Looking for social proof? 3 ways to add credibility to your website immediately

Social proof (n.): the psychological concept that people are influenced by others when making decisions. In marketing, social proof generally refers to customer reviews, testimonials, and recommendations. 

Social proof is considered a critical aspect of any website. However, as a startup with only a few – or perhaps no – customers, it might be difficult to arm your website with case studies or testimonial quotes accompanied by big logos.

That doesn’t mean you should just omit social proof from your website. Here are three alternatives for those who don’t have access to customer reviews to add credibility to your brand and product.

1. Your team’s social proof

Your founding and leadership team will usually be featured on your website, which is a great opportunity to add social proof via your team’s background and expertise. Did your CEO lead a team at big-name brands like Amazon and Microsoft? Perhaps your CTO led the engineering team at a well-known startup in your industry that recently got acquired. Or, your Head of R&D has a PhD from MIT. 

These facts serve as social proof that supports your team’s implied recommendation: The product and services our company provides are top-quality, guaranteed by us.

At Blue Seedling, while we have plenty of case studies and testimonials, we always emphasize our team’s background when we promote our services – because our team members are our primary “products”.

When it’s most important:
If you’re in an industry that’s well-connected and particularly values people’s experiences and background – such as healthcare, cybersecurity, or finance – the leadership team’s professional experience matters. And you can use that to your advantage.

2. Your product’s social proof

Your product can build its own social proof even if it doesn’t have any paying customers yet. The key here is to show the world how your product is solving a tough technical problem, or adding value to a broader ecosystem of solutions for a common problem.

Spotlight numbers about technical impressiveness and aggregate business value.

For example, Viaduct showcases how they are ingrained in the automotive industry – and crucial to vehicle health analytics – via the scale of millions of vehicles, billions of miles, and terabytes of monthly data processing. 

An API security testing solution similarly highlights the impressive number of reach their product has by sharing the number of endpoints, vulnerabilities, security issues, and misconfigurations identified.

When it’s most important:
If your product skews more technical and solves a tough engineering problem, you can build some credibility around these product-driven social proof factors.

3. Your industry’s social proof

Is your product solving a problem that’s widely documented – with statistics to back it up? That’s proof that your solution is necessary and can serve as a value differentiator for people who are well-versed in your particular industry.

The best way to add this type of social proof to your website is to show – ideally, in numbers – what the problem is that you’re trying to solve, and why it’s important that you’re solving it.

This virtual reading coaching product addresses a straightforward problem that many parents will immediately understand and relate to: reading proficiency in developing children. To highlight the necessity of their product – and the importance of the problem that it is solving – you’ll see below how their website lays out the universal issue in numbers.

Similarly, a wire fraud protection software shares prominent statistics about how wire fraud negatively affects SMBs in multiple ways.

When it’s most important:
If your product is solving a widely-known and prevalent issue, then displaying that problem will add credibility to the efficacy and necessity of your solution.

The bottom line

Customer testimonials and case studies continue to be the best type of social proof, but not all of us have access to them. Instead of settling for a lack of social proof on your website, explore these simple ways you can add credibility to your offering – with just a bit of research and effort.

Esther is a Sr. Marketing Manager at Blue Seedling. She is also a serial traveler, self-proclaimed foodie, and list addict.

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