The world of marketing is ever-changing. With every passing day, a new discovery about the way people buy things is uncovered. And, with that discovery comes a slew of new tools that you can use to help market products and services better.
One of the newest ways to help bring a sense of urgency is through social proof marketing. Haven’t heard this term before? Well, you’re not alone. This term is just beginning to gain traction in internet marketing circles. If you have an online store, then you absolutely should check out some software that can help you harness its power.
What Is Social Proof Marketing?
Do you remember when you were in school, and the cool kids all wore the same type of clothing? Maybe it wasn’t clothes, but just the right type of shoes, the right laptop setup, or the right cellphone.
Either way, you might remember that you felt a certain amount of pressure to buy those items. Or, you might’ve just assumed that the item in question was the best on the market. Why? Because those items had social proof.
Social proof is the term for the clout that an item gains as more and more people buy it. The more that people are seen buying and using an item, the more people tend to associate that item with quality—or even as a status symbol.
If it sounds a little psychological, that’s because it is. It’s a concept that plays off human instinct. People are social creatures that typically follow trends and rely on the consensus of a group to make decisions. Our brains tell us, “If everyone else is doing it, then it has to be good!”
Does Social Proof Work?
In the past, using social proof was a way to protect humanity. It was a part of survival instinct. Social proof helped people figure out which foods were poisonous as well as a slew of other things. That instinct is still alive and well—quite strong, too!
Studies show that having social proof widgets on your site can increase sales by 15 to 35 percent on average. So, it’s pretty clear that social proof is highly effective. Moreover, it doesn’t seem to be the kind of marketing that loses its traction, either.
Will Social Proof Work With My Target Demographic?
Here’s the amazing thing about social proof as a marketing tool: it works with everyone and also happens work well with every industry imaginable. It makes sense why, too. Everyone has a “tribe” that they belong to and that they resonate with— even the weird hippie that’s writing this article!
We are all geared to follow the general trends of people in our tribe. It’s called “herd mentality,” and we all do it. It actually takes a lot of effort to go against the trend of your crowd, since doing so often leads to ostracism and problems within your social scene. So, we’re all kind of naturally ingrained with the desire to follow trends.
Every time that a person sees someone who they can relate to buying your product, it urges them to follow suit. After all, no one wants to be the last person who’s in on a hot new trend, right?
How Do You Add Social Proof To A Site?
There are several ways you can add social proof to your site or marketing campaign, and chances are that you might even be able to think of some more. Any way that you can give people the impression that others love your brand is technically a form of social proof marketing.
With that said, there definitely seem to be some methods that are more tried and true than others. These are the most common ways people do it:
- Get influencers to flaunt or talk about a product. Influencers tend to be a loose form of social proof. While they do offer a certain level of trendiness and trust, many people find them to be fake. (Because they are.)
- Use pop-up notifications to show people when others buy from you. K-Factors is a great widget for this, and it’s capable of being added to just about any retail site that you could want.
- Engage people on social media. Yes, it’s true. Having a highly engaged audience means that you will be able to have a certain level of social proof for your products and site. (This is actually how many major fashion brands are now getting their start.)
- Encourage people to leave positive reviews on other sites. Some people won’t buy from a store unless they see others leaving reviews saying that the products are legit. Having tools like the ones from K-Factors can help with this, too.
- Get positive press. If it’s in your budget, then hiring someone to give your site a nice PR boost might be in order. Whether it’s warranted or not, people trust what media outlets tell them. This, in turn, gives your company social proof.
- Have an affiliate program of your own. At the Concessionist, we all know the power of a good affiliate marketing program. If you offer an incentive to your customers, it’s very likely that they will refer friends and family to your store. No matter what age we’re in, word of mouth is still one of the most trusted forms of marketing out there.
Social proof is not some passing trend in marketing, nor is it something you should overlook. Every successful marketer is doing it to one extent or another. Whether it’s through using pop-up notifications to show buyers that what you’re offering is legit or encouraging people to talk to you via social media, showing others that others trust you is a must.
In a world where everything feels manufactured and fake, feeling like you have some signs that you can genuinely trust a store from is vital. If you aren’t thinking about social proof when you’re working on a marketing campaign, it’s time for a major change. After all, everyone else is doing it.
3 Awesome Affiliate Marketing Review Strategies That Actually Work
I’ll be honest. Affiliate marketing can be downright intimidating when you first start out. It’s a little wild to think that you need to sell a product to a person who you can’t see and can’t speak to directly, right?
Like with most other types of sales, selling is all about strategy. If you go too heavy-handed, then you’re going to end up making your readers feel like they’re being sold to. If you go too light, then you won’t actually sell anything at all because no one will be engaged enough.
