Businesses put ample effort into increasing website conversions and, as a result, revenue. They improve website design, heavily invest in paid advertising, refine their marketing efforts to gain more website visitors, etc. But, there’s one powerful method to increase website conversions which many businesses lose sight of: social proof.
Why does social proof (testimonials, star ratings, activity notifications, etc.) convert visitors into customers better? The thing is, people are more likely to make a purchase if they confide in a given website. The fact is, we don’t buy from someone we don’t have trust with. Almost 90 percent of customers say that social proof elements, such as testimonials and reviews, influence their purchasing decision.
Considering this, unless you’re a well-known company like Apple or Adidas, you should work on injecting social proof as diligently as you can. In this article, we’ll run through tested-and-tried tricks you can implement to immediately build user trust and, as a result, increase your website conversions.
The psychology behind social proof effectiveness
Social proof is an intersection of psychology and marketing. This theory tells us that people will follow the experience of those whom they like or trust. This is based on scientific studies that say that when humans are unsure what to do, they look around for advice on what should be done.
The best way to motivate your prospects to do something is to show that other people in their situation have done so. In other words, social proof draws similarities among your prospective clients and existing customers, motivates prospects to convert and tremendously influences business revenue.
Provide independent third-party social proof
Are you lacking third-party social proof to use for building trust around your company? Don’t ease up on this endeavor as it is one of the most powerful ways to build trust. We’ve prepared a few excellent third-party social proof tips for you to adopt.
- Showcase your partners to prove that you’re reliable enough to work with. Even if your partners’ names aren’t recognizable, they can still make an impression. Also, don’t hesitate to add your allies’ logos to your website.
- Display press mentions, mentions by influencers, and industry awards. Even if it’s not Forbes, featuring blog post mentions proves your brand is attention-worthy.
Employ the power of social media
Social networks are a powerful way to increase your brand credibility and boost website conversions. First, to spread a buzz around your company, add share buttons on your product page or blog posts as illustrated below:
The next way to adopt social media for the sake of brand credibility is to show off your fan base. Display the number of your social media followers on your website as clickable widgets. The best part is that the new website visitors become your social media followers by simply clicking on these widgets:
What’s more, companies can use social media posts left by existing customers to highlight their feedback. This type of testimonials is called user-generated content (UGC). Injecting UGC into your marketing strategy is a great way to boost sales because prospects feel more confident in purchasing from when they see that other people are successfully using your products. You can leverage social posts with the mentions of your company right on your website:
Bearing this in mind, motivate your existing clients to publish posts which describe their experience with your products on their social accounts. To foster this process, you can offer them some incentives (discount, free shipping, etc.). Then, use ‘social-listening’ tools like to gather mentions and conversations about your products.
Display activity notifications
A single notification that contains persuasive statistics can be worth a thousand words. Real-time social proof called ‘activity notifications’ can dramatically increase your conversion rate. Activity notifications show your website visitors how many people are doing the same things at the same time (or have done them successfully).
Activity notifications include the number of visitors currently looking at the same website page, the number of users who bought this product over a period of time, the number of invites remaining, etc. In the nutshell, they create a sense of urgency around your products and, as a result, increase website conversion rates.
There is one more method to strengthen a sense of urgency. If a product is expected to be very popular, it’s a good idea to let people know that. So, when stock is limited, clearly indicate this next to the main CTA with phrases like ‘Only 10 left in stock – order soon’.
Feature customers’ testimonials
Testimonials are a crucial (if not the main) part of every website and no wonder. 90 percent of consumers are influenced by positive testimonials from someone they don’t even know in their decision to buy. No one wants to be the very first person to buy products from a lesser-known company.
Let’s start with the low-hanging fruits. Take a look at social networks. It’s entirely possible that your customers have already mentioned your company and told about their experience with your products. Social networks are a gold mine of existing testimonials. Find them here and embed them into your website to confirm the quality of your services. To gain time, use tools like Local Listening that can find business citations across all platforms, including social networks.
Also, it’s always a good idea to generate more new testimonials. However, gathering testimonials can be tricky and time-consuming. Luckily, there are handy tools that can help you. After the customer completes the purchase, the tool sends them a link where they can write a testimonial or record a short video with their feedback. Next, you approve the testimonial and the tool starts to feature it on certain product pages as notification widget, on-page badge, or clickable snippet.
Some best practices while featuring customers’ testimonials include offering an incentive in thanks for providing a testimonial and adding pictures of your customers and their company name to the testimonial.
Manage reviews across all your locations
As we’ve mentioned above, positive reviews are a powerful social proof technique; the majority of consumers trust online reviews as much as friends and family. At the same time, negative reviews from unsatisfied clients can hurt your business. However, each critical remark is still an opportunity to repair the relationship with the person who left it as well as a chance to show everyone that your company is listening and here to help.
