How to use social proof to boost online conversions

Think back to the last time you made a purchase on Amazon. How long did it take you to view the customer reviews? Probably not very long. This is because you are instinctively relying on a psychological phenomenon coined by Dr. Robert Cialdini called social “proof.” In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Cialdini posits that people in “situations where there is uncertainty – when individuals are unsure of or unfamiliar with the situation or of what the appropriate action to take is […] determine what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct.” Social proof helps people make decisions.

In order to meet your business goals, it is necessary to rely on social proof – usually in the form of client testimonials – to address potential doubts and roadblocks standing in the way of your prospective clients. The problem many small businesses face is reluctance to ask for testimonials. That’s because they don’t want to impose on their clients or invade their privacy. But the fact of the matter is, people usually want to help out others…especially businesses that provide them great value.

Here are a few tips to ease the stress and use your biggest advocates (your clients) to promote your services online.

Look for your wins

You know that you are brining your “A-game” to every project, but you want your clients to help you prove that. Do yourself a favor and keep on the lookout for big successes at your firm. If you’re just starting out keeping these sorts of records, look back at your calendar or email archive from the past few months and look for engagements that provided growth for your firm and value for your clients. These projects are the best sources of social proof.

Don’t actually ask for testimonials

This may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s true. Your clients don’t make it a habit of providing testimonials, so it’s not going to come easy to them. Make life easier on both of you by simply calling them up after a successful project and asking them how they think it went. Thoughtful, open-ended questions will reveal a lot about the value you provided to your client – and maybe some rough spots. Near the end of this conversation, summarize your client’s feedback and ask them if you could put it on your website. Chances are they will be more than happy to give approval.

Leverage social media

Some of your best client testimonials have probably been provided already on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook. If they haven’t, now is a good time to reappraise your social media marketing plan. Engaging with clients on social media provides a convenient method for client testimonials, and this spontaneous feedback is marketing gold. To find it, you may want to use tools like Google Alerts to notify you when your firm is mentioned on the internet.

Don’t underestimate the power of social proof on your marketing website. The 2015 Global Trust in Advertising report from Nielsen shows that 66% of global respondents completely or somewhat trust consumer opinions posted online – this is second only to recommendations from people they know. Mark Zuckerberg was right when he said “People influence people.”

CCH Site Builder provides an easy way to include client testimonials on any page of your site. If you need help adding this kind of content to your website, contact Site Builder Support at 800-739-9998. Or Start a Test Drive today.


Jonny Rector

Senior Technology Product Manager

All stories by: Jonny Rector