Today, we’re going to discuss affiliate marketing review strategies that work. More specifically, we’re going to talk about three formats that work remarkably well at converting sales and why they work. Let’s get started!
The Product Roundup
The first affiliate format that’s been proven to work has been a staple in fashion magazines since before the internet was a major conduit of information. A roundup is just what it sounds like—a collection of products that the marketer thinks are awesome.
The product roundup comes in a wide range of different sub-categories, including top tens, collections of products all relating to a special occasion, and gift lists. As long as there’s a general theme to the roundup, it’ll work well for you.
Product roundups work well because they are organized, let people learn about products they’re already interested in, and also happen to serve up info in a way that’s easy to digest. If you’ve ever wanted to know what the best X’s for Y’s are, then you’ll get why it works.
To make your roundup work well, you need to choose elegant photos and also give people a good idea of what each product offers in terms of benefits. Comparing and contrasting the products can also work, if you are doing a top ten review.
Reviews have become a mainstay among modern affiliate marketers, especially those that consider themselves to be up-and-coming influencers. The reason why is simple: it works on a personal level, especially if it’s done in a story format.
Studies show that people tend to remember stories better, and tend to get more emotionally invested in the product as a result. It’s also fairly obvious that reviews offer a far more in-depth glance at a product, giving people a better understanding of what they should expect if they buy it.
What really sells a review, though, is the personal touch. By showing yourself as a real person who is interacting with the product, you boost the trustworthiness of your review immensely. That, in turn, gives people a lot more reason to believe in you, your brand, as well as the product you’re hawking.
Reviews might seem egotistical to do at first, but they’re not. They appeal to users because they add a human touch to a type of sale that’s not usually very “human.”
This is an affiliate marketing method that is starting to pick up in popularity, and rightfully so. We all know that people don’t like the idea of feeling “sold to,” which is why some product roundups end up feeling too salesy to be effective. That’s where a how-to comes into play.
So, what does a how-to do? It’s simple. Think about the last time you went online to find out how to do something—a craft, maybe cleaning instructions, or a makeup look. Did you ever notice how many guides involve supplies that you may or may not have?
Makeup looks need special shades of makeup. Home improvement guides will tell you to get specific tools, paints, or cleaning solvents. Craft how-to’s will suggest that people buy up a bunch of different kits. See where this is going?
The how-to is a great way to sell without selling. You’re not explicitly telling them to buy something, nor are you sitting there, talking about how amazing it is. You’re just showing them what they can do if they owned that object.
The key feature here is that you’re providing actionable, SEO-friendly content that subtly shows the value of what you’re trying to sell. It’s the ultimate affiliate marketing format for people catering to crowds that may not be open to other affiliate styles.
Which Strategy Is The Best?
Here’s the thing that everyone needs to realize: different strategies will work for different people and products. Your best bet, if you want to get as many sales as possible, is to use all three in varying degrees.
A little variety can go a long, long way. So, give each a try. The more you work with each affiliate strategy, the better off you’ll be.
10 Signs You Shouldn’t Work For An Affiliate
Let’s just be honest here. I’ve harped and waxed poetic when it came to just about every aspect of choosing an affiliate. It’s literally the biggest issue that you will face as a marketer. Bad affiliate, bad time, no money. I mean it.
The thing is, there are so many different affiliate sites out there and so many products that you can choose to sell. We all know about the big ones like Amazon or ClickBank, but others still pop up that are new every single day. Sometimes, it can be hard to get an idea of whether or not an affiliate is worth it. These signs below indicate something might be up…
- You can’t find any reviews or information about them online. Every affiliate worth their salt will have at least one or two reviews from affiliate marketers who’ve worked with them backing them. If you can’t find a single ounce of information on them, you might not be dealing with a legitimate company.
- Any information you DO find seems to warn people against the company. If you end up finding nothing but bad reviews online, it’s better to trust the warnings others give you. It may save you from getting badly burnt.
- The promises are way too good to be true. Though affiliate marketing is fairly lucrative, it’s not going to be an overnight success. It takes months or even years to get a site that’s totally geared towards affiliate marketing to work. If you’re seeing ads telling you that you’ll earn millions, back away.
- People mention that it’s hard to actually get money from the affiliate in reviews. A very high minimum payout, having to jump through hoops to get your money, or being asked to pay a high fee for access to your account are all signs that you’re going to get grifted.
- The products are terrible. I can’t emphasize this enough, and it’s something I’ve spoken about at length when it comes to my other articles. If the product is crap, no amount of selling, hawking, and talking up will suffice. Bad products will only wear you and your business down. Skip bad products!
