By John Turner, founder of SeedProd

If you’re looking to increase your website’s conversions, you need a plan for how to gain visitors’ trust and boost your credibility in your industry. It’s rare that someone will stumble upon your site and feel enticed to take action right away. Rather, users need to feel like they can trust you as a brand so that whatever action they take is worth it for them.

A great way to gain users’ trust is by implementing social proof marketing into your conversion strategy. Social proof is when consumers follow the actions and advice of others because they trust what they have to say about a product or service. The idea is that if the crowd enjoys or dislikes something, it must be true.

This is what makes social proof such a powerful conversion tool for your business. It holds a great amount of influence over your audience and, when used correctly, it can skyrocket your return on investment and growth. If you want to harness the power of social proof marketing, here’s how to get started.

Encourage ratings and reviews.

Ratings and reviews can do wonders for your business, even the negative ones. This shows users that there’s a healthy balance between positive and negative reviews, which is realistic. Showing negative reviews also boosts your credibility because it’s natural to have customers with disagreements about your products.

Statista reports that 30 percent of consumers agree that reviews and ratings have a huge impact on how confident they are about their purchasing decisions. They matter for your brand and website performance, so it’s essential you’re collecting as many as you can from your audience.

After a customer makes a purchase or tries a freebie you’ve offered, encourage them to leave a rating and review. Send out an email asking them for feedback so you can better serve them in the future and bring them more content they want. The more you’re able to collect, the more solid your solid proof will be and the more your audience will trust you.

Showcase brand logos.

It’s common to visit a popular website and see several brand logos on the homepage. This is for good reason. When you visit a website for the first time, you don’t really know what to expect. Whether you’ve heard positive or negative things, checking it out for yourself is a different experience entirely.

When one of the first things you see is that popular brands endorse this website’s products, it boosts your confidence to purchase or take another action. It urges new visitors to check your website out to see what all the hype is about.

It’s more difficult to build rapport with well-known brands when you’re just starting out, but all good things take time. The more you work on your website and business, the more quality visitors it’ll attract.

Ask clients for testimonials.

While brand logos could mean that a company uses or simply endorses a brand, testimonials show viewers that your products actually bring the satisfaction you promise. Testimonials are different from reviews because they come from bigger, more established names -- usually entrepreneurs and heads of companies.

The more well-known and high-authority clients you list on your website, the better your website performance will be. Testimonials work best when they come from a person of influence who already has a substantial following. Success begets success, and the more high-authority figures you can get to rave about your services, the higher your chances of converting visitors.

Don’t be afraid to ask clients for testimonials so you can build your site’s reputation. It’s flattering to be asked for a good word because it means you care about what that person has to say. Sending a brief, friendly email to clients who have expressed contentment with your services is a great way to nudge them in the right direction and urge them to leave you a glowing testimonial of their own.

If you’re looking to boost your website’s performance, consider how social proof plays a role in your conversion strategy. It’s a powerful tactic that earns the trust of consumers and encourages them to engage with your brand. It takes a bit of being in the business to be able to collect these types of social proof, but once you get to that point, it can skyrocket your conversions even further.

You want your audience to trust you from the get-go, and with social proof, this becomes much easier. How will you implement social proof into your conversion strategy?

John Turner is the founder of SeedProd, the most popular coming-soon page solution for WordPress used by over 800,000 websites.

Published on: May 24, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.