In my last post, we talked about social proof.
It’s not rocket science. As an aspiring entrepreneur, you know you need it.
You need it to demonstrate that whatever product or service you provide, yours is the right choice for your prospect.
And, a little more subconsciously but no less important, you need it to demonstrate you’re the popular choice. That by buying what you’re selling, your prospect will become one of the “cool kids”. (Don’t underestimate the power of this. Apple has had me wanting to be one of the “cool kids” for years!)
So today I want to share three concepts – you may have never thought of – that will help you build and leverage the social proof you need to succeed…
#1 – Social Proof Everywhere
Every page that’s trying to stimulate any action should really aspire to inject some kind of social proof. So you should look at every page where you’re trying to get someone to take an action, and take inventory of all the social proof elements you have.
But… where social proof is concerned, simply demonstrating it isn’t enough.
What do you do to collect social proof?
There’s an old adage in copywriting that says you need to make it easy for your prospect to give you their money. “Just clip the coupon and mail it in…” “Click the button and follow the three simple steps…”
The same applies to social proof.
When a prospect or customer gets wowed by whatever you offer, how easy is it for them to let you and the world know?
And I’m talking about going beyond the “Like us on Facebook” button.
What strategies to you employ, what actions do you take to make it easy for your herd to show their love?
Do you follow up with satisfaction campaigns? Are there areas where they can leave comments on all of your pages?
Think about new and different ways to make it easy for your herd to interact with you.
The more creative you can get here, the more you can really leverage your social proof.
#2 – Aim Low
We all want millions of followers connected to our social portals. Those big numbers seem to get noticed everywhere by everyone.
But here’s something very few entrepreneurs think about. An argument that can be made about quality over quantity.
A number of years back Kevin Kelly, the editor of Wired Magazine, introduced a concept called “1,000 True Fans.” The concept stemmed from the “long tail” trend in business. (The idea that selling a little bit of a lot more was the wave of the future.)
This idea is also incredibly important the more specific the niche your business operates in.
The idea is that all any entrepreneur, artist, or what-have-you needs to be really successful is 1,000 true fans.
What is a true fan?
A true fan, according to Kelly, is someone that will buy anything you’re selling. They’ll buy your hi-res box set even though they already own the low-res version. They’ll travel hundreds of miles to hear you speak. They’ll set Google alerts for your name and your product. They’ll write to you when you haven’t emailed them in a while. They’ll search eBay for vintage copies of your stuff.
That’s a true fan!
(A warning to note: The concept of 1,000 True Fans was originally applied to individuals – the solo-preneur in business. The bigger your business, the more true fans you’ll need. BUT… your true fans base only needs to increase proportionately to the size of your business while the results they provide will increase exponentially!)
True fans not necessarily easy to come by.
But they can literally transform your business.
While having a million followers on Twitter may look impressive, consider what only 1,000 true fans could actually do for you in your niche.
#3 – Being Better Isn’t Good Enough
Every entrepreneur wants to be better than the competition.
But simply being “better” is not enough to build a huge fan base of social proof. It doesn’t generate extreme loyalty. It won’t lead to those 1,000 true fans.
If you want to do that (and you should), what you need to do is… the unexpected. Something “over the top”.
There are all kinds of expectations tied to whatever product or service you’re selling. But there are also ways to go beyond those expectations.
A company that really nailed concept is Zappos.
Zappos started to FedEx their orders as a way of pleasantly surprising their customers. Something none of their customers were expecting. And none of their competition was doing.
By doing that, they created an emotional response. And they created raving fans.
So where can you surprise your customers?
Consider a concept known as “critical non-essentials”. Critical non-essentials are, are elements that are attached to your business, but aren’t directly related to whatever you’re selling.
Take a bathroom in a restaurant for instance. A restaurant is in the business of making and serving food. But one of its critical non-essentials is whether the bathrooms are clean, stocked with everything patrons need, etc.
For a physical product, it might be the packaging. What little things can be engineered into a product or a service that makes it better?