Cialdini’s 7 Psychological Principles of Persuasion

WRITTEN BY

Mojca Brezigar
Mojca Brezigar

Conversion Copywriter

Table of Contents

Cialdini’s principles of persuasion are a set of seven psychological principles that can be used to influence coustomers.

These principles were first identified by Dr. Robert Cialdini, a social psychologist, and professor at Arizona State University, in his book “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

He mainly talks about these principles from the perspective of how to avoid getting taken advantage of when someone tries to use this on you.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at each of these principles and get understand how these principles can help you to boost conversions.

However, it is important to use these principles ethically and for the benefit of others.

1. Reciprocity:

This Cialdini principle states that people tend to return a favor, so if someone does something for us, we feel compelled to return the favor.

Examples of how this principle can be executed are by offering free tools, free downloads, free goodies or consultations, or providing a small gift to a potential customer.

Example of reciprocity on a product page:

reciprocity - Cialdini principles

Source: cakeit.shop

2. Scarcity

This Cialdini principle states that people value things that are rare or in limited supply more highly than those that are abundant.

One example of how this principle can be executed is by creating a sense of scarcity around a product or service, such as by offering a limited-time discount or by creating a sense of exclusivity around a product.

Another example is by creating a sense of urgency by promoting a limited stock or a time-sensitive offer. This can help increase the chances of people taking action.

Example scarcity on a landing page:

Scarcity - cialdini principles

Example of scarcity on a product page:

scarcity on product page example of cialdini principle

Source: cakeit.shop

3. Authority

This Cialdini principle states that people tend to follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts.

One example of how this principle can be executed is by positioning yourself as an authority in your field, you can increase your persuasive power. This can be done by sharing your credentials, showcasing your expertise through writing or speaking engagements, or by demonstrating your knowledge through your work.

Another way is by using testimonials or endorsements by experts or known figures in the field.

Example of authority section on a landing page:

cialdini principles - example of authority

Source: cakeit.shop

4. Commitment/consistency:

The Cialdini principle of commitment and consistency, states that individuals have a strong desire for their actions to align with their values and beliefs.

The principle of commitment (and consistency, too) declares that we human beings have a deep need to be seen as consistent.

Once a person has publicly committed to an idea or person, they are more likely to follow through with that commitment.

You can use this with web forms that you break down into several smaller steps. Once they have completed the first part of the form, which is shorter, they will continue filling it in, even if there is more to fill in the next steps.

5. Liking:

This principle states that people are more likely to be persuaded by someone they like. One example of how this principle can be executed is by building a rapport and creating a sense of connection with your audience, you can increase your persuasive power.

This can be done by finding common ground, showing genuine interest in the other person, and by being likable in general. Another example is by using flattery or by highlighting the similarities between you and your audience.

6. Social proof

This principle states that people are more likely to be persuaded when they see that others are doing the same thing.

One example of how this principle can be executed is by highlighting the actions and behaviors of others, you can create a sense of social proof and increase the likelihood that people will take similar actions.

Another example is using statistics or testimonials from satisfied customers to show that many others have succeeded with your product or service.

Example of social proof section on a landing page:

cialdini principles - example of social proof

7. Unity

Cialdini’s principle of unity states that people are more likely to be persuaded when they feel a sense of similarity or connection with the person making the request.

According to Cialdini, the Unity principle moves beyond surface level similarities (which can still be influential, but under the Liking principle).

One way to use the unity principle for optimization is by identifying specific and unique jargon or terminology that is specific to a particular group or community.

You can also convey a sense of exclusivity, making people feel that they are part of an exclusive group or community.

Another way to use this principle is by defining an “out-group” or a group that is not like the one the person is being asked to join.

You can also evoke a family tie, which is for many people the strongest tie.
In one experiment by invoking the concept of helping a family member, Cialdini increased the response rate fivefold, from poor to nearly perfect.”

Example of unity section on a landing page:

Cialdini principle - Unity

Source: cakeit.shop

Co-creation or sharing an experience can also be used as a way to leverage this principle. Involving people in the creation of a product or service or asking them for advice can help create a sense of unity and increase the likelihood that people will be open to your message.

In conclusion, understanding and applying these principles can help make your marketing efforts more successful. However, it’s important to remember that these principles should always be used ethically and with the best interests of the consumer in mind.

Frequently Asked Questions on Cialdini Principles

What are the six Cialdini's principles of influence?

The six Cialdini’s principles of influence are: reciprocity, scarcity, authority, consistency, liking, and social proof.

How can Cialdini's principle of reciprocity be used in marketing?

The principle of reciprocity states that people feel compelled to return favors or gifts. In marketing, this principle can be used by offering a free trial or sample, or by providing a complimentary service. This can create a sense of obligation in the consumer to return the favor by purchasing the product or service.

How can Cialdini's principle of scarcity be used in marketing?

The principle of scarcity states that people value things that are rare or difficult to obtain. In marketing, this principle can be used by creating a sense of urgency and scarcity, such as limited-time offers, limited stock, or exclusive access to a product or service.

How can Cialdini's principle of authority be used in marketing?

The principle of authority states that people are more likely to follow the lead of someone they perceive as an expert or authority. In marketing, this principle can be used by featuring testimonials from experts or by using endorsements from well-known or respected figures.

How can Cialdini's principle of social proof be used in marketing?

The principle of social proof states that people are more likely to comply with requests if they see others doing the same. In marketing, this principle can be used by showcasing customer testimonials, displaying product ratings, or by showing how many people have bought a product or service.

How can Cialdini's principle of liking be used in marketing?

The principle of liking states that people are more likely to comply with requests from people they like. In marketing, this principle can be used by creating a sense of familiarity and similarity, such as using similar language and imagery to that of the consumer or by highlighting shared values.

How can Cialdini's principle of consistency be used in marketing?

The principle of consistency states that people are more likely to comply with requests if they are consistent with their past actions or beliefs. In marketing, this principle can be used by asking customers to make small commitments, such as signing up for a newsletter, which can lead to larger commitments, such as purchasing a product or service.

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Mojca Brezigar
Mojca Brezigar

Mojca is an expert in transforming words into gold - or as she likes to call it, Conversion Copywriting at ADGY!

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