UX

How to Load Your Website With Social Proof

Rebekah Carter By Rebekah Carter  |  Jul. 20, 2022

As the ultimate form of social proof, customer reviews are incredibly valuable to your clients’ companies.

Around 95% of customers say they read reviews before they make a purchase. Another 72% say they won’t even consider buying items until they’ve read the reviews associated with the business or product. 

No matter how good your marketing and promotion strategies might be, your audience will always turn to other customers for a credible insight into what buying from your brand is really like. That’s why it’s important to leverage as much social proof as possible.

Unfortunately, gathering reviews and displaying them correctly on your website can be challenging.

In this article, we’ll look at what you can do to make your reviews stand out when you’re ready to display them online. 

 

The Different Kinds of Review

Before we look at all the different ways you can effectively display your reviews on your website, let’s get the basics out of the way. 

There’s more than one type of review. Some are simply comments left on the bottom of your product pages by customers impressed by whatever you sold. Other reviews are available in the form of videos or badges. When you want your website to look as credible as possible, the best thing you can do is decide which type of review will make the most impact. 

Ideally, you’ll want a combination of different review types to add depth to your site. Putting various reviews on your website increases your credibility while boosting your SEO

Here are your options:

The Testimonial

Testimonials are one of the most common types of review. Essentially, these are the messages your customers share that highlight what they liked and didn’t like about your product. Testimonials often include a picture of the person leaving the message, and their name, to give them a greater sense of authenticity. You might also include a link to a website or case study with a testimonial to give it more depth. 

Most testimonials go at the bottom of pages. You can showcase these reviews on your home page to generate credibility as soon as someone interacts with your brand. Alternatively, you could allow users to place their reviews on product pages. Here’s an example of what a testimonial might look like from ducttapemarketing.com:

Review Badges and Widgets

If your customers tend to leave reviews about your company on other sites, like Angie’s List or Yelp, then you can add a widget or badge to your website that makes it easier for other customers to find them. Sometimes, you’ll include a small button on the bottom of a website pay that says, “find us on Yelp.” Other times, you can add your star rating too.

Some review sites will also allow you to showcase the actual reviews in a widget that frequently updates with new messages. 

If you’re only showing reviews from one third-party site on your website, it’s best to focus on Google reviews, as it’s one of the most recognizable options. 

Provided that you’re using them correctly, badges and review widgets shouldn’t slow your website down too much, and many can be customized to suit the style of your site too. However, it’s essential to make sure that you don’t add too many widgets to your site if you want to avoid performance issues. 

Case Studies

Case studies go beyond the basics of the standard review and provide potential leads with a massive amount of information about how you’ve previously interacted with other companies. With a case study, you’ll often create a structured document that demonstrates a customer’s problem and the strategies you used to overcome those issues. 

Case studies often exist on their own pages, so you can go in-deep with sharing valuable information. You’ll include an overview that introduces the customer you worked with and details on the outcomes you achieved together. 

Although it’s much harder to interview customers for complete case studies and get all the statistics and numbers that make these reviews appealing, it’s often worthwhile. Case studies demonstrate your effort to support your customers, particularly if you’re running a B2B company. They also act as proof of your success and set valuable expectations for customers. Here’s an example of a case study page by Fabrikbrands.com:

The Rating

If you’re posting basic five-star ratings on your website or asking your customers to give you a number between one and ten for how positively they’d rate your service, you can use a few handy automation tools to create one of these visuals. 

All you need to do is add a little basic CSS to your website or use a star rating widget that automatically calculates your average score based on all the reviews you collect from customers. 

Make sure that your star ratings are positive not just on your website but on other review sites too. For instance, if you give yourself five stars by adjusting the CSS and then get three stars from Yell, customers will begin questioning your authenticity. 

While star ratings grab customer attention, they are a little basic if you’re trying to convert people and convince them to buy an expensive product. In addition, most customers will often need more information than a basic star rating can provide. 

 

How to Display Reviews on Your Website

Now that you know what kind of reviews customers can leave about your product or brand, you can start exploring ways to display them on your website. 

You could decide to let your reviews show up on other third-party sites and leave it at that. For instance, if you’re a hotel manager, you may know that your customers are already leaving reviews on Booking.com and TripAdvisor. However, leaving your audience to seek your reviews out for themselves means that they spend less time where you want them – on your website. 

There’s also a risk that failing to add reviews to your site will also make you look less credible. Customers might wonder what you have to hide if you don’t own your rating or score. 

Fortunately, we’ve got some great options to help you get started.

1. Create a Testimonials Page

The first and perhaps easiest option for showcasing your reviews and testimonials is to design a page where your customers can easily find all the information that they need about your brand. A dedicated testimonials page can be a great way to demonstrate transparency as a brand and show your customers that you’re not hiding anything. 

You could even add a form at the bottom of your testimonials page that allows other customers to leave their reviews and information. Just make sure that you have a CAPTCHA or another security measure in place to prevent people from spamming your site. 

