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May 2, 2023

How to leverage word-of-mouth marketing and social proof to boost sales

How to leverage word-of-mouth marketing and social proof to boost sales

How to leverage word-of-mouth marketing and social proof to boost sales

Word-of-mouth marketing and social proof are two essential components of any successful business. While these terms can be used interchangeably, they play distinct but complementary roles in building customer trust and driving sales. Word-of-mouth marketing is the process of encouraging satisfied customers to share their positive experiences with others. Social proof, on the other hand, is the use of customer feedback, ratings, and reviews to demonstrate the quality and popularity of your products. 

Together, these two components can have a significant impact on bottom-line conversions and drive sales. On average, word-of-mouth drives $6 trillion in annual global spending and is responsible for 13% of all sales*. Here's how to leverage word-of-mouth marketing and social proof to boost your e-commerce business.

Put yourself in their shoes 

To effectively leverage word-of-mouth marketing and social proof, it's important to understand what types of content your customers are seeking before making a purchase. Consider what information would be most helpful to know or learn more about, and who they would want to hear recommendations from. How much social proof is enough to convince them to make a purchase? According to a recent HubSpot study, the average consumer reads 10 online reviews before making a purchase decision.

For more personalized insights, consider running interviews or focus groups with your top customers to gain a better understanding of your specific buyer journey. 

Understand their role in the purchase journey

Word-of-mouth marketing and social proof each play a critical role in the purchase journey. Shoppers seek out specific types of content at each stage, including customer reviews, ratings, and social media mentions. In the awareness stage, shoppers are looking for social proof that your brand is trustworthy and has a good reputation. In the consideration stage, they want to see examples of how your product has helped others, specifically people that share similar demographic or situational factors. In the decision stage, they’re seeking validation that they’re making the right choice. 

By understanding and investing in the types of content that shoppers are looking for in each stage, you can create a more effective marketing strategy. 

Create unique branded experiences 

Both online and offline, it's essential to create unique experiences that you can own and that captures your brand's personality and values. Investing in high-quality experiences can organically fuel your customers to talk about your brand with people they know. Consider how you can differentiate your brand from the competition through engaging retail design, curated web and social content, and other immersive experiences that appeal to your target audience.

Build strong customer community channels 

Where does your target audience spend the most time online, or offline? Establish a presence on those channels (or in those IRL spaces) to create natural pathways for customers to engage with your brand and with each other. This could include establishing groups, subreddits, local meetups, or running giveaways and contests that encourage customers to share their experiences and tell their friends. By creating a strong customer community, you can naturally fuel more inventory to use as social proof.

Incorporate UGC into your website and marketing channels 

User-generated content is a powerful tool for demonstrating social proof and building trust with potential customers. Incorporate UGC into your website and product detail pages by implementing “people also bought” recommendations and recent sales pop-ups, or consider using customer stories and case studies to provide more in-depth insights into the benefits and features of your products. By showcasing positive UGC, you can help encourage more shoppers to make a purchase.

In today's competitive e-commerce market, leveraging word-of-mouth marketing and social proof is more important than ever. At Experify, we believe that these two concepts can be leveraged to create a uniquely authentic and personalized shopping experience. 

Our solution allows brands to showcase social proof directly on their website, incorporating user-generated content and recommendations from real product owners. Our platform also allows shoppers to connect with these champions and engage in genuine, unfiltered conversations to make more informed purchase decisions. By empowering shoppers to connect with each other and share their experiences, we build engaged communities around your brand that fuels social proof and drives sales.

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