty vinegar like seasoning on the chip (taste).
The shrieking herring gulls walking on the beach. (sound).
The slimy rocks underneath my feet. (feel/touch).
Engaging your reader with descriptors on how a place, person, or thing tastes, smells, sounds, and feels is much more alluring than only focusing on the visual. Excite your customers with sensory language and they are more likely to respond positively.
What emotions can be stirred up with pictures? It’s more than just what you see? What feelings do these pictures evoke?
Following these steps on clearly communicating the value and benefits of your product while appealing to the subconscious mind will surely have consumers salivating over your products and services bringing in new business and multiplying existing! If you need assistance in making your content stand the test of time, reach out!