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.