How to use social proof to boost sales
As an ecommerce business owner, you go above and beyond presenting your products in the best possible light on your website, emails and social media. After all, your business and revenue depend on it. But what’s that worth if few people believe what you say?
Most consumers view website content and product descriptions as corporate messaging and have trouble believing businesses will deliver on their promises. So when you say that your products are top quality and that you use the best ingredients or materials, that’s rarely enough to compel people to buy from you.
But if all that positive talk comes from your customers, it has a bigger impact on potential customers visiting your site. In many cases, it can make the difference between a visitor leaving your site in seconds and one buying a product because of a customer testimonial they just read.
When it comes to promoting an online shop and enticing people to buy, content is still king. But what can make a real difference to your bottom line is having that content written by your real customers.
So, in this post, we’ll share a few tips and advice on how to use social proof to boost your ecommerce sales.
Get customer testimonials and reviews on your site
Your customers can be the best social proof resource in your arsenal. Why? Because people trust other people more than they trust marketers or a business owner looking to sell more products.
A great customer review or testimonial has the power to compel people to buy a product from an unknown brand. It can also entice people to spend more than they’d normally do on a product just because lots of other people are raving about it on Facebook or YouTube.
Take this example from the Bergfreunde online shop:
This online shop knows that social proof and reviews from customers are more likely to convince people to buy than their own product descriptions, no matter how detailed they are. So, by featuring five-star ratings, and customer comments and recommendations, they’re building trust and easing the mind of potential customers.
Here’s another example from Casper where they have a separate Reviews page with reviews categorised by type of product:
Bottom line: when customers arrive on your site, they have a pain point that they want alleviated, and they’re looking for proof that someone in a similar situation found relief through your products. That’s why it’s important to have customer reviews, ratings and testimonials everywhere on your site from your homepage to your product pages, and even on your blog, if you have one.
Read this post to learn how to use reviews in your content. And if you’re not sure how to go about collecting customers reviews, this guide includes some effective tips and advice on how to convince customers to give you testimonials.
Entice customers to talk about your products on the web
A popular way to attract more customers is to make your ecommerce website and products easy to find at the top of the search engine results pages. One highly effective way to do that is by enticing customers to review your products on their own sites and blogs, or other channels, forums and groups.
This content that’s published outside your website can help with your search engine optimisation efforts and increase your visibility in the search results. It can also help to enhance your social proof as people are more likely to trust reviews published on third-party websites when researching a specific product or an online shop.
There are lots of sites that specialise in product reviews. These reviews usually link back to your site while also encouraging visitors to leave comments about their experience with your product or online shop.
Here’s an example from MakeupAlley, a beauty product review site:
There are also sites that specialize in in-depth product reviews and comparison reviews, like Wareable, a site that reviews smartwatches, fitness trackers, running watches, and more.
Then, there are also the top 10 or roundup articles published on different blogs and sites, like this one:
Finally, let’s not forget the YouTube videos and demos where customers review the products they bought.
This kind of social proof that’s outside your website and on a third-party site can lead to more sales because people tend to trust it more than the messaging on your site. In addition to that, it can also lead to better visibility in the search results when prospects are searching for your products.
But how do you get customers talking about your products on their sites, blogs and third-party forums and groups?
There are lots of ways to do that from providing a fantastic customer experience to partnering with influencers and offering customers free samples and products, and encouraging them to write about them.
Read this guide to learn how to build relationships and team up with influencers. You can also check out this post for some great tips on how to get people talking about your ecommerce business and products online.
Document and publish customer success stories
A case study or customer success story covers why a customer started using your product, and how it helped them to alleviate a pain point or achieve a goal. It’s proof that your product works as promised, and a fantastic way to nudge prospects into purchasing from you and becoming a valued customer.
The good news is that customer success stories are not as formal as they used to be. Here’s a great example from FitBit:
As you can see, a good case study needs to have not just written content but also visual aids like images, infographics and videos to back it all up.
After you create yours, don’t forget to share it on your blog, in your marketing emails to customers, and also on the social media channels that you’re active on.
Show off some statistics
Statistics are always a great way to add social proof to your site and show off the power of your products in an impartial way. So, add some numbers to your site to show how many people are on a product page and looking at a specific product, or how many people have purchased it.
Check out this example from Casper:
Popularity is a factor that many people take into account when deciding whether a product is worth their time, interest and money, so make sure you use it to your advantage.
When it comes to turning more visitors into customers and generating more sales, social proof is one of your greatest weapons. It helps to build trust in your products and your ecommerce business as a whole.
So, make sure you entice customers to leave reviews on your site and third-party sites and blogs. Show off some usage statistics and document and publish great customer success stories every chance you get. Do these things and you’ll have a higher chance to boost sales than you ever would with your own content and product descriptions.