Monitoring reviews across all your locations to see what people are saying about your business is a must-do for every company. But, let’s face the truth, consistent customer sentiment monitoring is no easy task, especially when you’re receiving hundreds of reviews across social networks, Google, etc. Luckily, tools like Local Reviews keep you in the loop about what your customers are saying about you.
Local Reviews gathers all reviews across all your locations in real-time and gives you insight into what your customers are saying about you, all within a centralized dashboard. What’s more, this tool notifies you about the critical review and informs stakeholders about rating information that may impact your business. Among other things, that allows you to identify trends and directly engage and respond to consumers online within the dashboard.
Do keyword research the smart way
Understanding what people are searching for most when looking for your business is crucial for ranking on relevant local terms and providing relevant content to help consumers make a decision. When done right, search engine optimization influences your conversions, establishes trust around your brand, and fosters your local search marketing strategy. Let’s talk about this in more detail.
First, local and mobile search is picking up traction, so recognizing what your customer-base is searching for is key. Let’s illustrate it by the following example. If you are a coffee house owner, phrases like ‘coffee near me’, ‘buy coffee near me’, ‘drink coffee near me’ are crucial to incorporate into your SEO marketing strategy. In other words, you should use these keywords when creating copy for your website, descriptions for your listings, and in your schema markup. By doing so, you’ll gain more local traffic.
Having prepared optimized website content, it’s time to add social proof. Feature customer testimonials on your optimized website pages and add structured data to them. As a result, positive testimonials from satisfied customers will appear as rich snippets right under your website link in search results when prospects are looking for your business.
Remember that your various locations may need to optimize for different keywords. Luckily, there is no need to do time-consuming keyword research manually. Rio SEO’s free local audit will help you find relevant keywords in each of your local markets with key insights into your local listings, rankings, and reviews.
Manage Google Q&A across all your locations
Speaking about local non-branded search queries, the search appearance of your multi-location brand largely depends on local listings (Google My Business, Google Maps, etc.). That’s why it’s crucial to keep these listings up to date (your address, phone number, etc.). But how can they build trust around your company? Let’s get things sorted out.
The thing is, Google prominently displays questions and answers on each of your locations’ listings. Google’s Q&A improves your presence in local search and gives existing customers’ insights on the quality of your products and services.
Quite logically, prospective customers refer to Google Q&A while deciding if your company is credible. Seamless communication experience across various channels (including Google Q&A) is what customers expect of modern businesses. And here comes an excellent opportunity to connect with prospects. And it’s up to you whether they become your customers or not.
How can you turn Google Q&A into a conversion machine? First, monitor Google Q&A of your listings and promptly answer prospects’ questions to satisfy their curiosity, build trust, and gain a loyal customer eventually. By tapping into Google’s Q&A, you can engage consumers and generate additional revenue from your local business.
Managing multiple listing Q&A’s can be challenging. However, each unanswered question leads to a lost opportunity. Avoid that by being proactive in monitoring incoming questions with the help of Rio SEO’s enterprise-level dashboard and notification system. This tool gathers questions across all locations and displays them in a single dashboard. Here you can easily monitor all incoming content, save your time, and respond right on time.
A few things to remember before you start
There are a few ground rules while using social proof to increase conversions. First, don’t overdo it. Resist the urge to overcrowd your website with credibility elements. Second, it’s crucial to have a strong understanding of your target audience because different people are influenced by different things. Know what impresses your ideal buyer persona and then find a customer that truly represents what your ideal prospect looks like and can relate to, and ask them to leave a testimonial.
Next, avoid negative social proof. For example, don’t include social media badges if you’ve only got a few dozens of followers. Instead, focus only on your best social proof assets.
Also, if you decide to implement the social proof technique mentioned above, A/B testing is the only way to know which of them has positively impacted the conversion rate. That being said, it’s best to introduce one social proof technique at a time, measure results, make improvements, and measure again.
Demonstrate your reliability, be honest on your claims, and deliver on your word.
If prospective customers don’t trust you, they will never convert into paying ones. In this blog, we’ve recommended you:
- Provide third-party social proof: customers’ logo, mentions in press, influencers’ mentions.
- Don’t forget about the power of social networks, they can help you build trust around your company: search for clients’ reviews and use this content, support prospects.
- Display user activity notifications on your website to create a sense of urgency and trust and, as a result, increase conversions.
- Feature customers’ text and video testimonials on your website.
- Manage reviews across all your locations.
- Manage Google Q&A across all your locations.
- Do keyword research the smart way: pay attention to local keywords, inject markup schema to your website pages.
To unleash the full power of social proof, automate the process of searching for your brand mentions across all locations and gathering testimonials from existing customers with the help of dedicated platforms. And always A/B test every single social proof technique to skyrocket your website conversion rate.
Which above-mentioned social proof tricks are you going to adopt? Share in the comments!