Dr. Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of influence marketing

You’ve come up with a fantastic idea for a new product. Now you need to convince everyone to support it. However, you haven’t had much success with this in the past. So, how can you get everyone to support your idea?

Influencing others is challenging, which is why it’s worth understanding the psychological principles behind the influencing process. This is where it’s useful to know about Cialdini’s Six Principles of Influence.

The Six Principles of Influence were created byRobert B. Cialdini, Regents’ Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He published them in his respected 1984 book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

Cialdini identified the six principles through experimental studies, and by immersing himself in the world of what he called “compliance professionals” – salespeople, fund raisers, recruiters, advertisers, marketers, and so on. (These are people skilled in the art of convincing and influencing others.)

And some real-world examples

  1. Reciprocity – I scratch your back, you scratch mine

    The central idea here is that we’re all wired to be social- we were social before we learnt to think as individuals, so reciprocity is a deep part of us. Give something freely, and you’ll get something back in response.

    1. Insightful blog articles by Sparring Mind [sparringmind.com]
    2. Copyblogger – Free ebooks, articles, webinars, podcasts
    3. Spotify Free Trial
    4. Moz Free Trial
    5. Helpscout – Free resources
    6. Hubspot Keywords Tool free trial
    7. True&Co. – Free home try-on service
    8. Amazon – Free ebook samples for Kindle
    9. Buffer – Acquired 100,000 users through guest blogging
    10. Red Bull – sponsors sporting events and gives away free drinks randomly
    11. Uber – Boston free bus rides during bus strike
    12. Converse‘s free recording studio

    Commitment and Consistency – ‘A foot in the door’

    *We don’t have the energy to evaluate every decision in isolation- so we use past decisions to inform future ones. *

    “…when a person has signed an order for your merchandise, even though the profit is so small it hardly compensates for the time and effort of making the call, he is no longer a prospect–he is a customer.”

    1. ConversionXL – Yes / No popup
    2. Search Engine Journal – join others just like you!
    3. New Rock City
    4. Benefit Cosmetics – contest
    5. TSBmen Monthly Giveaways – voting competition, contestants getting peers involved to vote for them
    6. Dunkin’ Donuts Halloween Instagram contest
    7. Four Seasons Hong Kong #OurHK Instagram contest

    Social Proof – ‘I’ll have what she’s having’

    Again, we trust others. Deep rooted social instincts at play again.

    1. Ostrich Pillow by Studio Banana Things (expert testimonials)
    2. Mark Zuckerberg and iGrill (unpaid endorsements)
    3. Celebrities drinking Starbucks
    4. Samuel L. Jackson and iPhone 4S – Paid endorsements
    5. Cotopaxi – User Reviews
    6. Google Play Store – User ratings
    7. ReferralCandy – (Examples of testimonials)
    8. iTunes store – ‘People who bought this also bought that’
    9. Amazon – “People who bought this also bought…”
    10. Pura Vida – “These are our best-sellers!”
    11. Kickstarter – ‘Bought by X amount of people’
    12. McDonald’s – “Served X number customers so far!”
    13. Shopify blog – “Join others just like you who’re benefitting from this!”
    14. TripAdvisor – “Your friends have tried/visited this!”
    15. Bustle.com – “Your friends have like/shared this!”

    Liking – pretty = good

    See also: The Halo Effect. If something looks good, it probably is good. Or so we tend to assume.

    1. Hard Graft
    2. Black Milk Clothing
    3. ThinkGeek
    4. Dollar Shave Club
    5. Proof Eyewear
    6. Threadless
    7. Free People

    *Authority – “Trust me, I’m a doctor.” *

    In the original book, Cialdini talked about attire and trappings- uniforms and such. Here we talk about other marks of authority as witnessed online.

    1. Dr. Robert Cialdini – such doctor, many authority
    2. The Paypal Mafia – early paypal employees’ new startups all got a lot of credibility
    3. Apple Geniuses
    4. Shopify Experts
    5. Finch Goods
    6. Pebble watch
    7. QuickSprout

    Scarcity – “Hurry, while stocks last!”

    Another age-old human heuristic- if it’s hard to get, it’s probably good.

    1. Booking.com – Limited rooms left
    2. Ministry of Supply – Out-of-stock size indication
    3. TigerDirect.com – Daily Slasher Deals
    4. Amazon – Today’s Deals
    5. Modcloth – Holiday Sweaters
    6. Starbucks – Christmas Holiday Frappuccino Drinks
    7. Kohl’s – Clearance sales
    8. HAiK W/ Kaibosh – Two-way Reversible Sunglasses (collaboration)
    9. Evo – Anniversary Sale
    10. The New Yorker – Opens archives for free for 3 months
    11. Memobottle – Green caps for Kickstarter backers
    12. Hush Smart Earplugs – Kickstarter Discount
    13. eBay Auctions

    Remember, a clever shortcut can’t save a bad product- and people who’ve been misled will be especially vocal about their disappointment.

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