Using social proof is one of the most powerful (but under-rated) tools in a marketer's toolbox. When done right, it can help increase conversion rates without you needing to say a word. Talia Wolf joins Katelyn Bourgoin on Customer Show.
Using social proof is one of the most powerful (but under-rated) tools in a marketer's toolbox. When done right, it can help increase conversion rates without you needing to say a word. Talia Wolf joins Katelyn Bourgoin on Customer Show to share:
Talia Wolf is a conversion rate optimization specialist and the founder of GetUplift.
Connect with Katelyn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateBour
Get your free Customer Ranking Calculator: https://customercamp.co/calculator
Talia Wolf: [00:00:00] here's why you should get excited about it because when you do social proof, the right way, it's actually going to increase your conversions dramatically. It's going to help you overcome huge roadblocks hesitations concerns and essentially anything that's stopping your customers or your prospects from converting social proof.
[00:00:22] Can dissolve those without you saying a word
[00:01:19] I'd like to start this episode by saying thank you. Many of you have kindly given the podcast a five star rating on Apple podcasts ratings really are the best way for new people to discover the show and reading each one makes me all warm and fuzzy. So I am majorly grateful. I also wanted to give a special shout out to listener Telus Cordy.
[00:01:40] They left us a review saying this, this podcast is a game changer for marketers and entrepreneurs. Caitlin does an amazing job of sharing valuable insights into understanding and reaching your customers. I can't wait to listen to new episodes and hear from more guests. Okay. So did you hear what I just did there?
[00:02:00] It was subtle, but actually extremely powerful. I just shared nice things that someone real had said about customer show. I could have told you just how great customer show was, but having someone else say it is so much more convincing. This is what marketers call social proof. And that's the topic for today's episode.
[00:02:22] We're going to dig in and ask an expert how we can leverage social proof to get more customers to buy. And boy, are you in for a treat in today's episode, I'm chatting with Talia Wolf. Talia is the founder of get uplift and she's one of the world's top conversion rate optimization experts. Talia is going to open the curtains and share how to use social proof to squash buyer objections and increase sales.
[00:02:47] So let's get right into it.
[00:02:50]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:02:50] What exactly is social proof?
[00:02:53] Talia Wolf: [00:02:53] That's a great question. So social proof is all about trust. It's about allowing people who come to your website, who are your prospects to feel like they can trust you, that you are trustworthy, that they are in good hands. And they know that if they choose to convert with you, whatever it is, if they want to hire you as a consultant, if they want to use your software, or maybe they're buying one of your.
[00:03:18] Products. They know that you are trustworthy and that nothing bad is going to happen. So that's where social proof kind of falls. It's that element that is super, super crucial when you are trying to sell anything in order to increase the confidence of your okay.
[00:03:37] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:03:37] Oh, that makes so much sense. Okay. So as marketers, why should we get excited about social proof?
[00:03:45] Talia Wolf: [00:03:45] So I also love this question because most times when you think about social proof, it's basically people plastering some logos on their website and calling it a day, right then like we've been featured here. It's like a bunch of logos or my favorite are the ones that say we've never been featured on. I don't know if you've seen those.
[00:04:04] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:04:04] I haven't seen
[00:04:06] Talia Wolf: [00:04:06] I've seen quite a few of them. We've never been featured on and like, Really insane logos. But here's why you should get excited about it because when you do social proof, the right way, it's actually going to increase your conversions dramatically. It's going to help you overcome huge roadblocks hesitations concerns and essentially anything that's stopping your customers or your prospects from converting social proof.
[00:04:35] Can dissolve those without you saying a word
[00:04:39] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:04:39] Ooh, that's so good because I think that oftentimes it's like what other people say about us is so much more powerful than what we say about ourselves. It just feels more like you said, trustworthy. Okay. So what happens? Let's say you're a business and you are, maybe it's a landing page. Maybe it's a product page, but you have not included any social proof.
[00:05:00] What does that, how does how's that going to work out for you?
[00:05:03]Talia Wolf: [00:05:03] You know, Andy Crestodina, who is the King of content and a great friend of mine once said, when you say it it's marketing, when they say it, it's social proof.
