The 6 Principles of Persuasion and their Power

Noteworthy to mention, there is one topic that inspired me the most, namely the Principles of Persuasion. This interest started one year ago when I was following a course in Consumer Psychology during my master’s degree in Strategic Marketing at Maastricht University. Therefore, I would like to introduce you to the Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini.

The truth is that we are barely conscious of what determines our behaviour and how we perceive things. Above all, 95% of our purchase decision making takes place in the subconscious mind. So, to change people’s behaviour you have to talk to the brain. The 6 Principles of Persuasion have been adapted to online marketing especially in the business of conversion rates. This makes sense; as conversions are all about persuasions. When a user visits your website, you want to turn them into a shopper, and eventually into a buyer. But this is maybe easier said than done. The main question that comes to your head is; how do you apply these principles? Well, you will find out today and can easily apply these for your own business.

Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion to boost conversions

#1 Reciprocity

Cialdini defined the idea of reciprocity as people, by nature, feel obliged to provide discounts or concessions to others if they have received favours from those same people”. In other words, humans simply do not want to feel indebted towards others. There are some ways that this Principle of Influence could work for your business. Treating others with respect and giving others small gifts, are all things that can win you points with other individuals.

#2 Consistency

This principle claims that humans have a desire to be seen as consistent. For instance, when you have publicly committed to something, you are very likely to achieve that commitment. You could use the principle of consistency to obtain greater conversion rates. By getting website visitors to commit to something comparatively small, such as a free eBook, it increases the probability that those people will ultimately see themselves as customers and in the future converts to a paid purchase.

#3 Social Proof

We have the desire to follow the lead of those who are similar to us. Cialdini outlined social proof as people doing what they observed other people doing”. This shows that humans easily copy other individuals’ behaviour. For your business, you could apply this Principle of Influence by using the so-called wisdom-of-the-crowds”. This is done by adding reviews on your website or a counter that shows how many website visitors have hearted” your product and/​or service.

#4 Authority

The Principle of Authority explains that humans follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts. In commercials, for example, you see a dentist who tries to sell toothpaste. This technique could be used by each marketeer. Such as using a public figure that is an authority figure for your target audience.

#5 Liking

As stated by Cialdini, liking is the tendency to like similar others. Moreover, since similarity is a key building block of the Principle of Liking, an effective About Us” page on your website to stimulate conversion rates is crucial. A company’s About Us” page provides you with the opportunity to explain all similarities you have with your potential buyers.

#6 Scarcity

Last but not least, the Principle of Scarcity declares that humans have the desire to have rare things. Simply put, products are more attractive when their availability is limited. This is one of the most popular Cialdini principles and organisations use this widely to boost conversions. A famous example you could use is Only today 30% off”.

These 6 Principles of Persuasion have been used for decades by businesses and marketers to get you, the consumer, to convert into a buyer. Pay close attention to these powerful principles as you can see that these techniques could help you boost your conversions without that much effort. Let’s start using it right away!

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Guest blog by Lotte Zegers
Originally posted on

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