Having read an ocean of articles about conversion rate optimization hacks and implemented endless experiments, you have probably been tired of useless ‘growth tips’. All these ‘add emotions to your headline’, ‘change a button color’, ‘play with fonts and colors’…
So, the chances are, you already know that these small content and design tweaks bring only insignificant, short-term results at best. In fact, all your business rivals are doing the same.
Look at Amazon, eBay and whatever else. What do you see? The main page, category and product pages, checkout forms feature heavily social proof elements. And it’s not the limit if you visit Booking.com.
Why? Because all successful businesses have already understood the power of social proof. They don’t have a nitty-gritty website design with numerous beautiful, yet useless components. They just work on injecting social proof as hard as they can.
Why is social proof so effective in terms of conversion rate optimization?
Imagine the website of Company A where you can find 1000 testimonials, 800 reviews and 600 case studies. All these customers took the time to write a review, so they must be legitimate, right?
At the same time, Company B could potentially have a far superior product, but if nobody says it’s great, the product quality is almost useless. Obviously, the company website with more reviews will seem more attractive to prospective clients because it feels more reliable.
Let’s face it: now we live in a world where people are familiar with social proof. What’s more, website visitors are looking for social proof on a page as an essential element of page content. As a result, social proof done right can be a game-changer for your business.
Although all social proof techniques show that you are worth to be chosen among others, their implementation varies widely. So, what social proof methods can you adopt to dramatically improve your landing page conversion rate?
When building a product page, you can say anything about your products, but how can you prove what you’re saying is true? No one wants to be the very first person to buy your products. If people see others are already your existing and happy clients then it will make them feel more secure about the quality of your services. Whether it’s in video or written form, the whopping 70 percent of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know.
One thing to remember: make sure that testimonials featured on your website are real and relevant. Your prospects are clever enough to differ fake testimonials from real ones. So, include the real reviews with full names, pictures of your customers and their company name.
To tell the truth, gathering testimonials can be quite time-consuming. How to automate this process? Here come the social proof tools like crowdy.ai. After the customer completes the purchase, crowdy.ai sends them a link where they can write a testimonial. Next, you approve the testimonial and the tool starts to feature it on certain product pages as Notification Widget, Onpage Badge or Clickable Snippet.
What’s more, using crowdy.ai, you can change the look of your testimonials to match your website, using different colors, shapes, fonts and animations. But if you don’t have the time, simply use one of the provided templates and get started right away.
Pro Tip #1
To make the most of testimonials, place them where they will definitely impact your conversion rate:
- next to a contact form or call-to-action button
- on an order form
- on a sales page right after the benefits of your product/service
- on your About page
Also, you can include a ‘review badge’ with an aggregated review score on your product pages or images, as large online retailers do. This step will ensure that good reviews still influence users who don’t scroll to the bottom of the page.
Pro Tip #2
One of the first ways you can increase responses is through better handling of your post-purchase message. Test out different variations of post-purchase copy to get as many reviews as possible.
Successful post-purchase copy asks for testimonials without seeming clingy or insincere. Moreover, offering clients a discount code for leaving testimonials can help increase the response rate. Also, you can reach out to clients on social media if they tag or mention your company or product. This type of customer is more likely to respond.
Conversions and real-time user activity
A single notification can be worth a thousand words if it features recent conversions or real-time user activity. Customers served, number of invites remaining, etc. Statistics can also convince visitors that they should believe in the quality of your products or services.
What numbers can you showcase? Pointing to the number of customers you already have, how many people have signed up for your website’s services, or how many people are using your product. While testimonials are great in terms of conversion rate optimization, a real-time overview of website activity is even better. This builds trust by not only letting prospects know others are surfing the site but that they have purchased this specific product.
How does it work? When a prospect lands on your website or specific web page, social proof tools identify them and display recent user activity or conversions like sales to establish social proof and raise your conversion rates.
What’s more, here you can set up rules for notification widgets once without coding or complex setup and they will be automatically displayed from that point on. Just a few clicks and you’re on your way to more conversions and sales. To simplify lead generation, integrate your social proof tool with platforms such as Zapier, Unbounce and WordPress.