[00:05:15] And I love, love, love that quote, because if you're not using social proof, you're going to have to essentially help your prospects convert. And one of the things that happens is that people come to your website or they come to your funnel or even see your ad, or sometimes it's a landing page or an email, as you mentioned, and they're looking at it and they're thinking, well, maybe I'm interested, but, and that's where social proof can really come in.
[00:05:44] So I know that many times social proof is kind of considered as vanity. People say they're important. So as I said, like, they'll use some logos or maybe they'll include some. Testimonials of someone saying this is the best website in the world, something very kind of generic. But as I mentioned before, If you use them correctly, you can actually diffuse a lot of roadblocks and concerns from your prospects.
[00:06:08] And then if you're not using them, you're going to have a harder time convincing people to convert because you can write the best copy in the world and you can have the most amazing website. But if there's no proof to the fact that, you know, to prove everything that you're saying, then why should anyone believe you?
[00:06:26]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:06:26] Right. I love that quote from Andy. When you said that I literally got goosebumps. Like when you say it, it's marketing, what they say, it's social proof. Okay. So you've mentioned a couple of different types of social proof. You talked about that logo banner that people have sometimes it's testimonials, like what are some different kinds of social proof?
[00:06:46] Can you give us kind of like a laundry list? Like what are we looking at here?
[00:06:49] Talia Wolf: [00:06:49] Yeah, so the obvious one are the logos, and then you'd either use logos of publishers that you've been on. So if you've written for any cool blogs, you can put the logos of those books or client logos to say, Hey, these are the companies that we've worked with. You can also use testimonials, which are great for social proof, but there's other things.
[00:07:09] And there's other resources. And sometimes when you're just getting started, it's actually harder to get social proof, right. So a couple of ways you can do this. Numbers are huge with social proof. So simply mentioning, for example, how many people have downloaded your guide or how many people have read this article or how many followers you have and mentioning actual numbers?
[00:07:32]I remember there's a few companies that even say how many employees they have, how many hours they work with, where there are in the world. So actually using stats and information that your prospects care about can help. So numbers are great. The other thing you can use is plugins like Trustpilot reviews and other plugins like that, where basically people review you and give you reviews.
[00:07:56] If you are, if you're an e-commerce site, then that's. Great because people are leaving reviews on your product, but if you're B2B, you can also do that with G2 crowd and other platforms. So essentially integrating reviews that you're getting somewhere else. Another thing that you can do, which is a personal favorite of mine, especially if you're just getting started is to use social media.
[00:08:17]Social proof, I guess. So if someone tweets to you if someone sends you a DM, if someone sends you a Facebook message, sometimes if, even if someone emails you and says, wow, thank you so much for that content. Or I loved your webinar, or I love this article. You could ask them for permission to use that.
[00:08:36] And you could include that on your page. So you don't only have to go full the logos, which I know is like the biggest thing, but there's so much more that you can. Include from all over the web
[00:08:48] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:08:48] Oh, these are such good ones. Recently one of my team members found a new product. I think it's in beta, but it's you mentioned it. It's this idea of showing those tweets. If somebody tweets something. They nice about you. I think the product is called shout-out and it allows you to basically create a wall of tweets that people have said about you.
[00:09:05] So maybe you talk at a conference. I know that you've spoken at lots of conferences and during the talk, I'm sure people are being like, Oh my God, Taya Wolf is blowing my mind. Like with this, you can actually go and select those ones and create different walls of social proof, depending on where you're going to stick them.
[00:09:22] I thought it was so cool.
[00:09:24]Talia Wolf: [00:09:24] it sounds really good as you're speaking, I'm like, I'm not moving to Google this for a second.
[00:09:29] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:10:59] So, let me ask you a question and you are the perfect person to ask this. So what role does emotion play in social proof?
[00:11:09]Talia Wolf: [00:11:09] You know, it's actually super, super important and I kind of alluded to it before. So yes, you can use vanity testimonials and they will work. This person increased my website conversions by X, or this is the best company in the world or the best product in the world. And it can work. But I think that there's a lot of different emotional triggers and psychological triggers that affect our decision-making.