It makes sense to showcase some of your most positive reviews at the top of your page so your customers see those first. However, showcasing negative reviews alongside them could also be a good idea. That’s because customers generally expect to see at least some negativity associated with your brand. If all your reviews are positive, they might assume that you’re hiding something.

When displaying your negative reviews, make sure you also show that you’ve responded to them and are working hard to address any issues. You can even publish the “thank you” you get from an unhappy customer after you rectified the problem. 

2. Show Reviews in Your Website Header

The great thing about using reviews and testimonials on your website is that if you have a little coding knowledge and the right information, you can display them wherever you choose. Most companies leave the reviews at the bottom of the website, but this could mean you’re missing out on an excellent opportunity to connect with your audience as soon as they visit you. 

Having a positive review highlighted at the top of your page could boost your credibility and give your audience a reason to keep reading.

If you want your header reviews to stand out, work with a designer or developer to see how you can adjust the image to suit your brand. You should be able to find widgets and shortcodes that give you various customization options. 

Remember that a picture of the person sharing the review and their name can make them look more credible when you’re trying to build trust. 

3. Add Some Reviews to Your About Us Page

It’s best not to hide your reviews where your customers will have to search for them, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t scatter a few testimonials around other pages. A great way to give more credibility to your brand and your website is to create a sidebar on your “About Us” page or showcase a handful of reviews underneath the description of your business. 

Suppose you don’t want to show customer testimonials on your About Us page. In that case, you could always show different reviews, like badges that show your certification with certain industry bodies or awards and recognition you’ve received. 

Showing that you’re connected with major industry groups and that you’ve been recognized in your sector is a kind of review in itself. It indicates that other people have already assessed your business and see you in a positive light. 

Every review doesn’t necessarily have to come from your customers. Any business or person who can give more credibility to your business deserves some representation too!

4. Embed a Carousel On Your Site

As your business grows, the number of regular reviews and testimonials you get from happy customers should also skyrocket. You might even get to a point where you’re unsure how to fit all the reviews you want to showcase onto the same page of your website. If you already have a dedicated “reviews” page, where people can go to get more insights into your growing collection of social proof, try a carousel. 

These days, you can create carousels with lots of visual and text-based information with nothing but a handy widget or plugin for your website. You could even work with a designer or developer to make your device look like the perfect match for your brand. 

Carousels are a great and dynamic way to showcase customer reviews while getting your audience more involved with your website. Give them a button they can click so they can browse through a broader range of studies after seeing the ones that show up straight away on your carousel. It’s also worth including a link nearby the carousel widget that the user can click to visit your review page or your company’s page on a dedicated review website. 

If you want to go beyond putting carousels on your home page, remember that you can add them to your product pages and menus too. Online reviews impact around 67.7% of purchasing decisions, so it makes sense to put them somewhere your customers will see them when figuring out whether they should hit the buy button. 

5. Add Reviews to Your Social Media Ads

Reviews can be an excellent way to add an extra spark to your advertisements elsewhere in the digital landscape. Telling your audience on Facebook that you have the best steaks in the country is great – but it will not impact most of them significantly. That’s because every business claims to be the best. Most of your clients expect you to speak well of yourself. 

However, if you can combine an attractive image on social media with a quoted review from one of your happy customers, your ads will make more of an impact. You can include the quote from your customer in the text above your Facebook ad or create an image to display it instead.

Remember to add any hashtags and extra information that might make your ad more appealing and share it as often as possible with the right audience. Targeting your audience carefully towards people in the “consideration” stage of the buyer journey may help you get more conversions. 

While customers usually scroll past dozens of social media ads daily, a simple statement from a real user still grabs attention. Include a button below the ad so your customer can learn more about the product the customer is talking about. 

6. Link to Reviews in Email Signatures

Finally, social media ads aren’t the only way to bring attention to your reviews outside your website. If you want to get more external customers to go and check out your products or rediscover what your business is all about, you can add review links to your email signature too. These links can go directly to the case study or review pages on your website, reminding customers what makes your service or product special. Alternatively, you can get dedicated signatures for your email linking to specific review sites. 

Showing your clients how many ratings you have on Yelp or how many stars your products have earned with Google Reviews gives every message you send a lot more credibility. Most email marketing software solutions make it relatively easy to add information like this to the footer of your email. Or you can work with a designer to create a custom email template.

Remember, your signature shouldn’t take up too much space in your email, so don’t add any specific reviews from customers. Instead, a star rating and a link to a page where consumers can get more information will spruce up your content without weighing down your emails. 

 

Show Off Your Social Proof

Successfully collecting positive reviews that show your prospects how much customers love your company can be challenging enough. However, that’s just the first piece of the puzzle. Once you’ve got all those great reviews, you also need to show them off in the most effective way. From dedicated pages on your website to scrolling carousels and Facebook ads, there are a million ways to prove your credibility to your customers with testimonials.

 

Featured image via Unsplash.