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My mom used to ask, “If all the cool kids jumped off a bridge, does that mean you would too?” “It depends on the circumstances” I’d say.  (I was not a normal child.)  Much to Mom’s dismay, and marketers’ delight, the answer is often a resounding “Yes!” Social proof has been proven to be a powerful persuasive tool – one you can employ through clever small business web design. Here are four ways you can benefit from this strategy.

Social proof, also known as informational social influence, is a psychological phenomenon where people assume the actions of others in an attempt to reflect correct behavior for a given situation.

1. Overcoming Price Objections

As any business in a competitive industry knows first hand, price is a major driver for a significant portion of the buying public. “Selling value” is a tactic many of us are familiar with, but especially in the world of ecommerce price is almost always a factor.  It might surprise you, then, to learn that social proof can override even such powerful inducements as the chance of saving money on products or services.

Studies have shown that prospective customers are actually more likely to be nudged into making a purchase simply because other people are doing the same. So if you don’t want (or can’t) to compete on price, it makes good sense to show off the high numbers or percentages of happy customers (assuming that you actually have them) on your website. Who would want to be left out of a party like that?  Find a good reviews plugin if your ecommerce store doesn’t already have one.  In fact, even if your store has one, you may want to check out 3rd party plugins for some of the advanced features like automated review requests, auto posting to social media, etc.

One of our favorite review plugin for ecommerce is Yotpo.

Social proof proves that there’s power in numbers.

2. Expanding Your Brand’s Influence

Leveraging endorsements from major players not only persuades viewers with a vengeance, but it also makes your company look that much more influential in its own right. Think about it for a second.  If dozens of people you never met recommend a product you might consider it a bit more. But, if one major influencer endorsed the product your brain can’t help itself.  Why do you think athletes and celebrities get paid so much foe endorsements? It works. If some of your top clients are national or international names with well-known logos or personal brands, adding those endorsements to your small business web design can instantly inflate your credibility as well as the desirability of what you’re selling.

3. Putting a Face on Your Customer Base

Shoppers are smarter than most companies give them credit for.  Many people are becoming aware of the increased amounts of fake reviews and ratings.  That’s why it’s so important to make sure your reviews and endorsements come off as genuine.

If you really want to engage the full power of social proof in this manner, include the individuals’ faces, or better yet, links to social profiles alongside their verbiage in your small business website design.

4. Helping You Up-sell

Social proof can not only help you convert visitors who might otherwise remain on the fence about a given product – it can also help you up-sell them on other, related products and services. There’s a saying in our industry – WWAD? (What would amazon do?)  If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon, (you’re a prime member like me, right?) you’re bound to be familiar with the “Customers who viewed this product also bought…” section that pops up on the web page next to the item you’re examining. If you’ve clicked on those items to see what others were thinking, you’re living proof that social proof works.

This tactic isn’t just one more cunning piece of peer pressure; it’s also a genuinely helpful feature for shoppers who really would be interested in those other options. In fact, if you’re like me, I seek out that section when I’m researching a new purchase.  I want to see what other options there are and what people thought of them.  This form of social proof not only enhances the customer experience, but it also increases your odds of closing a sale by establishing yourself as the resource.

Social proof is one element we incorporate into small business website design that can rack up big business for your company – so make the necessary modifications to start persuading today!

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About the Author: Jason Corgiat

I started building websites in 1999. Through the years I've worked with hundreds of businesses in various verticals and have built, implemented and managed digital strategies for companies of all sizes. My education is not formal and neither are my methods. Chances are, I can add value to your organization from day 1 but I'll let you be the judge. I'm a proud father of 4, luckiest husband in the world, and enjoy the occasional gym session. How was that for a bio?

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