6 Secrets of Persuasion in Website Design

Persuasion is a major force in our daily lives and if used in the right way can also help you on your website too. 

Persuasion is not rocket science. Though there are many ways to carry out effective persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University wrote a book on this topic called ‘Influence’, which I highly recommend you read.

Below are the six secrets of persuasion in website design, based on the book ‘Influence’ and I show you how you can use these to your website’s advantage…

Principle #1: Reciprocation

Reciprocity is the desire for someone to give back to someone who has given to them.

So give away as much FREE quality content as possible, on your website and it will subconsciously influence people to give back to you. Here are some ways you can use reciprocity…

  • Lead magnet content (PDF, Short course, FREE trial period,etc) in return for an email address
  • Blog, Video or Podcast content
  • The landing page tries to give as much value as possible.
  • Don’t forget about your existing customers either. Give them something extra occasionally.
  • Depending on the offer you could use a tripwire product first.
  • Low barrier of entry then build trust and offer up-sells

Principle #2: Scarcity

It’s human nature to desire what there is less of. Scarcity is the economic factor that makes something more expensive if the supply is low. When the demand is high and the quantity supplied is decreasing, suppliers can increase the price to compensate for scarcity. So when posting offers on your website, it can help influence people to take action if you let them know how many products are available. Most of the time, people put off buying something because there is still a lot of it out there or there is still a lot of time remaining before the offer ends. Here are some ways to display Scarcity on your website…

  • Add a countdown timer if there’s an end date. It’s far more effective than displaying just an end date.
  • Display the number of products in stock
  • Use seasonal offers

Principle #3: Authority

People trust credible knowledgeable experts. So by displaying that you’re an authority in your niche through content and other credibility elements on your website that influences people to take action because they are far more likely to trust a credible knowledgeable expert. You could use the following design elements to show your Authority on your website…

  • Have your best blog posts to help position you as the expert
  • Your copywriting can help with positioning. For instance, you could say: ‘New York Times, Best Selling Author, or America’s favorite podcast for your niche’. (if it’s true of course.)
  • You can use images of you presenting from the stage, or even dressed in a suit, or uniform.
  • Display your accreditations, qualifications, industry association logos, etc.
  • Just having a professional website design will help with how your prospects perceive your business

Principle #4: Consistency

As humans, we are wired to recognize patterns and we are far more likely to remember something that’s consistent. Here are some things to consider to improve consistency…

  • Release content consistently or sending emails consistently.
  • Be congruent (Same look and feel) with the visual branding and identity across all of your multiple touchpoints from your website to social media to print media etc.
  • Be consistent with your messages and values.
  • Be consistent with the frequency that you release content

Principle #5 Liking

People buy from people that they know, like, and trust. They buy from people that are similar to us and people that pay us compliments. That’s one of the key reasons to use video on your website and put your personality out there! Here are some design elements you can use to help with having people like you more…

  • Have ‘face-to-camera’ videos on your website, so people can get to know you, your facial expressions and body language, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to put your personality out there!
  • Interact with your audience through a chat window, blog post commenting system, and social media
  • Be as helpful as you can!!

Principle #6 Consensus

This is what we call social proof. We are more likely to act the way the majority does. This is also referred to as herd behavior. People usually turn to others to see if you’re stuff really works so having testimonials or case studies from existing clients will help prove that your products or services do work. Here are some design elements to use for social proof…

  • Have logos of the businesses you have helped. Keep them greyed out so that they don’t compete with your main ‘Call To Action! Use: ‘as seen in’ or ‘as heard on’ logo sections
  • Display before and after examples, etc.
  • Have written or video testimonials
  • Showcase studies from existing clients and really emphasize the results
  • Use numbers: Show how many customers have purchased from you already, How many downloads, How many people you have helped, etc.


Studio1Design-BLOG- 6 Secrets of Persuasion in Website Design_Infographic

After we created this infographic, Robert Cialdini released an updated version of his book, Influence, and he has added another principle which is Unity.

The Unity Principle is all about having shared identities. When people feel they are similar to you like being of the same race, nationality,  political or religious beliefs, or even liking similar sporting teams, then they are more likely to be influenced by you. 

So on your website, it can be powerful to share your story to let people know that you were in their shoes and faced the same problem they have now, and that’s why you created the perfect solution for them.

We hope you found these tips useful. If you have used these please leave a comment below and share the results you have achieved applying these principles on your website.

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