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How to Use Cialdini’s Principles and A/B Testing to Increase Sales and Conversions

It’s guest post day here at Duct Tape Marketing and today’s guest post is from Anand Kansal  – Enjoy! 

There is arguably no more important book in the world of persuasive selling than Robert Cialdini’s “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”. With the rise of online marketing, it was, therefore, only a matter of time before the principles of influence that Mr. Cialdini talked about began to be used by online business owners and marketers to increase sales and conversions on their websites. Specifically, in the world of A/B testing, many successful testers have used them to construct variations which employ one or more of these principles. These principles have been used on major eCommerce and SaaS websites to run tests that result in more and more visitors driven into a conversion funnel or tempted to click on that ‘Add to Cart’ button.

In this post, I’ll be giving an overview of each of the 6 principles before demonstrating a successful A/B test that was conducted on this principle and how you can use this principle to increase the persuasive power of your website. Let’s get started!

Principle#1: Reciprocity

People tend to return favors. The reason why you get free stuff (newsletters, eBooks, guides) all the time in your inbox is because of some marketer wanting you to return the favor by either trying out their product, subscribing to their stuff or sharing their stuff on social media.

Artsy Editor, a premium WordPress WYSIWYG editor, tested 3 combinations of Call-to-Action(CTA) buttons on their homepage. Let us take a look at each of the variations in turn.

Variation 1

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Variation 2

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Variation 3

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The goal of the test was the number of people who clicked through to their demo and pricing page. Variation 1 increased their CTR by 47%, Variation 2 by 17% and Variation 3 resulted in no improvement.

What does this show? If you push too hard at the beginning, the visitors may feel uncomfortable and leave the site. Especially for a SaaS product, the primary CTA should be demo/trial.

Principle#2: Social Proof

People see what they see others are doing. We are more likely to put money in a collection jar which is half full and buy a product recommended by someone known to us. FietsPunt.nl, a Dutch online biking solutions store, used this principle to run an A/B test on their website. What they did was adding a customer testimonial widget to their product pages. This is how the control and the variation looked.

Control

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Variation

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Comparison Image

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The variation recorded a 36.73% increase in orders and had a 99% chance to beat the original. Needless to say, this was a hugely beneficial test.

Principle#3: Scarcity

The fear of losing out is much more than the joy of winning. This is why salesmen are quick to point out that the ‘special discount’ they are offering is only for a ‘limited period of time’.

RIPT Apparel, an online retailer of designer tees and wearable art, make a new design available every day starting at midnight. This design is available only for 24 hours, post which it is retired for posterity. They tried to use this ‘scarcity hook’ by including it in the text on their CTA button. This is how the control and the variation looked.

Control

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Variation

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The variation resulted in a 6.3% increase in sales. So what do we see here? A company increasing sales – not by changing business models, adding products, giving offers – but just recognizing a persuasion hook and using it to drive more conversions. This is the power of persuasion.

Principle#4: Authority

People tend to believe in figures that exhibit some sense of authority or leadership. This is why pharmaceutical companies use doctors in their marketing campaigns. Or why we are likely to believe a ‘stock market expert’ even though most of what he/she says turns out to be made up.

Bag Servant decided to use this principle in setting up an A/B test on their product pages. In the variation, they replaced the Twitter Followers badge in the header with a relatively rare WOW badge that was presented to them by a renowned business woman.

Control

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Variation

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Comparison image

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As a result of this test, product exploration increased by 60.42%.

Trust badges like the one seen above can be used to radically improve the trust factor of your website.

Principle#5: Liking

Many marketers tend to overlook the fact that people are more likely to be persuaded by people who they can relate with, and therefore, like. That is why advertisements of household appliances prefer to show moms and not celebrities.

Medalia Art, an online art store tried to trigger this principle by replacing the images of the painting with images of the artists themselves. This resulted in an increase in conversion rate of more than 95%.

Control

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Variation

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One way of using this technique is advertising your product through your consumers. Customers today are skeptical and they are more open to word-of-mouth than clichéd advertisements.

