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People & Psychology: Using Principles of Persuasion To Make More Money

How many times have you read or been told to talk about pain points, features, benefits, scarcity, and social proof? I bet every day. But why?

So this week I’ve been researching people and psychology. What really catches my attention about people and psychology is that a lot of marketers out there don’t really teach you WHY you say the things you do or what truly influences people’s decision-making process.

How many times have you read or been told to talk about pain points, features, benefits, scarcity, and social proof? I bet every day. But why? Why is it that you actually need to focus on these and why is your presentation on these facts so important?

Well today, I’m going to review Dr. Robert Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Persuasion and how you can use psychological triggers to make more money. So let’s get into it!

Cialdini’s 7 Principles of Persuasion

So before we jump into the 7 Principles of Persuasion I want to give you a little background on who Dr. Robert Cialdini is. Dr. Cialdini is known globally as the foundational expert in the science of influence and how to apply it ethically in business.

His studies have been critically acclaimed by Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and many more. Needless to say, his work can be seen all over the world in the marketing industry.

He’s the reason I’m going to be sharing with you his ‘7 Principles of Persuasion’ as it directly relates to you making more money in your ad copy, sales pages, websites and more. I’m now going to break down those 7 principles and what they mean.

The First Principle: Reciprocity

Reciprocity is about giving a little something to get a little something in return. We as human beings are basically wired to return favors and pay back our debts. An idea behind this is giving away something for free like a free tool, eBook, or resource and they’ll be way more inclined to buy something from you.

The Second Principle: Commitment/Consistency

With commitment people want their beliefs to be consistent with their values. The principle of commitment (and consistency, too) declares that we human beings have a deep need to be seen as consistent. Web forms are a great example of this. Think of one large form but broken into multiple steps. Once someone fills out the first step they’ll be more inclined to finish since they already got started.

The Third Principle: Social Proof

There’s nothing like feeling validated based on what others are doing. Dr. Robert Cialdini defined social proof as people doing what they observe other people doing. It’s a principle that’s based upon the idea of safety in numbers.

Think of a time you got off a plane and followed the crowd directly to baggage claim. You didn’t check to make sure you were going the right way by observing signs, you just followed where everyone else was going.

The same principle applies to your website. Show impressive numbers! Show how many followers you have, have many testimonials you’ve generated, You can harness this power of social proof to drastically increase the conversion rates of your website.

The Fourth Principle: Authority

This is a fun one and fun for the reason once you understand it, you no longer fall victim to it. Let me give you a quick example of authority…

Ever wonder why people, in general, have a tendency to obey figures of authority, even if those figures of authority have questionable character and/or ask others to commit questionable acts? It’s simply the essential nature of the human animal that lives within our brains.

One of my favorite examples of authority figures is people like Kim Kardashian and her shoe/makeup line. When a business hires here to wear their new fashion line or try on a new makeup product it already gives that business a sense of authority so people will be more inclined to trust the business and its products.

If you can, choose an authority figure to help you make your case. Here are a few examples:

  • Use prominent athletes if you want to sell fitness products.
  • Use well-known doctors and medical researchers on health related websites.
  • Use famous chefs if you want to sell food.

The Fifth Principle: Liking

The more you like someone, the more you’ll be persuaded by him or her. What is it to like someone? According to Dr. Robert Cialdini, “liking” someone increases the chances of being influenced by that individual. Liking is based on sharing something similar with people you like (you like to travel? I like to travel too!), and it’s also based on something as superficial as how attractive a person’s looks are! It’s a known fact that beautiful people sell more.

Having a well-executed ‘About-Us’ page can really go a long way in helping your conversions. I know it sounds a bit crazy but businesses use ‘About-Us’ pages to serve as an opportunity to tell the similarities between their people and their website visitors.

It’s a powerful tool when done correctly!

The Sixth Principle: Scarcity

Scarcity is defined as the perception of products seeming to become more attractive when their perceived availability is rather limited.

There are two elements of scarcity that you can use:

  • Quantity (only 2 items left!)
  • Time (last 5 days to join!)

Scarcity is one of the most popular Cialdini principles that various companies use over and over again in order to boost conversions and earn more money from their visitors.

Airlines and hotel sites use this a lot. Have you ever noticed when you’re looking at a flight or hotel room and it says “Only 2 left At This Price!” or “1 Room Left!”? It works on all types of people without them actually ever knowing about it.

The Seventh Principle: Unity

Unity comes down to what you have in common with your customer. Do you share the same college? Travel to the same areas? Use the same products? Did you feel an instant connection when you realized that you both had something in common?

According to Cialdini, the Unity principle moves beyond surface level similarities (which can still be influential, but under the Liking principle). Instead, he says, “It’s about shared identities.”

I’m not going to get into all those today but I definitely recommend looking up Cialdini’s book ‘Influence: Science and Practice’.


I learned that there is much more to digital marketing than what meets the eye. There are so many principles behind people and psychology to understand which still includes Fogg’s behavior model and neuromarketing science which I’ll get into in later blogs.

For now, I hope you found this information highly valuable and take this resource and implement it into your next marketing or optimization campaign!

If you want to build a powerfully successful CRO program within your business reach out to us for a free consultation. We’ll see how we can help you achieve your business goals through CRO!

I’ll see you in the next blog post and happy optimizing!

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