6 Powerful Principles of Persuasion for Influential Internet Marketing
May 17, 2009 - Written by Gyutae Park
Frank Kern, Jeff Walker, Eben Pagan, Mike Filsaime… These are all big name Internet marketers with huge audiences and million-dollar information product businesses. In fact, if you’ve been involved in the industry for even a short amount of time, you’ve likely heard of a few of those names. You might be a part of their email lists or buy some of their products. Whatever the case may be, you’ll find that these guys have one thing in common – they all make money by selling information products that promise the secrets to online riches. But is it really that easy? Where do these gurus get their “secret” tactics from?
Many of the Internet marketing courses and systems out there are very expensive – they go all the way up to $2,000 and more in some cases. While that’s a hefty price to pay, people are willing to give it a go hoping to make up the cost with the new insights that they learn. A lot of times these products do offer immense value. I’ve personally studied courses like Product Launch Formula, Mass Control, and Blog Mastermind and I came away with a lot of good actionable insights after each one of them.
The Source of All Good Internet Marketing Products
However, I’ve found that every lesson and teaching in the Internet marketing world is based on one foundational concept – influence. After all, marketing really comes down to influencing people to perform an action that you want them to (e.g. buying your product, subscribing to your blog, etc). But what does it take to effectively do this? Understand how influence works and you won’t need buy into the hype of every Internet marketing product out there. You’ll be able to think for yourself and devise your own strategies.
There’s a popular book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and it’s essentially the bible for all Internet marketers. It’s definitely a must read. In fact, all of the hyped up and expensive info products out there are based on this book – which by the way only costs $16. Cialdini explains that effective persuasion is accomplished with six principles: reciprocity, scarcity, liking, authority, social proof, and commitment/consistency. If you want to be successful in marketing your online business, you absolutely need to get each of these down.
In this article, I’ll explain how each of the six principles of persuasion apply to Internet marketing and provide you with some tips to immediately put them into practice. Just remember that this is by no means a Cliff notes version of the book. You still need to get the book and read it in its entirety for the full effect.
The 6 Key Principles of Powerful Persuasion
It’s a give and take world – you give a little and you get some back. In any Internet business, you can’t expect to sell anything unless you provide real value to your customers. Furthermore, you can’t expect to keep loyal friends and business partners unless you put something into the relationships. I scratch your back, you scratch mine. If you want a favor, it pays to do a favor for others first.
Application: Give away value to your prospects – through your blog, newsletter, and free products (ebooks, videos, reports). Once you do this, people will appreciate the valuable content that you provide and reward you by buying your products or subscribing to your feeds.
Every Christmas shopping season there’s a hot toy that everyone wants to buy. In fact, the scarcity factor drives rabid buyers to pay hundreds of dollars more for a fad product. Remember the Tickle Me Elmo, Furby, and Tamegachi crazes?
Scarcity is extremely powerful and significantly increases the perceived value of an object or event (e.g. rare coins and collectibles, a chance to meet a celebrity, tickets to the Super Bowl). Use it effectively in your product launches and you’re more likely to sell out.
Application: Build scarcity into your product offering and marketing. Emphasize the fact that there is limited supply and that people need to act fast in order to reap the benefits. For example, if you’re selling an information product, package it with a consulting bonus (only X spots available) and a special price for a limited time. The scarcity component will force potential customers to place more value on the offer and act fast so they don’t miss out on a great opportunity.
Here’s an obvious concept that should come to you naturally – people are most influenced by others they like and trust. Build relationships, be transparent, and connect with your audience through personal anecdotes and stories. Be personable , both online and off, and build a following.
Application: Use various outlets to show people who you are and connect with your audience. Write blog posts injected with personality and opinions, create videos introducing yourself and explaining your thoughts, and be active on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. The more you put yourself out there, the more people will like you. The more people like you, the more influence you’ll have.
In order to expand your influence, you can’t just be popular, you also need to be knowledgeable and act as an expert in your field. There has to be a benefit for people to follow you – and often times that benefit is to gain knowledge and learn from your experiences.
Application: Work on becoming a top authority in your niche. Share your ideas through a blog and back up your knowledge base with solid examples and case studies. You don’t need to know everything, but you do need to know more than your target audience.
5. Social proof
Like it or not, it’s in human nature for people to follow. We tend to look at what others are doing and flock towards towards what’s popular. For example, if there was a line for a restaurant that stretched 2 street blocks, many people would join in simply because of the social proof. If a lot of people are lining up to wait, the restaurant must be phenomenal, right?
Application: Highlight social proof factors in your business. If you have a high RSS feed count for your blog, prominently display it for everyone to see. If you’ve sold a million copies of a certain product, use it as a key piece in your marketing. If you get so much traffic that your server crashes, write about it and apologize for the down time. You get the idea. Sometimes it pays to brag about your accomplishments and popularity.
6. Commitment & Consistency
There’s no such thing as an overnight success. Internet businesses take hard work and only reach a tipping point after a big commitment and consistent hard work from entrepreneurs. If you believe in your site and believe you can be the best at what you do, never give up. You’ll have a much bigger sphere of influence if you prove to your audience that you’re in it for the long haul and aren’t just out to make a quick buck. This means you need to be committed to your sites and be consistent with your efforts.
Application: Choose a niche that you have a passion for and build a business in it for the long term. Make a commitment to providing value with your sites and be consistent with your work and your marketing. For example, if you want to make money online with a blog, choose a posting frequency and stick with it, even when you think no one’s reading.
How are you using these six principles of persuasion to expand your sphere of influence online? Are you maximizing your influence to improve your Internet marketing?
Win a Free Copy of Influence
I highly recommend that everyone read Robert Cialdini’s Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. It not only applies to building your online business, but also to other areas of your life like parenting and coaching. The book will give you a new perspective on Internet marketing with actionable tips on how you can increase your influence based on human psychology.
I’ll be giving away a free copy of the book to one lucky reader, on me. Just leave a comment on this post with your thoughts and I’ll pick a random winner on Friday (scarcity! ).If you like this post, subscribe to the RSS feed. Get the latest updates delivered straight to your email or news reader.