Imagine this scenario… You’re shopping for a new dressage saddle. You’re researching different saddle makers online to compare price, quality and design. You find two that have similar saddles that suit what you’re looking for.
One company has a Facebook following of 25,000 and lists several detailed product reviews on their website. You also notice several of your own Facebook friends have liked their page and, when you ask a friend for their opinion, they rave on and on about their saddles.
The other company has a smaller Facebook following of 3,000. You’ve seen a few advertisements every now and then, but none of your friends can recommend their products having never tried them personally.
Which one would you be more inclined to choose?
There is a wealth of psychological evidence behind social proof, and why we find the endorsements of others more trustworthy and influential than the claims businesses make about themselves. While this marketing staple is nothing new, social media websites, like Facebook, have made the feedback of real people more important and accessible than ever before.
Like it or lump it, the perception attached to likes on Facebook, followers on Youtube and check-ins on Foursquare have made social proof a necessity for the equine business owner. While there is more to social proof than simply numbers, it’s the word-of-mouth marketing your equine business may be missing.
So, where do you start?
Share Your Customer’s Story
From your website to your Facebook page, honest and authentic customer testimonials remain the most powerful marketing tools available to you. Testimonials attach instant credibility to your marketing efforts. Other customers can also relate to a real person sharing their experience of your product or service, making real customer stories far more appealing and persuasive.
Customer testimonials should be strategically placed throughout your website, newsletter, social media pages, print and digital advertising. For maximum impact, add a real attribution and photo of your customer alongside or, better yet, collect video testimonials from your customers. What’s most important is regularly sharing stories your customers say about your equine business in ways others can understand and relate to.
Strategies for Your Equine Business
In addition to customer testimonials, there’s an array of other social proof tactics that can boost your equine business, including:
- Reviews – Encourage your customers to leave reviews on your website or e-commerce platform. Should a customer leave a negative review, use it as an opportunity to demonstrate your commitment to customer service by responding with transparency.
- Badges – These icons are a simple way to show important affiliations, such as awards your equine business has won, media that has showcased your products or services, or industry certifications your business holds.
- Influencer or celebrity endorsements – If you’ve received a glowing review from a well-known individual in the horse industry, share it prominently on your website. You may even give the same visibility to testimonials from customers with large social media followings as they have a similar influence with their own audiences.
- Social media connections – Promote your active and engaged social media presence with social media plugins on your website. Plugins that display likes, recent posts and counters are a simple and highly visual way to convince others to follow your equine business.
- Subscriber counts – Finally, use your large subscriber list to your advantage. If you’ve got a sizeable list that receives your newsletter, share that number on your opt-in form to encourage others to join.
As customers continue to turn to Facebook friends and product reviews before clicking to buy or coming in store, social proof tactics should inform your marketing efforts both online and off. Establishing your equine business as credible, relevant and popular, social proof creates a stronger affinity between your brand and your buyers.
Looking for some outside support? Don’t wait for success, create it — with the experts in equine marketing, Archer Creative. To learn more about how we can help you exceed your growth goals, call us on 1300 077 126 or visit www.archercreative.net.au.