Web Marketing Lessons from Cialdini’s ‘Influence’

No mar­keter should be enga­ging with people online without hav­ing read Robert Cialdini’s much lauded Influ­ence, says SEO­moz co-founder Rand Fishkin. To this end, Rand presents his Illus­trated Guide to the Sci­ence of Influ­ence and Per­sua­sion.

The six main prin­ciples illus­trated:

  • Recip­roc­a­tion: “The power of recip­roc­a­tion relies on sev­er­al con­ven­tions. The request must be “in-kind,” which is to say, com­men­sur­ate with the ini­tial offer­ing. The power is increased if the give-and-take hap­pens in a short time frame. Reciprocity’s influ­ence increases with closer rela­tion­ships, too.”
  • Com­mit­ment and Con­sist­ency: “Com­mit­ment and con­sist­ency can’t hap­pen without that ini­tial action of a reponse or prom­ise. Cialdini notes that this power increases tre­mend­ously if the agree­ment is writ­ten, rather than merely verbal.”
  • Social Proof: “Social proof becomes more power­ful when the num­bers increase and when the action-takers become more rel­ev­ant and, espe­cially more like the tar­get.”
  • Lik­ing: “Research con­firms that things like phys­ic­al attract­ive­ness (we like good-look­ing people), famili­ar­ity (we trust people we know), sim­il­ar­ity (we like people like us) and com­pli­ments (we like people who say nice things about us) all factor into to the prin­ciple of ‘lik­ing.’ ”
  • Author­ity: “Author­ity only influ­ences when the tar­get believes in the power and authen­ti­city of that author­ity. The stronger the author­ity asso­ci­ation, the more power­ful the impact, but not all author­it­ies work on all people.”
  • Scarcity: “Scarcity becomes more power­ful when it’s clear that the resource is finite […] and when imme­di­acy is added to the scarcity.”

The art­icle doesn’t cov­er much that I haven’t before, but the art­icle offers, for each of the above, excel­lent examples on how to lever­age these through web mar­ket­ing.