“Persuasion” is a term often used in marketing, and we’re all probably aware of it. What many businesses fail to realize is that persuasion isn’t just about getting people to buy your product. You may be able to get people to convert, but are they happy about the purchase? Were you able to change their sentiment towards your brand in a positive manner?
Persuasion in marketing involves the ability not just to influence people’s actions, but their attitude as well. Let me give you an example based on my experience a few years back. I called technical support because I was having some trouble with my laptop. After explaining the issue, I was told by the rep that what I was experiencing was a software problem, which wasn’t covered under my warranty. I was taken aback because I had bought the laptop only a few months prior to the call.
The rep explained to me that the warranty I had was for the hardware, which they manufactured. But to resolve any software problems, I would need to purchase an additional software warranty. Since I needed to get the problem resolved immediately, I grudgingly paid for the warranty.
Did the rep succeed in making a sale? Yes. But I felt like I was forced into it, and it affected my perception towards the brand. It felt as if I had no choice but to buy the warranty, and I was unhappy about it.
In persuasion, however, people end up making a purchase without feeling like they are being sold to. Persuasion involves influencing people’s attitude in such a way that they feel like they are making the decision on their own. They should be able to feel like they made an excellent decision with the purchase.
So I’ve decided to provide you with a few ideas on how you can effectively use persuasion in marketing. Check them out:
1. Offer something to induce reciprocity.
One of my favorite persuasion tactics is reciprocity. When we receive something from someone, whether it’s a gift or something as small as a compliment, we feel grateful. Our gratefulness makes us want to reciprocate and give them something in return. This is the power of reciprocity in action.
Even in marketing, we see it implemented all the time. A brand may offer a special discount on first purchases, which may compel many first-time visitors to make a purchase. Some may offer a discount to people who sign up, compelling many shoppers to register on the site instead of checking out as guests.
You can also see many SaaS companies applying the principle of reciprocity by offering free trials of their product. Companies like SEMrush, for instance, provide free demos for potential enterprise clients. Whatever it is that you are offering, it should be valuable enough to the customer. At the same time, it shouldn’t be too valuable that you end up facing a loss.
In return for your gift, you could get some customers to convert. Some may even recommend you to their friends and rave about you on social media. So what you’re getting in return here is positive brand sentiment, which is vital for growth.
2. Let scarcity do the talking for you.
The scarcity principle is something you’ve probably seen in many e-commerce stores, when the number of items left in stock is on display. When shoppers see that a certain item they like is running low in stock, they feel compelled to make the purchase right away instead of saving it for later. In a way, it goes hand in hand with the urgency principle.
When a certain item is rare, we tend to have this perception that it is more valuable. On the other hand, we tend to lose interest in something that everyone else can have access to. In other words, exclusivity is what we crave as humans. This is what the scarcity principle is all about.
In marketing, you can offer your customers something exclusive that is unavailable to people who shop from other brands. Maybe your product is exceptional and there is no competition, like with Apple products. Maybe your restaurant serves a certain dish that tastes out of this world but is only available on Sundays.
You could also set up a VIP club, which is open to your best customers, just like Kiehl’s does. Club members could get early access to events, discounts and exclusive offers. Whatever the case is, people who buy from you should feel like they managed to achieve something that not many people could achieve. They should feel like they’re part of an exclusive group of people.
3. Get authority figures to vouch for you.
If someone like Neil Patel were to provide you with marketing advice, you would listen and follow that advice. Similarly, SEO tips from Rand Fishkin could make you want to change your entire SEO strategy. We trust advice coming from people we see as authority figures in their line of expertise. This is because we believe the decision based on advice from an authority figure is less likely to go wrong.
These authority figures have established their expertise a multitude of times, which acts as proof to us that their advice is trustworthy. Even influencer marketing is somehow based on the principle of authority. Influencers are people who have established their expertise in their niche, whether it’s in food, beauty, fashion, fitness or tech.
So you can start working with industry experts and influencers who can vouch for your products to win the trust of your target audience. With this increased level of trust, you also have an increased likelihood of driving sales.
These are some of the persuasion principles that would serve you well in your marketing efforts. Make an effort to give something that your customers would appreciate and would make them want to reciprocate.
Originally published at Forbes.com.