In today’s social media world of spit-fire-fast influence, considered-purchase brands need to sharpen their powers of persuasion.
As humans, we like to think in shortcuts. If an initial thinking pattern was successful, rather than go through the mental labors of an original thought process and analysis, we prefer to take an efficient thinking shortcut that results in automatic behavior. What if we could influence people by understanding the principles that govern their behavior?
In the book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, author and acclaimed professor Robert B. Cialdini identifies what he calls the six weapons of influence and the six important principles behind each one.
Here’s how these 6 principles can be applied to the marketing of considered-purchase brands and getting your customers to yes faster.
- Reciprocation: When someone does a favor for you or gives you something, there is a powerful instinct to return the gift or favor. Companies have built fortunes, and charities have thrived using the influence of reciprocity. Free samples are always valued. Customers also value free education and entertainment, especially conveniently delivered online.
- Commitment & Consistency: People are more likely to be influenced in a particular direction if that direction is consistent with their recent commitments. Ask for small commitments throughout the buying cycle. Once you have their commitment, customers will try hard to live to their word.
- Social Proof: People validate their decisions by what their peers do. People are more likely to take a recommended action if their peers are doing the same thing. Today, technology and social media have injected this principle with steroids. Bring testimonials to the fore. Use videos to bring stories to life. Create communities so prospects can easily connect with their peers.
- Liking: People are happier and more willing to say yes to people they know and like. That’s why Tupperware and other friend-hosted home demonstration parties are so successful. Today, this principle is the lifeblood for a brand’s FANS, FOLLOWERS and SUBSCRIBERS. Make social media a strong part of your marketing efforts.
- Authority: Cialdini’s research proved that people are more willing to follow and be influenced by experts. One study showed 3x as many pedestrians followed a man into traffic against a red light because he was wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. Stand out from your competitors by positioning your brand as the authority in your category.
- Scarcity: People are far more attracted to items that are rare, limited or threatening to become scarce. Generating demand by emphasizing scarcity can be done by offering limited editions, signed editions, unique experiences and customized products.
Given the typically long buying cycle and large sphere of influencers involved with our customers, these six principles of influence are invaluable. Are you using them in your marketing? Is one principle more effective than another?