The (social) proof’s in the numbers.

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Many marketers today are using social proof as a way to boost their conversion rates. And it’s not just the smaller companies. Even big names like Amazon, MailChimp and WordPress have jumped on the bandwagon. Because, the thing is, social proof works.

Don’t believe us?

Think about the last time you walked into a random restaurant for dinner. Why did you pick that particular restaurant? Chances are, you were drawn by the fact that it was pretty crowded and had a line of customers waiting to get in. And that, my friend, is the power of social proof.

So, what is social proof?

Simply put, social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people mirror the actions of others to reflect the correct or appropriate behaviour in a given situation. And there’s no denying the influence and power of social proof.

Research has shown that nearly 70% of online consumers read product reviews before making a purchase. What’s more, product reviews are 12 times more trusted than product descriptions and sales copy from manufacturers. In fact, Nielsen reports that the most meaningful form of advertising is recommendations from friends and family, with 83% of consumers in 60 countries saying they trust these recommendations over any other form of advertising.

Types of social proof

According to Buffer, there are 5 types of social proof:

  • Expert social proof – social proof from experts, influencers or thought leaders in your industry
  • Celebrity social proof – social proof from celebrities or other well-known influencers
  • User social proof – social proof from existing customers of users of your product or service
  • ‘Wisdom of the Crowds’ social proof – social proof from large numbers of people using a product or service
  • ‘Wisdom of your Friends’ social proof – social proof from friends of your existing customers

Now that you have a better idea of what social proof is, here’s how you can use it to boost your conversion rates.

Customer Testimonials

Nothing sells your product or service better than customer testimonials. According to a study by Nielsen, 92% of people will trust a recommendation from a peer, and 70% of people will trust a recommendation from someone they don’t even know. That’s why all the big brands display customer testimonials on their websites. But that’s not to say that it can’t be used in email marketing as well, as Facebook clearly shows.

User social proof

And it’s no wonder. According to a recent study, customer testimonials can increase conversions on a sales page by as much as 34%! Want to take it another step further? Create profiles of your most loyal customers and have them become ambassadors of your brand.

Product Reviews

Using reviews from real customers who have used your product or service are a great way to increase your clickthrough rates. As a case in point, eCommerce store saw a 37.5% increase in conversions when they included product reviews as part of their marketing strategy. Here’s how Franklin Rd used product reviews in their email campaigns.


Another great way to use social proof is by showcasing the number of awards or accolades your company has received. In doing so, you not only increase the credibility of your product or service but also enhance its desirability and appeal to your customers. Werkpress accomplished this with an awesome email that announced the launch of its revamped website while, at the same time, informing its subscribers of the awards it achieved as the result of the redesign. Win, win!

Case Studies

Although more formal in nature, case studies are the perfect way to provide high authority social proof. By providing detailed, in-depth reviews, case studies tell an engrossing story that builds empathy, enabling readers to step into the shoes of your clients and relate the situation to their own circumstances. Shopify presents their case studies as customer success stories.

Customer Count

If you’ve ever heard about the phenomenon known as FoMO (Fear of Missing Out), you’ll understand why customer count works so well. The fact is, no one likes missing out on a great opportunity and that’s what customer count, well, counts on. What’s more, by showcasing the number of users using your product or service, you add credibility to your brand. If 10 million people are on MailChimp, why aren’t you?

So there you have it! Social proof is more than just a cheap marketing gimmick. It’s a study of human behaviour and how people act. And if you haven’t started using social proof in your email marketing, it’s time to start now. After all, the proof really is in the numbers.

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Head of Development. Coding guru and expert in out-of-the-box strategies.

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