How to use social proof on your website to skyrocket sales
A website with social proof is the key to building confidence in your customers and increasing online sales. Learn more about social proof today!
Have you ever visited a new city and searched for nearby coffee shops on Yelp? Based on ratings and reviews, you probably chose one that had an excellent reputation, which gave you confidence that you'd have a positive experience there.
Or maybe you’ve walked down a street of restaurants looking for a great spot to eat. Depending on how busy each restaurant was, you quickly assessed the quality of each one. Intuitively, you assumed that a busy restaurant is better than an empty one.
If you can relate to these scenarios, you’re not alone. As human beings, we often outsource our decision-making to the masses. That’s because we trust the public’s evaluation of companies due to a phenomenon called “social proof.”
In this article, we are going to explain what social proof is and how you can create a social proof-filled website to boost sales for your company.
What is social proof?
Social proof is the concept that we consciously or unconsciously adopt the behaviors of others when making a decision. We assume that if many people made a specific choice, they must have a good reason for it, even if that reason is not obvious to us.
Why is this?
Despite our impressive technological innovations as a species, humans are still pack animals at heart. We are wired to seek out belonging and to defer to a group when making decisions. We subconsciously assume that a group may know something that we don’t as individuals.
This was displayed in the 1951 Solomon Asch conformity experiment, which studied how people conform their decisions to a group, even when those decisions were clearly wrong. In this experiment, groups were asked questions with very obvious and apparent answers. Despite this, 75% of the time, test subjects conformed to the group’s decision when the group chose the wrong answer. This displays the incredible influence of social proof in action.
How does social proof apply to marketing?
Consumers regularly rely on others’ reviews to inform their purchase decision. With their hard-earned money on the line, they feel more confident choosing a crowd-pleaser than something that lacks any social proof.
As a result, social proof is a highly influential marketing tool, especially when it comes to online shopping. During the online shopping journey, consumers can’t physically inspect products or speak with a service provider face-to-face. Instead, they must defer to ratings, reviews, and testimonials to gain a sense of the quality of the product or service.
Also, consumers have become increasingly wary of overt marketing messages. They believe friends, family, and other consumers much more than advertisers. Just check out these statistics:
- 98% of consumers say that reviews are the most important factor in their purchase decision process.
- 92% of consumers trust non-paid recommendations more than advertising.
- 82% of consumers ask their friends and family for recommendations before making a purchase.
As you can see, you must offer consumers social proof if you want to sell them on your products or services. If you can do this effectively, you’ll reap the rewards of increased sales in no time. That’s why B12 is here to provide a few different ways to add social proof to your business website.
How to add social proof to your website
Adding social proof to your website is the quickest way to build trust with your customers, validate their shopping decisions, and enhance your credibility. It’s also been shown to boost online conversions by 15%!
By adding some of the following elements to your business website, you can harness the power of social proof and watch your sales soar.
Acquire positive reviews and ratings
With so many online resources, modern consumers are more informed than ever before. 87% of them start their buying process with online research. Thus, the importance of online ratings and reviews cannot be underestimated.
Ask for reviews
Did you know that consumers are willing to spend 31% more with companies that boast excellent reviews? In addition, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from their friends and family. Finally, most consumers read at least 10 reviews before making a purchase!
To provide social proof, you must acquire reviews for your company — preferably lots of positive ones. While providing stellar products and services is the first step to amassing reviews, you can expedite this process by requesting them from your happy customers.
Keep in mind that most consumers visit at least 2 to 3 review sites before making a purchase. In turn, it’s in your best interest to get reviews on several review sites, like Google, Yelp, Foursquare, and any others that are relevant to your industry.
Showcase these reviews directly on your website
Since reviews are so influential, they’re a great feature to include directly on your website. Showcase these positive reviews on your homepage. Also, add reviews throughout your website and landing pages strategically.
As visitors read about your company on your website, they'll see this social proof simultaneously, bolstering their trust in your brand. It also allows you to highlight the most compelling reviews that you’re proud to show off.
Just take a note from Slack, the popular business messaging system. They display reviews from recognizable companies, such as Intuit, Lyft, and Shopify, right on their homepage.
Boost your ratings
Like reviews, ratings are incredibly important. In fact, 57% of consumers refuse to engage with a business unless it has at least a 4-star rating. If you want to compete, you need to work on increasing your rating asap, since it directly impacts revenues. With every star increase in your Yelp rating, you can improve revenues by 5% to 9%.
