Some of you must have read or at least heard of the book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini.
He is a pioneer in the field when it comes to persuasion techniques and his 7 principles are often considered the go-to place for anyone looking to apply them in their respective domains.
If you’d like to learn about other proven and powerful persuasion strategies, consider the CXL Institute’s ‘People and Pyschology’ course. You’ll have dozens of time-tested techniques at your disposal and revamp your marketing game.
Here are the 7 principles
- Commitment/ Consistency
- Social Proof
Now let’s dive deep into each of them and understand how you can integrate these principles for personal or business purposes.
The first one is Reciprocity.
What does this mean? It’s essentially our human nature that has a tendency to pay back when we receive a favor.
Look at your daily lives. You treat people a certain way depending on the way they treat you. If someone is always kind and respectful towards you, you just can’t help but reciprocate the same.
How does this apply to businesses?
Asking for a sale upfront to a completely new prospect who’s unaware of your company might be a very dumb idea to practice.
This is what businesses do instead. When you land on a website, they often give you free guides or reports to get your e-mail.
Once they have captured the lead (in this case, getting your e-mail address), they gradually nurture you with product-related or problem-related information until the time is right to make a sale.
Here’s an example. Many antivirus software offer a 14-day trial version and then request you to upgrade to the premium version.
Well, I’m aware of the fact that most of us have used cracked versions of these software but just saying :’)
Now after the nurturing sequence, you’re well aware of what the brand is, what it stands for, and how they add value. As a consequence of your interaction with this brand over time, you’re more likely to purchase from them than from an unknown site with flashy banners and pop-up ads.
The second principle is Commitment.
We, humans, have a tendency to commit to a process once we’ve taken some initial action. One of the areas where this can be applied is with web forms (mentioned in one of my previous articles about CRO).
Flashing a 10-step questionnaire right at the start drastically brings down the motivation of the prospect to take action. Instead, use multi-step forms starting with very basic information that people wouldn’t really hesitate to provide.
Once they’ve filled in basic details, they’re more likely to complete the rest of the form.
Essentially, we as humans tend to continue with projects or goals after having committed to it for some period of time.
The third principle is Social Proof.
We’re so so so heavily influenced by social proof in our day-to-day lives without us even realizing it.
We rely extensively upon product ratings, reviews and testimonials every single time before we make a purchase.
…Purchasing a product on Amazon.
…Looking for hotel reviews on TripAdvisor.
…Checking out a restaurant on Zomato.
…Google reviews for a local business.
And the list goes on…
Why do we do this?
It’s because we’re not wired to take risks. We don’t want to take chances on anything that hasn’t been proved yet. Getting philosophical, eh? Maybe.
Or maybe because we don’t want to look like a fool to others. We always take the safer and proven path. Be it for career choices or purchasing stuff online. Of course, people don’t like to admit to following the herd but that’s who we are.
In fact, in all purchasing decisions, it’d be a wise choice to actually not try something brand new. Why should you? When you know that there are alternatives that have been proven and verified to solve the same problem, why would you take chances?
The bigger the risk, the more effective social proof is. You wouldn’t browse through dozens of reviews for a $2 product like you would do for purchasing a $200 product.
Therefore, businesses should flaunt those glowing testimonials and massive numbers wherever appropriate. But wait. Never show your numbers if they are low. That will only hurt your chances.
The fourth principle is Authority.
We simply follow celebrities in respective fields regardless of their real-life personalities and values.
…Cristiano Ronaldo endorsing Nike.
…Celebrity chefs endorsing food products.
…Actors endorsing clothing.
They simply work. Once someone is perceived to be an authority in a particular field, we simply follow them because we’d love to be perceived just like them, or in many cases, it’s some sort of added credibility.
It wouldn’t make sense for a celebrity chef to be endorsing Nike LOL!
This is the reason many health-related products use doctors or certifications from medical associations as a stamp of authority.
There will be a considerable difference in the way you receive a message if a random person advises some health product versus the same person advising it but putting on a white coat while doing so.
Of course, only established brands have the budgets to call celebrities. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t use authority as a factor to increase your conversions.
Any mentions of your product in authority sites or media can be included.
Otherwise, any relevant certifications or badges can be used to boost credibility.
The fifth principle is Liking.
How do you define liking here?
Of course, liking is a very subjective concept. However, according to Cialdini, when you like someone, the chances of you being influenced or persuaded by them are relatively higher.
When an unaware prospects visits your site, one of the chances to increase your likeability is through the ‘About Us’ page.
An ‘About Us’ page acts as a gateway to discover the personality of your brand. This is your opportunity to let your personality shine through, the common interests and motivations that you share with your customers and the things that you stand for.
A typical corporate ‘About Page’ with a bland mission statement will only turn off your readers.
The sixth principle is Scarcity.
We often associate things that are scarce with a higher value. This just doesn’t apply to products in general but pretty much everything in life.
For instance, think about those rare diamonds or paintings that are sold for ridiculous amounts.
Anything that’s rare or often unavailable is perceived to have a higher value.
However, I have personally seen so many sites misuse this principle.
I remember so many instances where the timer says something like “Offer ends in 3 hours” and when I go the same site after a week, the timer is still the same.
These gimmicks and misuse of the scarcity principle only hurt their brand image in the long run since it’s outright obvious that they’re trying to deceive customers.
Always use scarcity in a genuine and authentic way.
So yeah, that’s it for this article. I hope you’ve got a few takeaways that you can start applying in your business straight away.
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below