Social proof can be astonishingly persuasive when it’s used correctly.
Yet it can also hurt sales.
Let’s say you launch a product and get a handful of testimonials. And then you continue selling the same product for five or six years without ever getting any new testimonials.
If you have a long buying cycle, some prospects may notice and it could cause them to doubt the authenticity of the testimonials and the value of your product.
This is especially true if your testimonials have a date associated with them.
I realize it is not common to date testimonials, but one of my clients did when he posted snapshots of trading portfolios.
Problem? The dates on the trading portfolios were from 2006. He hadn’t bothered to get any new ones in 6+ years.
Naturally, prospects who see outdated portfolios will begin to wonder if something is wrong. They will wonder if the trading strategies still work today as well as they did in 2006.
In this case, it was better for my client to omit the customer portfolios until he was able to get updated case studies.
Social proof can also hurt sales if it is too vague.
Let’s say you’ve got a few testimonials, but they all say something like, “Great product! Highly recommended!”
First of all, this kind of testimonial is not persuasive or convincing.
Secondly, your prospect may think you fabricated the testimonials out of thin air. (And, yes, some people do write fake testimonials, so consumers ought to be skeptical.)
The last thing you want is for social proof to hurt your credibility.
With that in mind, avoid using outdated customer feedback and vague testimonials that sound as if they could have been faked.
And if you are ever in doubt, leave it out.
Better to err on the side of caution than to accidentally create doubt and suspicion in your prospect’s mind.
-Ryan M. Healy
P.S. Need an ad, sales letter, or autoresponder emails written? Contact me to discuss. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 720-344-7788.
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