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Dr. Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion



Over 30 years ago, Robert Cialdini published a book on persuasion and influence. According to research in the field of psychology, he listed six science-based principles of persuasion. His persuasion skills can be applied to any aspect of your marketing approach to boost conversion rates. 

The Reciprocity Principle

In many social circumstances, we repay people for what they have given us. People will feel indebted to you if you offer something first, and they will be more willing to comply with your following requests. It’s because we’re hardwired to be reciprocal as humans.

Three things will increase the effectiveness of this principle:

  • Allow them to feel beholden to you by giving them something first
  • Allow them to feel special by giving them something unique
  • Make sure they know it’s from you by personalising the offer

The Principle of Commitment and Consistency

Making customers commit to anything, whether it’s a statement, a stand, a political affiliation, or an identity, is one approach to develop client loyalty. According to the concept of consistency, people will feel compelled to stick with the decision they’ve already made. This is especially beneficial for business owners since it means you can spend less time convincing potential customers to do something and more time connecting them with the product or service that best suits their position.

Use these three strategies to make the most of this principle

  • Request that your customers begin with tiny steps so that they would be more likely to follow through
  • Encourage people to make public pledges since they are less likely to back out
  • Reward your customers for taking the time and effort to learn about your company

The Social Proof Principle 

According to this theory, people are more inclined to recommend a product or service that has already been endorsed by someone they know and trust, whether it’s a friend, family member, or an industry expert. As a result, social influence is one of the most effective persuasive tactics available today. Because of their ability to generate social proof, social media influencers have become extremely powerful.

The best way to ue it is to use these people’s influence – or social proof – to your advantage:

  • Specialists – Validation from reputable experts in the field
  • Celebrities – Celebrity approval or endorsement (paid or unpaid) 
  • Users – Approval from current/past users (ratings, reviews and testimonials)
  • ‘Wisdom of crowds’ – Approval from large groups of other people
  • Peers – Getting approval from your peers and acquaintances

The Liking Principle

People we like have a higher level of perceived credibility than people we don’t like, and we are far more likely to comply with them. People we like can range from close friends to strangers who pique our interests. Marketers who understand this have more power over their target audience and can persuade them. We believe in peer recommendations as well as endorsements from celebrities such as singers, actresses, social media influencers, and bloggers.

Follow these factors to make the Liking principle work:

  • Physical appeal: Make your website well-designed, functional, and appropriate for the products you’re selling
  • Similarity: Act as if you’re a friend, not a company. Demonstrate that you understand and can relate to them
  • Compliments – Have a voice; instead of broadcasting, use social media platforms to engage in private dialogues and build relationships with your customers
  • Contact and collaboration: Fight with your consumers for the same causes. Nothing like good old-fashioned teamwork for building rapport and bonding
  • Conditioning and Association: Associating your brands with the same values that you want to represent and possess is a great way to start

The Authority Principle

It’s much easier to believe an expert in a field when it looks like they know what they’re doing. This is easier than conducting your own research, and can be seen in a lot of online marketing, where terms like “scientists say,” “experts say,” and “research shows” are used in headlines and blog posts. This is especially true in fields where we don’t have a lot of experience. 

You can give off the air of authority if you pay attention to these factors:

  • Titles: Positions of power/experience
  • Clothes: Superficial cues that signal authority
  • Trappings: Accessories/indirect cues that accompany authoritative roles

The Scarcity Principle

The scarcity principle is based on the idea that products that are difficult to come by are usually considered superior to those that are readily available. You can learn to elicit a sense of urgency in your customers by incorporating a sense of urgency into their content or terminology. You can generate a sense of uneasiness for your customers about what will happen next by employing the word “scarcity” in your advertising.

You can learn to trigger your customers’ sense of urgency with these methods:

  • Limited-quantity: This item is in low supply and will no longer be available once it is depleted
  • Limited-time offer: This item is only available for a limited time
  • One-of-a-kind Specials: One or all of the above strategies are sometimes used. One-time events are also a source of income (e.g. collaborations, anniversaries)
  • Using Competitions: In auctions or bids, we often leverage our predisposition to desire things more because other people want them as well

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