[00:11:34] So when we are making decisions, we're making them based on emotions. And I know that that's kind of hard to hear, but we are irrational people that make irrational decisions, not me saying this neuroscientists, like colleges have been saying this for years. And it's on us to go beyond identifying. Who is the person on the page in terms of like their age or gender or geographical location.
[00:11:59]We want to understand their emotional triggers. We want to understand their intent, their true intent. And what that means is that when someone's buying from you, they are looking for a certain. A certain feeling, a certain desired outcome. Maybe they're trying to feel better about themselves. Maybe they're trying to feel part of a community.
[00:12:18] Maybe they want others to admire them, whatever it is, there's always an emotional trigger and it also plays a key role in social proof. So for example, You can use the bank that the bandwagon effect, which the bandwagon effect is a psychological trigger, which basically tells us that if a lot of people are doing it, that means it's good and we should use it too.
[00:12:40] So that's where you say, Oh, X amount of people are using the product or people all over the world or from 170 countries are using our product. But other than that, There are other psychological triggers that can help. So let's say that you identify that the biggest roadblock that people have before signing up to your product is that they are worried.
[00:13:03] They won't be able to do it themselves. They're not tech savvy. They don't understand the product. They're worried. They're going to get stuck. Now you could say. On the website by yourself, you could say we have 24 hours of customer support, which is great. But what if you displayed a testimonial by an actual customer that said it was 2:00 AM and I was completely stuck.
[00:13:27] I had no idea what to do. I was panicking and Amy from the team was there to help me and guide me through the entire issue and sold it for me within 30 minutes. I'm so glad that they have 24 hour customer service.
[00:13:42] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:13:42] Wow. Yes, it's so powerful.
[00:13:45] Talia Wolf: [00:13:45] It's a huge, different, and not is that that's emotional. There's an emotional trigger in there because when you, when you say it that way, then you're capturing people's attention. That's a story. People love stories that identify them with them, with them. They relate to them. Thus, as you just saying in a cute icon with a clock on it, it says 24 hour service.
[00:14:08] There's there's real power to using testimonials correctly.
[00:14:13] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:14:13] I love it. Okay. So a question that I have is that, you know, for most businesses we have different types of buyers, right? We have people who are coming in, maybe our product or our solution can help in a few different desired outcomes or help people to kind of change in a few different ways that matter to them.
[00:14:29] Are there different types of social proof that are going to work with different kinds of buyers?
[00:14:35]Talia Wolf: [00:14:35] That's a great question. You know, I think that it really depends more on their stage of awareness. Thus is the type of buyer that they are. So obviously if you're in B2B or B to C, this varies. But stages of awareness are essentially the five stages, which Eugene Schwartz the OJI copywriter, back in the fifties, he created these five stages of awareness.
[00:15:02] And what it actually means is that when you go through a customer journey, there's five different stages that you go through in your mind. One of them, the first one is it goes from unaware of being completely unaware that you have some pain to pain, aware, solution aware Product aware and most aware.
[00:15:20] And each one of them is basically kind of identifying a certain state of mind that you have, whether you are in the stage of just needing to understand that this is a problem that needs solving, or if you're looking for different solutions that can help you. Or if you're comparing solutions, each one is very different and super important.
[00:15:39] Okay. And it helps you identify what content needs to be on the page. For example, if someone is completely unaware that they're even experiencing any problems, so maybe you're a startup and you're trying to penetrate a market, but no one even knows that they need this solution. Then most of your ads should probably be about that pain, triggering that pain and telling them the story of.
[00:16:05] That pain. If you are targeting people who are pain aware, meaning they know they have the problem, but they don't necessarily understand that there's a solution for it. Then you need to bring that to their attention. And the same goes for social proof. If someone is paying and where then maybe you want to use a testimonial of someone complaining about an issue that these people have to, or if you are targeting people who are product aware who are actively comparing you versus your competitor.
[00:16:35] Then you can use social proof about how many people are using your product or how many people you've helped or how much you know, the results you receive, you got for your client. So it's not as, I don't see it as segment of people and more the stage that people are going through in the customer journey.
