A lot of factors go into influencing the decision making of the visitors coming to your website. What can you do to convert them? Well, you have to look for ways to shape their opinions during the time they spend on your site. The best way of doing this is to social proof your website.
For example, consider a case where a potential customer is looking for a service or product online. They have a fairly good idea of what they need but are looking at multiple eCommerce stores to decide which one to make their purchase from. What could they be looking for? Let us say company 1 has 1000 reviews, while company 2 has 50 reviews. Which company do you think the customer would prefer?
Obviously, company 1 will attract more new customers compared to company 2. After all, it has more reviews, which creates a perception of it being more reliable. If 1000 people cared to write reviews for the company, they must have compelling and legitimate reasons, right?
To be honest, the quality of the service or product is not of much relevance here.
You may have 100s of reviews, but if most of them are negative, you may even go out of business.
Social proofing is a highly potent tool and can be used by all company types, industries and reputation. Once we cover some basics, we will provide you with some practical tips on using social proof on your website for maximum conversions:
How does social proofing work?
Have you heard of herd mentality? This term is used to describe how people act in particular way when they are under the influence of their peers. This is social proofing at work.
You notice a bunch of folks doing something similar, you automatically assume that is the right thing for you to do as well and actually do it.
If you find comfort in believing we all think independently and act based on our own decisions, you are wrong.
Now, the herd mentality does not work in all facets of our life, but when it comes to business, you bet it always works. And that is excellent news.
It translates to the fact that you actually can adopt methods to lower the anxieties of your potential customers and draw them towards making the decision that you prefer.
And the best part is, with social proofing, your prospects feel convinced and good about the decisions they make.
However, note that all social proof elements are not created equal. Some proofs produce more impact and persuasion than others. Even their positioning on your website makes a difference.
Here are some ways to use social proofing on your website to maximize conversions.
Get celebrity endorsements
Don’t get thrown off the by the term “celebrity”. Unless you have the luxury of tons of connections, you are not going to get someone like Tom Cruise to endorse your services or products.
If you wish to get a known personality to recommend your brand on their social handles, it is going to cost you an arm and a leg for every post.
Instead, go after regular people who enjoy large followings on social media. Look through your followers to spot the ones who a lot of people follow.
Actually, such people may yield better results for you than celebrities with followers in millions. After all, it is easier for them to spend more time staying engaged with their followers.
Get out there and try to find people with a huge online fan following to endorse your brand and products. Showcase them on your website as your brand ambassadors.
Showcase your best numbers
Why not let your numbers do the talking? How many folks downloaded your white paper or bought your service/product? Tell your website visitors. Post real-time figures on your site.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- How much have your customers saved (in terms of time or money) by using your products and services?
- How many online citizens are following you on social media?
- How many clients use your services and products?
However, if your numbers are not impressive, leave them out. Having 500 Instagram followers is nothing to brag about. Instead, draw attention to your strengths – if you have 40,000 twitter followers, showcase it on your website prominently.
Offer visual proof of your offerings in action
Images make for strong social proof. Images reinforce the notion that your services and products work.
It is one thing to get on the rooftop and announce how well your product works under water, and it is another thing to let the people see it working 50 feet under. That is why it is so important to have earlier and later photos posted on your website.
Storytelling is also very effective in engaging and persuading your audience. Think about your service, products or brand – what kind of imagery would create social proof?
Visual proof of your working product will boost conversions.
Get your customers to write reviews
No matter how much you talk about your product and present it in the most impressive manner, nothing works better than the prospective customers seeing reviews from real users.
Consider creating a profile on websites such as Trip Advisor, Angie’s List, and Yelp to increase your chances of getting customer reviews. Showcase the best reviews on your website.
Encourage customers to share pictures of them using your product while leaving the review.
After your customers complete a purchase or download a free e-book, request them to leave a feedback on your website – send follow up emails if they prefer to do it later.
Run surveys and present the results
Sometimes, your customers may not have the time to provide a full review, and you must respect that. You need to realize that people can be busy, and any incentive you provide to get them to write a review may not persuade them.
Here are the advantages of running surveys on your website:
- The customer does not have to type a lengthy text
- They can merely click on some predetermined responses and get done
- It is faster, needs less effort and is just as effective
You can easily create surveys on platforms such as Survey Monkey, Survey Planet and Google Forms.
Present the results on your site for social proof.
Show customer testimonials
Just ask your customers who you have helped and request them to write a testimonial for you.
Unlike case studies, do not hoard all the testimonials on a single page. A testimony does not tell the entire story on its own – it needs to be backed by other things.
Here are some tips on where to place them on your website:
- On your order form
- Next to a CTA (Call to Action)
- On a sales page, just after the benefits of using your service or product
- Besides a contact form
- On an opt-in form for newsletters
- Showcased on the “About us” page
- In a sidebar, so it shows up on everywhere
Present testimonials from industry experts
Customers opinions are good but getting a testimonial from an industry expert is even better.
Get testimonials for your business from customers who enjoy high credibility in the industry. Figure out the relevant industry experts to get these from. For instance, if you sell mattresses, get a chiropractor to give you a positive testimonial.
Other industry experts you can consider are:
Try to include the following information about the expert:
- Full name
Be specific on how your company, product or service helped them – all of this contributes to social proofing your business.
Incorporate social media
Generating social proof on social media and sites such as Google Local or Yelp is good but not enough.
Incorporate features from these sites on your website. Include social media feeds on your site and make it easy for your visitors to share your posts, pages, specifications, reviews, etc. related to your brand, products and services on social media by providing integrations with these platforms.
It provides you with a great exposure while providing social proof on your website.
Provide case studies
Case studies tell a complete story and are the most common type of social proof.
It provides a holistic view of how your customer achieved success because of your offerings. A good case study includes:
- The scenario before they used you
- What prompted their decision
- The obstacles they faced
- How dd you help them overcome the problems
- The exact moment of transformation
- The situation now
While you may decide to keep the case studies on a dedicated page, we recommend you include them on the matching product and service-specific sales pages too.
Display certificates and trust seals
SSL Certificates and trust seals help customers feel safe in working with your business. Some common forms are:
- SSL certificates
- Money-back guarantees
- Trust seals
- Privacy badges or statements
An SSL certificate installed on your web server protects your customer’s information from getting stolen while it is being transmitted to you. The HTTPS protocol turned on by the SSL certificate encrypts all communication between your server and the user’s web browser, so no one tapping in can make sense of the data being transmitted, making any MITM (man in the middle) attacks futile.
Source 5: https://esociety.netkey.at/iss/donation/images/ssl-secured.png
Showcase your trust seals such as GeoTrust SSL prominently on the pages where the users are required to provide sensitive information to help them feel confident about their safety.
The idea of using social proof is easy to digest.
When other people, instead of you, tell your prospective customers how awesome you and your offerings are, the message is received louder, clearer, and more powerfully.
Also, if you choose to blow your own horn, you at least have testimonials from other people to back you up.
Providing social proof on your website is not just useful, but critical to maximizing conversions.