The Power of Persuasion

The Power of Persuasion

When you think of persuasive you may think of a pushy car salesman who just won’t take no for an answer, but there are plenty of other ways to persuade people.  Psychology has given us many persuasion techniques that have been proven to work in various settings, including in marketing your business.  Here are a few you should be applying to your marketing strategy to easily increase your sales.


The principle of reciprocity is exactly what it sounds like: if someone does something nice for you, you feel an obligation to reciprocate and do something nice for them.  Have you ever been offered a free drink or free appetizer from a restaurant, and felt the need to purchase a meal to accompany your free item?  This is the principle of reciprocity at work.  Thus, if your customers feel you have given them a gift or done them a favor, they will be more likely to purchase from you, as a type of repayment.  You can use this concept when you need your customers to complete an action, such as subscribing to your newsletter or following your social media pages.  If you have offered them a small freebie, like a $5 off coupon, they will feel more incentivized to complete your ask. 


Anchoring is the idea that humans tend to place too much emphasis on the first piece of information they get.  They tend to “anchor” their perspective on a given topic based on the first information they hear about it, and it can then be difficult to change their minds.   

Knowing this, you can use anchoring to your advantage by providing information that “anchors” your customers where you would like them to be.  For example, non-profit endeavors sometimes have “Suggested Donation Amounts” or include phrases like “Most donors are giving $50” to anchor their donors to think that whatever amount they suggest is the most appropriate amount to be donating. 

Authority Bias

People tend to believe ideas that come from a source they consider to be an authority.  They find messages from authorities more persuasive than those from laypeople.  This can be applied to marketing by thinking about who or what is delivering your message to your customers.  You can recruit an expert to speak in your advertisements, or cite a governing body or association that your customers respect.

Scarcity Heuristic 

You know the phrase “We always want what we can’t have?” In psychological terms, this is called the scarcity heuristic.  The more scarce or hard to come by a product or service seems, the more appealing it tends to become.  Use this heuristic to your advantage by framing your offerings to seem scarce or limited.  This can be through limited time offers, warning people that there are only a few of your offerings left available for purchase, or letting people know that your offering is in limited production.  The more exclusive you can make your offerings seem, the more people will tend to be drawn to them.

Social influence/Conformity 

Whether you call it social influence, peer pressure, conformity, or something else, most of us know that the actions of human beings tend to be influenced by those around them.  This is true when it comes to purchasing decisions and behaviors as well.  If you can convince your audience that other people are using your product or service, they will be more inclined to give it a try as well.  In your marketing efforts, include reviews that have been left by past users and have people share their real-life experiences with your offerings.  If you do this correctly, you will be able to wield the power of social influence to increase your sales.  

By capitalizing on one or multiple of these principles in all aspects of your marketing strategy, you can increase your persuasiveness and thus the effectiveness of your marketing. 

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