Welcome to Web Design Lab San Diego. Call us for a free consultation at 760-896-4007.
Log in  Arrow 
Register  Arrow 

Psychology of Persuasion - Part 02


Back in May Dan wrote the first part of this selling online with the 10 laws of persuasion by looking at the law of reciprocity, the law of time, the law of contrast, the law of friends and the law of expectancy. In this article I’ll be taking up where he left off by addressing the final 5 and how they can be used for selling online.

Law 6 – The law of consistency

When an individual announces that he is taking a position on any issue or point of view, he will strongly tend to defend that belief regardless of its accuracy, even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

This is an age old sales technique, get people to get in the habit of saying ‘yes’ (at first to small things) and then closing becomes easier because they have already said ‘yes’ and they are battling with themselves to be consistent.

So the idea is to start by offering small things, get the visitor to agree to those things before asking about the bigger things. 2 ways this materialises online are:

1. Give away something for free. This gets the customer saying yes early on.



1. Have an entry level product that isn’t a huge cash cow but gets people saying yes early.

There are examples of this everywhere including freemium model companies like MailChimp and DropBox and a lot of other companies that offer entry level products for little or no profit.

Simply getting someone to signup for your email list is getting them moving in the right direction.

Law 7 – The law of association

We tend to like products, services or ideas that are endorsed by other people we like or respect.

If you are in Australia you’ve probably seen the Swiss Vitamins ads with every elite athlete you can think of. Celebrity endorsement isn’t new and this is the reason behind it – because people are interested in celebrities and associating your product with celebrities makes them interested in your product.

Facebook Ads


But it goes broader than that. The people we respect the most are our friends and family and if you see these people talking about a product then you are especially interested in it.

Facebook campaigns are just one example of this in action online. See the image below, I know my friend Greg likes App Sumo so that makes me interested.

You can also do similar things with social proof on your website. Listing the number of Twitter followers, or the Facebook Like plugin shows other friends of yours that like the page.

This is all going to help you sell more because it’s associating your product with the people who are directly influencing your customers.

Law 8 – the law of scarcity

When a person perceives that something or someone they want is in limited quantity, then the perceived value of that which they desire is greater than if it were overly abundant.

The law of scarcity is a hugely powerful force. Just look at the rise of deal sites over the last couple of years. These sites are built on the back of the idea that the deals are only available for a certain amount of time or to a certain amount of people – scarcity. This drives consumers to purchase out of fear of missing out.

Deals on websites in general will have the same impact and prices tiered so early customers get a lower rate (if they purchase before a certain date or up to a certain number of customers) will generate the same result.



Law 9 – The law of conformity

Most people tend to agree to proposals, products, or ideas that will be perceived as acceptable by the majority of other people or a majority of “the group.”

Everybody’s doing it. Have you heard that saying? Sales people know all too well that people love to conform. This is one of those ones that won’t be easy to apply all of the time but when you can it can be powerful.

Will your customer’s group approve of this purchase? How will other people around your customer react?

There are a lot of ways to apply this online even the simple act of ‘mentioning’ how many customers you have can give the impression to your prospects that their purchase will be well received by their friends.




Law 10 – The law of power

People have power over other people to the degree that they are perceived as having greater authority, strength or expertise.

The law of power states that people will buy from people who have a high authority or status. If you’ve read anything on this blog you’ve probably heard us harping on about authority. Generally I talk about authority from the point of view of improving search engine rankings, but the other aspect of authority is once people see you as an authoritative figure they are much more likely to buy from you.

Regardless of whether you tie this authority / power to your brand or to yourself personally, it can still be a big driver of sales in your online efforts.

Again there are plenty of ways to do this, I love this examples from the Search Engine Shop who’s website shows their founder presenting to a big group of people. Being on stage gives a big boost to someone’s authority and power and this design makes you feel like you are dealing with the real deal.




Original Article:  http://awebsitedesigner.com.au/misc/selling-online-with-the-10-laws-of-persuasion-part-2/






Psychology of Persuasion - Part 01

PersuasionThe evidence of theories of persuasion or influence is everywhere in business. However a lot of the time it’s not understood.

For example you know companies choose celebrities to endorse their products. You know brands want you to ‘like’ them on Facebook? You’ve seen shops give you 3 slightly different versions of more or less the same thing. But do you know why? And can you use this knowledge in your own business online.

If not then you will be the end of this 2 part article).

The reasons for all of these things comes back to the laws of persuasion or influence.

Writers such as Kevin Hogan and Robert Cialdini have covered the concepts in depth, starting with Hogan’s 1996 book The Psychology of Persuasion.

These laws (10 of them) are well utilised in every form of business, but how do they look online?

In this 2 part article I’ll present examples of how each of the laws are implemented online to help companies ‘persuade’ buyers to part with their money and how you can do the same.

This article will look at laws 1 through 5.


Law 1 – The law of reciprocity

When someone gives you something of perceived value, you immediately respond with the desire to give something back

You don’t have to look very far to see examples of companies giving away things of value to potential customers.

