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Improve your email click-through rate using these 5 types of social proof (Part 1)

The study by the Wall Street Journal in the opening few paragraphs of this article says it all really – social proofing is king when it comes to putting forth a convincing argument for why a customer may want to pick your brand. But how does it work and what are the different ways you can go about social proofing your email campaigns? Read on and we’ll tell you!  (ooo… and don’t forget to check out next week’s blog – Part 2 – on how to use social proofing effectively)

Improve your email click-through rate using these 5 types of social proof

Your new product or service has finally arrived, and you know it’s going to a big win for your business. You’re excited to launch it, so you put it on your website, send your email campaign and wait for the sales to roll in. But for some reason they don’t come. Despite your best efforts, people aren’t clicking on your email and purchasing the new product from your site.

Here’s where using some social proof can help.

In this post, we’ll discuss what social proof is and give you examples of 5 different types of social proof you can use to increase your email click-through rate and drive sales.


What is social proof?

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people conform to the actions of others simply because they believe that if other people are doing it, it must be the right thing to do.  

In a study published in the Wall Street Journal, researchers tested whether social proof was a more powerful driver of human behavior than saving money or saving the environment. They used 4 different messages to try and convince people to use fans instead of air conditioning:

  • Message 1 - Informed the customer that they could be saving $54/month on their utility bill.
  • Message 2 - Told customers that they could prevent the release of 262 pounds of greenhouse gasses every month.
  • Message 3 - Informed customers that saving energy was a socially responsible thing to do.
  • Message 4 - Let customers know that 77 percent of their neighbours were already actively using fans to save energy.

Guess what message was the most effective at getting people to use less energy? Message 4 – the one that invoked the use of social proof. That’s how influential social proof is on human behaviour. Our desire to fit in is actually more persuasive than saving money or protecting the environment.


5 types of social proof to use in your email marketing campaigns

So how can you use insight into how human beings are motivated to act to improve your email click-through rates? By adding elements of social proof to your email marketing campaigns.


Here are 5 different types of social proof you can use:

1. Customer Testimonials

If you’ve got a great product that your customers love using, including testimonials in your email marketing campaigns can be a great way of letting potential customers see that passion. Freshbooks does a great job of this in their email campaign announcing the launch of their new ZenPayroll integration feature.

The testimonial from a happy customer who already uses the solution goes a long way in persuading others to try it out as well. By seeing that other people, like Rudyard here, are successful using the product reassures others that they will be as well.

2. Customer or usage numbers

While FoMO (Fear of Missing Out) is commonly joked about, it’s actually a recognized psychological phenomenon where people are driven to take action by the fear that they may be missing out on opportunities others are receiving.

Anybody who has ever felt FoMO, even in social situations, can attest to the fact that it’s a powerful driver of human behavior, so it’s worth leveraging in your email campaigns to help increase your click-through rates. InVision, a Campaign Monitor customer, does this effectively by showcasing the fact that that 300,000 other designers are using their tool to improve their design process.

By showcasing customer numbers like this, InVision triggers people’s fear that other designers may be getting opportunities or benefits they’re not receiving, and are compelling people to click-through from the email and try out their product.

3. Awards

Another way to use social proof is to showcase awards your company has received.

Industry awards, particularly well-known ones, typically hold a lot of credibility among members of a particular industry. So when you or your product are honored with one of these awards, that credibility and respect is passed over to you due a psychological phenomenon known as the Halo Effect. Campaign Monitor customer Werkpress used this in their campaign announcing the launch of their new site.

After informing customers of the redesign, they go on to say that the site has been honored with an Awwwards honorable mention. This is a well-known industry award (in the design industry), so the fact that their new site received the award gives it a new level of credibility that encourages people to click-through the email campaign and check it out.

4. Product reviews

Adding reviews from real customers who have used your product is a great way to increase your email click-through rate. In fact, when eCommerce store tested including product reviews in their marketing, they saw a 37.5% increase in conversions. Campaign Monitor customer Franklin Rd does a great job of this in their email campaigns.

By showing customer reviews in their campaigns, Franklin Rd reassures potential listeners that clicking through and checking out the albums is worth their time. This element of social proof, combined with other information and visuals like the album cover, increases the chance people will click-through and drives conversions.

5. Press mentions

If you’re lucky enough to have had your product reviewed, or even mentioned, by popular news sites or industry publications then including that in your email campaigns can be a great way to increase conversions. In a similar way as industry awards, these publications hold a lot of credibility and authority with your potential customers, and showing that they’ve been talking about your business gives you instant credibility.

Campaign Monitor customer Oribe does an awesome job of leveraging media coverage in their email campaigns.

Oribe was fortunate to have their product featured on The Today Show, and while that in itself is a huge win, it’s their use of that mention as social proof that’s really impressive. By including it in their email campaigns, they are showcasing to potential customers that their product is one of The Today Show’s ‘Favorite Things’ and passing the credibility and likeability the show has onto their product.


Check out next week’s blog for some great tips on how to use social proof effectively.


By: Aaron Beashel

Source: Campaign Monitor



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