Also, the social proof platform like crowdy.ai offers the ability to customize the look of your social proof widget to match your website design as well as embed CTAs in your notifications for immediate conversions.
If a product is expected to be very popular because there’s Christmas coming, let people know. Prospective clients are likely to believe phrases like ‘Only 4 left in stock – order soon’ if they’re tied to specific events. So, when stock is limited, clearly indicate this next to the main CTA. Also, show out-of-stock products to immediately indicate high buyer interest.
Another social proof tactic is Star Ratings. How does it work? When a customer buys from you, they automatically receive a link to leave a review. When the review is written, the social proof tool receives it and displays them on your website and in Google search results to get more organic traffic and conversions.
Some social proof platforms offer the ability to showcase star ratings as Notification Widget, On-page Badges or Clickable Snippet as well as customize the color and shape to match your website design and user experience. But if you don’t have time, these tools simply use one of the templates and get you started in seconds.
Pro Tip #1
Should Star Ratings on your products be as high as possible? Some studies claim that positive star ratings don’t influence sales and that only the content of the testimonials impacts conversions. In other words, spice up Star Ratings with testimonials that contain valuable information.
Pro Tip #2
There’s one more thing to remember. While the Star Ratings themselves don’t influence sales directly, the variability in ratings positively influences conversions. Imagine, if you see nothing but 5-star reviews. Probably you will get suspicious. To sum up, while a sea of negative reviews will sink your product, an ocean of excessively happy clients testimonials will shout out ‘It’s fake!’
Pro Tip #3
Researchers discovered that Star Ratings lead to higher paid and organic search performance. And it isn’t worth mentioning that Star Ratings on your product pages should be above the average. Reviews with higher ratings (average of 4.96 stars) have a 23 percent increase in conversion rate. However, there seems to be a drop in conversion rates when star ratings become too close to a 5.0 rating. One study has found that the ideal star rating is between 4.2 and 4.5 because it is more realistic than a perfect 5.0 rating.
You’ve likely seen this one used a lot. These numbers can be all the proof one needs to invest in your product or service. Social Count displays your followers or subscribers on various social media channels. What’s more, website visitors may become your social media followers with just one click. All it takes is to copy-paste one line of code.
How and when to use social proof on your website?
Social proof may be useful for all landing pages because every landing page is an argument you have to convince the prospect to buy from you. As a result, every element on the page, including social proof, needs to support what you are saying about your company and products.
Nevertheless, social proof needs to appear at the right time and in the right place. Conduct various A/B tests on how and when you use social proof to make the most of it. Here are a few ideas of what you should be constantly optimizing:
- The type of social proof. Discover which type of social proof will be your game-changer (or maybe, a mix of them?). Testimonials, Conversions, Recent user activity, Star Ratings, Social Count – all these social proof techniques can be available within one marketing platform like crowdy.ai.
- The content of social proof. Don’t stop gathering testimonials once you have three reviews on your landing page in order to rotate them and test for the best results. For example, you can try testimonials that address objections, testimonials that show the benefits, testimonials with your core keywords, etc.
- The placement of social proof. Almost everyone put social proof, testimonials for instance, at the bottom of the landing page. Instead, try social proof in a popup, near the CTA, near the POS, etc. In other words, don’t hesitate to test social proof throughout the funnel as a supporting element at a point of friction.
To buy or not to buy? When people are uncertain, they’ll most likely look to others for guidance. Marketers can face prospects’ uncertainties with the help of social proof tools. Testimonials, recent conversions, real-time user activity, star rating and social count can boost credibility and increase conversion rate.
If you implement the tips mentioned above, you will see a boost in the social proof associated with the company and, more importantly, a boost in revenue.
But there’s one crucial thing to remember.
The only way to know whether social proof has improved conversion rate is through testing. Always A/B test every single social proof techniques to see how the elements affect conversions.
Furthermore, social proof tools should be a part of your overall conversion rate optimization strategy. A comprehensive approach will have the best possible results for your business.
Carsten Schaefer is the founder and CEO of crowdy.ai, the first Clients-Convert-Clients marketing platform. Inspired by principles and mechanisms of social proof, Carsten is currently on his way to help businesses become trustworthy and thrive in the digital landscape. Feel free to connect him on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.