What is Proof-Based Marketing?
Proof sells, promises don’t. Proof-Based Marketing is the modern marketing strategy for building trust with prospects to increase leads and sales.
What is Proof-Based Marketing?
Proof-Based Marketing is based on the philosophy that today’s customers rely on reviews, testimonials, and word-of-mouth referrals to make buying decisions. It’s no longer enough to promise prospects you can solve their problems or relieve their pains; they expect to see proof that you’ve done for others what you’re claiming you can do for them.
The Old Way
- Relies on the expectation that prospects should blindly trust you
- Makes claims about how you might help your prospects
- Lacks follow up with customers to identify detractors, passives, and promoters
- Results in online reviews skewing negative because happy customers aren’t asked to share their experience
The New Way
- Relies on testimonials and reviews to establish trust with prospects
- Tells stories about past customers like the prospect and how you relieved their pain or solved their problem
- Proactively collects feedback to improve customer relationships and business processes
- Results in an accurate distribution of positive and negative reviews
Proof-Based Marketing replaces the old school of thought that sales reps are in control of the buying process and embraces the truth that modern consumers have endless information at their fingertips and often navigate much or all of the buying process before ever talking to a human.
With Proof-Based Marketing, businesses have the power to leverage this transformation to their advantage by optimizing experiences to wow customers, generate a positive online reputation, and build a library of social proof.
To further understand how Proof-Based Marketing fits into a modern marketing strategy, consider the concept of inbound marketing and the Flywheel.
The Flywheel concept was introduced by Hubspot as an inbound marketing philosophy that replaces the traditional marketing and sales funnel with a circular process that puts customers at the center.
The Flywheel model explains the momentum businesses gain by delivering an amazing customer experience, as opposed to customers being simply an output at the bottom of the funnel.
Businesses that maximize Flywheel momentum are able to continuously increase speed while reducing friction.
You can speed up the Flywheel by adding force to areas with the potential to make the biggest impact, and you can reduce friction by focusing on eliminating issues that are slowing down the flywheel.
But how do you know where to focus your efforts to make the customer experiences improvements needed to increase speed and reduce friction?
Proof-Based Marketing picks up where inbound marketing leaves off by adding force to the Flywheel at crucial points of friction.
Like the Flywheel, Proof-Based Marketing is based on the idea that amazing customer experiences grow businesses.
When a customer-first approach is taken with each Flywheel transition, businesses can effectively collect feedback, follow up with customers, and gather praise to build momentum and drive revenue.
Effective Proof-Based Marketing involves three key steps:
- Feedback: gathering feedback and getting a pulse on sentiment so you can segment customers, surface opportunities to improve your business, and identify your biggest promoters.
- Follow-Up: circling back with customers to make things right, capture praise, or request referrals.
- Proof: leveraging praise to prove to prospects that you can deliver, ultimately driving more leads and sales.
Let’s explore these Proof-Based Marketing elements further.
Proof-Based Marketing Strategies
The strategies below will help you embrace Proof-Based Marketing to wow customers, gather praise, and grow your business. Each step in the Proof-Based Marketing process involves specific strategies for engaging with and leveraging customers to fuel business growth.
The Feedback stage is all about understanding how customers feel, both on an individual level as well as an organizational level. Having a pulse on customer sentiment allows you to segment customers, surface opportunities to improve your business, and identify your biggest promoters.
Through customer feedback surveys, you can understand how your customers talk, what they love about your product or business, and where you are missing the mark. Open-ended surveys can inform marketing messaging while multiple choice surveys can inform business strategy. A feedback survey process is vital for any organization wanting to put customers first and leverage social proof to grow.
Customer experience metrics, like Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), and Customer Effort Score (CES) are numeric scores that provide a snapshot into the performance of different areas of your business. NPS, for example, has been shown to accurately predict customer referrals and business growth. When you track key customer experience metrics across your organization, you’ll not only have visibility into business health and future potential, but you’ll also be in a position to solve issues, make improvements, and grow faster.
Customer sentiment is an indicator of how customers feel about your business or brand. Typically sentiment is categorized into Promoters, Passives, and Detractors. If you are tracking customer experience metrics like NPS, you already have all of the information you need to segment customers by sentiment. When you segment customers by sentiment, you can monitor trends over time and also ensure each customer receives the proper follow up to maximize your Proof-Based Marketing machine.
