Six influencing strategies Cialdini

Robert Cialdini is an American professor of marketing and psychology. In 1984 he wrote his world-famous book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. In Influence, Robert Cialdini gives six strategies on how people can be influenced. Although Influence is almost 30 years old, the theories of Robert Cialdini are more current than ever, more on that briefly.

The six influencing strategies of Robert Cialdini are:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Authority
  4. Consistency (and commitment)
  5. Consensus (Social evidence)
  6. Sympathy

The six influencing strategies in online marketing

Robert Cialdini's six influencing strategies have come to the fore again in recent years because they are very useful in online marketing. By applying one or more of the six influencing strategies, the conversion of a website can be considerably increased. Below, we elaborate on all six influence strategies of Robert Cialdini for you and we give a few examples per influence strategy of how sellers use them and how they are used in online marketing.

Influence strategy 1: Reciprocity

According to Robert Cialdini, if you give something away, you get something back faster. Do you want a cup of coffee, the seller asks? The customer then consciously or unconsciously feels the feeling that he or she must give something back and cannot leave empty-handed. We have been taught from an early age that this is how it should be, smart influencers make use of this. Examples of this that work very well are, for example, promotional gifts. In online marketing this is applied by giving people who visit the website for the first time a ten euro discount.

Influence strategy 2: Scarcity

If there is little of something, people want it faster. Smart marketers use this influence strategy from Cialdini, for example, by deliberately creating scarcity. One way to do this is, for example, selective distribution. Many luxury brands only allow stores that meet a certain standard to sell the product. If you can buy Rolex at the gas pump, it is no longer special to own. If you have to go to Rodeo Drive, this gives more status and people get greedy. By responding to this greed, people are tempted to buy something faster. Sellers also occasionally drop that a product runs very well, so that it may not be there tomorrow. Buyers bite faster. For online marketing, for example, the website makes use of this by, for example, showing the number of available places (for example, there are only two) and that at the moment 20 people are viewing this offer.

Influence strategy 3: Authority

The third of the six influence strategies of Cialdini is 'authority'. If a professor says something, then you notice it faster than when the garbage collector says something. Marketers make smart use of this by, for example, showing quality marks. If it is well assessed by the consumer association, then it will be good. Another example of the use of authority as an influencing strategy is, for example, by telling that the dentist also uses this toothbrush himself.

Influence strategy 4: Consistency (and commitment)

According to Cialdini, people take the next easier once they have taken the first step. This is because they do not want to be known for giving up. Sellers often apply this by first asking rhetorical questions that are always confirmed. They create a 'yes culture'. People who have first confirmed that they need something will then not quickly revert back and admit that they do not actually need it. This will allow them to respond more quickly to your offer to fulfill the need. This is also often applied in online marketing. To make a purchase you just have to enter your name, which makes ordering very easy. To finally complete the order, you must still provide your address details. Chances are that now more people will order than if you first request all the details at the start of the ordering process. Of course, the same happens regularly with shipping costs. If you combine commitment and consistency and the first influencing strategy 'Reciprocity', then that works very well online. First ask a few simple questions. Then tell the visitor that he has won and that he now receives a 10 euro discount, and the conversion is higher than that you had when immediately giving away a 10 euro discount.

... ...

Influence Strategy 5: Consensus (Social Evidence)

If a sheep crosses the dam, more will follow. An example of this is advertising for cinema films. A million people have already seen the film. It says nothing about the quality of the film, but if a million people have already been, it will be of quality. In online marketing, a well-known example is of course the number of Facebook likes that have received something. If a website has 10,000 likes, then it must be a good website. The same applies if a holiday is assessed well ten times.

Influence strategy 6: Sympathy

If you like someone, you will be awarded something faster than if someone doesn't like you. Good sellers are therefore often 'likable'. Of course, good influencers try to make sure that the person they want something from will start to like them. Giving compliments is the best-known example of this. You initially think that it is difficult to like a website, but nothing could be further from the truth. Consumers find one brand more sympathetic than the other. In addition, an online complement can also be very conversion-enhancing. When you have completed the first part of a registration, some websites report 'Well done! Two more small steps and you're done '. Although the script is totally automated, Cialdini’s research shows that these compliments also ensure that people order a product faster.

Conclusion six influencing strategies Cialdini

Robert Cialdini did not sit still after the release of Influence and continuously expanded his research. It will not surprise you that if you combine multiple influencing strategies, the effect will be stronger than if you applied only one. I already have given a number of examples above. A sympathetic seller (influence strategy 6) with a product that has already been sold 100,000 times (influence strategy 5) and is recommended by all doctors in the world (influence strategy 3) is likely to sell many products. There are a number of other factors to take into account, but I think you know what I mean. Robert Cialdini's research, however, goes much further. It goes without saying that the influencing strategy differs per situation which works best, but often according to Cialdini, in the case of scarcity, offering a limited number of copies is a stronger strategy than limiting the time of an action. Keep that in mind when you want to hold another marketing campaign. There are many more examples. Anyone who wants more information about Cialdini's six influencing strategies should take a look at his website.

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Rick De Vlieger Rick De Vlieger
02-12-2013 7 mins read
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