Home > Web marketing > Six Sales Principles for Internet Marketing

Six Sales Principles for Internet Marketing

analog marketing meetingYesterday I attended a guest lecture at my Tuesday lunch meeting by a very successful salesman, Al Waddill.

He spoke on six methods of persuasion salespeople use to influence decisions from their prospects.  The Utah business networking blog has a fine recap of what was discussed.

The interesting thing to me was these same principles apply to Internet marketing as well.  The original source material, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – by Robert Cialdini, was written over 10 years ago, long before Internet marketing became what it is today.

I think many Internet marketers get so distracted by the technology they fail to  remember a human is on the other side of the message.  It doesn’t matter if your delivery method is a telephone, telegraph, email, letter or carrier pidgeon.  That’s why Cialdini’s principles apply so well to web marketing.

Six Sales Principles by Robert Cialdini

  • Reciprocation
  • Liking
  • Authority
  • Commitment (Consistency)
  • Social Proof
  • Scarcity

Let’s talk about briefly how these principles apply to Internet marketing.

Reciprocation – Search engine results are heavily influenced by inbound links.  Links are like currency on the Internet and every link has a different value.  I give a link to get a link.  I don’t offer to link if I get a link back.  It’s not conditional.  I give it away.  Because I don’t have any page rank yet, my links don’t have much value.  I know eventually that will change.

With trackbacks and pingbacks, I can automatically get a link back.  If someone doesn’t return link, that’s OK, because I know I’ll get links from other people who find me through different methods.  Even when I do get a PR 6 or 7, I’ll still give links.  I provide links for articles, concepts or authors I like.

Liking – We tend to do business with people we like.  We tend to make friends with people we like.  We tend to like people who like us.  We tend to like people who are like us.  Facebook could have chosen any phrase to describe the word that goes next to “comments.”  They chose “like.”

Authority– Search engine results are all about authority.  If you write quality content, people will like you, follow you and fan you.  By getting followers and inbound links, you will develop authority.  Page rank is a measure of authority and Google uses that exact word.  Put out quality content on subjects you know or are interested in and authority will follow.

Commitment/Consistency– In blogging, consistency is very important.  Posting on a regular basis develops an audience and all the other good things we’ve talked about.  For a website that is more static, being consistent in site design, navigation, colors, logos and marketing messages is also important.

Consumers often need to hear the same message several times before they develop trust or come to a buying decision.  By changing up your closing line for an online sales pitch, you confuse your customer!  Be consistent and you’ll be successful.

Social Proof – People need the input of others to make a decision.  Whether it be a new windshield or trying out a piece of software, the trust of another individual is what made me come to a decision to move forward.  That’s why I have testimonials on my site.  I also urge clients to do the same.

News media can also be effective social proof.  “As seen on TV” can sometimes push people into buying a product.

Scarcity – Let me clarify this.  We’re talking about real scarcity, not some false scarcity made up by an overzealous salesperson.  Scarcity is a commodity Internet marketing has.  There is only one first page of Google or Yahoo or Bing.  Each one of those first pages has a different value than the others with Google being the most valuable.  On that first page, a limited number of sites can be “above the fold” or on top where most visitors click through.

Scarcity applies in many businesses like collectibles and real estate.  Sometimes scarcity is about timing like getting the last pink iPod Nano two days before Christmas.  Scarcity forces buyers to make a decision…now…because they know if they don’t, someone else will.

Wouldn’t you know it, the more scarce an item is, the more it costs.

There you have six sales principles that will stand the test of time.  How can you employ them in your online business?

  1. November 5, 2009 at 7:42 am

    wow… likes this!


  2. November 5, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you for sharing this!!


  3. November 5, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    effective social proof…thanks for info


  4. November 6, 2009 at 9:39 am

    I agree with social being the way to go on internet marketing. I have been studying quite a lot about what makes people change or act, and it has been a surprise to know that it doesn’t even take all that much effort.

    A good example I read was a study, where a person was asked to skip the line at a copy machine; most people in front of the line let him skip it when he said “May I use the copy machine because I need to make a copy?”. Next time you ask for links, you might as well add “because I want to rank higher in google?”, you’d be surprised how effective that is.

    I have written an article on how most of cialdini’s principles are about group belonging, except for scarcity. You can see that with a little bit of analysis.


  5. seobyswaby
    November 6, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Thanks to everyone who commented. I got much more mileage out of this post than I expected. Let me know if you want more conceptual type articles like this.



  1. November 5, 2009 at 3:41 am
  2. November 5, 2009 at 7:24 am
  3. November 5, 2009 at 8:31 am
  4. November 5, 2009 at 6:31 pm
  5. November 9, 2009 at 4:30 pm
  6. December 14, 2009 at 7:01 pm
  7. January 9, 2010 at 7:13 pm
  8. February 17, 2010 at 8:14 am
  9. February 23, 2010 at 12:27 pm
  10. November 17, 2010 at 10:11 am

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