In business, everyone is looking to succeed. To grow their operations, expand their client base, branch out into new areas, and gain recognition as the best of the best in their field.

Everyone you talk to has a different secret to this success. Everything you read offers up different solutions. How do you know which strategy is the key to accelerating your business growth?

The truth is, there’s no one size fits all strategy for business growth. What works for a large multinational company may not work for an SME. What works for a tech company may not work for a lifestyle company.

You need to find a growth strategy that suits your business. However, there are some common activities that specific sectors can use to boost their sales, reputations and profits.

There has been a notable evolution in business growth strategies and this is mainly thanks to a generational shift which has resulted in very different tactics to communicate with consumers.

Generations Y and Z as well as millennials are much more technologically savvy and sophisticated in what they expect from services and retailers they utilise, and are also constantly bombarded with marketing messages both in reality and online. Your business strategy has to develop in line with these expectations.

Here we introduce you to the theory of social proof, to help take your business to the next level…

The Most Overlooked Strategy For Business Growth…

The single most effective strategy for business growth today is social proof. Very simply, this is when you leverage your positive feedback, endorsements or recommendations from a third party to attract new customers. This is evident within recent statistics that state over 97 percent of customers look at a product or service reviews before making a purchase, and a further 85% of those people trust these reviews as much as personal recommendations.

This could mean having testimonials and case studies placed strategically on your website, encouraging online reviews, sharing your reviews on social media…

Often, businesses put all their energies into attracting customers. They have their sales funnel, regular advertising, newsletters, blogging, events – whatever methods work.

When your carefully crafted content has drawn your potential customers to your website and hopefully into your sales funnel, what next?

Conversion is often where businesses fall down. They have no strategy for converting those leads.

Social proof is a powerful way of moving potential customers along the sales funnel and turning them into paying customers.

Buying habits come down to trust. People form loyalties to companies they trust to provide a quality service or product.

Since the dawn of the consumer age, people’s buying habits have been swayed by the people around them. The friend that’s been to a really good restaurant that you should try; the work colleague who gives you the pros and cons of their new mobile phone.

In the digital world, the circle of people we can seek recommendations and advice from is infinite.

When you’re booking a holiday, looking for a new broadband supplier, buying a pair of shoes – an important part of the purchase process is reviews, testimonials and recommendations.

This social proof can be the crucial ingredient that takes your potential customers over the finish line – converting your leads into sales.

How To Use Social Proof…

Now we know what social proof can do, the next step is actually making it happen.

Let’s start by looking at reviews. If you’re not encouraging online reviews for your business, it’s time to start.

You can implement a system for customer reviews that could include a simple reminder email after a purchase. This process can be automated with a good CRM system, that can be set to send out review emails at the right points in the customer journey.

You should also ‘claim’ your business on Google, Yelp and Facebook, which shows your customers that your business page on these sites is official. These websites prize high levels of responsiveness, so make sure you respond to reviews, whether good or bad, and all queries and enquiries.

Give your customers plenty of avenues to easily leave reviews. For example, a simple link in your emails, and a button on your website, blog posts and social profiles. That way, with one click they will be taken your preferred review site.

You can also offer incentives for people to leave reviews, as long as you make it very clear that it’s a reward just for the act of reviewing – not a bribe for a good review!

When you do get that much prized positive review – make sure to share it across your website and social channels.

To ramp it up even further, you can ask influencers to review or leave testimonials that you can leverage for even greater effect. An influencer carries authority and gives even more weight to your social proof.

Testimonials And Case Studies…

This is a very simple way of using social proof to positively influence potential new customers.

Your testimonials could be text or image based, or for an extra SEO bonus, try video testimonials. Once you have these, you can use them across your website and social channels and in your offline marketing materials.

Your case studies can go in depth on how you delivered on goals, rose to a challenge or came up with a creative solution.

These are so effective because they show your product, service or expertise in action. Often, failure to convert is because the customer just cannot visualise how they would benefit from what you’re offering. A testimonial or case study spells this out with a real life example from an existing customer, which is significantly more persuasive than a straight sales pitch from your business.

Joint Venture Partnerships…

Another way of harnessing the power of social proof and increasing your reach even further is through joint venture partnerships.

This is where you reach out to businesses to form a supportive partnership where you help to promote each other. The business you choose needs to align with your own – maybe you have similar values, or your products or services complement each other. It could be a business you have already worked with in the past.

It needs to be a mutually beneficial partnership, where you can cross post each other’s content, and cross promote each other’s products or services. You could also join up for special offers, organise joint events or even develop new products or services.

However you collaborate, by teaming up you can increase your business’ reach significantly. The more people you can reach, the more potential you have for generating positive social proof. More people will see and share your social posts. More people will see your content and ultimately, be led back to your business and your sales funnel.

That’s when your social proof really kicks in.

You’re on their radar.

They want to find out more.

They read the reviews, the testimonials, the case studies.

You’re on your way to converting.

If you want to find our more about how you can supercharge your business growth, get in touch today. Or sign up for my free video series on The CPR Method and how it can transform your business…