The notion of social proof has always been a huge part of the digital marketing environment, with all of us contributing to this interesting and still underexplored component of online advertising on a daily basis, without even noticing or acknowledging it. Lately, it has become a prerequisite part of brands’ marketing and user-acquisition strategies, especially for those who operate within SaaS or E-commerce based ecosystems.
Social proof is a marketing device that both new and established brands deploy all the time and is based on two very strong ideas: people are social creatures and word-of-mouth advertising goes a long way.
Let’s put this into an everyday context.
Most of us are more likely to purchase a product and/or hire services if someone close to us, someone we can trust, recommends that purchase to us. That way we are certain the product/service is worth our hard-earned money, which in most cases leads to a no-brainer decision and that Buy Now button gets clicked. This is how businesses use this powerful social proof component to promote their product in an organic and (according to conventional principles) non-advertising manner, resulting in substantially increased sales and conversions, without spending too much money on paid ad strategies.
Sure, both paid and organic traffic are essential for getting potential customers onto your landing page, but more often than not, website visitors require one final nudge towards the end of your funnel in order to become your loyal paying customer, which can often be quite difficult to accomplish.
The good news is that there is a simple remedy.
Deploying a social proof driven marketing strategy, aside from (of course) having a great product/service, can do wonders to your conversion rates and turn your business into a well-oiled machine with a huge client base.
Why is Social Proof so Effective in Digital Marketing?
When a person is buying something online or wants to become a SaaS user, for example, they need to make an informed decision about their impending purchase. Now, it is up to you to persuade them to go with your service/product instead of choosing one of your competitors. This is where you need to make sure your potential customer feels comfortable and confident about becoming your client or making a purchase on your page.
In order to achieve this, you need to implement the social proof component into your marketing strategy, and do that in the form of:
- Customer reviews
- Influencer marketing
- Social proof tools…
Let’s put these claims in some context and numbers:
- The average user reads 10 customer reviews before making a decision about going with a particular company
- 91% of consumers (18 to 34) report they trust online reviews
- Only 53% of consumers say they would consider purchasing a product and/or services that have less than 4 stars
- Consumers spend an average of 14 minutes reading reviews before making an informed purchasing decision
It is clear that testimonials, customer reviews, and other forms of social proof immensely factor into how we spend our hard-earned money, which is exactly why we tend to spend time searching for legit products and services that have been clearly validated by their users and clients.
3 Ways of Using Social Proof as a Conversion Boosting Device
Although there are many different ways to use social proof as a marketing device, we decided to boil them down to the following 3 tactics we found to be most effective and affordable in terms of building credibility around your business.
1. Customer Reviews
Product/service reviews are perhaps the most common and widely spread form of leveraging the social proof marketing component, regardless of the niche or the company size.. Namely, a product that has 5 or more available customer reviews is 270% more likely to be purchased compared to a similar product with no reviews at all.
On the other hand, getting customer reviews and accumulating them can be a tall order and a rather time-consuming effort as only 1% of consumers actively leave customer reviews, while most of them tend to leave reviews only if they had “an exceptionally positive or exceptionally negative experience.”
How To Get Genuine Reviews
We recommend deploying the post-purchase email outreach method that would trigger your recent customers to provide feedback-packed reviews so other members of the online community can read them and make data-driven decisions about purchasing your product/service.
Not only will these drive more conversions, but it will also very much help your company improve on your product/service development efforts.
To approach this post-purchase email outreach the right way, we suggest you check out the following tips:
- Pay attention to email timing – Sending the email to your customers after they bought your product needs to be a well-timed one. Be sure to give them enough time to form an informed opinion about your product, but also make sure to not send the email too late.
- Include some feedback suggestions in this email – Most consumers cannot be bothered with leaving elaborate reviews, so it is up to you to give them some ideas in the form of topics,or even provide them with a couple of review examples to trigger their imagination.
- Include incentives for those who respond with a review – Consumers are more likely to provide reviews (especially positive ones) if you provide them with certain incentives (discounts, referral programs, etc).
- Insert a “leave a review here” link – Consumers are much more likely to respond positively to your review outreach email if you include a convenient review link.
- Don’t resort to posting fake reviews yourself – Fabricating customer reviews is not a good idea as most people, especially those who are savvy and experienced internet users, are able to spot fake reviews. This can, in the long, lead to bringing much more harm than good to your overall business rep.
2. Influencer-based Endorsement & Testimonials
As nearly 90% of marketers state that influencer-marketing-generated ROI is either comparable to or better than those generated via other marketing channels, influencer-driven endorsements and testimonials are currently among the most potent and most popular social proof devices. Of course, in order to come up with the most effective tactic, you need to pay attention to the following questions:
- What type of product/service are you selling?
- What resources do you have at your disposal?
- What type of influencers will you try to endorse?
- How will you find those influencers?
Luckily, there’s a potent solution to this last problem.
Being able to find influencers and figure out which are the right ones for your business can very much make or break your influencer-powered social proof strategy. What we learned from our experience is that the reputation and popularity levels of an influential persona is rarely as pivotal as their niche-focused competence. The perfect combination is, of course, finding that sweet spot between their actual advertising power and the level of product validation they are able to permeate across their followers as well as your target audiences.
If this sounds like a lot of work and a lot of shooting in the dark (which certainly can be) we recommend checking out Dibz – an affordable but very effective influencer-finding and link building tool.
3. Using FOMO-driven Strategies and Social Proof Tools
Social proof tools, alongside word-of-mouth and FOMO-driven advertising, can provide your potential customers one final nudge toward becoming your loyal customers and thus result in boosted conversion rates and improved brand credibility.
What these tools do best is turning your page visits into sales, leads, and clients by providing them with data-packed notifications about the company’s growing user and customer base.
For these purposes, we suggest you check out Cue – a freemium, user-friendly and very potent social proof tool that works like this:
- A visitor (and a potential customer) reaches your website
- He/she is shown a bubble-style notification containing conversion-driving information about your newly acquired clients/users
- Through this extra layer of validation and legitimacy added to your product, the visitor is triggered to become a part of your clientele
The user information provided within these notifications most typically includes:
- how many new people joined your company or made purchases within the last 7/30 days
- where these customers are coming from (optional)
- which action they performed
- how many people are currently viewing your page, etc
Incorporating this kind of tool into your already elaborate and well-thought-out marketing strategy can really make a difference, especially if you figure out the most optimal combination of these social proof notifications.
With a killer product and a killer marketing plan, your conversion rates will see a substantial increase, your client base will grow, and your brand credibility will start to build organically; these are all tasks that are typically extremely difficult to achieve, especially for businesses that have just launched their campaigns.
The online marketing landscape has never been more riddled with this many different advertising opportunities and channels. The niche is blooming and businesses that are not keeping up with latest trends are likely missing a myriad of opportunities to increase conversions and grow.
In order to stay ahead of the curve, companies should be keen to deploy every possible resource they have on their disposal in an attempt to expand their client base. Leveraging the power of social-proof-based marketing is definitely among those resources.