Case Studies and Social Proof. Winning more deals is a top priority for most businesses but getting to where you want to be isn’t always easy. A lot goes into winning more deals, but perhaps the most important is your website. Your website or online presence is often the first thing a potential customer will see. And even when it’s not the first thing they see, you can bet they’ll browse your online persona at some point in the decision-making process.
When a potential customer arrives at your website, you have to be ready to provide them with content that will hasten or strengthen their decision to buy. Social proof is excellent at achieving this goal. Did you know that case studies increase sales by a whopping 185%? By adding social proof to your website, you can improve your conversion rate and grow your business.
What is Social Proof?
If you’re reading this expert guide, you will likely already grasp what social proof is. However, we think it’s a good idea to be specific and drill into the details. If you start your social proof journey with an iron-clad definition of social proof, you can ensure that all of your actions align with achieving your social proof goals. You won’t get distracted or go off track.
Social proof is the social and psychological phenomenon where people copy the actions of others. People tend to believe that if other people are doing it, then it’s probably a good thing to do – it’s the correct or appropriate behavior. In business, you can leverage social proof to entice more people into buying your products. They see evidence that other people have bought your products and enjoy them, so they believe they will too.
12 Things You Must Do To Win More Deals Using Case Studies & Social Proof
1. Tell a Story
The key to writing a great case study is to tell a great story. Whether it’s a lengthy Sci-Fi space epic or a simple tale of how a product solved their problems and improved their life, people love stories. This is why customer testimonials are so impactful in business. When a story is well-written and answers the potential buyer’s questions and concerns, they pay attention. According to research by Neilsen, a staggering 92% of people trust recommendations from a peer, and 70% of people trust recommendations from people they don’t know. Testimonials help connect with your audience on an emotional level and boost your brand’s trust and credibility.
Here are some of the attributes of an excellent testimonial:
- The customer clearly defines the problem they needed to solve.
- They outline how your product or business solved their problem.
- They highlight how your solution was unique compared to the other things they tried or the other companies they considered.
- They talk about their end-to-end experience from browsing, consideration, deciding, buying, and how they were treated after making a purchase.
- They give specific details – a vague testimonial helps no one. Details help build the picture, and without a picture, there’s no story.
2. Lead With Experts
Experts can also be a great social proof tool. You can conduct interviews with experts in your industry or ask an expert to write a guest blog post about a hot topic in your sector. Experts carry authority and help establish you as a company that knows what they’re talking about. By inviting experts from your industry, you’re also showing that you are respectable enough for experts to want to work with you. An industry expert won’t accept an interview or agree to write a blog post for a company they deem shady or ill-qualified because it impacts their reputation.
3. Use the “Friends” Method
Many businesses utilize what’s known as the “friends” model of social proof. This is where a visitor to your website or social media page will be told “30 of your friends like X Company”. Depending on the sector you’re in and what you sell, using the model in this form might not be appropriate. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative and adapt it to suit your business. Instead of using friends, you can use popular or prominent companies. For example, “10 of the biggest companies in Manufacturing use our product” or something similar. You’re demonstrating that your product is reputable and, more importantly, useful to other companies in their industry.
4. Show off Your Certs
If your company has any official certifications, qualifications, awards, or you’re members of an elite club, then don’t keep it quiet. Showing off your credentials helps grow your authority and lets potential customers know they can trust you.
You can also do this for individual employees. For example, if you sell software and this software can be adapted to the customer’s needs, you can discuss your software engineers’ credentials. If you sell custom-made VR software for a range of industries like education, home improvement, and real estate, you can talk about your design team members’ background and expertise. The key is to get across that your company or your employees are equipped with the necessary skills to provide a great customer experience.
You can either do this in dedicated blog posts or simple banners on your website. A footer banner with all of your credentials is a great way to ensure users see your achievements no matter what page they visit.
