30 Ways To Use Proof To Increase Sales Online

What guides your visitors decision to buy?

When visitors are a bit further into the buying conversation, usually right around the point where a claim is made or at the point of the offer, sometimes (depending on their level of motivation) they get a little unsure and that kills the conversion.

If you think about decision making it makes perfect sense.

To make any decision, especially a buying decision, you need to go through a series of steps.

As you get closer to deciding to buy, you’re unconsciously and sometimes consciously answering questions in your mind about the future purchase.

At a very high level the questions go something like this:

  1. Do I want this?
  2. Will this solve my problem/ look good on me, etc.
  3. Can I afford it? (Let’s not get into buying things you really can’t afford)
  4. Is it worth that price?
  5. Etc…

At some point in ones series of self questions, comes, some form of this question…

  • Can I trust this product / company, etc.?
  • Can I believe what they are saying?
  • This looks good but will it really do ____ ?

It’s at this point where your visitor is seeking proof.

Proof is like a little nudge that eases our buying anxiety and makes us feel safer about buying.

If the proof is missing however, the visitor’s anxiety level goes up and they get scared out of buying.

The bigger your claims though, the more proof you need or the more reassuring your proof needs to be.

However, you can have a situation where you have too much proof, if you have too many or too big a claim, in which case adding too much proof can have the opposite effect.

I’ve actually tested to much proof and it lost.

But still…

Most web pages, don’t have enough proof.

Here are 30 ways you can add proof to your page to sell more online.

Of course you should always test to see what works best for your audience.

30 Proof Points You Can Test To Sell More Online

1. Testimonials – specific results based testimonials from customers are some of the strongest proof you can provide. Most testimonials are not specific enough and are just there because of no good reason. You should actively get testimonials that address specific objections your visitors have.

2. Celebrity endorsements – these could be major experts gurus or authors basically anyone that your audience already connects with. The key is to connect your offers to a known celebrity, piggyback on the emotional feelings your audience has towards them.

3. Case studies – these are basically just testimonials but more in-depth. TO use a case study as a proof point to sell more on line you should share specific details of exactly what happened, the more details and specific the better.  You can even test a video-case study to see if your visitors resonate with more auditory and visual modalities.

4. On-site reviews – This is the perfect form of social proof, amazon.com is the best example of this. This is simply showing reviews of your product or positioning your testimonials as reviews. Be sure to also test a one to five rating for each review as a quick way for your visitors to see what other people think without reading too much.

5. Achievements – what are your accomplishments,  awards you won or achievements you’ve earned directly related to the offer that you’re making? Essentially you’re implying the answer to this direct question: What makes you or this product qualified to be the best?

6. Publicity – media appearances provide a halo effect. Include logos of places where you where mentioned front covers of magazines, pictures of your appearances or products. Things like featured articles all become implyed endorsement for what you’re offering. Creating a halo around your product from being associated with those other brands. The best example of this is the as seen in…

7. Demonstrations – the best example of demo is a late night infomercial on TV. How can you show what your product does in action? This does not have to be a video but some point of proof that demonstrates it’s value.

8. Scientific studies – is your product part of a double-blind study? Are there any studies out there proving of the ingredients or parts of your product? Dig deep to find specific facts that you can pull in as short blurbs for proof points.

9. The reason why – is proof most often overlook. Telling your visitor why (Why they should believe you, why they should buy) is another reassurance people who are looking for proof need. Why did you create this product? Why are you making this offer? Why do you even care? If you’re having a sale there needs to be a reason why. A lot of marketers will use scarcity as a method of increasing sales but you need to be able to explain why your product is scarce, and it needs to make sense in order to maximize sales.

10. A Human face – if you can show a face behind your product or services preferably very early on in your sales page that tells the story about that person that’s selling, your visitors will start to get to know them before they buy to build trust and adds in an element of authority.

11. Specifics – the more specific you can get the better.  Where can you can and more specificity? For example does it take 30 days to get results or 34 days? Did you generate $50,000 revenue form this powerful new tool or did you generate $49,365.63? DO you have 12,000 satisfied customers or 12,456?  You get the idea.

12. Explain how – how does your product do that? How do you deliver on that claim? You can’t use this all the time but when you can it gives you a way to eliminate fear and prove your product works.

13. Disbelief – use testimonials or case studies talking about not believing your claim or product at first or when a customer first was introduced to your solution or product but then saw results. This type of approach connects with this visitors who also don’t believe you or your product and need a bit more proof.

14. Guarantee – money back guarantees are becoming more and more common. So you need to be more specific, give your guarantee name, brand it. (The Pain-Free Guarantee.) You you can also amplify your guarantee by going over 100% get your money back plus $x with the 110% Money Back Guarantee. It does not have to be 10% in additional cash, what about 10% store credit through a discount code?

