Adding a bit of social proof to your website can greatly increase its conversion rate.
This is why so many brands prominently display testimonials and other types of social proof on each page.
It’s why we have we proudly display the “What they’re saying about us..” section our welcome page.
People make decisions about what to buy largely based on what their peers say.
It’s even more important for online shopping.
When shopping in an actual store, we can pick up items, handle them, and check them out.
Without the ability to do that, we rely even more on what others who have already purchased the product say.
It’s why Amazon is always chasing you to leave a product review a few days after your purchase arrives.
It’s why eBay has the Buyer/Seller Rating system of stars, and builds the review process into every transaction.
When you are a small business it is hard, but not impossible, to display lots of social proof.
But it is very important.
Here are a few ways social proof can boost your website’s conversions, and some tools to help you.
1. Buyer Testimonials
Testimonials are recommendations written by former customers singing the praises of your product or service.
A good testimonial has an image of the customer’s face and their personal explanation of the value and impact your products have made.
Apps like Customer Guru can automate the collection of testimonials, and also calculate your Net Promoter Score.
They can also be video testimonials.
Just ask your customer to use their phone to record a quick 30 second statement about why they like you product.
It doesn’t matter if this video is rough or shaky.
That helps to build authenticity.
The important thing is to get a real customer describing their real experience.
We use interactive video by WarmWelcome to drive the collection of video testimonials right on our website.
2. Real-Time Statistics
Put a counter on your site telling visitors how many people have purchased, joined, or visited your site.
This shows that they’re not the only one.
Others have taken you up on your offer as well.
Two great website plug-ins for this are Influence and Provesource.
We use Influence on our sites.
Influence displays a small pop-up bubble on your website showing current statistics.
You can tune this pop-up to display things like the location of your most recent visitor, your most recent sale, or how many people have viewed a specific product.
Influence offers a free trial so you can prove it works on your site before you even pay a penny.
3. Social Media Activity
A similar type of plug-in shows your social media activity on a sidebar of your website.
It displays people interacting with you on platforms like Facebook and Twitter in real time.
The plug-in can also allow the visitor to join you on social media or interact directly with your content there.
The best plug-ins we have found for this are from SocialSnap and Elfsite
SocialSnap offers 30+ of the most popular social networks.
This includes Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, Telegram, and more.
It allows you to customise the button shapes, sizes, colours, and much more.
It also supports both individual and total share count which encourages your customers to share your products
Elfsite has hundreds of customisable widgets you can plug-into your website.
Included are 14 different Social widgets such as counts, and embedding content from your social accounts right into your website.
4. Online Reviews
List your business on online review sites and show the content on your website or provide a link where people can go to read reviews.
Reviews are an essential part of making online buying decisions.
There are many 3rd party options for online reviews including TrustPilot, Facebook, Yelp, and of course the mighty Google.
Again, we must mention Elfsite because this toolbox of widgets lets you collate and embed reviews from many different sites, right into your own website.
However, one problem with reviews from 3rd party sites is you don’t have any form of editorial control of what is written or displayed.
When you are just starting out its better to drive and control reviews yourself.
The tool we like best for doing this is CustomerGuru.
CustomerGuru actively sends your customers and email after each purchase. This email asks them to give you a score out of 10, and a quick reason from the score.
CustomerGuru then uses these scores to calculate your running Net Promoter Score.
This is important because Net Promoter Score is a metric respected throughout online commerce.
5. Certifications, Memberships, and Awards
If you belong to any industry groups, post this on your website.
This works as a kind of indirect social proof by showing that you’re a legitimate part of your industry.
Show any certifications or awards you’ve won as well.
These demonstrate your worth and show you as someone trustworthy.
Also display any awards you’ve won.
6. Offer Educational Opportunities
If you teach, you can use this as a great form of social proof.
On the front page of your site, mention that you offer coaching, seminars, webinars, online courses, or some other type of educational opportunities.
If someone is able to teach, this shows they have expertise in their field.
Add content that shows you teaching so they can see that you have a classroom full of students.
Reach out to influencers and well-known leaders in your niche and ask if they’ll say something nice about you.
Offer an incentive to sweeten the deal.
Choose people your audience knows, likes and trusts if possible.
Since social proof can push people off the fence and lead them to make a purchase, you can never have too much of it.
Add social proof to your website, your social media presence, your blog, and anywhere else you have direct communication with your audience.