Every smart marketer know that social proof is one of the effective marketing tactics for easing the minds of anxious customers and having social proof can boost website conversions.
No website is complete without some form of social proof to increase the credibility of its products or services.
Online customers no longer go to a website and make the purchase. Instead, they research, compare features and prices with others and look for social proof like review and ratings to check whether others are happily using it or not then may consider to go for the purchase.
So, it’s obvious that adding social proof in a website is almost obligatory and has a great impact in conversion!
In this post I will explain 17 different types of social proof you can use to boost website conversions.
#1. Customer Testimonials
No one wants to be the first person to jump in a murky lake. If people see others are swimming then it will make them feel more secure about the safety of said lake.
Similarly, when people come to your website to buy your products or services, they want to see someone has used your product and had a brilliant experience.
A study by VWO found that, wikijob increased their conversion rate by 34% just by adding customer testimonials.
Also, according to research done by Nielsen, 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.
That’s why all big companies are using customer testimonials on their website.
Just take a look at the below screenshot from Longtail pro how they are using customer testimonials effectively into their homepage.
Another example is taken from Unbounce, they included the customer testimonials amazingly.
Moreover, while you add the testimonials in your website make sure they are real and relevant. There are many websites around are using fake testimonials like:
Wow amazing product ~ Chris, USA.
Trust me; your audience are clever enough to differentiate between the fake and real testimonials.
Make sure you include the real testimonials with full names, and pictures of your customers and if possible with company name.
#2. Influential People Endorsements
Endorsement from an expert or a celebrity can have positive influence on consumer behavior.
If your audience see the industry experts and celebrities have purchased from you then they won’t hesitate to buy from you.
What people generally think, as the experts and celebrities or big companies are happy with the product or service then it should be good for me too.
Remember, you don’t have to find a Hollywood movie star for celebrity endorsements. You need to find the influencers within your industry who use your product or service.
For instance, if your product is conversion optimization tool, then you need to look for best CRO experts to get the endorsement.
If the celebrity is a mismatch, it may make the company seem confused about its own identity. This can make the company lose its trustworthiness.
Buzzsumo is using this technique perfectly. They have been endorsed by the industry experts.
#3. Media Mentions
Being featured in media publications or popular press is undeniably an achievement and worth letting your audience know about.
Having those big names on your website will add lot of credibility to your brand.
Let me ask you a simple question here-
Whom would you take advice from, a writer who just wrote few articles or a writer who wrote few articles and has been featured in Business Insider, Entrepreneur and LifeHacker?
Of course from who has been featured in somewhere, right?
Similarly, if your product or brand ever been mentioned in magazine, unsolicited reviews, TV segments, or podcast interviews then you are miles ahead from your competitors and people will trust you more.
Here is a neat example taken from adpushup.
#4. Showing the Number of Users
Showing how many people already have used or have downloaded your product or service is another form of social proof.
By showing people your customer base, you are ultimately telling them you already have served to a huge number of people and it will be good for them as well.
It’s like when McDonald’s displays signs included “Billions and Billions Served”.
What they were trying to make people understand, they already have served more than a billion then why not you?
Similarly, Basecamp does an excellent job here. They are showing “Just last week, 7,688 companies got started with Basecamp 3!”
Remember, this social proof will only work if you have an impressive number of users. If your number of user is not up to par yet then you should not use this social proof otherwise it may work negatively.
#5. Product Ratings & Reviews
Product ratings and reviews are an incredibly important form of social proof for e-commerce businesses, as many potential customers will judge your product based on this.
It’s no secret that having ratings and reviews to your product pages can increase conversion rates.
In an experiment conducted on Figleaves.com, it was found that products with reviews had a 12.5% higher conversion rate than those without. Also, Products with 20+ reviews had a 83.85 higher conversion than those products without reviews.
Amazon is the perfect example of how powerful the impact of product ratings and reviews are. They know that when you see hundreds or thousands of people telling you that something is good then you’re much more likely to buy it.
People don’t even know who these reviewers are, but having that social proof can be the deciding factor on where they will spend their money.
#6. Case Studies
Case studies are very powerful when you make claim your products or services are helping people. They can serve two purposes.
First of all, they show other people are using your product or service which provides social proof.
Secondly, they also provide more ideas on how to use your product to get the best output.
When you create the case studies, you must provide actual data. You need to ensure that they are explanatory and informative with amazing graphics to make it visually appealing so that people read and implement it to achieve the same.
For example, if your product helps businesses to increase their conversion rates, then make sure you explain what their conversion rates were before using your product and what the conversion rate became after using your product.
At Visual Website Optimizer, they have a dedicated Case Studies section where they highlighted the success stories of their customers.
#7. Use FOMO Marketing
FOMO (The Fear of Missing Out) marketing technique is widely used in e-commerce business. This concept basically says people will feel that they would regret if not acting on your offer.
People are more likely to convert when they feel like they’re on the edge of missing out on a good deal.
Let’s take a look at the screenshot below from ebay. The product is a dell laptop and they only have one item left which is marked in red color font as well as in red sticker.
When people will see only one left and 87 laptop have already been sold then there is a high possibility that they will want to buy the last one. Because, 87 people can’t be wrong.
#8. Adding the Trust Seals
Another opportunity to increase conversions involves adding trust seals in a website. People will only buy product or service from a website if they can trust.