How I do it

On my site I have written hundreds of articles, ebooks, videos etc and provided them all for free. It’s not just because I’m nice (of course I am) – it’s called ‘Content Marketing’ not ‘Content Philanthropy’. It’s a marketing technique designed to build trust and build on the concept of reciprocity. People who contact me looking for websites are grateful for the stuff I’ve put up on the site and in some way feel a need to reciprocate.


How you can do it

There are many ways to integrate reciprocity into your business. You don’t want to put yourself out of business by giving too much away for free. But the key here is ‘something of perceived value’. You need to think of things that customers will perceive as valuable but don’t necessarily cost you too much to do. Here are some examples:

  • Embrace content marketing (write articles, ebooks, videos, do a podcast or free webinars).
  • Engage with your audience on social media – retweet their content, like their pages etc.
  • Get active on blogs and forums helping people in your industry with their problems.
  • Give away a basic version of your offering for free (think ‘freemium’ models like Dropbox.com).
  • Offer a free report to relates to one of your services (i.e. we offer a competitor analysis for free to potential SEO clients)


Law 2 – The Law of Time

 People will behave differently depending on whether their primary time orientation is present, past or future.

When a customer comes in contact with you or your business they are likely to be reverting to their inbuilt ways of thinking about things in terms of the ‘past’ ‘present’ or ‘future. A person that dwells on the past might think ‘I’ve seen products like this before, they aren’t as good as they look’.

The most common conversion that needs to occur is to get people away from thinking about ‘past’ and instead thinking about ‘future’.

Enter the experts.

How Apple does it

Check out the ad for the iPad 3 from Apple’s website. People watching this ad may have a computer and not think they need an iPad (thinking about the past). They may have an iPad 1 or 2 and are happy with that (thinking about the past).

Check out how the ad shifts your perspective from the past to the future by:

  1. Language ‘A more personal experience with technology than people have ever had’ and ‘distances itself from other devices’
  2. Usage – The majority of things they are showing in the ad are things that people probably aren’t doing on their computer (i.e. shopping, books, navigation etc).
  3. It talks about how the new features change the game.
  4. Tries to get people to forget about the device and focus on the use.



How you can do it

This is clever stuff so how do you do it? Here are a few common ways:

  • Define a clear value proposition that differentiates you from others. The headline and copy on your site will focus on this and how your experience is different to any experience your prospects would have had with other companies in the past.
  • Purposely call out some dodgy practices of others in your industry. Internet marketers do this a lot – ‘The gurus try to sell you info on making money online without actually making money themselves – we have made money and this is how’.
  • Paint a picture of a brighter future. Imagery can show happy clients, people enjoying doing things without worrying about what problem it is that you are solving.
  • Focus your giveaways on benefits instead of problems – i.e. you have a carpet cleaning business – instead of a free download called ’10 reasons to clean your carpets regularly’ (this will encourage past thinking) how about ’10 immediate benefits of carpet cleaning’ (to trigger future thinking).
  • Showcasing happy and successful customers who’s lives have been improved as a result of your offering (getting people to imagine a better future as opposed to dwelling on a dismal past).

Law 3 – The law of contrast

When two things, people or places that are relatively different from each other, are placed nearer together in time, space or thought, they appear to be more different from each other.

This is a fundamental technique used in retail stores everywhere. Let’s use the king of online retail Amazon as an example.

How Amazon does it

Check out the following comparison charts shown on Amazon Kindle product pages.

First, the chart shown on the page for the $79 Kindle (the cheapest one).



Notice the comparison chart above (taken from half way down the page) compares the $79 Kindle with 5 other products all of which are more expensive than the entry level Kindle. This re-enforces to the buyer that they are getting good value by contrasting it with higher priced products.

Now let’s have a look at the comparison chart on product page for the $379 Kindle DX (the most expensive one).



Fascinating! Did you notice:

  1. It’s common for ecommerce sites to have thumbnails that are all the same size but Amazon weren’t silly enough to put the same size image on the $189 Kindle as the DX – the DX is clearly bigger contrasting it with the smaller (cheaper) one.
  2. Hold on, what about the others? There were 6 Kindles last time I looked but now it appears there are only 3? Amazon don’t want to make it obvious to the buyer that the chosen one is significantly more expensive than all of the others.
  3. But the most fascinating of all is they didn’t even put a price for the base Kindle!
This is the law of contrast in action both in a positive and a negative.  The $79 Kindle page uses the technique to portray their product in a positive light by showing that it’s cheaper when compared with other products. The $379 Kindle page avoids the negative consequences of comparing the expensive Kindle with it’s much cheaper versions.
Once you know what you look for you will see this everywhere in physical retail and more and more online as well.
How you can do it
There are a lot of ways you can contrast your offering to make it more appealing. Here are a few:
  1. You can show comparison charts of how your offerings compare with more expensive competitors.
  2. When you list your plan or product varieties on your site you can include ‘premium’ versions that are significantly more costly than entry level offerings. These may be for only 1% of buyers (and you may not even expect to locate such buyers) but it will help the 99% re-enforce their decision.
  3. You might have separate sections of your site for different customer groups (it’s not uncommon for companies that service B2B and B2C customers to have a totally different business section of their websites so it’s not immediately obvious how the business offerings compare to the consumer ones).

