Improving your conversion rate is an obvious but essential step towards growing your online business, making more money, and having the freedom to do what you want in life.
The problem is, online business owners often pour boatloads of cash into web design, Google Ads, or fancy landing pages without a strategy to increase conversions.
Whether you’ve launched a new Shopify store, you offer life-changing coaching courses, or you’ve been selling your services online since the internet started, boosting your conversions requires a strategic approach – and we’ll show you how to implement one.
Read on for 7 must-have persuasion principles to include in your copy so you can go from conversion rate panic to profit.
Where Do The Principles of Persuasion Come From? Robert B. Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, developed these persuasion strategies to influence people to do, think, or say certain things. These persuasive techniques can help increase conversions, no matter what industry you’re in.
FACT: The greatest products and services in the world still need help
In most cases, conversion rates suffer not because business owners don’t want more sales – it’s that they don’t know how to get them.
Chances are you want to persuade more website visitors to download that free resource you took ages putting together. You might want more of your ideal clients to schedule a strategy session in your calendar. Or, you might want more prospects to buy your products or services and bring in more cash.
It’s tempting to think an awesome product sells itself… but that’s just not true.
Whatever your goals, to persuade a purchase decision comes down to so much more than simply the quality of your product or service.
Sure you need to have a great product or service, that’s a given, but a key selling point comes down to how persuasive you can be. That’s why, when it comes to marketing and copywriting, we write copy based on Robert Cialdini’s 7 ‘Persuasion Principles’.
But we’re not just here to tell you about the principles of persuasion that power all profitable products (say that 10x fast).
We’ll break down the principles of persuasion so you can add them to your marketing to help instantly build trust, increase confidence, and elevate your expert-status in the eyes of your audience.
Persuasion Principle #1 – Reciprocity
The idea of reciprocity says that humans feel naturally obliged to repay or return favours if they’ve received favours first.
Put simply – when you give, you get.
For example, if a friend helped you move into a new apartment then later asked if you’d help them move too, would you help them?
If you said yes, congrats. You just took part in a reciprocal relationship. Psychology explains this process by stressing that we humans simply hate to feel indebted to other people. When prompted by an action, most people will attempt to pay back (reciprocate) the action.
And don’t think you need to be in the business of helping friends move apartments either. Creating high-value and free content for your audience in ANY industry is so powerful because of the reciprocity principle.
The more positive treatment you provide – like free resources, discounts or exclusive perks, the more likely your audience will be to ‘return the favour’ in the form of more downloads, site visits, and purchases.
Persuasion Principle #2 – Authority
Have you ever wondered why doctors display their large collection of medical degrees and diplomas on the wall?
Probably not, because you’re busy listening to what your doctor has to say. This comes down to the principle of authority.
Authority holds credibility. That’s why we tend to trust an authority figure and assume that people in positions of authority wield greater wisdom and power – and why it’s important for you to signal what makes you credible and knowledgeable.
Don’t stress if you don’t have a wall full of degrees to gain credibility. This principle works by including proven ‘trust signals’ and authority-boosting impact metrics in your copy so that you build trust with your audience. Some of the most common examples include testimonials and reviews, awards, and industry memberships.
You can also show off your track record by sharing impactful numbers.
- 547,987 podcast downloads
- 10,000+ clients supported
- $47 million in taxation saved
- $200+ million generated in revenue
If someone is achieving these types of results, they must know what they’re doing – and that makes them easier to trust and do business with.
When you’re perceived as an expert in a particular industry and can quickly establish your credibility and authority to your website visitors, you’ll go a long way to influencing them to take the action you want them to take.
Persuasion Principle # 3 – Social Proof
Social proof is one of the most powerful psychological drivers – and one of the easiest to incorporate in your marketing strategy.
This is the ‘herd mentality’ concept that people will follow the actions of the masses (especially their peers). The logic goes, if others have behaved in a certain way, it must be the correct behaviour!
For example, if a million people have signed up for a course, the wisdom of the crowd says you’ll probably enjoy the course too.
Or, if numbers are your jam, 79% of consumerstrust reviews as much as personal recommendations – even if they don’t know the person leaving the review!
Right now, potential customers are looking at the reviews of your previous clients (and people just like them) to know if they can trust you or not. Using testimonials, prominent customer brands and ‘featured in’ media logos are the foundation of the social proof we recommend you use in your copy.
Persuasion Principle #4 – Liking
Are you more likely to help out a good friend or someone you’ve just met on the bus?
That example might feel extreme, because the answer is so blindingly obvious – and that’s exactly why the principle of ‘liking’ is so powerful.
Put simply, the more you like someone, the more likely it is that you’ll be persuaded by them. And since it’s not practical for your favourite businesses to go out and hire all of your friends as salespeople, they do the next best thing and make YOU like their businesses instead.
