Boost Conversions With the 6 Principles of Influence

Boost Conversions With the 6 Principles of Influence

This is a guest submission by Casey Lindsey, the founder of Nomadic Income Experiment and The Nomadic Marketer YouTube channel.  I did an interview with Casey a few months ago discussing CPA marketing and a little of what he does which I found awesome.  Casey has been nice enough to take some time and write this article for Epic Conversions on the power of Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion.  -Kam (aka ZeroFatz)


When I was a young twenty something, I worked as a door to door salesman on straight commission.  This kind of work is truly feast or famine.  I can attest to this not from theory, but from experience.


I’ll never forget how bad I felt having to call my aunt (whom I hadn’t spoken to in years) to ask her if I could borrow enough money to pay my rent.  It was October of 1995, and that month, for my long hours in the field, my total income was just over $500.

One month later, I earned almost $6000 in just under 3 weeks.  This was my turning point in direct sales.  For nearly eight months, I had labored long hours (often more than 80 hours a week), with very little to show for so much effort.  I went on to have a branch office for the company and do fairly well, before moving on to other things.

Although I didn’t quite understand it at the time, I had learned several of what so many marketers today are familiar with; Dr. Robert Cialdini’s “6 Principles of Influence.”  The six principles were reciprocity, commitment, social proof, authority, liking and scarcity.

He wrote about these 6 principles in his seminal work on marketing, “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.”

So what does my experience with door to door sales have to do with online marketing?

[thrive_text_block color=”orange” headline=”Cialdini’s Reciprocity Principle a Perfect Fit for Online Marketing”] [/thrive_text_block]

If you have ever given your email address to get a free download, you have seen the first principle in action.


Reciprocity is the idea that when you give someone something, they feel inclined to repay you for your kindness.

A lead magnet is the perfect example of the idea of reciprocation.  Whether it’s a free ebook, download or video training, when you give something of perceived value up front, the visitor to your page is more likely to turn over their email address to you.

Reciprocity in Action

A great example of reciprocity in action is on Nick Loper’s site  In his podcast, where he interviews people earning money through side hustles, he gives away notes and resources taken during the show, once you enter your email.

Reciprocity in Action
Reciprocity in Action

Ways to Implement Reciprocity in Your Marketing Efforts

  1. Give away a lead magnet to capture your sites visitors- free ebooks, video course shorts and cheat sheets are some ideas here. Anecdotal evidence suggests that courses or materials that can be consumed in a sitting or two seem to be performing better as of late.
  2. Give away a feature packed version of your app or software that has a few advanced features that require an upgrade to unlock. The fact that the software or app is feature packed encourages your potential customers to return to buy the upgrade because of the principle of reciprocity.
  3. If you are a blogger, you could write additional detailed content for some of your posts or cheat sheets for actionable items to encourage visitors to provide their email address in exchange.


[thrive_text_block color=”orange” headline=”Once a Commitment is Made, People Want to be Consistent “] [/thrive_text_block]

This principle is grounded in two ideas:


  • Once a person makes a small commitment, they are more likely to make additional smaller commitments
  • People like to believe they are logical and consistent. Once they have made a few small commitments, they will feel an internal pressure to continue


This principle is connected to the first principle of reciprocity, in that once you have given your visitor something free, and they have made the small commitment of providing their email address they will begin to feel the internal pressure to remain consistent by continuing in their relationship with you.  This pressure can be increased by getting a series of small commitments over the first few interactions with your site visitors, and magnified if the answers lead them down a sales funnel in progression.
In my training as a salesman for the Kirby Company, we were taught a script that led customers through a series of questions, each designed to generate a “Yes” answer.  As our prospect answered each question with a yes, this series of commitments put pressure on the prospect to eventually answer “Yes” to buy the product.  It was a well designed system that relied heavily on this underlying human tendency of commitment and consistency.

Commitment and Consistency in Action

Let’s take a look at Kam’s lead magnet for  The opt-in for his “50 Ways to FLOOD Your Website with Targeted Traffic” uses this principle of commitment as shown below.

Commitment and Consistency in Action
Here we can see the small commitment “YES, LET’S MAKE IT HAPPEN!” is the first step to committing to something bigger. And much like the script I used in selling years ago, it uses a “no brainer” type response to increase the likelihood that the visitor will indeed say yes.


Ways to Implement Commitment Into Your Marketing Efforts

  1. Start with small easy commitments that can be built upon. Like the example above from this website, state the first question in such a way that it is an absolute no brainer.  This establishes the first “yes” to build upon.
  2. Make sure your first few interactions with the visitor/customer involve little commitments that build upon each other. For example, after you have converted a visitor to a subscriber, in your first email or two ask for a commitment to attend a short webinar or to watch a short video.  This incorporates elements from the principles of reciprocity and commitment.