Principle#6: Commitment and Consistency

Human beings, in general, have a deep desire to be consistent with their actions. If you’re able to show people that not using your product/service will negatively affect what they most want, they will be more likely to buy from you. This is why you see headlines like ‘Do you want to have 6 pick abs?’ or ‘Do you want a Mercedes in 2 months?’ (Yeah, right)

I have to admit something here. I lied at the beginning of this article. No good test has yet been conducted to see whether Commitment and Consistency really result in increased online conversions. I want to give you this opportunity to show us how you conducted a test based on one of these principles and whether it worked or not. Feel free to comment below.

Author PicAnand Kansal is a Marketer at VWO. He is involved in VWO’s lead generation activities. He is also responsible for creating content offers, including eBooks and blog posts. He is passionate about helping websites increase leads and revenue and loves to read about behavioral psychology and decision science.

 

Why Content Creation Is Everyone’s Job

This post is one in a series of tips designed to guide small business owners through the challenges of today’s startup environment and is sponsored by Canon MAXIFY – the printer lineup designed to help small business owners increase productivity so that they can focus on everything else that matters. For more information about the Canon MAXIFY printer lineup visit here 

Content

photo credit: theledge80 via photopin cc

By now I’m guessing you’ve come to realize that every organization must produce valuable, education based content in order to compete in business today.

It’s what the market expects from you, it’s how you get found, how you build trust, and how you convert knowledge into business and, of course, it’s a lot of work too. Because content creation has become one of the most time consuming and demanding functions inside many organizations, I’m always look for ways to help organization get it done in the most beneficial way.

Many firms have added content creation inside the marketing department and hired writers and journalists in an attempt to feed the content beast. While this is a logical step I believe it misses the real power of content that resides in most organizations.

The need for content has moved beyond a traditional marketing department’s ability to create because the content an organization must produce today represents the voice of an organizations strategic point of view. In other words, content creation must be part of everyone’s job.

You can’t simply hire a marketing specialist and put them in charge of the blog. Marketing, sales, service, even HR, must take part in content creation if a firm is to tap the awesome power this idea brings. In many cases people responsible for many of the customer facing functions have more insight into what customers want and need than the marketing departments often charged with sole creation of an organization’s content.

Content is culture

If content is the voice of an organization to the world then content creation is the voice of culture insider the organization. When everyone in the organization is asked to drive and create content the entire organization participates in the process of engaging customers and prospects.

This level of customer engagement from departments not generally heard from brings a greater sense of collaboration and quite often much more useful and valuable content.

Hold a content workshop

One of the best ways to get this notion started is to hold content workshops internally. This can be a simple quarterly all hands meeting where marketing and business strategy and near term objectives are presented and then every department brainstorms on relevant content they could contribute to support those objectives.

Few things bring departments together like this kind of engagement and participation. Not everyone will be enthused by the notion of being asked to create content, but many will be thankful for the opportunity and feel empowered by the invitation to contribute.

Drive an editorial calendar

The primary outcome of the content workshop is to help form a content calendar. Someone has to be in charge of the calendar and often that job will fall to marketing, but there’s no reason different departments can’t sponsor content based on monthly themes.

It’s also essential that marketing, or a task force charged with owning the editorial calendar, create training and guidelines for creating and posting content and participating in social networks.

With the low cost of high quality printers available these days, creating case studies, industry related pages and training materials has never been easier.

Canon will be spotlighting several small business owners on its social media channels throughout the next several months, so be sure to leave a comment and share your thoughts on this post using the hashtag #MAXIFY in order to qualify. If you are a U.S.-based small business owner (1-9 employees) and have faced a unique business challenge in your first year on the job, let us know! We’d love to hear what line of work your small business falls within and what you feel is the most important takeaway from this post. We’ll also be rewarding select small business owners with a prize pack including the Canon MAXIFY MB5320 printer as well as other essentials to help you run your business more efficiently. So don’t forget to leave a link to your website or social media pages that way we can see how well you’re marketing your business and get in touch!

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