Law 4 – Law of friends

When someone asks you to do something and you perceive the person has your best interests in mind, and/or you would like them to have your best interests in mind, you are strongly motivated to fulfil the request.
This law can relate to trust building but can also relate to social proof. For example if you are utilising the law of reciprocity and giving value away, you are also building trust and once that trust is built your audience is much more likely to buy from you.
But they are also more likely to buy from you if someone they know and trust already has bought from you or they specifically tell them to buy from you. Here we are talking about referrals and social proof.

How others do it

You don’t have to go far to see this in action online. Here are some great examples.
Love this one.
People know and trust Gary V – If he uses it, you should too.
And this one from 37 Signals, the creators of Basecamp.
Basecamp don’t just show random testimonials, they first make you choose your style of working. Once you choose ‘Face to face’ for example you are taken to a page which shows testimonials and videos of other companies who like to work the way you work. This is going to be a lot more meaningful to you than just showing a broad testimonial saying the product is good.
Perhaps the best example of this in action is Facebook advertising.

Facebook ad showing one of my friends who likes fishing.

Facebook knows that if they show that one of my friends likes something then I am going to be much more likely to also like it. So it shows me ads that my friends like and shows me which friends like it.

Google does a similar thing in the search results, if a result is something that one of your friends on Google+ has given a ‘+ 1′ to then Google will show the profile pic of your friend and show that they gave it a +1. They know you are much more likely to be interested in that particular site if your friends are.

How you can do it

There are so many ways you can integrate the law of friends into your business. Here are just a few:

  • Include social proof on your site. Show how many people like you on Facebook (if a visitor has friends that like you, Facebook is kind enough to mention that as well).
  • Include testimonials ideally from similar people to your target customers.
  • Embrace advertising techniques like Facebook like campaigns that utilise the law of friends.
  • Expand your social media efforts – the more +1s, Tweets and Likes you get the more this law will come into play.
  • Give customers in incentive to refer others – the people they refer will be much more likely to purchase.

Law 5 – The law of expectancy

When someone you respect and/or believe in expects you to perform a task or produce a certain result, you will tend to fulfil their expectation whether positive or negative.

I saw this exact situation on Twitter this morning. Someone had forgotten about a prior appointment and the response from the person was ‘Hi, I’m sure you’ll make it good. Everyone is expecting you! They can’t wait! Icon Sad

This sets an expectation that the person will attend the appointment and they feel obliged to do so.

This kind of thing is prevalent on company websites as well.




Notice MailChimp don’t spend a whole lot of time trying to convince you to sign up for their product. A 3 word heading, 2 sentences then a Sign Up button. Why? Because they ‘expect‘ you to sign up. The confidence in their product is obvious, they don’t need a 5,000 word sales page, they know you’ll sign up – why wouldn’t you.

How you can do it

The law of expectation is about confidence. If you were supremely confident about your product you wouldn’t need huge sales pages to sell it, you would ‘expect’ people would sign up and that expectation would be clear on visiting the site.

So the keys here are:

  1. Start with a great product and an audience who really wants it!
  2. Don’t oversell, point out the benefits and provide more detail if people want it (don’t assume everyone needs to be convinced some deals sell themselves)
  3. Make the call to action very clear – it’s not about clicking for more information it’s about signing up…right now.
  4. If you are in a position to offer it for free or a free trial then this can work very well.

To be continued…

Original Article: http://awebsitedesigner.com.au/misc/selling-online-with-the-10-laws-of-persuasion-part-1/



Interview Techniques for Effective Hiring

Stop wasting time and money hiring the wrong people. It’s time to improve your interviewing skills. Hiring is a risky business given that so much of your company’s success rides on tapping the right people for the job. Interviewing is really more art than science and, all-too-often, job candidates who look good on paper and ace the...


Resistance: A Stranglehold on Business

The ability to adapt and change is essential to business success. But not everyone embraces change so easily. These tips can help you identify and eliminate resistance in the workplace. Anyone familiar with the Star Trek universe knows that resistance is futile. Unfortunately, real-life resistance to change is alive and well and often firmly...


Cleansing a Toxic Workplace

Don’t let difficult employees or co-workers derail productivity and turn your business into a toxic dump. These tips can help correct problem behaviors. When building a business, you likely focus on crunching numbers, crafting a business plan or devising sales strategies. But running a successful business also requires that entrepreneurs deal with...




Your logo is more than your name, it’s your brand. We can help establish a professional look for your new business with our brand identity design services.

Editor Small

Our website content managment system is amazing. Editting article content on your webpage, is as easy as using  Microsoft Word.


Search Engine Optimization is a data driven, transparent process.  There is a SEO plan for every budget, and
we want to help


Every website needs to live on a server. We can take the hassle out of digging through the bad webhosts, hoping to find a reliable one.

Scroll to the top of WebDesignLab
OSense O-Sense