How To Show Social Proof When You Don’t Have Any

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I’m Courtney Fanning the copywriting and brand strategy brains behind Big Picture. I use my literal master’s in selling stories to help 1:1 clients and DIY students write purpose-driven copy that sells and scales. 

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Written by Courtney
Copywriting & brand strategy brains behind Big Picture.

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Google just about any website copywriting template or tutorial and you’ll come across the term “social proof”. Social proof, like a client or customer testimonial, is important because it proves that someone else vouches for the quality of your work and possibly a return on their investment when they buy your products or services.

But somewhere along the way, we forgot that social proof isn’t *only* testimonials. Social proof doesn’t even have to show how many thousands of dollars you’ve earned for your clients, or the number of impressions your outsourced work earned them.

Because the truth is:

✌️ Most of us don’t work with people who launch things.

✌️ Some work is not designed to achieve a quantitative result.

✌️ Some results take a long time and depend on many factors to achieve success.

✌️ A lot of us serve humans, not bottom lines.

✌️ Many of us honor client confidentiality agreements.

✌️ And MANY readers of this blog are “entrepre-newbies” or new business owners without much experience.

So how do you show social proof if you don’t have a spreadsheet full of testimonials or a fat stack of stats?

Testimonials and easy-to-digest stats are brilliant (make a quarterly goal to collect these if applicable) but don’t discount your training and education.

I call this “knowledge proof”.


Which institutions, courses, or programs can vouch for your expertise?

This doesn’t have to be higher or formal education–if you earned a certificate in Google Analytics Fundamentals via their self-paced certification course, I wanna see that. Your self-motivation and up-to-date toolkit are a positive reflection of your abilities.

Did you spend a bajillion years in school learning how to help your audience?

Google search your program’s logo or crest and add it to your site.

Did you complete a pre-requisite number of hours learning, coaching, or training?

Add that info to your site in a “stats banner” (See examples below.)

Client Portfolio: Grow With Strengths

Copywriting Cohort Student Work: Spiritualogic

What if you took a left turn and your business has nothing to do with your background?

First, of all, I wanna know more about that when you write your About page

Second, what are some low-lift ways to garner some social proof in your new arena?

Can you join a local networking group or Chamber of Commerce and offer to host a Lightning Lesson? Send out a survey at the end and ask for feedback. 

BOOM a testimonial.

Can you gather a group of beta clients and take them through your offer? Be honest and let them know you’re looking for feedback and blurbs for your website.

People want to help, especially if you’ve helped them.

Here are 9 ways to show knowledge proof:

  1. Education/training/certifications
  2. Number of years in your field
  3. Projects or groups where you’ve held a leadership role
  4. Media or press your client landed thanks to your images/copy/content
  5. Media/awards/accolades you’ve received for your studies or research related to what you do now in your business
  6. Success stories/case studies
  7. Client locations (you’ve got members in Thailand?! So, global.)
  8. Niches or types of businesses you’ve served
  9. Past employers (Yes, bestie, you can do this if it’s relevant and you’re not contractually bound from saying your employer’s name.)


How you acquired your knowledge matters. What you did with it matters. You’re demonstrating an ability to learn, process, and apply information for the betterment of others. As a future client or buyer, I want to know I’m buying from someone who knows a thing or two about a thing or two. Don’t shy away from showcasing how you gained the knowledge needed to perform the skills or create the products that will help your audience reach their goals.

Social Proof Action Item

🏁 Make a plan for how you’re going to earn and acquire more social proof in Q4. (You got this, amigo!) Then read How to use testimonials to write your copy (+ video tutorial) or cherry-pick which pieces of proof you can use to create a “stats bar” on your website.

🏁 Client interviews and a ready-to-send research & testimonial survey are baked into every Brand Discovery, Brand Strategy + Website Copywriting, and Email Marketing VIP Week project. If you’re feeling timid, I’ll handle the outreach and interviews for you.


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