[00:16:54] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:16:54] Yeah. Ooh, this is so, so good. Okay. So you've given a bunch of examples and like to make this all really tangible for the listeners. Do you have any specific examples, maybe it's a project you did for a client, maybe it's one of your students that has shared a kind of win that they got by incorporating social proof.
[00:17:12] Can you give any specific examples of a business? That wasn't doing this before found kind of a nugget or an insight and found a way to communicate that through social proof. And then kind of like what happened for them? Do you have any stories like that?
[00:17:27] Talia Wolf: [00:17:27] yeah. To come to mind as I'm listening to this to you asked me this question. So number one, which is my favorite is a client where I incorporated a quote from a client as the main hero image in there, on their homepage. So in their header on the homepage, they basically had a photo of this person giving the testimonial with the quote itself.
[00:17:54]And that was the first thing that people saw on the page and actually got incredible results. It was so. Cool to see that you know, rather than showing a picture of the products or showing the team or whatever it was at that that companies have before have actually incorporating a client or prospect or a customer on your website, that's already bought with you as already trusted in you and is giving this amazing testimonial can go a long way and it received amazing results.
[00:18:25] So that's like, The number one thing that came to mind as I was listening to this question.
[00:18:32] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:18:32] I love that story. Cause you know what, it's funny you say that. And like, I think as soon as you said that, I was like, Oh, you're allowed to do that. I like, my mind went immediately to like, you never see that. Right. You don't see that very often. Anyway. It's certainly not. Common website practice. And so I think, you know, but of course that makes so much sense.
[00:18:51] Why wouldn't you have this really compelling words from customers as the first thing somebody sees, you know, to hook them to want to read more, but it's not something that people conventionally do. It's typically, you know, a product shot or it's, you know, a value proposition about the product and then kind of like a positioning statement or something, but you don't often see that.
[00:19:12] And it's like, Well just cause it's not common. That probably is a good thing.
[00:19:16] Talia Wolf: [00:19:16] Yeah. You know, when you're in a very I guess Competitive industry. And there's a lot of competition. These kinds of things can change the game when you are constantly being compared to others and people, a tab jumping from one option to the next, and they suddenly see someone that looks like them, that they can relate to, and actually providing a quote about how amazing this company is and how it helped them transition them or change them or help them become this person that they wanted to become.
[00:19:48] That can go a long way and it doesn't have to, you know, be instead of the value proposition or instead of a call to action button, it's just the main hero image is actually showing your customer. And even if you didn't include a quote, even if you just had the photo of this person and a text below them saying, this is their name, this is how long they've been on a client and how happy they are.
[00:20:12] With us then that would be, that would go a long way too. So it's, it's worked so well and I love that strategy.
[00:20:22] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:20:22] Oh, that's so good. Okay. So I'm, let's do a hypothetical scenario here. So I'm a marketer or an entrepreneur, and I am ready to up my game when it comes to social proof, maybe I've only done the kind of obvious things. Maybe I have a couple of logos on my website from clients we've worked with. Maybe I've got a couple of testimonials, but they're not really, they're not an emotional trigger.
[00:20:41] Testimonials. They're kind of just like so-and-so was great. Like, so now I'm ready to start doing more. Like, what are my first steps to going out and assessing, like, what should I be sharing? What content should I try to get from past clients? Like, how do I decide what to do first?
[00:20:58] Talia Wolf: [00:20:58] without a doubt, a customer survey, like that's it. That's the only thing I'm going to say, because. Well, you want to do is you want to reach out to your best customers, the ones that are super engaged or your best clients and say, Hey, I'm trying to improve my website. I'm trying to make my business better.
[00:21:18] I'm trying to help serve more people. In a better way, and I'd love to get your feedback and you don't ask them about, I don't know, do they like your website or why did they come to your website? You asked them very specific questions. One of my favorite questions, which will as is very helpful is if you could no longer use this product anymore or solution or my service anymore, what would you miss the most?
[00:21:45]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:21:45] that's good.