Trust seals can help to earn the visitor’s trust. They reassure site visitors that their sensitive information they give to the company will be secure.
Blue Fountain Media did a split-test and by adding a Verisign trust seal they increased their conversion rate by 42%.
There are many trust seals you can add on your site such as Norton, Hacker Safe, McAfee, Better Business Bureau, etc.
A survey from the Baymard Institute revealed which trust seals customers trust more. They found that Norton led the way followed by McAfee.
#9. Certifications and Awards
If your company has received any industry certificates or awards, you should showcase that information on your website.
When visitors see your company is accredited with certifications or has won an award then they generally think your company must be good and you will be able to fulfill their requirement.
For example, Pagetraffic an award winning search engine marketing company, highlights the awards they have received on their homepage:
#10. Display the Logos of Partners
If you have affiliated partners or your product or service integrates with third party services then one of the best social proof you can have on your website is by adding the logos of your partners.
It will increase the visitors trust because others have chosen to work with you.
If you are a startup company people may not recognize and trust you but having the partnership with big brands and adding their logo to your website will add credibility to your platform.
After having a look those logos on your website people will think, if the big companies can work with you then why not we?
So, adding the partners is one of the easiest ways to borrow social credibility.
Southampton computers did a great job here. They displayed their all big partners logo on their website.
#11. Popularity in Social Media
Social sharing buttons showing number of followers, fans, shares or any other important statistics are a great form of social proof.
When your audience will see that your website has lots of fans, followers they will trust you more. Displaying those numbers actually lead to better conversions.
What we do normally on social media, if we find something really effective and interesting then we follow or like them.
So, having large number of fans and followers means people found your product or your company effective and useful.
Remember, if you have a very small amount of fans and followers then don’t display it on your website as it may work negatively. Only display the number of fans and followers once you reach to a decent number.
Hubspot showing the social media statistics on their website because they have a huge number of friends and followers.
#12. Social Media Feedbacks
One more effective social proof you can incorporate in your website is just by showing what people are saying about you in Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms.
But, don’t just add up any tweet or message that metions you. Before adding make sure it highlights your brand and inspires what you want to happen on your website.
Moreover, if you can get tweets from influencers about your company, adding those tweets will add an extra degree of trust on your website.
For example, Instapage has collected some of the most loving tweets received from their users and showing them on their homepage:
#13. Rank Higher in Search Engines
Whatever industry you are in, being ranked highly in search engines is actually another way of having a social proof-driven strategy.
The concept here is that if you ranked higher in search engine people will automatically believe that you have enough trust and traction to get there. That also proves that you are in business for a certain period of time.
On top of that, the better you are ranked in search engine, the more traffic you get from there. More traffic ultimately brings you more conversions.
For example, if you want to buy something from online what do we normally do? We check the top 4-5 results in search engine and choose one from there to buy the product because we naturally think that they are good and trusted and that’s why they are ranked higher in search engine.
#14. Directional Cues
Another type of social proof you can use in your website called direction cues to move your audience attention to the most important element (i.e. your call to action button or form).
When we don’t know where to look, we look naturally where others are looking. It’s a human nature.
If you want people to take a particular action on your website, give them a pair of eyes or an arrow to make your visitors understand what you want them to do.
If you can use a familiar face (e.g. expert, celebrity) that your audience know will have more social proof than a stock photo.
Chemistry.com uses a picture of lady who is looking to form to move the visitor’s attention to the form.
#15. Recommendations from Friends and Relatives
We almost entirely trust recommendations from friends and relatives.
People generally trust their friends and relatives more than an expert recommendations, reviews, and of course more than a paid advertisement.
According to Nielsen, 84% of people say that they completely trust recommendations from the people they know.
The easiest way to take advantage of this is to ask for referrals, generally with some sort of incentive in exchange for the referrer.
Dropbox clearly taking advantage of this technique and they offers free space for every new user you entice to sign up.
#16. Displaying the Client Logos
One of the best ways to prove the world that your company is trustworthy and credible is by incorporating the client’s logos in your website.
It clearly indicates that you already served happily few people or companies and you can do the same for the new users too.
But, don’t just add the logos of any clients– it shouldn’t just be any client on the list. You might have a huge customer base. Make sure you feature the most well-known and recognizable logos, showing their logos on your website will send a signal to your audience that you are worth investing in.
One thing you must not forget, take the permission from your clients before displaying their logos on your website. This will not only prove that you respect their brand but also they will feel like an important client of yours.
Buzzsumo not only displays the logos of well-known companies are using them but also positions it close to the call to action button to convince people to try them. These famous companies are using Buzzsumo must mean something to their audience.
#17. Regulatory Social Proof
Showcasing the regulatory body information in a website is another type of social proof. That will particularly help you to gain the visitors trust as you are being monitored by the regulatory bodies.
For example, if you go to the homepage of credio.co.uk, a popular short term money landing website in UK, you can see at the bottom UK Reg No, Consumer Credit License No and Data Protection No.
In this case they are legally required to have those numbers before trading and showing that sort of information on a site particularly when you’re considering about trust goes a long way towards converting new customers.
The interesting part about using social proof in website don’t require a lot of effort to be put up, and surely not much investment in terms of cash.
I hope after reading this post, you have got the full concept of how to use social proof to boost website conversions. Don’t forget to track down the conversion rates before and after adding the social proof to see what work best for you.