Harnessing the Science of Persuasion is crucial if you want to succeed in internet marketing, but to harness its power you must understand it first.
There’s one big myth when it comes to getting people to buy online and it’s that most people don’t read your page or consider your offer word for word (our attention span is getting shorter as more information is available).
As persuasion expert Robert Cialdini says, people don’t consider all available information. They want (and need!) shortcuts, rules and guidelines.
Simply put, people today are overwhelmed with information, and by using a few simple keys to unlock the science of persuasion, we can leverage this information overload to our advantage.
Here’s how they work, and how to apply them to your business:
- Reciprocity – People’s brains are wired to want to give back to others because of what they’ve been given. One example from Cialdini’s studies references a restaurant where the waiter gave his/her patrons a mint at the end of their meal. This, in turn, increased tip value by 3%. But here’s the surprising part – if you double the number of mints, tips don’t double – they QUADRUPLE.
But making that happen wasn’t done by just bringing two mints instead of one. It was done by the waiter dropping off a mint, starting to leave, and then having second thoughts and remarking “for you nice people, here’s another mint”. Tip value increased by 23% because of the way in which the gift was given. People feel obliged to give more in return.
- Scarcity – The less available something is, the more people want it. Just look at when products or services are discontinued because they’re no longer “economical”. People start to think about what they’ll lose when they miss out and suddenly the product or service is in-demand again.
Nobody wants to miss out. It’s that simple.
- Authority – Another reference Cialdini makes pertains to two groups of physical therapists and their patients. Both sets of patients are given exercises to do, but the ones who attended the offices of therapists who displayed their credentials were more likely to do those exercises, than patients of the therapists who didn’t display any diplomas or awards.
People follow the lead of experts, and they themselves benefit by introducing or referring you to an expert. It makes them feel better about themselves as a person since everybody wins.
- Consistency – Making lots of small commitments is easy for us than one big one. For example, Cialdini references a study that was done in which people were asked to put a big billboard in their yard advising others to drive safely. It flopped.
But they did agree to display a small postcard in their window with the same message. After some time, people who agreed to do the small postcard campaign were also more receptive to putting up the bigger yard sign too. Remember – lots of little agreements can lead to bigger and better things.
- Liking – Let’s face it – we tend to say “yes” to people we like! So how do you get more people to like you? It’s really easy. There are three main things that make us like others: we like people who are like us, people who pay us compliments, and people who are willing to cooperate with us to meet mutual goals.
Look for ways to identify similarities among your customer group, or when approaching new customers. These can serve as a great foundation or springboard for future orders and referrals.
- Consensus – People look to the actions and behavior of other people to determine their own reactions. Cialdini cites a study in which hotels tried to persuade their users to reuse linens by sharing the benefits (saving costs and saving water). Around 35% of people complied with the request. However, around 75% of people who check into a hotel for 4 days or more will reuse towels at some point.If that information were mentioned on the “please reuse your linens” card, it’s likely that more patrons would do it.
If millions of people have used your products, or you’ve been mentioned by some big brands – leverage that to your fullest advantage!
This amazing video explains the concept of harnessing the science of persuasion perfectly and in an entertaining way.
Keep in mind that these principles of persuasion work no matter what – they work on everyone, from everywhere, almost all the time. And they can certainly be used to set you apart from your competitors, who probably aren’t doing much to retain or attract new customers.
Try out just one or two of these universal keys of persuasion and see what effect it has on your profits.
Please share your thoughts on harnessing the science of persuasion by leaving a comment below.