Social proof is a highly effective marketing technique which persuades potential customers to buy your products and services by proving that other people think they are good. When you provide that proof, customers who are unsure about the product or have never used your business before become more confident about making a purchase.
Here are 9 ways you can use social proof to boost your website.
1. Convince customers with statistics
The use of statistics has always been an important persuasive technique and can really help sway opinion. Used correctly, these quantitative facts can convince new customers to trust what you’re telling them. Examples of statistics you can use include showing how many customers you’ve had, how many customers would recommend you to a friend, how much money you’ve saved customers, how many subscribers you have, etc.
a) Our average customer saves £300 a year!
b) 98% of customers would recommend us to a friend.
c) Over 1,000 local businesses use our services.
2. Promote social trends
Showing customers an up to the minute status is another way of highlighting social popularity or trend. You find these types of promotion all over the internet: eBay will tell you how many recent views a product has, Amazon will highlight a best seller, social media apps show how many likes or shares a post has had. These real-time status indicators are a great way to show customers something that is socially hot – and, of course, no-one wants to miss out on the next big thing, which is why these statuses can encourage people to buy. A good way to show customers what is trending on your site us to use popular post or popular product widgets in your sidebar or footer.
3. Show reviews on your website
Reviews are extremely popular and good ones can be highly persuasive. Over 70% of people will read reviews before making a purchase and 63% of people are more inclined to buy from sites which have reviews. The reason for this is that reviews are seen as independent evaluations from genuine customers and, therefore, what is said is trusted by other readers. This is perhaps one reason why so many websites now use them.
Using a service such as Trustpilot enables you to collect reviews and ratings and display them on your website so that your customers can see how well your existing customers think of you.
4. Publish customer testimonials
Just like reviews, customer testimonials are another powerful way to show new customers what existing customers think of your business. Again, they instil confidence in visitors and show that you are a business that can come up with the goods. They are a great way to show off the quality of your service and highlight your unique selling point. Do make sure that you include the customer’s name, company (if applicable) and a photo if possible, to give the testimonial credibility (some unscrupulous companies just make them up).
5. Get endorsed by a high-profile person
Getting an endorsement from a prominent person can have a massive impact on the success of your brand. It doesn’t have to be an A-lister celebrity either. A well-known figure in your niche is often better as it adds more credibility. Many books, for example, have endorsements from other well-known authors on the back covers – there’s no reason why you cannot show a similar endorsement on your homepage. Endorsements don’t have to come from an individual, either, a well-known organisation is equally as helpful.
6. Showcase your client list
If you sell to or provide a service to businesses, it can be very helpful to let potential customers know which other businesses you already serve. You’ll find that many business homepages now have a section which consists of a line of logos showcasing their most high-profile customers. This is great social proof as it says, if someone of their status uses your services, you must be good. Although it’s not got the same kudos as a Royal Warrant of Appointment, it’s the next best thing and is becoming increasingly used on business websites.
7. Highlight important partnerships or suppliers
Another way to provide social proof about the quality of your company or the products you sell is to make customers aware of any important partnerships you have or any well-known brands that you supply. Again, this can be done simply by placing recognisable logos on your home page. We do this on our homepage too, as can be seen in the image below.
8. Display your credentials
For some companies, one of the best forms of social proof is to let customers know that you are affiliated to professional bodies, have achieved certain qualifications or been given awards. These are all important ways of building confidence and trust in your business and can improve the chances of taking on new business.
For example, if you are a builder and member of the Federation of Master Builders or a bun maker who is a member of the Craft Bakers Association, make sure this is something visitors will see on your site.
9. Let people know if you’ve been in the news
If your business is newsworthy (in a positive way) and has appeared on television or been written about in newspapers, magazines and influential websites, make your customers aware of it. Quite a lot of companies have a media page on their website where they show customers what has been published about them. This page can include links to live web pages, scans of newspaper clippings and even video clips. Alternatively, some companies put the logos of the media organisations which, when clicked, link to related articles.
Generally speaking, if the professional media are praising your business, it’s likely to have a highly positive effect on those who are considering becoming customers.
Customers today are sceptical. When you tell them that your products or services are the bee’s knees, they aren’t going to take your word for it. After all, every company is out to make themselves look as good as possible.
To make sure that you are telling the truth, customers want proof, they want to know what other people think. Social proof, therefore, is crucial. It’s the internet’s version of word of mouth and it carries great weight in persuading customers to use your business. Use it well.
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