HOW TO USE SOCIAL PROOF IN YOUR INBOUND MARKETING WEBSITE

Inbound marketing website design is vital to any effective inbound marketing campaign. Any inbound marketing agency worth their salt will know that best results will depend on optimising every step of the user journey including social proof – from first encountering your content right through to making a purchase.

Welcome them, embrace them, and make it easy for them to buy from you

From the moment somebody visits your website to the moment they either make a purchase or leave, the job of the content

From the moment somebody visits your website to the moment they either make a purchase or leave, the job of the content marketer is to keep the prospect engaged, gently nudging them down the marketing funnel. Inbound marketing website design determines the user experience that will make visitors more likely to take positive actions and be happy when they’ve left the site.

There are a number of objectives that effective inbound marketing website design should achieve, including:

  • Showing your prospects that you can solve their problem
  • Showing your company in a positive light
  • Encourage visitors to stay
  • Offering easy navigation that works in your favour (“buy” rather than “leave”)
  • Gently persuading them to move through the funnel towards a sale or booking
  • Capturing useful data for remarketing purposes or to gain insights on user behaviour

Put your best foot forward

Well-thought-out inbound marketing website design means considering carefully why that person is visiting the site (as part of the overall inbound marketing plan), ensuring you are always putting your best foot forward. What is most likely to influence visitors to buy from you?

social-proof-2.png

Social proof - one of the currencies of credibility

This boils down to one simple question: who else is using your product or service? Human beings are much more likely to join in with something, especially if it is new or different, once they can see others doing it.

Lots of people doing something gives social proof, an influencing factor that makes us more likely to do the same. When our peers take part, the social proof is stronger. When those we look up to, admire and aspire to be like start doing it, social proof goes through the roof.

DOWNLOAD TECH FOUNDER’S GUIDE TO STARTUP MARKETING

If you can’t beat them...

Think about the embarrassing trend you said you would never be a part of. Then, bit by bit, more of your friends and family seemed to be jumping on the bandwagon, enjoying it and shouting about it. How could you not join in? Once something becomes trendy enough, it almost makes you look odd not joining in.

What does social proof look like as part of our inbound marketing website design efforts?

There are many types of social proof, including:

  • Celebrity endorsement or Influencer Marketing
  • Recognition from industry experts
  • Testimonial or Customer Reviews including comments from social networks
  • Product Reviews
  • Press coverage
  • Stats showing the number of users that have purchased or arer using your product
  • Embedded widgets showing ratings and reviews from a third party site. For example Trustpilot

These social proofs act as trust seals and heighten credibility. They are a great way to generate interest in your products and services. Trust, credibility and interest are all drivers for conversion.

According to Brightlocal 2016 research:

  • 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
  • 7 out of 10 consumers will leave a review for a business if they're asked to
  • 90% of consumers read up to 10 reviews before forming an opinion about a business
  • 54% of people will visit the website after reading positive reviews
  • 73% of consumers think that reviews older than 3 months are no longer relevant
  • 74% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more
  • 58% of consumers say that the star rating of a business is most important

These points are not only evidence of the importance of social proofs, they also highlight considerations for inbound marketing website design. Given how easy it is to elicit a review, it makes sense to ask for them. This could be done as somebody is leaving the site.

The best reviews can be used as testimonials. If you don’t want to ask for reviews on your site, you can always pull them in from review sites.

A word of caution: if you are going to use reviews as social proof, be prepared to stay up-to-date as anything over 3 months old will no longer be viewed as relevant. That’s fine if the review is still showing elsewhere, but if it is prominent on your site, the effect could be detrimental.

Celebrity endorsement

This is something that can easily be incorporated into the home page design and any landing pages. Websites look great with images, and showing the celebrity using the product is often all that is required, with minimal blurb. The quote from the celebrity will act as a testimonial, but can be included in the main body copy to stand out.

Press endorsement

Sometimes, showing that your company is well respected or has won kudos from Which! or similar can be as simple as just including the logo and a quote on the home page or other landing pages, as accounting software firm, Wave, has done here.

Wave uses press endorsement as part of their inbound marketing website design.

 

Big brand logos

Many companies are choosing to show who they’ve worked for by displaying the logos of their more well-known clients on the home page or other landing pages. If space is a consideration, just show some of them, or a moving row of them. You can always have a “more” link to a page where you can really show off.

Look what online project management and collaborative software company Asana has done:

Big brand logos make for great social proof.

Testimonials

Celebrity endorsements are difficult for many companies to obtain. However, testimonials from real people that your prospects can relate to can carry a lot of weight in terms of social proof.

Take this public speaking and presentation skills trainer for example:

Video testimonials are engaging and as such are an increasingly popular aspect of an inbound marketing website design.

Richard McCann has made sure the first thing visitors see when they visit his corporate presentation skills page is a video testimonial.

Clearside, a company offering services to help sales teams, has gone all out to cover testimonial quotes and awards on a dedicated page. The awards include some big names.

Clearside make great use of quotes and proudly display their industry awards.

There are loads of ways to incorporate social proof into your inbound marketing web design. What’s important is that you prioritise what’s best, what potential customers really need to see. Lower priority social proofs which can be included within the site but not necessarily in their face (depending on how powerful they are) would be media mentions.

Media mentions

If media mentions are what you’re looking for, make it easy for the press to interact with you. Give them a dedicated area where you can show press archives highlighting previous publicity.

Productivity software firm, Zapier, have published a “Press Kit Essentials” guide where they advise what should be included on a press page:

  • Company Overview
  • Press Contact
  • Product Information
  • Media Assets
  • Clients
  • Notable Media Mentions
  • Past Press Releases

Wrapping it up

If inbound marketing website design should be anything, it should be innovative. This means striving for new ways of doing things, always putting user experience and the principles of inbound marketing first. There is no one solution, but a range of choices.

If you have any questions about incorporating social proof into your inbound marketing website design, or about any other aspect of inbound marketing, get in touch with Incisive Edge.