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The 6 Principles of Persuasion in Marketing [Infographic]

Written by: Nadya Khoja

Apr 27, 2015

principles of persuasion

Companies are forced to battle for the attention and commitment of consumers.

Due to the amount of advertising and social media noise, however, it is becoming more and more difficult to engage users.

How can companies attempt to persuade their audiences to remain loyal advocates?

Dr. Robert B. Cialdini is a Ph.D who has spent a significant amount of time studying the power of influence and the psychology of persuasion. He has highlighted in his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, the 6 principles of persuasion that every person should keep in mind when trying to impact others to their favor.


The 1st rinciple of persuasion: the rule of reciprocity

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This first principle recognizes that people feel that they owe someone if that person did them a favor, or gave them a gift. The best way to acquire that feeling of indebtedness is to make the first move.

As a business, you can give out free information or samples. If the customer is given a positive experience, they will be more compelled to do something for you in return.
Screen Shot 2015-04-27 at 4.19.27 PM


The 2nd principle of persuasion: the rule of commitment

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People have a tendency to follow the current social norms, especially when they are uncertain about how to behave in certain situations.

In order to sway people to follow requests you make, or to sway them towards your product, it’s not a bad idea to provide them with examples of other people like them, who have had good experiences using the service.

Testimonials from happy users, or a nudge that guides them in the direction you think is right for them, are some possible tactics.


The 3rd principle of persuasion: the rule of social proof

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Most people hope to give off a sense of reliability.

After agreeing to a task in writing, or verbally, the majority of individuals feel compelled to see their promise through. The goal is to get people to say “yes” to following you with your initiatives.

Use polls to get a sense of what people will likely agree to, and then bring it up again and remind them of what they implied they would agree to!

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The 4th principle of persuasion: the rule of authority
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Face it, people respect, admire (and sometimes maybe even fear) authority. People who dress professionally, drive nice cars or who hold business or academic titles, generally lend more credibility to an individual.

Giving the impression of authority can really bode well for small business owners because people are more likely to heed to your requests. And why wouldn’t they? If you look successful, you must be successful, right?

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The 5th principle of persuasion: the rule of liking

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As conceded as it may seem, people have a tendency to like people who are physically attractive, charming and similar to themselves (whether due to a similar name or cultural tendencies).

If you’re sending out an e-mail to someone in order to make a request, the name you choose to sign off with could highly impact the likeliness of positively hearing back from them.


The 6th principle of persuasion: the rule of scarcity

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People want what is running out.


Because it generally means that product is in very high-demand, and available at a great value.

By claiming that a product is in limited supply, or only available for a short period of time, you’re very likely to persuade people to invest in that product.

People don’t want to miss out on good opportunities. It’s also up to you to convince them that your service or product is so unique and available at such a great value, that it would be ridiculous to pass it up.

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By following these six principles that Cialdini has highlighted, you can surely influence people in your favor!

But just remember, with great power, comes great responsibility.

Don’t take your ability to influence for granted. Stay true to your word and prove to your audience that you are reliable and have their best interests in mind.

Even if it isn’t the case, just persuade them that it is!

The 6 principles of persuasion


Source: Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D


More marketing guides:

7 Tips for Designing a Persuasive Presentation [Presentation Design Guide + Templates]

Persuasive Presentation

How to Write a Captivating Introduction to Hook Your Audience’s Attention

How To Write A Captivating Introduction

About Nadya Khoja

Nadya heads marketing at Venngage and has been featured in Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, The Next Web, Forbes, Marketing Profs, Social Media Examiner and more. She also has a web-series called Drunk Entrepreneurs where she interviews different entrepreneurs who are finding success.