How The 7 Principles of Persuasion Apply To Marketing

Consumers like to think they can’t be easily manipulated by simple psychological principles, but Robert Cialdini’s 7 principles of persuasion say otherwise. 
Sure if consumers keep an eye out for them, they may be able to resist, but these principles can operate at a subconscious level. 
Yes — you can market to your consumers or clients at a subconscious level with these principles. Let’s begin.

1. Reciprocity

Give and you shall receive. When people feel that you are doing something for them without expecting a favor in return, they are more likely to volunteer for a favor.  
How can this principle apply to marketing? Consider a common practice on subscription news websites that only allow you to read a portion of an article before forcing you to pay and subscribe. Now compare that to a blog with a library of free content for you to enjoy that encourages you to subscribe for free. 
One option forces you to pay for a subscription before reading a full article, while the other encourages you to subscribe for free after consuming all the content you desire. Which one are you more likely to subscribe to? 
Exactly — You are likely to subscribe to the one that gave you free content.

2. Scarcity

Consumers want what they think is almost gone.
Limited time offers and going-out-of-business sales work. When an airline informs consumers that there are only a few tickets left at that price, the scarcity principle is being employed to encourage them to purchase.
Take this principle and make it your own by letting your consumers know that they have a limited chance to buy your product or service! 

3. authority

Consumers want an expert or authority figure to inform their decisions.
The chewing gum industry has had a lot of success by pointing to claims that “4 out of 5 dentists approve” of their chewing gum. This may contradict the consumer’s preconceived notions about gum, but they defer to the dentist’s expertise to inform their decision.
You can market your product or service with an authority alongside it to give your claims more credibility.

4. consistency / commitment

Consumers enjoy consistency in their lives and consistency in brands they engage with. These same consumers who commit to a small task for your company are much more likely to commit to a bigger task later. 
For instance, when you ask your audience for a like, comment, or an email subscription and they fulfill this request, they are significantly more likely to purchase a subscription or buy from an eCommerce store than someone who did not fulfill your request.
Just get your foot in the door — it works.

5. liking

Consumers are more likely to purchase from brands they like. Persuasion feels more natural and authentic when a consumer already likes the brand.
It’s important for you to build relationships with your customers and even employ a CRM in order to share personalized experiences with your audience and increase likeability. 
You can always start with “small talk” and escalate your consumer relationship over time.

6. consensus / social proof

Consumers are much more likely to engage in activities that other people engage in, and this transitions into engagement with brands.
In your marketing efforts, it’s important to find an early, positive consensus with your audience. Positivity can spread like wildfire and your initial followers are important in building brand advocacy early on

7. unity

Consumers are more likely to feel connected with others who are more like them — this goes for brands as well.
The more your audience feels a joint identity with your brand, the more likely they are to purchase from your brand.
Try to be, act, and talk like your audience while still remaining authentic — your audience will know if you are faking it.
You can also engage your audience with co-creation campaigns where you ask them for their opinions and suggestions, like when M&Ms asked: “what color should we add next?” Make your audience feel like they are a part of something.


Remember, you don’t have to implement all 7 of these principles in each of your campaigns or marketing efforts. Don’t saturate your communications with unnecessary content.
Take a look at your goals and find ways you can implement these principles in your campaigns, in your websites, and in your content. You’ll build good marketing habits and practices, and your customers will be much more engaged and feel much more connected to your brand.

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