Psychologist and researcher, Robert Cialdini, developed the Six Principles of Persuasion. These principles are remarkably universal. Essentially there are six ways to naturally steer people into thinking, doing, or buying something.
Let’s examine each principle and how it could be used to grow your business.
Reciprocity: People feel the need to give back to someone who provides a product, service, or information.
Frankly, this is a technique that Mediastead uses frequently. We try to provide information and expertise to business owners to influence them into hiring us to develop digital marketing strategies and implement them. Reading articles like this, for example, will increase the likelihood that you will hire us to develop your new website.
Scarcity: People want items that they believe are in short supply.
The diamond industry has mastered this principle. Diamonds are clusters of carbon, the third most prevalent element in the universe. Today we even have the capability of manufacturing diamonds that are superior to diamonds that occur naturally.
Items that are limited in inventory can become disproportionately valuable when people perceive a threat to the supply chain, whether the threat exists or not. Rumors drove people to hoard toilet paper in the early stages of the pandemic.
Authority: People are swayed by a credible expert on a particular topic.
The pharmaceutical industry thrives on emphasizing authority. They encourage you to consult with a physician because they recognize that patients tend to see their doctors as credible experts, while simultaneously encouraging doctors to listen to their patients.
Consistency: People strive to be consistent in their beliefs and behaviors.
Fast-food giant McDonald’s created an entire industry by delivering consistency. You are more likely to purchase a Big Mac in a strange city than you are to try a cheeseburger from a local eatery. You don’t believe the Big Mac is better, but you are comforted that it will taste the same as a Big Mac from your hometown.
Likability: People are influenced by those who are similar, complementary, and cooperative.
Progressive Insurance, Nike, and American Express have all used this principle to their advantage. Progressive has used Flo, your quirky next-door neighbor, to subtly convince you that her insurance is better than another. Michael Jordan’s extraordinary charisma made Nike a household name. American Express is the credit card of successful people.
Consensus: People tend to make choices that seem popular amongst others.
Politicians are masters of name recognition. Opinion polls can eliminate candidates many months before the actual voting. Yard signs tell you who is the most popular in your community while giving you no information about the candidate’s platform.
Social media influencers have also capitalized on consensus. Today the value of an individual or organization is often calculated by the number of followers, friends, or viewers.
How do you apply the Principles of Persuasion when marketing your business?
Your business shouldn’t try to compete in all six methods of persuasion. It’s not possible. Focus on one or two principles that correlate with your business, your product, or your brand. Then, create marketing messaging that specifically target those principles.
We will use Mediastead as an example.
We use the Principle of Reciprocity to generate new business. We participate actively in a variety of groups. We participate in four local chambers of commerce across Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania. We also participate in online groups related to our industry. Finally, we specifically ask our biggest fans, our clients, to refer us to others in their field or community.
We use the Principle of Consistency to retain our clientele. In our business, much of our revenue depends on existing clients paying for an ongoing service plan. Therefore, we strive to deliver highly consistent and dependable service. Many of our clients joined us in our first year of operation, 2013, and have remained with us ever since. Of particular importance is that Mediastead strives to gain a good understanding of each client’s business and is able to shift and grow our role as their business evolves.
As for the other principles: Web developers aren’t scarce. Many agencies compete on authority, making it difficult to differentiate ourselves. Consensus generally only works for the biggest company in an industry. And, let’s face it, not everyone agrees Jason and Michael are likable.
We hope this article has been enjoyable and informative. If you’d like to show your Reciprocity, we’d love to talk more with you about our services. Give us a call.