We’ve all done it: questioned all of our life choices that led up to that very moment, finger hovering over the “Add to Cart” button.
You saw it on Instagram and now you’re pretty sure a make-your-own seltzer machine will change your life. So you searched Amazon and read about all of the water you’re going to drink, money you’re going to save, and bottles you’re going to keep out of our landfills.
But just as you’re about to pull the trigger, doubts start creeping in… Will this work for me? Is it really worth $79.99 + FREE SHIPPING?
What do you do? Scroll down to the reviews.
And just like that, Patricia J. — from somewhere in the United States and reviewed on June 22, 2020 — holds up a mirror and shows you your best self, her life improved in the exact ways you’ve envisioned.
Forget “Add to Cart;” you return to the top and boldly click “Buy Now.”
// putting social proof to work selling online training in the TrainHeroic marketplace
When potential clients land on your marketplace sales page, they want to know three things before they buy your programming*:
Our team did a killer job setting you up for conversion success with the new Marketplace 3.0 PageBuilder, laying it out in a super pro-looking but still easy-to-manage way.
By now, you’ve nailed your value prop, amping up potential clients (niche) and selling them on the many features and benefits of working with you (offer). Your next task: overcome objections with FAQs and social proof.
Cool, cool… So what is social proof?
*This golden nugget is courtesy of Angie Lee, digital marketing ninja and nailer of niches.
// social proof: the lowdown
Social proof taps into our psychological desire to conform, harnessing the “But everyone else is doing it!” feeling your Mama warned you about.
Social proof can be a powerful sales tool, but only if you execute it correctly by finding the relatable sweet spot.
Generic Testimonials: Not believable
On one end of the spectrum are written testimonials. They often feature a one-sentence soundbyte, the kitschiest of which may be attributed to “John S.” with a suspiciously stock image-like headshot. There’s a time and a place for real written testimonials, for sure, but they can also feel generic and anonymous if you forget to add the flavor packet.
Influencer Testimonials: Not relatable
On the opposite end, there’s celebrity/influencer testimonials. These are more aspirational. If your training program was what helped Gerard Butler transform into King Leonidas for the movie 300, you KNOW you could sell clients on that alone. Ehh, maybe… because your clients only have so much in common with Gerard Butler.
The sweet spot
The most impactful social proof lands us in a relatable sweet spot between anonymity and celebrity. Your potential client wants to know that your programming has worked for other people just like them. People who are also busy professionals and/or parents, preparing for the college hockey season, training for their next Olympic weightlifting competition, trying to lose 15 lbs. after years of inactivity, etc.
// the anatomy of great social proof
We’ll get into how to track down social proof below, but let’s start with some ground rules.
What makes for good social proof?
Effective social proof uses the language of your ideal client and sounds like something a real human would actually say. Err on the side of conversational; it feels more genuine, making it more credible.
Reinforces the benefits your training offers
Focus on feedback that connects back to your benefit statements. If your programming is designed to increase athletes’ speed, share social proof from clients who’ve shaved time off their 200m, etc. Provide evidence that what you’re selling works.
Showcases your ideal client / niche
If you’re training former competitive gymnasts who are getting back into the gym after giving birth, those are the women whose testimonials you should showcase. Rookie firefighter Sam’s experience won’t pack the same relatability punch.
Pro tip for nailing social proof on your new marketplace page: Get creative with the Descriptor line in the PageBuilder. Descriptive titles or context lend authenticity to your testimonials AND help your potential clients see themselves in your current ones.
Because if it worked for them, your potential clients can envision success for themselves. Boom, you’re one step closer to conversion.
// Where to find social proof
If this isn’t your first rodeo running a business and promoting it on the interwebs, your social proof is already out there. In comments, reviews, mentions/tags, DMs…
The goal is to find positive experiences with you and your coaching business, as shared by current/former clients. Pro tip: When you come across social proof, screenshot it in its original context! The best social proof looks and feels organic and genuine. Highlighting it in its originally formatted glory can be powerful.
Here are three examples from a quick social media search of some of TrainHeroic’s top marketplace sellers:
While the first two are examples of social proof in its natural habitat, Derek Woodske has actually taken the next step and shared the last one to his Instagram story. (Bonus points for tagging @TrainHeroic! You know we shared that to our story.)
Need more ideas?
Here’s a quick and totally non-comprehensive list of places to look for social proof:
* NOTE: Best practice is to blur out identifying details or ask for permission to share emails/texts, DMs, and in-app messages. They’re not public by nature, so be respectful of your clients’ privacy!
If you’re newer to the game OR are in search of longer written or video testimonials, you can always ask for them, either directly or via a social media call. You know who your most committed and passionate clients are, right? The ones you wish you could sign 100 more of? Ask them if they would be willing to write a Google review, share their session summary to their Instagram story, comment on your latest Facebook post, etc.
// the power of leveraging instagram stories to source social proof
Instagram stories are an especially powerful form of social proof, because they become a sort of content flywheel. When a client mentions you in their story, engage! If it’s a strong piece of social proof, share it to your story. If it’s not really representative of your brand/business, like and/or reply as positive reinforcement. *Fist bump*
Your other clients and followers will recognize that you share stories and begin tagging you with that goal in mind. The more stories you share (within reason, Friends), the more stories you will find yourself and your business being tagged in. And remember: once you share a story, it lives in your archive as a source of repurposable social proof!
A couple of Instagram story troubleshooting tips:
- If you’re seeing clients post Instagram stories about your business, but aren’t tagging you, message them! Saying something like “Hey, these stories are BADASS. I would love to share them if you are up for tagging me next time.” will usually do the trick.
- If your Instagram is set up as a business profile, you may not be able to share stories that use the music sticker. Your average Gram Fam probably doesn’t know that, so shoot them a quick DM letting know that you would like to share their story, BUT… Some users will delete and repost, while others are just game for future behavior change.
// what’s next?
Want to see all of this in action? Follow @TrainHeroic on Instagram.
Now that you’re a social proof pro, be sure to get creative on your TrainHeroic marketplace page. Then, regularly work it into your social media and marketing efforts. When you show off your star clients, you attract more just like them.