Social Proof

Letting your customers make the sale for you.

Social proof has been around for ages, in one form or another. And for good reason. They work great. When a newspaper or a magazine claims to be the most read publication in your area, that is social proof. They want you to know that people just like you trust them with the subject matter.


No TL;DR today.

In one word - Testimonials! A no-brainer, correct? Whenever you think of social proof, testimonials is one of the first places your mind immediately goes to.

Social proof has been around for ages, in one form or another. And for good reason. They work great. When a newspaper or a magazine claims to be the most read publication in your area, that is social proof. They want you to know that people just like you trust them with the subject matter.

And that right there is the main idea behind this article. So subtle that it is easy enough to miss out on. Its not enough that you are telling customers “people like you” trust us with the matter at hand. You need to sell the idea of “people just like you”. One word, and yet, it makes all the difference.

Social proof is a powerful driver. It is an indicator of subject matter expertise and domain authority, so even if you deploy the “people like you” strategy, you are going to get good results. But adding that one word ‘just’ in there is going to do wonders for you, increasing your conversion rates manyfold.

I have examples from multiple businesses who do it beautifully. Just check out ahrefs. They showcase specific testimonials for different usecases. And they are not the only ones. But today, I want to talk about a business that I am quite charmed by.


Let me start by saying two things:

  1. I’m a huge fan of baremetrics. Huge. Their approach to marketing is enough to inspire anyone, and I am no different.
  2. I wish they could compress their website a bit. Not in size, I wouldn’t know what I am talking about if I started babbling about the size of their webpages or the scripts they run. I’m talking about content here. The sheer number of individual destinations you can land on right from their homepage is mindboggling. Is there a better way for them to showcase all that they do? I would like to think so, but at the moment I don’t have any suggestions. So I am going to stick with the fanboy persona for this post.

There are a bunch of features and usecases you would find on their website, and each of those has got its individual page. When you check them out, one of the first thing that greets you is a customer testimonial. And not just any testimonial, a testimonial about the exact micro-feature you are checking out at the moment.

Brilliant, I say. Instead of showing you testimonials on how people love baremetrics, they are showcasing exactly why people love having this particular feature and the value it is adding to their businesses. Right of the bat, they are helping you draw parallels and correlate how this particular feature could help your business as well.

The more features you check out, the more ways you can visualize where baremetrics is the right product for your business, and the closer you are to becoming a customer.

A typical feature page on baremetrics

This was great in itself, but baremetrics doesn’t just stop here. They take it a step further and slap a couple of testimonials on their pricing page as well.

Pricing page on baremetrics

Why? Because pricing is where indecision begins to set in. The moment you have to shell out cold hard cash for a product, you begin to weigh the value it adds against the expense you’ll incur because of it. So the testimonials here are there to ease up your decision making process. Give you a nudge in ‘the right direction’, so to speak.

  1. An immediate focus on how baremetrics helped a company save more than $10,000 in no time. A $600 cost (3 months at $200/mo) for potentially thousands in savings? The maths seems to be doing their work for them here.
  2. Highlighting the benefit of using baremetrics as compared to spending time and money in getting an in-house solution made.

I have a theory here though. If the cancellation insight feature was not a low priced item - $50/mo, they would not have gone with an intangible value, instead they would have focused on money saved, money made, or actual manhours saved. Something you will be able to directly correlate to money. But here, since the product is low priced, the focus is on helping you weigh the merit of building an inhouse product when you have a plug-n-play solution at hand.

So. How can you leverage the power of testimonials? I won’t lie to you. It takes time to build up testimonials, so it is going to be an uphill ride. We ourselves have zero testimonials as of today (the ones we collected during our pilot run don’t count). Because as of today, we have no publicly available product. So when we do launch, we would be starting from zero, and slowly build up from there. What I am trying to say - at the very least, you and I, we are in the same boat. You actually may be a few steps ahead of me. So this is going to be my go-to guide to building social proof as well.

#1. Focus Instead of trying to get a good word on all that you do, pick up a core competency and try to win there. For us, it is going to be our insights engine. I would be asking people how our insights delivery is helping them take more actions as compared to earlier, and how it is reducing their indecision. We do web analytics as well. After all, the insights engine is built on top of the web analytics platform. But insights is our core focus, so I don’t want to take my eye off the prize. Even for a second.

#2. Less is more I have seen businesses quote customers verbatim on what they said about their product. Often, that doesn’t help much. And it probably is less impactful than it could be. You want your potential customers to be in awe of what your current customers are saying about you, and a paragraph or two just waters down the effect.

So what should you do? Triple distilled vodka! Run every testimonial through a copywriting cycle thrice. Make it as concise and crisp as possible. Trim away all the fat. Be ruthless. Don’t lie, but repurpose the text in a way that drives the most impact. Want to still retain the whole testimonial? Sure, link to it. But as far as the potential customers’ first touchpoint is concerned, less is more! Focus on impact, not empty praise.

#3. Don’t ask for testimonials This may be counterintuitive, but in order to have more testimonials, don’t go around asking for testimonials.

The second you ask someone for a testimonial, they know they need to take some time out to write one for you (if they are willing). And it can either get delayed, or at the very least, it will be an impromptu thing that would probably leave much to be desired.

Instead, (and you should do this irrespective of your want of testimonials), ask people how their experience has been so far. Do they love your product? How are they using it? How is it better than the existing tools/services/models they had in place? Do they have any ideas on how it could be adding more value to them?

You won’t hit oil every single time, but when you do, send your customer a well crafted draft of what a testimonial from them could look like (based on your current conversation), and seek permission to use it. More often than not, they would agree.

So. That is how Benne is going to start building its social proof. If we do more, I will let you guys know about it. Till then, stay frosty.

That’s it for today!


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