Why You Can’t Ignore Social Proof In Your Marketing

It’s hard to argue with fact: customer testimonials are powerful, and positive customer testimonials are the most powerful of all.

The majority of marketers realize the importance of fostering positive customer relationships (and with that, developing an army of brand evangelists), but it’s the smart marketers that are going the extra mile by gathering feedback and displaying it as social proof on their websites. But, before we get too far into our discussion about social proof and the ways in which you can use it, let’s take a step back.

What exactly do we mean by “social proof”?

Think back to your college psychology classes. Social proof refers to our reliance on other people for cues that guide our own behavior. It plays off of our natural insecurities, consciously and subconsciously guiding many of the decisions that we make. Think back even further — as children we were always driven to behave correctly, in part motivated by our desire to make our parents proud.

Our motivations may change as we age, but we still strive for that social approval in our personal and professional lives. For example, when you shop for an item on Amazon, what’s one of the first things you look at? Probably the customer reviews, right? That’s because these reviews are candid; they’re not fluffed up with marketing lingo, and they represent the views of people just like you. This social proof reinforces your decision to purchase said item off of Amazon. Understanding the psychology behind buyer decision-making is an often overlooked part of the marketing and sales processes.

How can you use it?

Employing social proof in your marketing can influence buyers who might be on the fence to choose your product or service over a competitor’s. Seeing that others have had positive experiences with your brand can be just the push that many buyers need to make a purchase decision. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can incorporate social proof into your marketing.

1. Landing pages

One of the most powerful places to place customer testimonials is at the point of conversion, or on a landing page. Try placing a few client logos below your copy or in your sidebar to add more credibility to your landing pages. Just remember to get approvals from your clients before doing so!

2. Dynamic content

Modern marketing tools are making it possible to display social proof in more sophisticated ways. Using a tool capable of displaying dynamic content, like marketing automation, you can personalize the web experience for each individual buyer — and that includes the social proof you display. For example, if you know the industries that your buyers work in, use dynamic content to show them testimonials or logos of clients in the same industry.

3. Use your sidebar

Another easy hit for social proof is the sidebar of your website. This area is generally used for ads, links to additional content, search bars, newsletter sign-ups, and more. Incorporate social proof into the mix by displaying a rotation of client quotes or positive Tweets about your company.

4. Email content

Email is a fickle beast. It only takes one wrong move to cause a buyer to hit the “unsubscribe” button. Consistently remind your buyers why they subscribed to your emails in the first place by including logos, client quotes, positive Tweets, or other forms of social proof at the bottom (or in the sidebar) of your email template.

5. On your homepage

One of the most common places you’ll see social proof is on a company’s homepage. Generally, this is the most highly-trafficked page on your website, making it a great option for customer testimonials. Again, this is a great way to lend credibility to your brand, which is especially important given buyer tendencies to skim for information and quickly move on (this includes your homepage!).

6. Case studies

Last but not least, we have case studies. While smaller testimonials and logos can be powerful at conversion points and in areas prone to scanning, it’s great to have an option for buyers who want to get the full story. Consider building out your client success stories into case studies or video testimonials that you can feature on your site.

Have you found social proof to be effective in your marketing? How else have you been able to use it? Let us know in the comments!

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