Social proof marketing isn’t just a strategy – it’s a profound new way to approach marketing and your relationship with your customer.

Austin Distel, CMO at Proof, joined the This Just Works digital anti-conference to share how social proof marketing can have a significantly positive impact on your conversions.

“In the early days of freelance digital marketing, the strategies surrounding my client’s project products were all about features and benefits, but they were never about the customer. All of my while my ads were beautiful and my websites were well designed, but they were not that effective. And my copywriting used a lot of buzzwords, but honestly, it was weak, and it was not from the voice of my customer,” shares Austin.

The #1 problem marketers face today is converting clicks to customers. How do marketers solve this problem?

Social proof.

This session was presented at This Just Works, the digital anti-conference. You can see the full session (and 14 other talks) by registering here with code TJWAG2020.

Social proof 101

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior.

A visible rating or a sense of urgency (like other people booking this same trip) are great social proof motivators.

“I think it’s more elegantly said by Robert Cialdini, The New York Times bestselling author of Influence: We view a behavior as more correct in a given situation to the degree that we see others performing it,” says Austin.

The biggest advertisers on the internet are spending hundreds of thousands up to millions of dollars per day. So how do they do this profitably? Austin and his mentor decided to dig into that.

“These big advertisers convert their clicks to customers by using a lot of social proof. If you click on different ads, what you’ll find on the other landing pages is five-star reviews, certifications, real-time, social proof, and many others,” says Austin.

7 proven way to boost conversions with social proof marketing

“If you do this social proof marketing campaign, your website will convert up to 300% higher, allowing you to hit your sales goals profitably and become the market leader,” says Austin.

  1. Put customer logos section below the fold
  2. Use your customer’s voice in your copy. Highlight the crowd
  3. Feature famous customers and referral partners
  4. Create a customer wall of love
  5. Add certifications, trust badges, awards, and featured publications
  6. Relevant reviews and case studies
  7. Add a real-time feed of engagement activity

1. Put customer logos section below the fold

On the DigitalMarketer site, you can see that they are trusted by 126,000+ marketers, plus companies like Uber and Shopify.

DigitalMarketer showcases exactly how many businesses (and recognizable ones at that) benefit from them.

“We recently ran a case study with Appcues. And I thought this is really interesting, we saw that they have all of these logos beneath the fold on their homepage. And what we wanted to know is if the logos are more relevant, will they be more influenced by them? And the answer is yes (proven with Proof personalization capabilities).”

“What we came to find is that after running this test, we saw a 42% increase in trials by showcasing logos that were relevant to the visitor’s industry. And this just shows us that not only do logos or these social proof logos effective They’re even more effective when we are relating to these different customers,” notes Austin.

Key takeaways here are:

  • 4-7 logos of customers
  • Serve multiple industries by personalizing the logos for the visitor

2. Use your customer’s voice in your copy. Highlight the crowd

Intercom dedicates very large sections of their site to their customer’s voices. When you go to the navigation, they have landing pages for each persona – conversational support conversational engagement, and conversational marketing.

“I clicked on the marketing page here. And when I go to this page, there are these two testimonials but they’re not just from anybody. They’re from other marketers. And this is a really smart move by Intercom to showcase these different testimonials based on the persona viewing the pages,” says Austin.

When you think about your landing pages, add testimonials that are based on where they are in the buying journey on the page. At the very top, it might be more aspirational testimonials, whereas at the very bottom it’s more of a call to action based and overcoming objections.

Takeaways here are:

  • Testimonials should be relevant to the context of the page. Each quote needs a purpose.
  • Use customer vocabulary
  • Write milestone achievements in your headlines

3. Feature famous customers and referral partners

Athletic Greens does a great job featuring customers and partners on their pages.

“This is the rise of micro-influencers that we are familiar with and admire and this is a really effective strategy. So a testimonial is good, but a testimonial from a friend or a testimonial from somebody that we admire is really effective,” says Austin.

You can even go as far as to include the social proof right in your headline copy.

