The internet has given many web
companies the chance to rise and meet new audiences. The challenge for these
companies is the competition to grow the customer base and build the companies’
credibility. One of the ways to do that is to use social proof as a marketing
tool.

Many people make decisions regarding
a product or service based on what they see others do or say. People’s initial
judgment on a website can be influenced by what others perceive based on their
experiences. This can make or break a company especially if it is new in the
market.

What is Social Proof?

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Social proof is the concept that
people have a tendency to conform to the action of others with the assumption
that other people are more knowledgeable in that particular situation and
therefore they reflect correct behavior.

For example, when people pass a
crowded restaurant that they have never set foot into, they will assume that
the food must be good and they will be more inclined to try it. On the other
hand, an empty restaurant will, unfortunately, send a warning signal that there
is something unfavorable about it and people will be more reluctant to make it
their choice of restaurant.

In this era of technology, social
proof has become a powerful marketing tool. When people encounter an unfamiliar
website, like a fintech app website (considering how new the term is for some), and they are
unsure whether the products or services offered are good, they will look for
third-party validation such as customers’ testimonials and product reviews to
decide on their course of action.

The right use of social proof can
positively impact your consumers’ behavior and boost your conversion rate.

Testimonials

Testimonials
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Many companies invite customers to
write their positive experiences with their products or services and post them
on their website. Companies may promise to deliver excellent service but until
someone actually shares their positive experience, people will look at that
promise as just another selling line used by countless websites.

Testimonials will give the
third-party validation that your site visitors need to look further into your
offer. People value the opinions of others, especially opinions from people
that they can relate to.

For example, a mom’s testimonial
about a cleaning product will be more influential than a testimonial from a
fashion celebrity. Also, make sure how you wrap those testimonials on the page.

A lot of designers are tempted to
stuff a lot of testimonials on the page. Don’t do that. Use transitions for the
testimonials or a parallax effect to not bore the visitor.

Getting Testimonials Right

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Testimonials can be tricky to get
right. Ideally, testimonials should be specific, relatable and are aligned with
the overall feel of your website and brand. A generic comment such as ‘this is
a great product’ will not persuade your visitors to become buyers, as compared
to a specific comment like ‘I have been using this product for 5 years and have
not had any maintenance issue’.

Creating a separate page for
testimonials will most likely create a dead-end because people very rarely
visit a webpage to read the testimonial page. Place the testimonials in
multiple locations and alongside the relevant products or services to maximize
their effectiveness.

Used correctly, testimonials can be
a powerful form of social proof to build your website’s credibility and
increase your conversion rate.

An interesting way of using
testimonials to boost credibility is to show them through a popup to visitors
who are bouncing the site. If you’re on WordPress, use a WordPress popup plugin for that. If you are on a different CMS, use Leadpages or
something similar.

Use pictures

Use pictures on testimonials
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The best way to maximize the
effectiveness of a testimonial is to put a face to the words.

People can relate better to the
testimonials when they can see the pictures of the persons writing it. They
will be more inclined to believe that the testimonials are not made up and come
from real customers.

Use high-quality photos and make
sure the participants look inviting and friendly. Placed strategically
alongside a call-to-action button such as ‘Call now’ or ‘Visit our store
today’, the testimonials can be a very persuasive tool.

Having Testimonials from Influential People

Approval from an expert or a
celebrity can have a positive influence on consumer behavior. The psychological
explanation is in the tendency for people to have a biased opinion on a certain
product or service based on their overall judgment of the people endorsing it,
also known as the halo effect.

It is no wonder that companies will
seek a well-known expert or celebrity with an established reputation to sponsor
their products. If you have a designer website, for instance, it will speak
volumes when a famous fashion blogger makes a reference to your website.

A word of caution on the use of
celebrity to endorse a website or a product. If the celebrity is a match to the
website, it will have a positive impact and people will look favorably on the
company. If the celebrity is a mismatch, it may make the company appear
desperate or confused about its own identity. This can make the company lose
its trustworthiness.

