Roberto Cialdini Presentation

Are you having a difficult time getting people to convert on your landing pages? While you may have changed the design of them countless times, changed the copy, and the call to action, nothing seems to work. We understand the frustration. Not all hope is lost, though. The following persuasion principles can help you boost your conversion rates on your landing pages.

About the Principles of Persuasion

Converting landing pages has a lot to do with the power of persuasion. When people get to your landing page, you must be able to persuade them to act according to your goal.

  • You want them to give you contact information, so you can sell them your services or products.
  • You want them to buy your services or products.

One of the most effective ways to persuade Internet users is to use the psychology of persuasion, which was explained in Robert Cialdini’s 1984 publication Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

Cialdini studied the psychology of persuasion for years before coming up with six principles. These principles are the factors that influence people to act.

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Commitment and consistency
  3. Social proof
  4. Authority
  5. Liking
  6. Scarcity

Understanding each one of these principles and how to use them in landing pages to increase conversion rates are important tasks to marketers.

Reciprocity – Returning the Favor

Cialdini found people have a natural instinct to give back to those who give them something. They feel as though they must pay others back for their generosity, whether that be money, material possessions, etc. What is surprising is that it does not matter how small the act of kindness is, most people will want to give back.

If you want people to give you something, you must give them something. You may consider giving away a free product along with a purchase. Many retailers do this by giving customers samples. Even tips are affected by small gifts we provide. According to a recent Cornell study, tippers increase their tip if they receive a surprise, personal gift like a mint.

If you are looking for leads online, you may want to consider offering something of great value. Internet marketers have started to offer free eBooks, white papers, and more with valuable information in exchange for an opt-in to a newsletter.

You will see this done on HubSpot a lot. Their landing pages often provide Internet users a large amount of information via email if they provide contact information, which they can use to connect with them later to solicit their services.

persuasion landing page

Commitment and Consistency – People Do What They Say

While it may be hard to believe, people do try to do what they say. This is why Cialdini says that getting people to commit (written or orally) is a great persuasive technique. What is even more amazing is that people will often fulfill their commitment even if the incentive they were offered at the time is no longer available. The guilt must be too much to bear.

You can use this guilt to your advantage on a landing page. Simply ask people to make a small commitment. For example, asking someone to commit to a newsletter by checking off a box for it. Usually, people who check off the box will continue to receive the newsletter because they said they would.

If you refer back to the HubSpot example, this is what they did. The very last question on their lead generation form is “SUBSCRIBE TO HUBSPOT’S MARKETING BLOG.”

The consistency part of this principle is when people receive information from you via email. In each email, you may ask for something else from people. Make sure to keep the requests small and limited to ensure people do not feel overwhelmed with too many of them.

Social Proof – People Believe Strangers

Cialdini discovered reviews would be highly popular even before the Internet was invented. In an experiment, researchers found that people would be more willing to donate to charities if they were shown a long list of donors. People believe that if others are willing to do something, they should follow suit. That is why 90% of consumers say that their decisions are influenced by online reviews.

You can give people social proof easily by including a testimonial from customers on your landing page. You can also use badges that show you have been recognized by a certain association or have a certification.

Highrise includes a testimonial on its landing pages.


Authority – Do What Influencers Recommend

Similar to how people follow what their peers recommend, they also do what influencers or people of authority suggest. This is ingrained in people as soon as childhood. It is important to obey authority figures, and in adulthood, it is still crucial even if it is just about a product or service.

It is important to use an authority figure who your consumers respect. They must know who the person is and be a follower of the person in some way (on social media, through books the person has written, etc.).

All you have to do is have an image of the authority, quote from him/her, and/or video. It just has to be something that shows visitors that the influencer is endorsing the services/products you offer.

Take Einstein for an example. If you write anything about science and have his photo or quote him, it subconsciously gives weight to what you are saying. Not because you know the man, but because he is a trusted, venerable source in science.

Note: It does not have to be a person. It can be an organization, association, etc.

Liking – People Buy from People They Like

This principle makes the most sense out of all of them. People buy from people they like and do not usually buy from those they do not unless there is no other choice. When people like you, they want to buy from you. They want to show you how happy they are with you. It is as though they are giving you a gift for being so good to them.

What is interesting about this principle is that it not only includes people that are nice, but those that are attractive as well. People who see someone as beautiful or handsome are more likely to buy from them.

For example, PetsRelocations.Com helps pet owners use a staff person to help move their pets across the country. Instead of just providing a bland about us page they have numerous staff bios, so pet owners can get to know and like the person taking care of their precious ahead of time.

You can use this principle on a landing page creatively. Since you are face-to-face with your consumers, you need to be able to project niceness and attractiveness. You can do this in a few ways:

  • Use video to explain your business and how you would like to help people.
  • Include a photo of yourself on the landing page.
  • Include a photo of someone attractive on the landing page.
  • Include text on the landing page that is written in a conversational tone. You can do this by relating to your consumers. This may be by identifying their problem or desires and then telling them there is hope for a solution.

Scarcity – Get It While It Is Hot

People are more likely to buy if they feel as though they will lose the chance if they do not commit immediately. Evoking an impulse in someone is powerful when it comes to persuading.

When designing your landing page, be sure to include language that makes people feel as though they do not have much time to get the value they are seeing on the page. You can tell people that the offer will not last long or supplies are limited. You can also include an expiration date to show people they cannot wait or they will lose their chance.

Consider your services and products to come up with the best way to spark scarcity. As long as you can get people to feel as though they will miss your offer, whatever you do will be effective.

One, Some or All Principles for Successful Landing Pages?

After reading about all of the principles, you may wonder if you need to use all of the principles or just one of them. There is no straight answer. Some of you will be able to use several of these principles on your landing page without overwhelming consumers, while others will only be able to choose one or two of them. Just know that using a few of these principles does not necessarily boost your conversion rates. It is how you use them rather than how many you use – quality beats quantity every time.

When you choose a principle to use for persuasion, use it with the goal of converting. If it works, consider adding another principle. With A/B testing, you should be able to see if including another persuasion technique increases conversion or hurts it. You can then make adjustments by adding a different technique in place of one of them and test again.

How will you use the principles of persuasion on your landing page? Which one do you like the best? Let us know in the comments below.

Featured Image: Speech of Dr. Robert Cialdinis at the Affiliate Summit 2010

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