[00:21:47] Talia Wolf: [00:21:47] Yeah, it's a very, very good question because normally you'd ask what's the best thing about it. So what's your favorite feature or what can't you live without, but when you ask it in that way and you're telling them, Hey, tomorrow, you won't be able to use this anymore. You won't be able to contact us anymore.
[00:22:04] What's the one thing you're going to miss the most. You're going to get a ton of value. From that you're going to get real roll answers. So what you want to do is reach out with specific questions that uncover different emotional triggers that really I guess, help you identify the value that people see in you and not will help you understand your customers better.
[00:22:29] For example, you could even ask what's the number one thing you would mention to a friend. If you wanted to convince them to give us a try. That is testimonials. Those are testimonials. People are going to write back to you and in their words, and then all you have to do is copy and paste their words onto your website.
[00:22:47] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:22:47] Oh, genius. It's so easy. It's easy for you. It's easy for the customer or the client. And with that first question you asked, you know, what would you miss the most, if you couldn't use that, even as you were asking that I felt like this emotional response, it was like you think about your favorite products or your favorite service providers that you love working with.
[00:23:03] And the thought of having that relationship suddenly severed. It does drop emotions. It's like, Oh my God, it'd be so painful. I'd have to go and try to do all the research again to find another good provider or another great tool. And like all of our workflows are in there and Oh my God, like my business would break.
[00:23:19] Like it definitely conjures up a very quick emotional response. I love that question.
[00:23:26] Talia Wolf: [00:23:26] Yeah, for sure. And I think that that is the key to getting testimonials and social proof where you're going to the souls and asking them the questions and getting the replies and just using those.
[00:23:41] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:23:41] Okay. So you've given us so much gold in this episode already. And at one point you had mentioned a few different tools. You mentioned trust pilot, or using review apps. If you're an e-commerce company, any special tools or resources that listeners should check out. Of course, there's probably so much out there, but is there anything that you think is, you know, this is a good one worth mentioning anything that comes to mind? ,
[00:24:05] Talia Wolf: [00:24:05] Yeah. Actually, one of my favorite ones is proof. It's a simple plugin that you add to your sales page or your website, and it shows how, who actually converted lost. So when we're, when we open enrollment, right. For our courses, we have that show up and it basically shows the people who signed up and enrolled for the course in the past 30 minutes.
[00:24:28] So it says, Oh, this person Alabama signed up now, or this person from London registered and it just keeps coming. And it just shows all the people that took an action and you can decide what action that is. And you can decide what the pop-up will say, but it's super cool. And I've seen it work really well for us.
[00:24:48] So I definitely recommend it.
[00:24:50] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:24:50] Very cool. And what thinking of that? Like, so we recently had a launch and one of the things that I followed up and I asked buyers was, you know, tell, tell me like, what was going on in your world, the big you buy this. And a bunch of people came back and said, Oh, I saw so-and-so who I trusted tweet about it or mention it.
[00:25:05] And the price was good. And so. You're talking about all these ways that you can gather social proof from people. Is it possible to also kind of like incentivize social proof, like to get people sharing your message,
[00:25:17] Talia Wolf: [00:25:17] Yeah, I mean, for sure. When I, when I launched my first course ever, I was just telling you about this before I was six months pregnant and I, I reached out. Excuse me. I reached out to some good friends. I one of them was Rand Fishkin and I said, Hey, do you mind like tweeting something? And I really did just expect him to write like, Hey, you know, check out Talia's thing.
[00:25:44] But he wrote an entire thread of like seven tweets. And it was incredible because a ton of people mentioned later that they enrolled because Rhonda. Tweeted about it. So I do think that when it comes from a genuine place where you're just saying like, Hey, can I have, you know, do you mind out a bit to just spread the word?
[00:26:04] And we do this a lot with all our friends, when my friends reach out to me and say, Hey, do you mind we tweeting this? Do you mind sending this to a bunch of people? If I find value in something and I think it's really going to be valuable for my. Listeners or for my readers, I'll send an email to my email base and say, Hey guys, you know, there's something really cool going on.
[00:26:23] You should check it out. So I don't think there's any harm in asking other people for help.