This is why it’s important to build trust in your copy. When people trust you, they’ll find you to be relatable (quick tip, never try to fake relatability!). And when you’re relatable, it’s easier to guide people towards your goods and services because it feels like you empathise with them and are trying to help.
So, how can businesses like yours become liked by your customers?
You’ll need to implement these factors that power the principle of liking:
- Physical attractiveness: Good looks suggest other favourable traits, i.e. honesty and trustworthiness. We’re not talking about being an attractive human here either (even if we think you’re a looker). You can drive people to like you through a good-looking website, high-quality imagery, and attractive branding.
- Similarity: We like people similar to us in terms of interests, personality, background, etc. Whether it’s an updated ‘About Us’ page or authentic, conversational copy, step out from the shield of your business and let your audience know you on a more personal level.
- Compliments: Let’s be honest, we all love to receive praise – and tend to like those who give it. Build your audience up in your copy, hand them freebies, and reinforce how awesome they are to make ‘em think you’re the bee’s knees.
Persuasion Principle #5 – Commitment & Consistency
Humans have a deep need to be consistent.
Once you’ve committed to something or someone, you’re more likely to deliver on that commitment (that’s where the consistency part comes in). No one likes to feel like their actions are at odds with how they’ve behaved in the past, so if you can convince a potential customer to engage with your website, sales page, and marketing, they’ll be more likely to stay engaged over time.
A simple example of this in action is to offer a freebie, like a value-packed resource or downloadable checklist. By getting people to commit to something small and free, you’ll increase the likelihood that those people will see themselves as customers since they have a vested interest in you now.
This principle also works for paid offers too. That’s why the rate of no-shows actually goes DOWN when you switch from a free event to a $1 event.
Because there’s no commitment behind something that’s free. People haven’t invested anything, so it’s easy to pull out and skip the event. Jump across to people who have paid a $1 ticket fee. They don’t want to lose their money, so they’re more likely to attend than those who got free seats.
This change in the perception of value happens inside your customer’s head – but you put the idea there through the principle of commitment and consistency (#inception).
When your messaging is inconsistent and disjointed, it’s going to cause you more problems than you realise. To help get your foot in the door and create this sense of brand loyalty, make sure you’re consistent in all of your marketing and your copy and look for ways to make people feel connected to your business – like free downloads, risk-free trials, or small financial investments that keep people on the hook.
Persuasion Principle #6 – Scarcity
If you’ve ever booked a flight or hotel online, chances are you’ve seen a scarcity message in action.
- “In high demand – 4 rooms left”
- “Only 3 seats left on this flight”
- “Lock in a great price before it’s too late”
All of these examples have one thing in common – to trigger your sense of FOMO and convince you to make a booking to avoid missing out.
In short, when you think something is in short supply, you want it more.
You can thank basic supply and demand for this feeling. As things become more scarce, they become more valuable. And the fear of missing out on the increasingly valuable product or service is a seriously powerful motivator.
Although this scarcity principle is an uber-powerful tool in copywriting, it’s important you use it genuinely. Fake scarcity will ruin trust quicker than you can say “why have my conversions fallen through the floor” and earning that trust back can be harder than stale bread. p
On the flipside, reminding customers that there’s only limited spots in your calendar, that you only take on a specific number of clients per month, or that there is limited stock of a product, are all powerful motivators that influence your audience to take action.
Persuasion Principle #7 – Unity
The final principle (added by Robert Cialdini in his most recent book) is unity.
This is all about the shared identity that the influencer (that’s you) shares with the influenced (that’s your awesome potential customers). When you’re able to communicate a shared identity, your audience will consider YOU as one of THEM.
Nail this feeling and you’ll elevate your business beyond a website or sales page. Your audience will feel like they’re connected to something larger than themselves – which makes them more likely to take action since you’re “one of them”, and easy to trust.
You’ve probably experienced this principle in action from your favourite brands (even if you didn’t realise it). Examples include:
- Jargon that seems to speak the same way you do
- Exclusive offers or content that make you feel like part of a special group
- Requests for advice or feedback which make you feel like you and the brand are on the same page.
Having these 7 principles of persuasion on hand makes a world of difference when it comes to creating persuasive, high-converting copy for our clients – and we know it will do the same in your own marketing.
The next time you’re planning, creating, or working with someone else to put together your own marketing campaigns, bookmark this page and use these as a simple checklist to ensure you’re as persuasive as possible.
Nail these principles in your copy and you’ll get more clients and a stronger return from your marketing dollar.p
Are you ready to save time and trust your brand’s copy to a team of direct-response superstars with a track record of success? Book a strategy call below to chat with a Savvy Copy expert.