To stand out among a hundred browser tabs and an overflowing inbox, it’s crucial to provide undecided shoppers with a convincing reason to complete a purchase.
Social proof is a proven and cost-effective strategy to engage customers, using the data you already have at your fingertips. This makes it a must-have tactic to boost marketing performance in a scalable way across email and website campaigns.
There are many effective ways to use social proof in your marketing. Here, we’ll look at how to leverage product popularity to guide shoppers towards a conversion.
How does social proof work?
Social proof - also known as social influence - is the idea that people prefer to imitate the behaviour of others when making a decision. In other words, we desire things more when they are popular.
By letting shoppers know how often a product has been viewed or purchased recently, you simultaneously increase urgency and make your products seem more desirable.
Here are some easy-to-implement ways to incorporate product popularity into your marketing:
1. Add popularity messaging to web pages
Deploy a social proof widget on product pages of your website to show how often a product has been purchased or browsed in a certain timeframe.
This has a two-pronged effect of tapping into consumers’ fear of missing out (“What if the product sells out before I have a chance to buy it?”) and desire to follow a consensus (“Other people are buying it, so it must be good!”)
You can grab shoppers’ attention by letting them know how many people are viewing a product right now, like this eye-catching example from fast fashion brand MissPap:
This strategy works particularly well for travel brands, where customers know that a limited number of rooms or seats is available.
Holiday rentals provider Cottages.com encourages urgency by showing how many people have recently viewed and booked a property. Customers know they need to act fast to avoid losing out on their dream holiday:
2. Boost marketing emails with social proof
Use a social proof widget in emails containing product details to show real-time information about how that product is being engaged with on the website. This is a great way to spark interest and increase click throughs. Combine this tactic with personalized product recommendations for maximum impact.
Social proof can also enhance the performance of triggered email programs. When a shopper receives a cart or browse abandonment email, they have already shown interest in a product. Adding social proof could be the final push that persuades them to complete a purchase.
Cottages.com uses viewing data to drive engagement in its automated emails, ensuring that customers don’t miss out on booking their desired property:
3. Combine social proof with scarcity
Another powerful technique is combining a social proof widget with real-time stock levels to show when a product is running out. Customers know that they will miss out on the product if they don’t buy it soon. Furthermore, low stock levels indicate that a product is already popular with other shoppers, reassuring customers that they are following a consensus.
This tactic works especially well when stock is limited, or to add urgency during a sale period. For the best results, combine stock levels with compelling urgency messaging in your brand’s tone of voice.
Getting started with social proof
Displaying popularity messaging is a tried and tested social proof tactic that engages customers without the need for discounts or ambitious creative. This makes it a cost-effective and efficient tool to increase conversions across web and email.
What’s more, today’s eCommerce solutions collect purchase and viewing data in real time, and allow marketers to choose how and when this is displayed. There’s never been a better time to add social proof to your marketing tool-kit.
Download our eBook for more social proof tips and inspiration: