Where’s the Proof? Locating Social Proof on Your Web Site for Results
February 9, 2012
Whenever we begin working with our Testimonial Director clients, one of the areas we cover is where to place testimonials. Despite the fact that nothing is most trustworthy and convincing for prospects than testimonials from your customers, the majority of businesses today keep them hidden away. In fact, in our recent survey, 75% of respondents indicated they are using testimonials on only “a few” or less pages. In fact, two thirds of those only use testimonials on a single “rave reviews” page.
So, what’s the problem with that? Well, simply put, most of your prospects will never see that page.
An interesting exercise is to look at the analytics for your web site (if you aren’t already using Goggle Analytics or similar tool you are missing out on getting great insight into how your prospects are using your web site). When you review your web traffic, one of the items I’m willing to bet is the following: if you are using a stand alone testimonial page, less than 10% of your visitors ever go there.
The problem with this is that if they don’t see social proof when reading your marketing and sales copy, they will trust it less. And less trust means fewer conversions and, ultimately, lower sales. When we take the time to ensure your testimonials are placed throughout your web site, your prospects will trust you statements of benefit more and will reward you by taking action.
Where to place them
When it comes to placing testimonials on each web page, there are a two key areas to look at. First, typically a web page will have real estate available in the left or right hand column used for additional navigation. That is a great place to insert testimonials because they are directly beside the content to reinforce it’s key messages. In particular, using text and images there are effective as there is no action required to view them unlike video. Of course, an effect like having them automatically rotating while the page is viewed helps to capture attention and reinforce that there are many success stories.
Another key location is within the actual marketing and sales copy. That way, when the copy discusses a particular value, it can be immediately punctuated with social proof. And here video can be very effective since it appears inline and the visitor is more likely to hit the play button as they make their way through the page.
Don’t forget context
As you place your social proof throughout your web site, make sure to consider where they are going. Placing testimonials that have nothing to do with the particular product or service being discussed on that page can actual hurt you. It raises the questions, why don’t they have a testimonial about this? So it is important to take the time to categorize your testimonials and use the relevant ones on the right pages.
An even more sophisticated approach is to target testimonials based not only on the particular product or service, but also based on who the visitor is. For example, if a visitor comes from a particular country, showing testimonials from that same country serve to increase trust – and results. You can read more of the details on how to do that here: Everyone is Local.
For the majority of businesses, the move from a single page of testimonial to pervasive social proof is often not done simply because the “Testimonial checkmark” is ticked with that single rave reviews page. But remember that most never see that page. One of the simplest ways to increase your conversions is to take the time to get them on to each page, putting your satisfied customers to work selling for you 24 x 7.