- Everyone in the affiliate market is selling the same product from the same affiliate. Back in the day, this was the issue that happened to some large affiliate networks. Their products became absolutely terrible in quality, and that meant that they had to trim down their wares. The problem is that this led to all of their thousands of marketers hawking the same product. The market was flooded and no one made any money.
- Their links and tracking system are glitchy. A company that has a reputation for glitchy or nonfunctional tracking is a company which will cost you more money than they’re worth. Unless you enjoy spending your time haranguing customer service or heading to court, you’ll avoid working for them.
- Something about the program just doesn’t make sense. If the program or product doesn’t make sense, seems too rough around the edges, or just doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut. It’s better to go with a program you feel comfortable with than to go with one you don’t fully trust.
- The company asks you to buy a service in order to sell their goods. This is never a good sign, and in many cases, the company in question is actually making most of their profits from people buying the right to sell their goods. Companies that are worth a damn won’t ever ask you to pay money upfront just to sell their goods.
- You’ve heard the company’s name mentioned as an MLM. Affiliate marketing is not the same as multi-level marketing nor should you ever mistake the two. One will make you rich, and the other will alienate you from others while draining your bank account. If you start hearing about it as an MLM scheme, run and don’t look back.
Should You Hire A PR Agent To Promote Your Site?
As a person who regularly gets paid to post on blogs, I work with a lot of PR agents. They are people who are known for having large Rolodexes of client contacts and blogger contacts, specifically made for the purpose of getting companies and people blog exposures. PR agents are a unique breed of people, simply because their networking skills are so on point.
Over the years, I’ve seen a wide range of different companies turn to PR groups to get more exposure and clients. I’ve seen companies like Blue Apron do it. I’ve seen makeup companies do it. I’ve even seen adult film stars do it. It seems like everyone has a PR agent of their own, but is this a must for every site owner out there?
Honestly, it depends.
Hiring a PR agent isn’t cheap. Most solid PR groups will charge anywhere from $1500 a month to upwards of $5000 a month. However, that money is often well-spent. PR agents are able to get you news coverage and can coach you through major public relations crises.
If you are worried about being able to afford a PR agent for your site, calm down. They aren’t usually necessary, especially if you are just beginning your journey in the affiliate or dropship world. Most dropship sites don’t require a PR agent to succeed, but rather, tend to use them as “icing on the marketing cake.”
Generally speaking, if you’re an affiliate marketer, you don’t necessarily need to have a PR agent. Like, ever. Public relations professionals tend to be more appropriate for people who have dropship companies, white label product lines, or for people who want to eventually grow their business away from dropshipping as a whole.
Wondering whether you’re at a point where your dropship company could seriously benefit from professional PR? If any of the following are true, then it’s safe to say that you will most likely benefit from having on on your team:
- You have extra money and want to get your site some exposure you otherwise couldn’t get. Let’s face it, most people don’t have a roll of blog connects they can reach out to for airspace. If you want to see your site in news headlines, a PR agent is the fastest way to do it. PR agents should only be hired for dropship companies if you’ve already gotten a lot of profit.
- For one reason or another, your site is going through a major image crisis. Did you post something really offensive on your site’s feed? Did something happen with an affiliate that dragged your name through mud? If you want to salvage your site, asking a PR agent for a consultation is a smart idea.
- You have a white label product that you want to get off the ground. White label product lines change your site from a regular dropshipper to something a little more involved. When white label lines are involved, you have more at stake, which means that you have more of a reason to hire a PR agent to work with you.
- Your site is quite successful when it comes to dropshipping, but you want to start having your own proprietary items. This is a common reason why people reach out to PR agents. It’s a moment in your business’s life when you’ve realized that you’ve maxed out what you can do with other peoples’ products, and when you’re ready to start selling something brand, spankin’ new. Bridging that gap can be difficult, and having a PR agent who can help guide you through it often reveals immense results.
- The marketing concept that you want to use isn’t based on SEO or Facebook ads. Sometimes, the marketing route you want to take can be reason enough to get someone on board with your PR endeavors. If you’re trying to sell goods through an “ultra exclusive” angle or through a unique content campaign, having a PR agent makes more sense than you’d think.
- Celebrities and influencers are involved in your brand. Don’t ask me why, but a lot of celebrities and influencers won’t work with brands that don’t have a PR professional on deck. If you’ve been hoping to do some influencer marketing, getting a connected PR agent is one way to make it happen.
If it sounds like there are a lot of occasions where hiring a PR agent or a PR company makes sense, it’s because there are. Public relations people get their high paychecks because they know how to handle a lot of different situations. If you’re in a tough spot, they may be able to help you out.
That being said, this isn’t a move that most new websites or website owners should be concerned about. At the beginning stages, you’re better off getting yourself established rather than worrying about the PR moves you make. After all, you have all the time in the world to get your company to the spotlight.