“We decided to give this a shot for Proof. And so we added this “verified by Proof” to a landing page. And when you click on our branding it takes you to the landing page for This Just Works says that ‘This Just Works is verified by Proof’.”

“What we found already, just by running this is a 25% increase in trials by having a landing page personalized for the referral partner.”

Takeaways here are:

  • If your prospects admire your customers, they’ll buy your offer to try and become more like them
  • Prospects who are familiar with or friends with your customers are likely to buy based on trust

4. Create a customer wall of love

One good review might sway you.

A wall of love is bound to stop you in your tracks until you buy.

Buffer has a whole wall of love dedicated to streaming in positive reviews on Twitter.

This wall of love can also be an entire page of customer success stories, like Marie Forleo.

“Marie Forleo, one of the most famous coaches on the internet, has a whole wall of love dedicated to success stories. I love how well done this is. It’s beautiful. It’s to the point and it just showcases how many success stories there really are using Marie Forleo,” says Austin.

“I love how long it is, too. If you’re making a page like this, the longer the better. This is not the time to try and just have a couple of punchy ones. You want their thumb to be you know sore from scrolling.”

Takeaways here are:

  • Dedicate a whole page to your customers. The longer the page, the better
  • Curate quotes, social media posts, reviews, and stories
  • Don’t forget to add CTAs throughout!

5. Add certifications, trust badges, awards, and featured publications

“ActiveCampaign has this on their homepage – they’re the top-performing leader in every category. So this third party credibility builds a lot of trust. It shows that if this third party, G2, gave them all these awards, then we can trust them. They are the real deal here.”

“I also really like how Facebook has this, how many people recommend your product on Facebook, we actually add this right below the call to actions. And we found through A/B testing that it’s really effective,” says Austin.

It brings in one friend’s name that you recognize, along with the total count, creating a nice familiarity.

Takeaways here are:

  • Certifications like “TripAdvisor” are good
  • Trust badges like “Secured by McAfee” are good
  • Publications like “Forbes” are good

6. Relevant reviews and case studies

“A number-one Shopify Product of the Year was Best Self. And they have this journal that has so many reviews. I love how I’m able to have these different tags that scroll me to ones that are more relevant for my shopping experience. This is a really good way to bring in added social proof with this functionality that makes it more effective,” says Austin.

An example of reviews filtered by the word “colors” on this Best Self product page.

“Airstream is this 50+ years-old company that continues to impress me because they’re customer-obsessed. And one thing I learned from them is they have these 2 categories of personas.

Airstream streamers and dreamers share their inspiring experiences on this blog.

“These people are the customers, but they have another avatar. They have the streamers, and then they have the dreamers. And the streamers sell the dreamers on living out of an RV and traveling with their family. This is really cool because they have a whole blog dedicated to stories of streamers living their life to the fullest. It’s such a cool way to curate customer stories into a CMS.”

Takeaways here are:

  • Review widgets like TrustPilot, Yotpo, G2
  • Case studies or customer stories to inspire people

7. Add a real-time feed of engagement activity

Beamer does this well below their call to action button.

This addition to the CTA makes the action that much more compelling to complete. 1,032is a large group of people that you could be part of.

“It says 1,032 customers started a trial, and this is in the last month. This is really effective. And we’ve seen an A/B test that this can increase conversions up to 38% alone just by adding this,” says Austin.

On Delta, when you go out to check out it says 70,954 customers protected their trip in the last seven days.

Do you REALLY want to be one of the outsiders who DIDN’T protect their trip? *clicks ‘Yes, protect my trip’*

“I also like how they bring in this third party credibility by CNN…it’s interesting to see how they use this real-time feed this number tickers up every single time somebody buys travel insurance,” says Austin.

Takeaways here are:

  • Use concrete number examples like “300 people signed up this week”
  • “24 people are looking at this right now”
  • “10-15% conversion rate boost”

“Over the course of all of these different strategies, when you go back to the whiteboard, I want you to think about ‘how can social proof be used.’ And with that thinking, you’re not going back to the whiteboard. You’re going back to the customer.” states Austin.

To download the full recorded This Just Works digital event, go here to register with code TJWAG2020!