Social proof is a huge indicator of trust, it makes dollars and sense to incorporate social proof into your web design, here are 7 ways.
When it’s time to buy a new pair of shoes or pick out a furniture store, chances are that you ask your friends and family for their advice and suggestions. Then your best friend will come to you sharing their latest story of that fabulous hair stylist or the must-visit burger place that has opened mere months ago, so you add them to your list, as well. Trust is a fickle beast, and as such, it needs constant pampering, so companies far and wide invest heavily in strategies that boost trust.
Enter: social proof. The phenomenon that combines simple human nature with our access to overwhelming amounts of information online. Simply put, when it’s time to invest our time and money into a purchase, we want to choose a tried and tested brand. We’ll go online to check for reviews (one form of social proof), ratings (another one), and check for security seals (you’ve figured it out by now, it’s all social proof).
Let’s break down these and other ways to incorporate social proof within your web design to give your customers all the reasons in the world to trust you, and stay loyal to your business for the long haul.
Publish and encourage customer reviews
In case you’re running an online store and you have a multitude of products available, you probably do your best to provide vivid, appealing product descriptions. Followed by stunning, professional images and video tutorials, this content will often do your brand justice and help you boost your sales. However, what gets you beyond the sale and helps you earn customer loyalty is the impression you’ve made on your past customers.
- When you make a sale, ask your customer for a quick review, sometimes in exchange for a discount for a future purchase.
- Send a freebie together with their order and ask them for a review.
- Ask your customers for permission to use their social media reviews to publish on your site.
- Design a dedicated page for reviews and attach product-specific reviews to that particular item to help people make a decision more quickly once they understand the impact on other customers.
Although influencer testimonials and posts do help greatly in your pursuit of relevance, brand visibility and awareness, there’s perhaps even more value in content created by your regular customers. Why? Because, for one, they aren’t getting paid for sharing their opinions, and because their views are far more relatable to other mere mortals for whom your products or services are likely intended.
To showcase the role your brand plays in your customers’ lives, you can ask them to send you a photo of them with your product or using your product. Of course, with their permission, you can share it alongside your product description on your site, and thus help other potential buyers imagine themselves with your product, too.
Digital tools to generate social proof on your site
Thanks to versatile technology tools and solutions, businesses now have the ability to automate a wide array of tasks and free up their employees’ time for more essential assignments. The same applies to generating social proof on your website directly, and at the right time, precisely when you have a visitor on the verge to make a decision.
To sway their decision in your favor, you can rely on a customizable social proof tool that automates notifications whenever someone makes a purchase on your site. Once the uncertain visitor sees other people eagerly buying from you, they will feel reassured to go through with their own purchase.
These pop-ups can be short and informative without being intrusive, so that people can keep browsing while your site lets them know someone has made a purchase.
Case studies as your social proof portfolio
Yet another way to use social proof within your web design process is to create visually-stunning case studies to present your work. This is especially effective for agencies and entrepreneurs providing creative services that can often be presented in numbers as well as images. You can combine both and make branded infographics with bullets on your process and client relationship, outlining the end result.
Infographics infused with your brand’s color palette, clear statistics on how you’ve improved your client’s business, and similar details with a few CTAs can help grow your brand’s relevance. Ultimately, case studies can be vital in positioning your business as an industry leader.
Security seals for your customers’ peace of mind
Web design and social proof can become allies in another manner: showcasing how secure your business and website are. Much like industry credentials, to which we’ll get shortly, security seals put customers at ease when it comes to online purchases. If you allow the use of all major credit cards and payment providers and you place security seals on a few relevant places, your customers will know that you have invested in protecting their sensitive information.
- Research has shown that 70% of buyers cancel a transaction when they feel it’s not secure.
- Almost 80% of shoppers expect to see some sort of security seal on the site.
- Using security seals can boost conversions by double-digit percentages. For instance, smaller businesses using “Best of the Web Trust Seal” have noticed a 20% conversion increase, and more.
Product-specific star ratings
For companies selling many different products, generalized reviews and testimonials can work great, but product-specific comments and star ratings can be even more helpful. That way, every time someone visits your store and checks for a product they are interested in, they’ll be greeted by a little customer quote and a visual star rating letting them know how your customers perceive you.
Just in case they’re not in the mood to read reviews or they simply don’t have the time, star ratings will help nudge them in the right direction.
Industry credentials and certifications
Although your community relevance comes from word of mouth transformed into reviews and other social proof formats, your industry authority comes from experts. There are standards that each industry expects you to live up to, and in order to earn the appropriate credentials, you need to consistently preserve those standards in your approach to your business. Customers know that, so they value when you put in the work to earn those certifications and industry approval.
What that means for your web design is that you should place those certification seals and badges on visible spots across your website and landing pages. That way, they will notice your, let’s say, environmental contribution, humanitarian causes you support, and your cruelty-free badge. Whatever gives you the edge and earns your customers’ approval, make sure to earn it and flaunt it!
Over to you
As you can see, your web design has the perfect potential to reflect your position in your industry and showcase all the vital reasons why your customers can trust your business. Incorporating these elements into your website and freshening up your content regularly is one part of your task, but ensuring that you manage your reputation in the future is a completely different set of assignments you need to keep under control. So, use social proof to build up and strengthen your reputation, and then do your best to preserve it and to earn your customers’ trust and loyalty to grow your business over time.