[thrive_text_block color=”orange” headline=”Social Proof; What is Everyone Else Doing”] [/thrive_text_block]

Ok, so you have probably heard the terms, “following the crowd,” “the herd mentality,” and several other statements that loosely relate to this idea of social proof.
In Cialdini’s work, social proof is described as “the tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it.”  In effect, when we aren’t quite sure of things, we tend to place a higher value on the opinions of others, because we assume they know more than we do.
When we see a restaurant that is really busy, we are inclined to give it a try because internally we think, “If everyone else is going there, it must be good.”

We want to be seen as doing the “in” thing.  To be a part of the group.  Everyone has an innate need for broader social acceptance and when we see large numbers of people doing something, we assume they must know something we don’t.


Some examples of social proof are:

  1. Testimonials- these can be written or video and provide an additional element of proof if you are able to include either celebrities or anyone seen as an authority in the niche you are operating in.
  2. Subscriber counts- “xxx,xxx number of people can’t be wrong” or “join xxx,xxx other restaurant owners who read our weekly publication”
  3. Badges- a badge or a seal from an authority in your space helps to add credibility.
  4. Social shares- if you provide any kind of content, adding a tool or widget to show the number of social shares adds an element of social proof.
  5. Reviews- people tend to trust reviews from someone not related to the company or product.

Social Proof in Action

I think Google’s Play Store provides one of the best examples of social proof.  It combines several of these social proof elements together.

Social Proof in Action
Here we can see user ratings, testimonials and the number of people who have downloaded the app. This integrates several pieces of social proof together and is very effective in subtle persuasion to download this app

Ways to Implement Social Proof into Your Marketing Efforts

  1. If you have any certifications, seals or badges that relate to your niche, make sure to utilize them on your homepage or your money pages. Not only are these effective tools of social proof, but they help in creating trust in you and your brand.
  2. Have you or your work been featured on Yahoo, NBC or Bing? Make sure to include any media logos for places you have been featured prominently, as people are likely to place a higher status on your work.
  3. Video testimonials are powerful. Sit down and list out a few of the top objections to purchasing your product.  Then take a few of the video testimonials that most effectively answer these objections and sprinkle them throughout your sales page.
  4. Create a contest and give something away. Have visitors gain entries by completing certain actions like sharing your content, providing a comment on a blog post, or other similar actions that utilize elements of social proof.

[thrive_text_block color=”orange” headline=”Authority: We’ll Do What We Are Told”] [/thrive_text_block]

It starts for most of us as children where we are told to respect and obey our parents.  We are taught from a very young age, that we are to respect and revere those in authority.

The principle of authority states that we will do what an authority figure tells us to do, even if we have objections about what it is we are being asked to do.

In his work,“Influence,” Cialdini cites the Milgram Experiments, where subjects shocked others simply because they were asked to do so by someone who was projected as an authority figure.  The subjects did this, even though they had reservations of conscience.  This shows how powerful this principle of authority is.

We tend to place trust in titles.  For example, when we see “Dr.” in front of a person’s name, we are more likely to do what they say we should do when it pertains to their field.

Authority in Action

A great example of creating authority is found on the about me page for the blog of Tim Ferris.

creating authority
The about me page for the blog of Tim Ferris

His bio page features

  • His credentials as an author of not one but three #1 Best Sellers on the New York Time’s Best Seller’s List
  • Angel Investor and Advisor to companies like Uber, Facebook and Twitter
  • His being listed as the 7th most influential person on Newsweek’s Digital 100 Power Index
  • His credentials as a public speaker, being invited to speak at events for: Google, Microsoft and the CIA among many others


With credentials like these in such broad areas, you’re likely to trust almost anything he says (and most people do!).

Ways to Implement Authority into Your Marketing Efforts

  1. Authority like many of the principles in Dr. Cialdini’s work, can either be direct, or borrowed. If you have credentials for your field, of course make sure you include them in your efforts.  However, if you don’t have the credentials yourself, you can borrow authority from someone else in the form of an excellent review or testimonial from an authority in your niche.
  2. Authority can also come in the form of how your website looks. In a study conducted in 2006, it was shown that visitors to your site will make a “first impression” judgement about it in as little as 50 Milliseconds!  Making sure your website design and layout are professional and consistent with your niche is important in creating that great first impression that allows you to build credibility and authority with your visitors/subscribers.

[thrive_text_block color=”orange” headline=”I Like You!”] [/thrive_text_block]

The fifth principle of persuasion is the principle Dr. Cialdini called “liking.”  Quite simply, this is the idea that we are much more likely to comply with request from people we like.   It can be any call to action, really.

Asking a customer to buy, to fill out a form or to provide their email address, are all request that your visitors are more likely to complete if they feel some kind of personal connection with you; if they like you.

In my days working for the Kirby Company, this was a critical element as I began to have greater success in direct sales.  My presentations were a couple of hours long, and over time, I began to integrate personal stories into my script that created a connection with my prospects.  I believe they began to think of me as a friend, rather than as a salesman.


It is worth noting that even without a personal connection, we tend to like things we find attractive.  Most marketing includes pictures or videos of beautiful people, which plays on this principle of liking.