Keep in mind that most buyers require around 40 online reviews before they trust that a rating is accurate. By asking for more positive reviews from customers, you can increase your star rating and its believability at the same time.
When you reach a rating that you’re proud of, highlight it on your website. You can showcase it in the footer or more prominently on landing pages. This social proof will give customers the reassurance they need to move forward with purchasing from your company.
Offer customer testimonials
Customer testimonials take reviews one step further. They give specific customers a chance to share their experience in greater detail. As a result, they can be even more influential. They provide visitors insight into how your company solves problems and improves the lives of its customers.
To see effective customer testimonials, just look at the weight loss industry. They’ve had great success with this form of social proof. Their testimonials don’t just show weight loss — they also highlight how losing weight has enhanced people’s confidence, mobility, and overall quality of life. Weight Watchers’ “Success Stories” is a great example.
To acquire more testimonials, reach out to your satisfied customers and see if they’d be interested in sharing theirs. Once you’ve filmed some powerful customer testimonials, create a dedicated page on your website for them. Include your testimonials on other pages as well to add supportive social proof. By doing so, you can expect to see a 34% increase in conversions!
Display your customer count
A business’s success is often measured by the size of its customer base. Recall how a busy restaurant is usually perceived as more successful than an empty one? Just like in real life, online businesses appear more credible if they have a lot of customers. To make your company’s success known, show your customer count directly on your website.
For example, Shopify's homepage highlights that they’ve empowered over a million businesses to earn money with the help of their platform. You may not have a million customers yet, but displaying your customer count can still boost your reputation and provide more credibility to your name.
By advertising your customer count, you will also tap into humans’ innate desire to belong to a group. If they can join your growing customer base, they’ll enjoy that sense of belonging. They’ll also possess the confidence that comes with knowing many other people made the same decision to trust your company.
Boast about big brands that use your company
If well-known companies use your products or services, don’t keep it a secret! This type of social proof can quickly add immense credibility to your brand.
Make impressive customers known by including their logos on your homepage. One great way to design this is to create a “trusted by” bar, showcasing these logos. The more recognizable the companies, the better.
The marketing giant, HubSpot, is a great example of this. They are used by Subaru, ClassPass, DoorDash, and other famous brands, and they let you know it right on their homepage.
Display your business awards
Business awards are another sign of social proof that enhance your reputation. Since they require a third-party to review your business and compare it to others in your industry, they verify your credibility and competitive advantage. If you win one of these prestigious awards, make sure to show it off in a visible place on your homepage, landing pages, and product pages.
If you don’t have any business awards yet, get proactive. There are tons of business awards that you can apply for. Once you’ve acquired one, post the award graphic on your website. This type of third-party evidence will surely convince your customers that you are trustworthy.
For example, Jenny Craig shows their award for the 2020 Best Diet, as well as mentioning that they’ve held this award for 10 years straight. This type of award establishes impressive leadership in their industry.
Invest in influencer marketing
There’s a reason droves of people have found a way to turn Instagram and Youtube into a full-time career. This reason is the rise of influencer marketing. Companies are investing more and more into this type of marketing for a reason — it works.
By gaining the attention and approval of well-known influencers, you will also attract the trust and intrigue of their massive following. Plus, the ROI of influencer marketing speaks for itself — for every one dollar spent on influencer marketing, companies gain a return of $6.50 on average.
The first step is to find an influencer. Choose one that aligns with your audience, your budget, and your brand. Once you’ve found the right match, collaborate with your influencer to gain the following exposure from them:
- Tag your brand in their Instagram post
- Review your product on their Youtube channel
- Write about your product on their blog
- Offer a discount code for your business to their followers
For example, FabFitFun is infamous for collaborating with high-profile influencers, like the Kardasians and The Bachelor franchise stars. As a result, they’ve experienced a 300% growth year over year!
The tipping point to success
As you can see, a social proofed website is critical to boosting conversions and cultivating confidence in your customers. It taps into the innate psychology that we all share. Every additional piece of social proof that you can add to your website is only going to benefit your business. Implement some of these ideas and track your results.
For more digital marketing advice, check out B12’s Resource Center. We offer guidance around SEO, traffic generation, content creation, and professional web design! If you need a website refresh, check out our website gallery to see some of our work. We can create a social proof-focused website for you at an affordable price.
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