When making decisions, it is nice to think that people consider all of the available information to guide their thinking. But it’s quite the opposite. We are quite happy to rely on short-cuts to guide our own decision making.

In 2001, Robert Cialdini identified 6 core principles that govern the way we make decisions. These principles subconsciously influence and persuade every decision that we make and the actions that we take. They are:

  • Reciprocity
  • Consistency
  • Social Proof
  • Like-ability
  • Authority
  • Scarcity

In this article, we will dive deep into each principle and explain how they can be incorporated into your digital marketing strategy to influence your visitors as they go through your buying journey to become a loyal client.

Reciprocity: When you give something freely without asking for anything in return, others feel more obligated to give you something back.

This is why so many businesses are happy to offer you a free e-book, software trial, product sample etc. without asking for anything in return. Or, why car dealers will offer you a free coffee, test drive and consultation. After providing your audience with enough value, they will feel obliged to return the favour (and eventually completing a purchase).

If you don’t have the resources to create an e-book, or to offer a free sample – try providing value with educational content. This will not only position you as an authority in your industry (explained later), but you will also encourage users to give back.

Consistency/Commitment: If you can get someone to take a small commitment first, they are much more likely to take the next bigger commitment down the path.

The path of commitment is longer the higher the price point of your item. Let’s say you sell an enterprise SAAS (Software as a service) solution that is priced in the 5-6 figures. Instead of getting the prospect to buy immediately after the first touch point (which will rarely work), consider getting them to download a whitepaper explaining the pro’s and con’s of different solutions in the marketplace. From there, you can get them to watch a demo video of your solution, give them a 30 day trial, before getting them to commit to the final purchase.

Social Proof: If we witness a group of people, or crowd, behaving in a specific way, we tend to follow it.

Before completing a purchase, people often spend time researching the company and product they are about to purchase through third party product reviews and testimonials. They want to know that they’ve made the right choice, especially if it is a big ticket item.

That’s why it’s so important to have glowing reviews and testimonials on your website. If you want brownie points and have enough Google Reviews, you can add a 5-star rating next to your brand when you appear in the Google Search Results.

Like-Ability: When we like and enjoy someone or something, we feel good about agreeing with them.

Have you ever seen a car salesperson with a picture of their family or a sports scarf in their office? They are trying to be relatable and liked. Digitally, this means knowing your audience and providing relevant information for their benefit. You can achieve like-ability online through the use of regular video content, and social media updates.

Authority: We are more likely to agree with or take instructions from individuals who we perceive as established or authoritative.

We touched on it earlier, being perceived as an authority is important. Apple doesn’t necessarily use the best hardware for their iMac Laptops, but because of their positioning, they have queues lining up upon the release of each new model – Heck, this article was written on one.

You can build your authority by regularly publishing educational content in different forms, such as articles, podcasts, videos, infographics and online webinars.

Scarcity: The more fleeting or rare something is, the more we want it.

There are only two items left in your size. 24 Hour Flash Sale. Your cart is going to expire in 12 hours. For service businesses, it’s common practice to make your booking calendar appear to have only a few available appointment times. We have all been exposed to one of these promotions and for good reason. By making commodity items appear scarce, we as buyers are more likely to want them.

But scarcity will only work if they are genuine, and have a genuine reason behind them. If you say you are going to increase the price after 24 hours, make sure you do so.

Each principle can lead to big differences in your ability to influence and persuade your audience (in an ethical way). This article suggests ways in which you can do this through Digital Marketing. However, these principles can also be implemented in offline sales and marketing.

If you are interested in learning more about how you can apply these 6 principles to your digital marketing strategy, contact us today.

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