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6 Killer Takeaways and Action Items You Missed from Pubcon’s Kickoff Keynote

Posted on Wednesday, October 17th, 2012 by Print This Post Print This Post

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Yesterday was the first official day of Pubcon and it kicked off with an absolutely fabulous keynote on the Psychology of Influence, by Dr. Robert Cialdini. I had not read his enormously successful book, Influence: Science and Practice, but rest assured I will be ordering it before the end of the day.

He covered so many great ways to increase your audience size and conversion rates, and best of all, the vast majority of them are FREE to implement. In short, there are six universal principles of influence that will increase your odds of success in business. In every aspect of communication—on the web, in email, on the phone and in person—evaluate how you are messaging your value proposition and use at least one of these principles.


Principle One: Reciprocation

Takeaway: Consumers respond very well to receiving something without having to offer anything up front (obviously). Businesses should be offering free samples/info/features to people first and play off the fact it is the human condition to reciprocate those offerings.


Need proof? A study found that putting a mint on the bill tray in restaurants increased tips by 3.3%, and putting two mints resulted in a 14.1% increase.


Action Item: Evaluate what it is you have to offer and actively give away your mints. Do you have whitepapers, a free-to-try option or free features? Keep track of site conversions pre/post giveaway and test which one works the best!

Principle Two: Liking

Takeaway: Believe it or not, people are more easily influenced by people they know and like. So, one great way to boost conversions is to uncover and surface similarities that truly exist between yourself and the people you’re dealing with. Put information about yourself out there so audiences can find similarities themselves.

Action Item: Tell people features of who you are professionally and personally in your website’s About Us section. Most About Us sections are pretty boring and therefore not useful to users. Put a fun item like favorite “Driveway Songs” in there to make it more compelling.

Principle Three: Commitment/Consistency

Takeaway: Getting your potential customers to make a soft commitment can provide significant boosts to conversion rates. One example of this was a restaurant that changed saying “please call if you can’t make your reservation” to “will you please call if you can’t make your reservation” – this dropped no shows from 32% to 10%.

Action Item: Make users click on preliminary commitments in way that’s public and visible. For example, have them share they are going to test your product before they actually receive it.

Principle Four: Scarcity

Takeaway: People want more of those things they can’t have. The very idea that something may be limited spurs action. According to Dr. Cialdini, people are also more mobilized to act by losing unique benefits and features than gaining them from you.

Action Item: When setting up landing pages, perform A/B tests using scarcity language. Instead of “You will get X, Y and Z,” try “If you don’t buy our product you will lose out on X, Y and Z.”

Principle Five: Authority

Basically, if an expert says it, people believe it must be true. That is why the most effective type of communicator is the Credible Communicator. This type of communicator needs to have two traits; knowledge and trustworthiness.

Action Item 1: If you are an authority, tell people how great you are but find ways to do is via a 3rd party. Solicit reviews from friends, satisfied customers and prominent bloggers.

Action Item 2: Develop trustworthiness by saving your strongest arguments until after mentioning a weakness. Follow the L’Oreal example – we’re expensive but you’re worth it.

Principle Six: Consensus

Takeaway: They may say strength comes from within, but when people are unsure they look outward, not inward. Specifically, they follow two types of people; they follow the group and they follow people similar to themselves.

Action Item: If you do not have reviews on your site, you need to implement them yesterday. According to a study quoted by Dr. Cialdini, 98% of online purchasers read reviews of prior customers.


If you are interested in purchasing the book from the Godfather of Influence, check out his website here: http://www.influenceatwork.com/. Also make sure to follow me on Twitter @davidcarrillo for all the latest news and information from Pubcon!

About David Carrillo

David Carrillo is an Earned Media Manager at The Search Agency where he assists clients executing holistic SEO and Inbound Marketing strategies that include audits and recommendations spanning content, promotions, architecture, social and analytics. Outside of the wonderful world of Inbound Marketing, David’s interests include technology, gadgets, gaming, sports, naps and general debauchery.

Follow David Carrillo on Twitter

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3 Responses to “6 Killer Takeaways and Action Items You Missed from Pubcon’s Kickoff Keynote”

  1. Corey Quinn says:

    Great post David. I am a big fan of Cialdini’s work and really enjoyed how you applied his framework to online marketing.

  2. Erik Freeman says:

    Great article David. Interesting stuff. I especially like the Commitment/Consistency principle as a hook but I would imagine it’s quite a tough one to implement properly. When doing competitive analysis it would seem a good exercise as well to view value propositions through these various ‘lenses’.


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