15. Logical progression – this method of adding proof works because you start with the problem and emotions your prospect is feeling you then move them from point A to B to C in a logical progression. This is what a trial lawyer would do to convince a jury. You’re basically building your case with proof along the way. This can be adapted to a sales letter or even a video sales letter.

16. Admit a fault – What’s a minor fault with your product that does not affect its results? If your claim is hard to believe than simply admit it. Often times telling what you can’t do makes some trust and believe you more.

17. Specialize - In our expert everything world you sometimes need to just specialize in your one specific thing as proof that you’re good at it.

18. Connect with symbols and a location – If you are part of any groups or associations, those are also points of proof. Show where your office is with a picture of the building or a map to show that you’re real. Who have you work for or with?  Who have you helped or partnered with?

19. Tell the truth – don’t exaggerate. People are just looking for a fault or looking to not believe you. Their lie detector is on all the time online. If you’re using words like the best, the greatest, unlimited, you won’t get past their BS detector. You always need proof to qualify each claim you make.

20. Comparison – Use a side by side comparison chart to show how your product compares to the competition. What does your product have that others don’t? Don’t badmouth the competition but demonstrate why your product is clearly superior.

21. Contest – Run a contest for people post a comment or shoot video about  you or your product. Get your users to promote your own stuff.

22. Social media proof – Comments, Facebook likes, Twitter re-tweets are all forms of proof. Take a screenshot and collect them all together and use them on your site.

23. Valuable content – Valuable content is proof you are an authority based on it’s value alone. To be valuable though, it must be different and deliver results, but not fully solve the problem which is solved by your product.

24. Professional design – Design matters a lot. Your credibility goes hand in hand with  how something looks.

25. Terms of use and privacy policies – This is often overlooked. People do check to see if you have a privacy policy put the link near the subscription form or place that makes the most sense like where You’re asking for e-mail but people also look for disclaimers in common locations like the footer, people are always on guard to find “the catch“.

26. Certified logos or Trust marks – If you have any certifications they also serve as points of proof. Or a security seal or statement of trust. The key here with all of these is that it has to be a third party, like an endorsement.

27. Contact information – Nothing makes people feel more comfortable than knowing they are buying from a real person/place. The more specific you can make the contact information, beyond just a submission form or an info at email address, but by adding a physical mailing address and a phone number the more comfortable a visitor will feel.

28. Challenge them to put to the test – This is the put it to the test offer, usually in the form of a free trial, where the buyer pays only shipping now and then pays for the item several days later only after trying it out for themselves. This is really another type of guarantee.

29. Personal tidbits – Adding a bit about your self makes people feel more comfortable about buying from you. Remember people always buy from people not websites.

30. Create a picture with words – Use as many of the five senses as possible to get your reader interested to take action. Make them feel it. The more specific you are here with a vivid picture of the problem and the results, the more powerful this will be. But.. Only if they can really imagine it. Then it becomes real to them.

You now know more about proof than most marketers online.

Take each point of proof above and split test each one to see how much you can increase your online sales and learn what resonates best with your audience.

Too many proof points might lower your sales, but not enough will likely also lower sales just as much if not more. You have to experiment. It’s a fine line between (your offer / product / company) and your audience.

I hope you have fun testing proof. Let me know what you learn about your audience and your offer from testing these proof points.

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About Bobby Hewitt

Bobby Hewitt is the CEO and owner of Creative Thirst, the conversion rate optimization agency that specializes in turning more clicks into customers to increase leads, subscriptions and sales through A/B and multivariate split testing to improve clients’ conversion rates. Bobby has over ten years experience in web design and Internet marketing and holds a bachelors degree in Marketing from Rutgers University. He is also certified in Online Testing and Landing Page Optimization and holds a certificate in Web Analytics from The University of British Columbia. Bobby is also the recipient of the Jim Novo Award of Academic Excellence, an award given out yearly (starting in 2007) to the graduate with the highest grade average over all 4 courses of the UBC Award of Achievement in Web Analytics and is awarded by the Web Analytics Association and University of British Columbia Continuing Studies. He believes that improving conversion rates begins with an understanding of the social psychology of your users, based on personas and persuasive design.
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4 Responses to 30 Ways To Use Proof To Increase Sales Online

  1. Alex Harris says:

    Lots of great ideas to improve your credibility and increase conversions. Test a variety but don’t adding these elements to your page. Visitors connect so easy with brands or logos that they recognize. Also display social that proof close to above to fold. This will creating proof to first time visitors.

  2. Nice list, Bobby. I’ll definitely bookmark this for later use. I think if everyone went through that list and optimized their site with some tips relevant to them, it would definitely increase conversion rates, given their site is visually appealing.

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