If you’ve noticed that your sales and marketing efforts have been lacking, it may be time to incorporate social proof into your strategies. This well-studied psychological phenomenon outlines the fact that people are inclined to make buying decisions based on those that they see around them, be it their family members, friends or even celebrities.
In fact, social proof is such a trusted idea that Fortune 500 companies have spent large sums of money to expand their reach and build trust with their target audience through influencer marketing. This may seem like an easy concept for national brands like Walmart and McDonald’s, but rest assured that social proof can still play a part in small regional businesses in the special events industry.
The idea behind social proof is to build your third-party credibility in order to promote word-of-mouth marketing. Think about it: If you’re considering signing up for a meal delivery subscription, would you pick one at random or would you choose the one that your friend gushes about weekly? Chances are you choose your friend’s go-to service because you value and trust her opinion.
The same could be said about planning an event. Most clients are planning a one-time event and generally look to certain people for a referral. Engaged couples are known to ask for vendor recommendations from their already-married friends, just as corporate event hosts seek vendor lists from past events.
While you may not have control over what people are telling their friends, you can still use the power of social proof to your advantage. Start by collecting testimonials from happy clients and create case studies based on your very best events. Share these on your website to showcase the third-party credibility that you’ve earned from your work.
Look to your vendor network, as well. When a lead mentions they’ve booked with someone you know, speak their praises! Not only does this place emphasis on your relationship and align your services, but it also validates the client’s decision, which can build their confidence and lead them to book with you quicker. For example, if you’re a photographer and you learn that a prospect has booked their florist, show off some photos from past events in which you worked together and share how much you love collaborating with them.
Conversely, you can also use your client as social proof to grow your industry network. Venues, especially, tend to have “gatekeepers” that can get in the way of reaching key decision makers. Drop the name and event date for a client (or even a prospect!) to establish your credentials and validate your relationship. That’s how you gain an “in” with hard-to-reach industry peers.
Social proof comes in many forms, but the idea is to embrace your connections and build relationships in order to grow your brand’s reach. Ask for reviews and testimonials, tell your clients to share with their friends and utilize your industry buddies—all these strategies will help you to earn new leads and close more sales.