5. Use Real-Time Stats
Real-time stats like “X amount of people are viewing this product right now.” or “this many people are purchasing right now.” You may have to adapt this if you sell more expensive products and get fewer sales, but the concept can still apply. You can say how many people have purchased this week or month, how many people have signed up for your newsletter, or how many people have booked demo sessions.
Real-time stats have two functions. They help create social proof because it conveys that many people, just like the customer, are buying right now. Secondly, it adds a bit of Fear of Missing Out (FOMO). People don’t like to miss out on an opportunity that other people are taking advantage of.
6. Display Your Reviews or Trustpilot Score
Your reviews and trust pilot score should be easily viewable on your website. You can do this with a banner at the top of the page or with a web page element. Here are some stats you need to know about reviews in 2021:
- 91% of 18 to 34-year-olds trust reviews as much as personal recommendations.
- 93% of buyers said that online reviews influenced their purchasing decision.
- 92% of B2B buyers are more likely to close a deal after reading a trusted review.
- 3.3 stars is the minimum rating of a business that a consumer will engage with. Only 13% of consumers consider buying from a company with a 1 or 2-star review.
7. Use Celebrity Endorsements
If you have a retail or ecommerce business, then celebrity endorsements or influencer endorsements can go a long way. This tactic works much the same way that the “Expert” tactic does. People trust people with authority or people they look up to. Make sure to do your research beforehand, so you pick the right people who have good influence and high engagement in your sector. Sometimes an influencer with a small but engaged and loyal following in your industry is better than an influencer with a large following but a less engaged fan base.
8. Visual Proof
Use videos to show your product in action. This helps create trust in your product because customers can see how it actually works and what it looks like in action. It also helps reinforce the idea that your product works. Visual proof is particularly important for unique or complex products, where users might be concerned, they won’t know how to use it.
You can also use visual proof to give your potential customers a look inside your company. You can show off your company culture to help build trust and brand identity.
9. Create Surveys and Share the Results
Surveys are a great way to determine how your customers think and feel about your product. For example, you can create a multiple-choice survey asking your customer’s a range of questions about their experience. One question could be, “Is our support of X charity important to you?”. If the results are impressive, you can share them on social media or your website saying, “4/5 of our customers say our support of X charity is important to them,” or “9 out of 10 of our customers say they would recommend our product to a friend”.
The key to this kind of survey is to get results you can work into your marketing. There are many different types of surveys, and we would encourage you to utilize all of them to improve your products and customer experiences. Still, a simple survey with some basic multiple-choice questions aimed at social proof is a great idea.
10. Create an Excellent About Us Page
Many potential buyers will seek out your About Us page when they’re very close to buying. At this stage in the buying process, they’re intrigued about your product, maybe they’ve seen some excellent reviews, but they just want to make sure you’re the kind of company they want to give their money to. They might want to get a feel for who you are and see for themselves whether you come across as sincere when you talk about your company.
Here’s what your About Us page should include:
- The story of how you started your business.
- Who your customers are and what you’re trying to achieve for them.
- How your products are made.
- A picture of the founder or prominent employees (putting a face to the name).
- Persuasive content like statistics, data visualizations, or videos.
11. Use Case Studies
We’ve touched on this briefly, but it needs a whole point of its own. Case Studies differ from testimonials because they are usually more formal and written from your perspective as the company. Case Studies are considered long-form social proof because they typically take more time to engage with than shorter social proof content like real-time data.
What cases should you pick for your case study? They should have the following elements:
- A significant problem or challenge.
- A satisfying solution.
- Many benefits after the solution – preferably ones linked to hard data like “200% ROI increase“.
12. Media Mentions
If you don’t already have one, your company needs a dedicated press email address, which should be clearly displayed on your Contact Us page. Companies might want to reach out to you for comment when something interesting happens in your industry. You can also reach out yourself and offer to write guest blogs in industry publications to increase your brand awareness. If many different publications or other media mention your brand, it helps add to your authority and expand your reach.