Social media and the internet have changed marketing completely. This is thanks to the abundance of social proof available online to help consumers make better buying decisions. But that hasn’t changed the impact of email. Studies show that we send as many as 269 billion emails every day internationally — a number that’s forecast to hit about 320 billion by 2021. How can you get the best of both? By putting more social proof in your emails.
What is Social Proof?
Social proof describes how people use cues from the people around them to decide what is acceptable social behaviour. In marketing, Buffer says that the six types of social proof that affect buying decisions include:
- Expert: When an expert in your industry recommends your products or services or is associated with your brand.
- Celebrity: When a celebrity endorses your products.
- User: When your current users recommend your products and services based on their experiences with your brand.
- Crowd: When a large group of people is seen to be endorsing your brand.
- Friends: When people see their friends approve your product.
- Certification: When you’re given a stamp of approval by an authoritative figure in your industry.
Use these six types of social proof in your marketing emails, but preferably not all at once. Pick one or two of the following options to start with (so you don’t overwhelm your subscribers) and rotate them regularly to get the most impact.
Social Proof in Email
1. Expert Social Proof
Many modern websites include the logos of some of their well-known clients right on the home page. This is because a strong, recognisable brand instills trust by association; something we call the halo effect. Try putting those logos subtly in your emails too.
2. Celebrity Social Proof
Know of any celebrities in your industry? Ask them to endorse your product or service, either by talking about it on social media, or by using photos of them using it in your email marketing (celebrities are often paid for endorsements like this). The people in your industry will probably recognise them and be impressed that you’re their provider / supplier of choice.
3. User Social Proof
You’ve heard it before: people trust people. Not companies or brands. That’s why user social proof is especially valuable — it comes directly from the people using your products and services. Neil Patel recommends harnessing user social proof in email in one of two ways:
- Sharing customer testimonials / reviews: Include these at the bottom of your emails with real photos of the people who shared them. You can even use personalisation tactics like dynamic content and list segmentation to send relevant reviews to people in specific industries.
Find out more about email personalisation in our blog post:
- Linking to case studies: For purchases that cost more or require a longer commitment, it’s worth sharing links to real-world case studies of how you’ve added notable value to your existing clients. For instance, we have a whole page on our website dedicated to Everlytic case studies — this is easy to link to in email.
4. Crowd Social Proof
Powerful numbers and statistics of your successes can be especially potent at generating trust. And this is the kind of information you probably have access to already.
For instance, do you know that the global average ROI on email marketing campaigns is R40 for every R1 spent? Share those kinds of stats. Do 89% of your clients double their income within three months of joining your programme? This will intrigue potential clients. Do you have a lot of email subscribers? Tell people about it.
Problogger uses subscriber numbers on its newsletter sign-up form; harnessing the power of social proof in email from the moment people subscribe.
5. Friends Social Proof
People trust the opinions of the people they trust. So, find ways to cross-pollinate between your social media and email marketing channels. Because, as Business2Community points out, an email subscriber who becomes a social media follower, or vice versa, has two channels that they can use to spread your message and amplify your reach.
You can do this by including an email newsletter signup tab on your social media pages (this may require some integration with your email service provider) and links to those pages in your emails — or better yet: to specific social campaigns. This is how Coke linked to a social campaign in one of its emails:
6. Certification Social Proof
Are you or your business certified to do something special in your industry? Put it in your email signature, or as a note in the bottom of your marketing emails. Showing that you’re trained and approved by leading institutions instills trust and increases client buy-in.
Social media, social proof, and email marketing are all vital elements for strong marketing campaigns. Reinforce them by using them together.