There’s no denying it – email marketing is still one of the best marketing activities in terms of return on investment. However, you rarely see companies that actually make the 40+ dollars on each dollar invested in email. Just having the will to use email marketing is not enough. Luckily, there are a few tricks you can use to your advantage. 

Let’s discuss one of them today – social proof. This marketing concept means that we are influenced by the actions of others when making our own decisions. It’s the reason why we would rather trust strangers online than paid marketing ads. The good news is, you can combine email marketing and social proof to maximize your conversions and get top dollar out of your email campaigns. Here’s how.

1. Show your numbers

If there’s one thing that gets people impressed, it’s big numbers, especially if you can back them up with proof. Your emails are a great place to show just what you’ve achieved and put a number next to it. Some examples include:

  • The number of your customers
  • The total volume sold of a certain product
  • How many app users you have at the moment
  • How much % of your users are happy with your service
  • How long you’ve been in business

For maximum effect, put these numbers in the subject of your email or give them a prominent place in the email body.

Above is an example from Invision, one of the largest SaaS companies today, showing off the number of their current users.

2. Mention big names

One of the basic ideas of social proof is that you want your target audience to trust you enough to make a purchase. However, what if you’re so unknown that people are scared to shop with you? Well – you can piggyback on the popularity of others if you have the opportunity.

If you’ve had the opportunity to work with big names in your industry (or in general) such as Sony or Coca Cola, make sure to mention this somewhere in the body of the email. You can write or use the company logo if you want a more elegant way to drop their names.

3. Show what others are buying

Your potential customers will trust your current customers much more than they will trust you as the business owner. However, bringing forth their opinions isn’t so straightforward at most times. Here’s what you can do – just show your email lists some products that other customers have already bought. Combine this with number 1 entry on this list and you have a powerful way to leverage your existing sales.


To amplify the success of this method, you can send different emails segmented according to the category of the product. For example, if someone is interested in gardening tools on your hardware store website, you can send them an email with the best-sold gardening tools – you can repeat this for as many categories as you like.

4. Show buyer testimonials

One of the strongest forms of social proof, testimonials are written accounts from your customers about their experience with your product. If a potential customer is interested in a certain product, you can send them a written testimonial instead of an abandoned cart email. Alternatively, you can send a video testimonial if you have one. Videos are much more powerful, but unlike videos, they can’t be shown directly within the body of the email. The reader has to click through, which can reduce your click-through-rates and conversions, but on the other hand, it can lead visitors directly to your landing or product page.

Here’s an example of a testimonial for MarketingProfs, cleverly inserted within the body of an email, with a call to action that leads straight to the landing page.

5. Show off your press mentions

Did you recently get mentioned in a reputable publication? Has your company or product been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur,, New York Times or some other great news outlet? If yes, it’s time to show how proud you are of this achievement.


If you’ve been featured in a popular news outlet, you can show off article clippings or links to the pieces that mention you. Alternatively, you can put icons of the media outlets that covered your story. You may also consider sending a newsletter to your list when you get featured in a major news outlet.


Even though the social proof is already established as one of the most effective marketing principles there are, it is seldom used in email marketing. If you use just one of the methods mentioned above, you can rest assured that you will get much closer to that 48x ROI that everyone is talking about. Whatever niche you are in, the use of social proof in your emails is guaranteed to increase your sales significantly. Good luck!

About Author

Carsten Schaefer is the founder and CEO of, the all-in one social proof marketing platform. Inspired by principles and mechanisms of social proof, Carsten is currently on his way to help businesses become trustworthy and thrive in the digital landscape.


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