Once you’ve implemented Feedback strategies to identify your promoters from your passives and detractors, you can effectively Follow Up to make things right or capture praise.
When a feedback or customer experience survey comes back with a less-than-favorable result, the most important thing you can do is follow up with that customer immediately. By having a process in place to proactively identify and resolve issues, you’ll take control of the conversations happening around your brand, prevent negative reviews and word of mouth, and protect your online reputation.
While responding to negative feedback is key to maintaining a customer-first organization, it’s equally as important to prioritize your promoters for gathering praise. Video testimonials are owned content that you can repurpose and leverage across platforms to engage with prospects and build trust. When a favorable customer experience survey is received, have a process in place to automatically send a request for a video testimonial. Building a solid library of video praise is a key pillar of any Proof-Based Marketing strategy.
In addition to your owned social proof, like video testimonials, it’s also important to build a strong online reputation off of your website. This looks different for every business, depending on industry, audience, and product or service offering—there are hundreds of online review platforms that all cater to different types of businesses! So do a thorough analysis and identify what review platforms are most relevant to your audience. Then make a process to build your reputation on those platforms by requesting reviews from your Promoters.
The Proof stage is when all of the testimonials, reviews, and customer stories you’ve collected provide the trust needed to generate the lead or win the customer.
Your website and landing pages are among the most important places to prove to prospects that they can trust you. Now that you’ve gathered feedback, segmented customers based on sentiment, requested praise, and started to build your library of testimonials, leverage those happy customers in the places that matter with widgets for displaying the right proof in the right place at the right time.
Third-party review sites
Since you’ve already identified the key third-party review sites that are relevant to your audience and put a process in place to get reviews there, the next opportunity is to leverage your online reputation to increase sales. Consider sharing links to third-party reviews with prospects, publishing badges from third-party review sites on your website, and purchasing ads across key platforms to maximize your reach.
Beyond the more obvious uses of social proof like website testimonials and third-party reviews, organizations that get the most out of their Proof-Based Marketing strategy take things a step further by repurposing praise and leveraging it in unique ways. This may include cross-posting to social media, turning videos into text or text into videos, creating ads or showcase videos, or sharing testimonials in emails. Once the praise starts rolling in, the possibilities for using it to establish trust with prospects are endless.
How to Implement Proof-Based Marketing
By now, you have a great idea of what Proof-Based Marketing is, how it can benefit your business, and what some Proof-Based Marketing strategies look like. Now for the fun part—implementing Proof-Based Marketing for your business.
Since Boast is the only Proof-Based Marketing platform, we recommend using our tools for the best customer experience and the most seamless strategy, but there are always other options depending on your current tech stack and needs. Below is an outline of the key tools and steps for each stage as well as an overview of how to get started.
Feedback is the foundation of Proof-Based Marketing and the lifeblood of customer-first organizations. To get started with Proof-Based Marketing, you’ll need tools and processes to request, collect, and manage customer feedback.
Most customer feedback tools, like Boast, offer templates for common survey types to help you get up and running as quickly as possible. Once you decide on a platform and survey questions, automate as much of the process as possible to ensure no customer slips through the cracks.
- Feedback surveys
- Feedback request sequences
- Customer experience metrics
- Customer sentiment reporting
- Rewards or incentives
Once your survey process is nailed down, the next step of Proof-Based Marketing implementation is your follow up process. The best customer feedback tools will allow you to set up different notifications depending on the response received, for a Promoter vs. Passive vs. Detractor, for example. Customizing these notifications will ensure your customers get the proper follow-up.
A human should always personally follow up with any Detractors to dig into concerns and remedy issues while Promoters may just receive an automated response requesting a video testimonial or online review. When collecting praise, always make sure you require submitters to consent to your use of their testimonial for marketing purposes.
- Feedback notifications and responses
- Video testimonial collection
- Online review requests
- Consent management
Your Proof-Based Marketing strategy is killing it—you’re gathering feedback, addressing customer issues, and building an awesome library of praise. Now what? It’s time to share that praise and back up your marketing claims with proof!
As a comprehensive Proof-Based Marketing tool, Boast will aggregate all of your responses and praise so you can easily organize it based on type, product or service, message, and more. You can then publish it to your website or social channels and export it to edit and repurpose for other marketing and sales purposes.
- Display widgets
- Social integrations
- Praise management
- Video editing
- Showcase videos