The Principle of Liking in Action

As someone involved in the CPA/Performance marketing space, I really connect with and enjoy the about me page for the blog of

The Principle of Liking in Action

In the telling of his story, and revealing his personal struggles and triumphs it is so easy to connect with him.  In a small way, I feel like I know him personally.  This combined with his humorous style of writing (I have found myself laughing out loud on several occasions while reading his work) make it so easy to feel a connection and to like him.

Ways to Implement Liking into Your Marketing Efforts

  1. A great “About Me” page can work wonders, whether you are an individual or a company. If you are a company, make sure to include some of the personalities that make your company and to include elements of what you stand for that might create a connection with your audience.  If you are an individual, share your story, your strife and success.  Be real, this is what creates a connection and likeability.
  2. Use a conversational tone in your copy, and especially on your about me page. This helps your audience to feel like you are talking to them as a friend, and not just that they are reading a bio, much like they would read an obituary.
  3. Include images of friendly, smiling or happy people. If you can include people who are from the same demographic as your target audience, so much the better.

[thrive_text_block color=”orange” headline=”Get it Before It’s Gone! “] [/thrive_text_block]

Scarcity is ubiquitous in marketing.  You see it everywhere, from the 3 day sale at the local department store, to the Labor Day Sale at the local Ford dealership.

The basic idea is that, perceived scarcity will create demand.  This perceived scarcity can come from either


  • A deadline or point at which a special price will end, or
  • A limited number or set quantity that will be available

As a Kirby salesman, I knew that if I didn’t get the sale while I was in the house, I wasn’t going to get it.  I can’t remember how many people told me they were going to call me back, and not one ever did.

We need to create a sense of urgency to take action now, because odds are your visitors, subscribers or potential customers won’t come back later to take that action.  They’ll get busy with the other 20 tabs they have open in their browser.


Not only are we more likely to take an action now when the element of scarcity is involved, but we also tend to place a higher value on things we believe are in short supply.


Scarcity in Action

In the screenshot below, we can see two elements of scarcity in action.

Scarcity in Action
Scarcity in Action

Under the room type heading, notice the copy, “In high demand- only 3 rooms left.”  Across the page, on the far right under the reservation heading, notice the “26 people are looking right now.”  These two elements together create the idea that there are significantly more people looking at this deal than will be able to take advantage of it.

This masterfully creates an instant environment of scarcity and the necessity for us to move quickly if we want to seize this particular deal.

Under the room type heading, notice the copy, “In high demand- only 3 rooms left.”  Across the page, on the far right under the reservation heading, notice the “26 people are looking right now.”  These two elements together create the idea that there are significantly more people looking at this deal than will be able to take advantage of it.

This masterfully creates an instant environment of scarcity and the necessity for us to move quickly if we want to seize this particular deal.


Ways to Implement Scarcity into Your Marketing Efforts

  1. Use of a countdown timer is highly effective in creating a sense of urgency. Regardless of whether you want someone to complete an online form, or complete a purchase, timers work.  It can backfire if you don’t follow through.  If, for example, you show a countdown before the price increases and your visitors come back to see that the price didn’t increase, or the timer starts over every time, you will have lost some credibility and trust.
  2. If you sell digital products where scarcity is harder to generate, try rotating your products on a “limited time sale”. Your local grocery store is a master at this.  They run the same products on a weekly sale about every 2 to 3 months.
  3. An add on to number one is to have the price increase by a set price for every set number of sales. For example, the price could go up $0.10 for every five purchasers.  This incorporates the timer and a limited number, at that price.


[thrive_text_block color=”orange” headline=”Conclusion: Cialdini’s Principles of Persuasion are Critical to Online Marketing Success “] [/thrive_text_block]

Each of these principles of persuasion, on their own, can help you achieve greater conversions.  However, where you can implement all of them, you have a greater chance of success, because you are appealing to human psychological tendencies that sometimes bypass our rational thinking.

In my days of selling door to door, we were often told in our training that, “people buy based on emotion, and rationalize their emotional purchases.”  By making use of these principles, you’ll be tapping into the emotions that cause people to take action.

So, how are you going to make use of Dr. Cialdini’s principles in your next marketing efforts?


[thrive_text_block color=”blue” headline=”About the author – Casey Lindsey (aka The Nomadic Marketer)”] [/thrive_text_block]

Casey Lindsey (aka The Nomadic Marketer)
Casey Lindsey (aka The Nomadic Marketer)

Hi, I’m Casey, The Nomadic Marketer.  My passions are family, travel, personal development and Internet Marketing.   I am an open book (my wife says, a little too open sometimes!), and I share my journey, both success and failure in this blog.  It’s meant to be an ongoing case study of the pursuit of a life of freedom and nomadic living.  To do this, you need:
~ a great attitude, to deal with tribulation that you will certainly encounter
~ an income stream (or several) that allow you to work from anywhere
~ a list of places that are best suited to a nomadic lifestyle


Author: KamFatz
Kam Jennings (aka KamFatz) is a full time internet marketer. He is the owner of Epic Conversions Email Marketing and Digital Publishing. He can help you with your email marketing, your podcasting, your product launching and more...

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