Using the "Science of Persuasion" for Your Business

Posted by Leah DeMasters on Jun 1st, 2018 in Marketing & Design

Everyone wants to become a master of persuasion. There are seemingly endless books and online forums devoted to the topic. About sixty years ago, psychologists began to study the art of persuasion, and launch their own studies to figure out what exactly makes people say 'yes' rather than 'no.'

Dr. Robert Cialdini is one of the leading psychologists who has championed six mental shortcuts that we all make to simplify our decision-making. Implementing changes in line with these six ideas as a part of a comprehensive marketing strategy has been proven to boost conversions and revenue. The six principles are as follows:

1. Reciprocity

"The Costco effect" We're all familiar with the tasty food samples handed out at stores like Costco and other grocery and specialty stores. These food samples, in some cases, have led to a 2,000 percent increase in sales.

Reciprocity is a fancy way of describing how people are much more likely to give when they have received. The big takeaway for reciprocity is that it is most beneficial to be the first to give, and to do it in an individualized and special way. For example, don't hesitate to send a small, personalized gift to your client, thanking them for their business.

2. Social Proof

We may claim to not care about what others think, but the social proof principle shows that this is simply not true. When we are uncertain about a decision, we tend to rely on the actions of others to affirm our own choices. We follow trends and read reviews constantly, keeping in mind the decisions of those around us. Including customer reviews and testimonials on your website is one practical application of the social proof principle.

Think about the last time you tried a new restaurant that was completely empty. It made you think twice, right? We want social affirmation.

3. Commitment

Simply put, people like to be consistent. They want to keep in line with decisions they have already made in the past. One way to capitalize on this tendency is to encourage small, elective commitments at the beginning of a process.

4. Authority

People trust and follow the examples of experts in their field of interest. It's important to communicate that you know what you are talking about and be perceived as a credible source of information in the minds of your customers. If they view you as an expert, you will be much more likely to be able to persuade them. For example, actively blogging and posting on your social sites helps establish that you are a subject matter expert.

5. Scarcity

Scarcity refers to the tendency for people to want more of a resource that is rare. "Limited Time" or special, low-in-stock offers tend to entice customers simply because there is less of the resource.

6. Liking

This principle is probably the most predictable and understood. People want to support people who they like. Dr. Cialdini emphasizes that people especially like those who seem similar to them, cooperate with them, and pay them compliments. These suggestions mean that business people should not shy away from being people first. Find similarities with your clients and emphasize that you are working with them. The results of these simple changes in behavior can be overwhelmingly positive.

Our Takeaways

It is important to remember that not every principle of influence will do the trick in every given situation. You must take into consideration the circumstances and adjust your strategy accordingly. When utilized correctly, these six principles will allow you to make small, low-cost changes to your business model that can lead to tangible results. Combining two or more of these suggestions into a comprehensive marketing strategy is the wisest course of action, and constantly keeping these scientifically proven principles in mind could give your company a serious competitive advantage.

Not sure where to start? We'd love to help you implement these six principles. Contact us today.

Bill Hunter and the WDC team believe that honest business and innovative design go hand-in-hand. Their talented team of designers, marketers and developers are as diverse as their work. They offer a range of services, including marketing strategy, branding and creative web and application development, as well as digital marketing solutions specific to your business. Contact Bill at bill@wilmingtondesignco.com or visit www.wilmingtondesignco.com.