Do you sometimes wonder why customers pick your competitors over you?
And yet… they still prefer to buy from someone else. And they might have a good reason for doing so.
For instance, they may perceive your competitors’ as more trustworthy, credible and consider their products as more popular…
They see the others using your competitor’s products. They hear stories from friends about how well they have helped them, and read reviews and praise for your competitors’ efforts…
In my previous guide, I showed you how to use social proof marketing to help entice more people to buy from you.
And today I’ll give you a couple of social proof examples showing in practice how companies use it in their marketing.
Ready? Let’s do it.
Part I. User Social Proof
Do you pay attention to what other people have to say about a product before purchasing it?
I, for one, often head to a product’s reviews section first, well before reading the manufacturer’s copy.
It, therefore, goes without saying:
Nothing beats other user’s stories as a way to help you make up your mind about buying a product.
Testimonials, reviews, ratings, case studies, user stories and many other user proof help communicate the users’ approval of a product or service.
And here are a couple of examples of how companies include this social proof in their online marketing materials:
Reviews on Product Pages
Did you know:
“63% of customers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which has user reviews”. (source)
And so, creating a reviews section on the site is bound to help you increase conversions.
But you can go even further. The clothing company, Ugmonk, includes a prominent reviews section that, apart from allowing customers to leave feedback, offers an option to ask the company pre-sale questions.
Testimonials help build trust and overcome a prospect’s skepticism about your product.
They can also position you as a “safe choice” because they prove that you’ve already helped someone else.
And there’s a number of ways companies use to display testimonials.
Feature a dedicated testimonials section on the home page, like Freshbooks (and millions of other companies) do:
Notice how Freshbooks uses those testimonials to achieve two objectives:
- They communicate social proof by making them prominent on the page.
- But also, they overcome their audience’s key sales objections. Those testimonials feature exactly what prospects should hear to convince them to sign up. For example, the middle testimonial includes this line: “I get paid three times faster using Freshbooks” And I’m sure any self-employed person would agree that this is a heck of a benefit!
Blend them with the rest of the copy to back up its claims (like in this example from HookFeed):
Or include them in the headline to achieve immediate impact:
Testimonials offer a snapshot of customers’ experiences with your product or service.
Case studies, on the other hand, provide a deep insight into a customer’s story, from the problem they experienced and the reason they sought out your solution to how you’ve helped them solve it.
Case studies help convince prospects at later stages of the buying cycle and for that reason, companies often use them as lead magnets.
However, that’s not the only way to use this social proof.
HelpScout offers video case studies from clients right on their home page:
Intercom, on the other hand, combines them with testimonials to target casual browsers and prospects already comparing available solutions to buy.
Online Brand Mentions
Some companies use their brand mentions on social media as a social proof.
For example, Cultured Code, the makers of the fantastic Things app, include tweets with their company brand name on the home page:
Is the list edited in any way? I have no idea. But I do know that all those positive mentions had convinced me to shell out 50 bucks to register Things a couple of years ago (and I’m still using it, by the way).
Sudo App also includes tweets mentioning their brand on the site:
Fact: because user-generated content isn’t created by the company, a marketing agency or someone else with the intention to promote the brand, it’s becoming the most trusted form of social proof.
Take GoPro for example. The company embraced user-generated content in their marketing.
And the result?
In 2013 alone the company’s net income grew by $28 million with only $41k more in marketing costs.
Here’s one example of their user generated content, a video of Linkedin manager wearing GoPro’s camera on his head for a day:
Including a list of clients and showing their logos often helps B2B companies provide a strong social proof convincing others to hire them.
HelpScout not only displays logos of companies they’ve helped but also, positions it close to the sign-up button, turning client logos into the final proof needed to convince someone to try their product.
Beacon combines logos with another social proof type, also displaying the number of companies already using their product.
Typeform resorts to just including logos but makes a good play on it in the copy. Instead of using the typical “Companies that use our products” headline, they reference what the product helps clients to achieve, run surveys, by stating that these businesses “Asking awesomely…”
Part 2. Wisdom of the Crowd Social Proof
Seeing that the others might be benefitting from something makes many of us want the same.
Companies use this phenomenon (called the Fear of Missing Out, by the way) to entice more people to buy from them.
Other People’s Purchases
Amazon (and many other retail stores) show a list of products customers who bought a particular item had also purchased:
iTunes shows albums listeners bought:
Denoting a product as a best-seller is another way to highlight its popularity.
Tatcha, a beauty and skincare products retailer, features a dedicated Bestsellers section on their site. Notices how it is strategically placed as the first item in the navigation.
Customer or Sales Stats
Many companies show the number of customers who use or purchased their products to signify their value ability and trust they receive from others.
Zendesk highlights their huge user base:
Note how they include their value benefit in the copy. Instead of just stating the number of companies using their live chat app, they tie the number to the key benefit their product delivers – increased customer satisfaction.
SumoMe states how many sites use their products:
Invision ties the number of users with the call to action, using this social proof as the final way to overcome their prospects’ sales objections.
Showing social sharing stats helps many companies convince first-time visitors to their content.
We do it here on AdEspresso:
So does Kissmetrics:
And millions of other sites out there.
“As Featured On”
If you don’t have a large user base to allow you to use the wisdom of the crowd social proof, use media mentions instead.
Many new startups display an “as featured on…” section on the site or landing pages to use the credibility of media to offer some social proof to visitors.
LeadChat displays media companies that have covered their company recently. Note how they placed the list right below the call to action.
Part 3. Recommendations from Friends
We almost unconditionally trust recommendations from the people we know.
For example, according to Nielsen, 84% of people say they completely trust recommendations from friends and relatives.
A joint-research project by Ogilvy, Google, and TNS revealed that word of mouth is the highest point of influence for customers (74%).
And a study by BabyCenter discovered that moms rely on the wisdom of friends 67% more than on any other channel.
And so, enticing people to recommend your products is another way to highlight their value and popularity.
However, this social proof works differently than the others I presented so far. Instead of showing a proof on the site, you need to develop strategies to encourage customers to share what you offer with the others.
Include an option for customers to share their recent purchase with friends on social media.
Rewards for Recommendations
Offer rewards to customers for forwarding your emails or product pages to a friend.
The Body Shop, for example, ran a dedicated campaign to entice customers to share their newsletter with friends.
Reward customers for every new customer they bring into your business.
Dropbox gives free space for every new user you entice to sign up.
Part 4. Expert Social Proof
This type of social proof relies on a credible source (a celebrity, an influencer or another recognizable person your audience identifies with) endorsing or approving a product or service in some way.
Here is a number of ways to use it:
Testimonials from Industry’s Influencers
Copyblogger’s home page features testimonials from people their audience would consider influencers and most likely look up to:
With a big enough budget, you can get celebrities to tweet or promote your product in other ways to their followers.
In 2012, Internships.com hired Charlie Sheen to tweet about them to his followers. The tweet (you can see it below) reportedly generated over 95k clicks in the first hour!
And finally, you can feature them in video ads.
Like Volvo did in this ad featuring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
What About You?
Do you have any other social proof examples from around the web? Share them with us in the comments.
Looking for more inspiration? Here: