Principles of persuasion. Do you use them ethically?

It’s important to really understand how to employ Robert Cialdini’s principles of persuasion in your launch.

And as I repeat frequently, it’s also important to understand the difference between strategy and tactics.

For instance, many people try to use the tactics of scarcity and persuasion, without first understanding the overall strategy.

For example, in a product launch you don’t create scarcity at the beginning of the launch, because the beginning of the launch is all about education (EBM content). You don’t actually want to introduce scarcity or urgency until the cart opens.

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You first want to leverage urgency, and then after the cart is open, then you want to leverage scarcity.

Sometimes you can create both urgency and scarcity at the same time, but usually you create urgency with things like fast action bonuses: “The first 10 people to enroll, you get X!” “The first 20 people who enroll get Y!”

This creates urgency for your prospects to respond NOW so they can get the cool bonuses!

Scarcity AND urgency

As the launch goes on, you employ scarcity, usually in one – or both – of two areas.

First, if you are running a program with limited seating, then you have scarcity immediately, right?

Or you can create scarcity by deciding to limit the number of people whom you will accept into your program.

And you can create both urgency and scarcity by saying that the first 10 people will get the bonuses, and you will close the cart once the 100 seats are filled, or on April 30, whichever comes first.

This is why the last day of a product launch is usually either the highest- or second-highest-revenue-producing day. It’s scarcity; fear of losing out! Just remind people that they only have 24 hours left, and talk about how much they will miss, and you are tapping into both principles: scarcity and urgency.

Use these tactics ethically

I encourage you to use these tactics ethically, of course. Don’t just make up a technical issue as an excuse to re-open the cart. Or use a bogus countdown timer. Or say it’s sold out when it isn’t.

Understand that this sort of activity is a tactic, and the strategy they are trying to employ is twofold.

When someone says something is sold out (even if it’s not), they are using the principle of social proof (“Hey, we sold out! See out popular this is??”) in addition to the principle of scarcity.

But there are a number of tactics you can use in order to employ the strategies we’re talking about.

For instance, if you know you want to generate a feeling of social proof, how else can you do that?

Is it a real number?

You could show the many comments on your blogpost. You could point out how many video views you have had. There are a variety of numbers you can cite that would sound impressive.

For example, when some internet marketers launched their webinar program, one of the things they kept repeating over and over was that they had reached a milestone in number of registrations (I don’t remember what the number was right now). That’s a savvy use of a number that has a high level of perceived social proof and level of success.

Because you see, the actual number of registrations on their platform doesn’t really indicate very much. It doesn’t tell you how many people purchased the program, only how many people have registered for webinars, using the program! It’s a brilliant use of what’s often called “soft science”. It seems like a logical connection, but it it’s not.

An example of someone using something similar is the story about how sharks don’t get cancer. Because they have cartilage, it’s been thought that people who take doses of shark cartilage are less likely to get cancer. It seems like there is a correlation, but there isn’t!

All of this shows there are multiple ways of using the principles of persuasion, but some are more ethical than others.

Never forget that the point of marketing is to a problem your prospect has, and to tell them about your solution for that problem. The point is NOT to get them to buy something they don’t need by playing on their fears.

I say it all the time: Take care of your prospects and customers and give them information that they NEED, and they will love you for it and come back to you over and over.



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