Social proof is one of the classic conversion-optimization factors. It has been covered in countless books on persuasive tactics like ‘Making Things Stick’ by Chip and Dan Heath, and you should rarely try to put together any kind of sales material without some form of social proof involved. Ask 10 people what social proof is, and 9 will come back with one answer: Testimonials. But while testimonials are a powerfully persuasive form of social proof when used correctly, many other types of social proof can be equally effective. Some of them may even be more suitable depending on your products, services, and target market.
Here are 7 powerful types of social proof you should consider using.
1. Press Mentions
Social proof works because your potential customers trust other people’s opinions about your products more than they trust your own opinions. And one of the ways you can increase trust in your brand is through referencing press mentions that you have picked up over the years.
That’s why you will see so many landing pages with “As Featured In” followed by a list of icons, like this one at Voxiebox:
Being featured could refer to interviews, articles about your company, quotes you’ve provided, anything. But you don’t have to go into any details. Instead, the mere presence of the icons is enough to have the desired effect. The bigger and more recognizable the publications, the better. But the key is that they are respected by your target audience, and that may mean very niche publications, blogs, and websites.
Have you been awarded any certificates? Perhaps from a respected industry association or governing agency, or simply after completing a course? Certificates are another way to show your targets that you can be trusted. If a well known and respected organization has awarded you a certificate, the reaction from your targets is: “I can trust this company.” Again, the more familiar your targets are with the association awarding the certificate, the better.
3. Large Numbers
People are impressed by large numbers. So when you can link your product to a large number in any way, you can win more respect from your targets.
For example, you could highlight your huge number of Facebook likes or email sign ups, like WPBeginner does:
Or you could simply list the impressive amount of customers you serve. You could even state the number of countries you serve (e.g. “Serving customers in 96 countries.”) Try to be specific to make your claim more credible. “Join 10,238 People on Our List” is more impressive than “Join Over 10,000 People.”
Even if you do not provide an exact number, you can show off some of your customers if they are well-known brands. Slack does this on its pricing page:
Also, try to make it relevant. For example, if your CTA is to increase Facebook Likes, mention how many Likes you have.
Reviews are becoming increasingly essential. People use reviews as part of the buying process, and we are all so used to reading reviews now because we know that they are difficult to manipulate. Don’t worry about a few negative reviews. This is to be expected, and as long as it does not become a pattern, it is nothing to worry about. If the majority are positive, reviews will work in your favor. Try to get as many reviews as you can. You can always feature some of the best in your sales copy, especially reviews that address a common concern that your customers have.
5. High Ranking
If you have high rankings, show them off. So, if your product is ranked highly on a well-known e-commerce platform, make a point of this.
You regularly see this in the travel industry with TripAdvisor, like Joe’s BBQ does on its homepage:
Essentially, if you can boldly claim that your product, service, or company is ranked number one on a well-known site, this is going to be an instant trust generator.
Endorsements are not the same as testimonials. Instead, these are where you get someone well known in your industry to recommend your product. Large brands often use celebrities for this purpose. (How many times have you seen famous sports stars wearing the latest watches?) But you don’t need celebrities. All you need is people who are well known in your industry, and that could mean influential bloggers or social media superstars. When people see that your brand is endorsed by someone they respect, the positive emotions rub off on your brand.
7. Social Media
This is a form of testimonial, but it is different enough to deserve its own category. The most common way to use social media in your social proof is to collect a sample of tweets that mention your product or brand positively. You can then display these right on your landing page, email, or website. These seem even more natural—and therefore trustworthy—than other testimonials. They come from real people, with real photos attached, and it is clear that you have not altered them in any way.
And because they come from a different platform, this increases trust further. Unbounce used this technique in a recent email they sent regarding their Call to Action Conference:
Use Some or All of These
The most important thing to know about social proof is that you need it. Seriously.
Make sure you have some form of social proof in your sales content, whether on your landing page or home page. But you can almost never have enough.
- The more positive reviews people read, the better.
- The more publications feature you, the better.
- The more endorsements you can get, the better.
Can you use any of these types of social proof in your existing sales copy? Your landing pages? Homepage? Emails? Start with one, then add some more until you are using social proof throughout your sales copy.
You won’t be disappointed.