Using Logos of Customers or Sites That Reviewed Your Product

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One of the ways to increase the conversion
rate is to display your customers’ logos, especially ones that are well-known.
This social proof will improve your credibility and impress your site visitors.

If your products are covered in the
news or other websites, this will be a chance to incorporate their logos into
your home page and boost your website’s credibility.

Other sources of logos that you
might want to include in your website are logos of your official partners, your
suppliers, awards and accreditation that you have and quality standards that
you have met.

If you’d have a big partner like
Coca-Cola, for example, it would immediately boost your trust. That Coca-Cola logo is one of the most recognized symbols on the planet and if
that huge company decided to work with you, there’s surely something good about
you.

The logos should be placed where
they are easily visible by visitors such as the side of the header/footer of
your website home page. Two big companies known in the B2B community, Calendly and Doodle are doing this differently. One is showing the logos in the
hero section, the other in the footer.

Newsletter Subscriber Count

Newsletter Subscriber Count
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This form of social proof is an
example of the ‘wisdom of the crowds’ social proof. Basically, the more people
that have signed up to your newsletter, the higher the probability of new
visitors signing up too. If you have not built a large customer base yet, a
relevant testimonial highlighting the positive aspect of your newsletter might
persuade visitors to sign up.

People will be more inclined to sign
up for the newsletter if they believe the website is trustworthy and that their
information will be protected. Privacy policy regarding the use and collection
of their information should be included in the sign-up process.

Using Social Media Widgets

Using Social Media Widgets
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Social media is a great source of
social proof. You can track the mention of your website or products on Twitter
and gain insight into your customers’ perception of them. You can track the
size of your website followers on Twitter and Facebook.

Many companies now include social
media icons on their website where customers can readily access their social
media and share the website’s link and post comments about the companies. Many
companies invite their customers to ‘like’ them on Facebook.

A positive comment on your website
or brand on social media can have a ripple effect that will bring new visitors
to your website. People feel more secure to engage in your website when their
friends have recommended it through social media.

Showcasing the Number of Users or Downloads

This display of user statistics
works in the same way as when McDonalds’ fast-food restaurants display signs
“Billions and Billions Served”.

This social proof will work if you
have an impressive statistic to make visitors believe that your website is
trustworthy. If your customer base is not up to par yet, this is a chance to
utilize other forms of social proof to increase the number of your site
visitors and increase your conversion rate.

Using Trust Badges

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The display of trust badges is most
commonly found in the checkout section of a landing page. With online fraud
becoming common, customers are more cautious in filling out forms and sharing
sensitive information such as their credit card numbers to an online company.

Trust badges give customers the
assurance that the information they give to the company will be secure. People
have been reported to cancel their online purchase in the absence of a trust
seal and they are more likely to have a second thought about purchasing a
product. Trust badges may or may not bring in new visitors but they do prevent
potential customers to doubt the security of their purchase.

Ending Thoughts

There are many forms of social proof
available to promote your website. When used effectively, they can be a great
asset to continuously bring visitors to your website and increase your conversion rate.
On the other hand, misuse of social proof can also backfire and have the
reverse effect on your website.

The use of social
proof
requires
practice and experience. If you are looking to promote your great new products
or services on the web, social proof can be your best marketing tool and the
cheapest form of marketing available yet.

The
use of social proof

also promotes interactions with customers and this can have a long-lasting
effect. New customers will be enticed with existing testimonials about the
positive experiences other people have and existing customers will be reminded
of their own positive experience.

As with any marketing tool, it will
only be effective if you have a great product or service to start with and you
maintain your integrity in delivering what you promise. Continue to review your
products and gain feedback from close associates. As said earlier, social media
can be a great place to gain feedback about your products and keep track of
your number of followers.

The combination of the right
products and the right use of different forms of social proof will ensure your
company’s visibility in the market place and create a building platform for
your company’s sustainability.

About the Author

author photo

Bogdan Sandu

Bogdan is a designer and editor at DesignYourWay. He’s reading design books the same way a hamster eats carrots, and talks all the time about trends, best practices and design principles.


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