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Trevor Hatfield3/13/15 4:39 PM4 min read

Tap into the Power of Instant Decision-Making with Inbound Marketing


Picture this: Your daughter finally brings home her new boyfriend Jimmy, and whether it’s his greasy hair or his limp-fish handshake, you don’t like him. Instantly.

Now, you don’t know Jimmy’s GPA or that he spends every weekend volunteering at the local animal shelter – in fact, there’s a lot you don’t know. But, you feel your assessment is solid (and it probably is). That’s because people make shortcuts all the time when making decisions. We use “Rules of Thumb,” gut instincts, and intuition to make decisions all day long.

How can Inbound Marketers tap into that Instant Decision-Making to generate leads and increase conversion rate optimization? Dr. Cialdini practically wrote the book on the subject.

6 Totally Brilliant Ways Inbound Marketing Can Use Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence

In 1984, Dr. Cialdini published a book called “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion,” in which he outlined his 6 Principles of Influence.

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Authority
  4. Consistency
  5. Liking
  6. Consensus

Understanding these decision-making shortcuts increases the odds that leads will buy – when used correctly. Keep in mind that Inbound Marketing encompasses Blogging, Social Media, Giveaways, Calls to Action, and Branding – which can all be used with Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Influence to increase sales and make happy, repeat customers.

Let’s take reciprocity, for example.


The idea behind Reciprocity is that when we get something, we feel obligated to give something in return.

The Reciprocity principle, when used in Marketing, includes Free samples, giveaways, and most powerfully, free estimates. People love getting things for free, but what they often don’t realize is the sense of obligation that comes with the freebies. It really is better to give than to receive!

Totally Brilliant Way to Use Reciprocity in Marketing: Offer free estimates when possible, and run giveaway campaigns offering something “for free” to increase newsletter signups, Facebook followers, etc.


Scarcity is the classic “Only 5 Left!” or “On Sale For A Limited Time Only!” – If something is scarce, or rare, or soon to be unavailable, we want it more. Therefore, put a time limit on your deals, and offer special “This Weekend Only” sales. In your marketing materials (blogs, landing pages, banner ads), highlight what is unique about this deal, and what customers stand to lose if they don’t “Buy Now.”

Totally Brilliant Way to Create Scarcity in Marketing: Modcloth is a great example of the Scarcity principle in action –when dresses that users have saved on their Wish Lists are almost out of stock, they send emails reminding them to purchase before the dress is “gone forever.” Gets me every time.


The Authority principle is the idea that people will follow the lead of credible, knowledgeable experts. Authority in Marketing: Inbound Marketing is all about helping you gain authority in your industry through proving your expertise on your website, blog posts, Social Media and marketing efforts. By consistently answering users’ questions with your unique knowledge, you become their trusted expert.

Totally Brilliant Way To Set Yourself Up As The Authority: People will be more likely to trust you as the authority on your subject if someone else with authority suggests they should. Start networking with other bloggers in similar fields and ask to write guest posts for them, or pay them to write a guest post about you.


The Consistency principle is that people will be more likely to act in ways they’ve acted before.

Here’s what Consistency looks like in marketing: Have you visited a website that requires you to enter your email address just to look at it? It’s a small act that takes 2 seconds, so you do it. Now they’ve got your email address, and when a deal comes in that piques your interest, you click. That’s two actions you’ve taken already, which makes the third action – to buy – statistically more likely to occur.

Totally Brilliant Way To Create Consistency: Along the buy cycle, ask for small actions. An email signup here, a simple survey there. The more “yeses” you get, the more likely you’ll be to get the client in the end.


People prefer to say “YES!” to those they like. Who do we like? We like people who are similar to us, we like compliments, and, we like people who cooperate with us towards a common goal.

Totally Brilliant Way To Make People Like You: Know your audience – who are they? What do they value? What do they like? Mirror them. You don’t see supermodels selling house cleaning supplies on commercials, do you? No! They use actresses who are imperfect, casual, friendly, and well, mom-like. A great Inbound Marketing company starts with learning who your clients are so we can get them to like you.


When you’re not sure whether to book your spa appointment at Eucalyptus Day Spa or the Smitten Kitten Nail Salon & Spa, what do you do? You look on Yelp to see which has the best user reviews. Most likely, you’ll go with the consensus – because there’s safety in numbers. 

Totally Brilliant Way To Show Consensus: Post user reviews of your products on the product pages themselves – but don’t use “testimonials.” Let users post their own reviews (subject to your behind-the-scenes approval) and you’ll gain trust and possibly some very important feedback. Another great way to show consensus is to encourage clients to post pictures of themselves using your products.

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Trevor Hatfield

Trevor Hatfield is the founder of Inturact and strives to create highly tuned marketing machines for their clients websites, products, and apps. While also constantly keeping up with technology and building a team of multifaceted and dedicated professionals.