[00:26:28] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:26:28] I love that. That's so good. And veranda is just, he's such a genuine guy too. You know, if he's recommending something that it genuinely is something good, like he's done such a good job as you talk about like building trust. Like I really think people trust him. And so a great word for brand is really meaningful.
[00:26:46] Okay. So let's say I'm a marketer. I'm working at a company and I. No, that we could be doing more with social proof and it's a priority for me, but it's not a priority for the rest of the team. Is there something I could do to persuade my team, to really get why this is important? So I can spend a little time here.
[00:27:05] Talia Wolf: [00:27:05] You know, I think that at the end of the, the day it's about testing and showing the results. So a lot of the times it's a mentioning, Hey, this isn't going to take a ton of my time. It's going to be part of what I'm doing anyway. So if you're going to do a customer survey, then say, Hey, I'm going to use this for social proof.
[00:27:24] Right? Or if you know that you, the company has two or three main roadblocks that are constantly holding people back, then you could say, Hey, my hypothesis is that if we, instead of saying this and this on our website, if we included testimonials or these numbers or this on the website yeah. We would get better results.
[00:27:45] Let's test it. So I feel like when you go to your manager or your boss or anyone, and you say like, here's my hypothesis, here's how, here's the problem. Here's my hypothesis. Here's how I want to solve it. I don't think there's a lot that people can say against it. It's not like you're saying, Hey, let's redesign something.
[00:28:02] It's just about including an important piece of information on your, on your page. So, and by the way, another way to do it is to test it in ads, which is what I tend to do quite a bit. I'll test a quote or a specific social proof in a Facebook ad and see how people respond to that. I'm like, Oh, if this people are responding well to this, let's include it on our website or on the pricing page or in an email and so on.
[00:28:29] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:28:29] So good. That's so smart. And I think you're right. I mean, I think if you position it as an experiment, you know, most people are going to be more open to that versus like a big project that we need to do. I love that. Okay. So, you know, moving forward in our hypothetical scenario, I have gone out, I've gotten some social proof.
[00:28:47] I've like I surveyed customers. I've pulled things in and I'm showing more now to kind of indicate that this is a product or a solution that people should trust. How am I going to know when it's working? Like what will be the telltale signs?
[00:29:02] Talia Wolf: [00:29:02] well the short answer is you're not going to know directly, but if you're just now adding social proof for the first time, then you can definitely test it and see the result. And you'll see results because when you're testing such a thing, you will see a difference in conversions. But the other way you can also use as heat maps to see if people are lingering on that section.
[00:29:24] If people hovering over it, people like clicking on it. It's more of a strategic thing. So you're not going to have impact results and numbers to show unless you're running a specific AB test, but. It's important. So I feel like you can use heat maps and other devices in order to just like, see if people are even interacting with it.
[00:29:49] But I don't know if I should expect to see, you know, hard core results in Google analytics and expect to see something like a spike, unless I'm testing it.
[00:29:59] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:29:59] Right. Okay. That makes a lot of sense. So tell you, you have given us a wealth of information. I'm super inspired. I want to try that prove app. Our next launch and check that out. I'm definitely going to be sending one of those surveys. So two of our new customers, and so obviously people are going to want to learn more from you.
[00:30:18] What's the best way for them to follow up with you and learn more of this good stuff.
[00:30:25]Talia Wolf: [00:30:25] So to learn more on our website, get uplift.co. We have a blog with a ton of free resources and guides and workshops. So that's a good place to learn more. And then if you want, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram, and I can definitely answer any specific questions that you have and dive into a conversation and they're with you.
[00:30:47] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:30:47] Fantastic. And I can attest for how fantastic her blog is. It is outstanding. So definitely make sure to check it out, guys. We'll tell you. Thank you for being here today and for sharing all of this with us.
[00:30:58] Talia Wolf: [00:30:58] Thank you so much for having me. I had a great time.
Host of Customer Show & Founder of Customer Camp
Katelyn is the founder of Customer Camp, a training and research firm that helps growth-ready product teams to get inside their customer’s heads so they can market smarter.