Social proof has become one of the most effective client acquisition devices both new and established brands can deploy. To back these claims, we have 2 notions that we’d like to address: 

  • Humans are essentially social animals
  • Word-of-mouth never fails

What this means within the digital marketing landscape is that people are likely to buy your product and/or hire your services if someone they can trust recommends your brand to them. If you can get others to promote your product in an organic and almost non-advertising manner that is word-of-mouth, your business is highly likely to soon morph into unstoppable money-making machinery, without spending too many resources on paid ad strategies. 

This is especially true for SaaS and E-Commerce niches wherein website visitors often need one final nudge towards becoming paying customers. Although organic and paid traffic can be quite effective in terms of getting people onto your landing page, converting them from mere visitors into hot leads and paying customers can often feel like a tall order. 

In order to master this conversion game, you need to (aside from having a killer product to offer) come up with a surefire funnel and strong marketing strategy, but also make sure all the moving parts are working like a well-oiled machine without any bottle-necks slowing things down. 

In this article, we will tackle the importance of the social proof component and how to leverage it in order to make your conversion-fueled marketing plan as effective as possible.

What Makes Social Proof so Fruitful?

Making an online purchase or becoming an active SaaS user, for example, is more of a journey than an isolated event. During this journey, your potential customer needs to make an informed decision to go with your product in lieu of choosing one of your competitors. 

If you can make a website visitor feel comfortable and confident that he or she is making the right choice by becoming your customer, you are likely to turn them into a happy and satisfied (and loyal) client.  

This is where implementing the social proof component within your funnel comes into play. 

For example, 64% of software buyers tend to read at least 6 online reviews before making a purchase, according to Capterra, while 91% of people aged 18 to 34 say they trust online reviews as much as personal, word-of-mouth recommendations

Online reviews, testimonials and other forms of social proof have a huge impact on us pack animals, as nobody wants to waste their precious time or hard-earned money on mediocre products. This is why we seek services and products that have been enveloped in clear validation of quality and legit endorsement by other trustworthy users and clients.   

3 Types of Social Proof to Boost Conversion Rates

Though there are numerous ways to utilize the power of social proof and word-of-mouth to expand your client base and ramp up your overall ROI, we decided to narrow down this list to 3 most effective and affordable ways to generate social proof and build more credibility around your brand. 

1. Product/Service Reviews 

Purchase reviews are probably the most popular and effective form of implementing the social proof component into your marketing strategy, regardless of the niche. As we already mentioned above, over 90% of shoppers read and trust online reviews during their online purchase journey, while perhaps even more staggering data in regard to purchase probability states that a product that features at least 5 available reviews is 270% more likely to be purchased compared to a product with no reviews. 

That said, websites that don’t allow their customers to leave product and/or service reviews are most likely losing vast conversion rates boosting opportunities.  

However, getting customer reviews is not exactly a walk in the park. According to a white paper published by The Good, “only 1% of online community participants actively add user reviews. Many times, customers will only leave reviews if they had an exceptionally positive or exceptionally negative experience.”

How To Get Genuine Reviews

Most businesses utilize the post-purchase customer email outreach method to remind their existing customers to provide product feedback in the form of reviews so other members of the online community can use these reviews to make data- and experience-driven decisions but also help the very company improve their process of future product development.

Here are some tips on how to properly approach the post-purchase customer outreach method:

  • Come up with perfect email timing – Make sure you send this email after the buyer and/or user has had enough time to form an organic and informed opinion. 
  • Provide your customer with review suggestions – Not too many people are avid reviewers, which is why we recommend suggesting topics to your reviewer as several examples can jump-start their imagination and vocabulary.
  • Consider offering incentives – Outreach emails that provide certain incentives in the form of discounts on future purchases in exchange for an honest customer review have proven to be quite effective. 
  • Include a link to the review page – Emails that provide the customer with a review link so he or she doesn’t have to search your website again also provide better results. 

Bonus Tip: Don’t Post Fabricated Reviews

Though creating fake customer reviews may seem like an easier solution and a nice workaround, we do not recommend resorting to this tactic. Experienced and savvy members of internet communities tend to be experts in spotting fraudulent reviews, which can bring more harm than good to your business. Especially in the long run, if your brand gets exposed and labeled as a fake review user.

2. Social Proof Tools and FOMO

Utilizing social proof tools can help you increase your conversion rates and quickly up your brand credibility game. These tools, when deployed properly, are able to help businesses, especially those that operate within E-Commerce and SaaS niches, turn their page visits into actual sales, leads, and – ultimately – loyal paying customers. 

Most social proof tools are providing your visitors one final nudge down your funnel by turning both your paid and organic traffic into actual purchases and conversions using the potential that word-of-mouth and FOMO-driven advertising harbor. 

For these purposes, we recommend using Cue – a user-friendly and affordable social proof tool

Cue works like this: once a potential customer reaches your website, they are presented with a bubble-style notification that contains useful conversion-driving data about your newly acquired clients/users, thus providing an extra layer of validation and legitimacy to your product and/or service. This info most typically includes: 

  • how many new users joined your business within the last 7/30 days
  • where these users are from
  • which action they performed
  • how many people are currently viewing this page, etc

With the right combination of these social proof notifications and a killer product – you can easily boost your conversion rates, expand your client base, and build further credibility around your brand – which is especially difficult to achieve if you are just launching your business. 

3. Influencer Endorsement and Testimonials 

According to a survey conducted by MediaKix, 89% of marketers claim that ROI generated from influencer marketing yields results that are either comparable to or better than those coming from other marketing channels. Influencer-powered endorsements are among the strongest social proof based advertising strategies, however, the success of this marketing approach can be boiled down to the following 3 factors:

  • The type of product/service you are trying to sell 
  • The influencers you choose 
  • The resources you have 

Tracking down and selecting the right influencers is pivotal when it comes to leveraging this type of social proof tactic. The popularity level of the influencers is often not as critical as their niche-focused competence. What we mean by this is the actual advertising power of an influencer over their followers and how potent their product validation is to both their follower base and your target audience. 

If you are looking for an affordable yet effective influencer finding tool, we recommend checking out Dibz

Over to You

Essentially, online marketing based on social proof is among the most organic advertising strategies a company – established or newly founded – can deploy. Showing that your product and/or service has been approved and even praised by existing customers or influential personas can do wonders for your sales and conversion rates. 

Posted by Elaine Bennett

Elaine Bennett is an Australian-based digital marketing specialist focused on helping startups and small businesses grow. She writes hands-on articles about business and marketing, as it allows her to reach even more people and help them on their business journey.