This one hit a raw nerve for me.
Subscriber Sara writes:
I just have to ask, because I’m sure you get a LOT more subscriber/customer responses than I do:
I can’t be the only person who get’s annoyed with “testimonials” and “I’ve been featured here, here, here, here, and here” -type homepages and welcome emails (?).
Granted, SOME social proof is necessary, but… Whoa.
(I’d give an example, but I don’t want to be petty.)
Anyhow, I guess it all depends on who the target audience is and how much the product costs?
I guess I’m just not a “[wannabe] big shot’s” target, huh?
The #2 sin when it comes to “social proof” is:
Shoving said social proof down a prospective customer’s throat from the word “Go.”
(What is the #1 social proof sin, you ask? “Not having any.”)
Far too many entrepreneurs and marketers plow through Cialdini’s “Influence,” hit the part about social proof, and just go hog wild with it.
Social proof IS a useful asset in your marketing.
It’s also dangerously seductive.
Many a marketing campaign has been shipwrecked on the rocks of VANITY.
After all, it’s human nature to want to shine the spotlight on yourself and your awesome achievements.
You worked HARD to get where you are.
Leading with social proof is a way of “bragging without bragging”—
It pushes your customer OUT of the spotlight while you take center stage.
Well, enjoy your 15 seconds, friend, ’cause that’s all you’re getting.
This kind of preening is obnoxious and turns good customers away.
That’s not to say that it’s never appropriate to trot out your media appearances, endorsements and testimonials—even to brag a little.
But that time is NOT early in the relationship, when your prospective customer is still cautiously sizing you up.
When you go this route, it’s one expensive ego trip.
P.S. The best way to develop your instincts for when and how to use tools like social proof is to learn by example…
Observing marketing that’s PROVEN to work (rather than just looking around at what others are doing).
That’s one reason why I’m so adamant in recommending the CopyHour program.
In CopyHour, you’ll study complete, end-to-end marketing campaigns that are SUCCESSFUL.
You’ll see plenty of examples of social proof applied deftly—along with other critical copywriting techniques.
The spring class is enrolling now.