Persuasion in Marketing: 15 Persuasive Techniques to Apply Today

Author: Geoff Ronning


Want to get better results from your marketing? If so, then there are a variety of different ways to apply persuasion to your marketing messages. In this post, we’re going to look at 15 persuasive techniques you can use to boost your marketing efforts. Depending on your industry, business, product, service, or other goals, one or more of these techniques will be applicable to your marketing.

1. Build Anticipation

Whether you are about to launch a new blog post, ebook, lead magnet, product, service, or webinar, the first persuasive technique you can use is to build anticipation. You don’t just want to spring something new on your audience and make them decide if it’s something they want right at that moment. Instead, start your marketing efforts by piquing their interest. Share some teasers before you make a big announcement. If you’re not sure how to do it, just take the lead from the movies and major brands. No one just releases a movie or a new product. They all get people hyped up through short yet memorable messaging. Do the same for your next launch. Get people excited about it so that by the time you launch, they are biting at the chomps to consume.

2. Offer Reciprocity

Do you know why so many people share such great information for free in blog posts, ebooks, lead magnets, and other forms of content? Because reciprocity is a strong persuasive technique. It basically says that when someone does something for you, you will want to do something for them in return. In the business world, this means that the more free stuff you give someone, the more indebted that person feels to you. So when you pitch them your product or service, they are more than willing to buy into it because they already feel like they owe you for the great information you have given them so far. This is why creating highly-informative automated webinars for your business is a winning marketing strategy. Throughout the webinar, you are giving value to your attendees. At the end of the webinar, they should feel the need to reciprocate by making a purchase so they have paid for the value they have received already along with the value they will receive from their purchase,

3. Be Likable

Think about the last time you were asked to do something for someone. Did the fact that you did or didn’t like them play into your decision? If so, then use that as a lesson in why you need to be likable. It’s a lot easier for someone to say yes to someone who is likable than to someone who is not likable. Make sure that while you are building your personal or professional brand that you make it a likable one. Be easy to approach. Easy to understand. Easy to connect with.

4. Tap into Emotions

Have you noticed that a lot of commercials, sales pages, and ads tell a story? The story of someone just like you who had a problem similar to one that you have. A problem that caused them to suffer. But then they found the solution to that problem, and it changed their lives. That’s how you tap into emotions to persuade people into consuming the thing you want to sell them. Get them emotionally involved with your content, your products, or your services. If you can make people feel like your solution is the one that will change their situation, then your’s is the one they are going to buy into.

5. Incite Controversy

Nothing gets people’s emotions on tap like controversy. While it’s a tough line to balance, if you can find the right way to get controversy into your marketing, you can attract an audience that is not only going to be pulled into your marketing, but also an audience who is going to talk about it wherever they go. Controversy regarding your competitors is something a lot of businesses like to tap into. Local dentists let people know they didn’t like to hunt when Walter Parson’s received national outrage for his extracurricular activities. Hosting companies created “we love elephants” discounts and messaging to flow with the outrage Bob Parsons of GoDaddy received when he went elephant hunting. This is why you need to monitor the news for your competitors. When one gets in trouble, not matter what the reason, you will likely find a hotbed of new customers willing to come to you if you jump on the controversial bandwagon as your competitor’s opposition.

6. Appeal to Logic

If you are less about emotions and more about logic in your business, use that as a part of your marketing persuasion. It’s hard to argue with logic, and if your customers can’t argue with your offer, they will find it hard to refuse. For example, everyone needs toothpaste. So how do you make sure your brand is the one that most people choose? Make sure yours is the one recommended by the American Dental Association. Logically, who can argue with a recommendation by the organization of dental health? Not selling toothpaste? Then find out who the authorities are in your industry and find a way to be endorsed by them. That will ensure that your business’s solutions are the ones that are the logical choices in your industry.

7. Denounce Enemies

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to form a bond with someone through mutual dislike? That can be applied to your marketing. When you are communicating with your audience, it’s important to denounce the enemies you have in common. For example, if you were selling search engine optimization services, you can easily denounce the big-bad Google for their changes in rules that make it even harder for small businesses to get traffic from search engines without having to pay for advertising. The result is small business owners will agree with you that Google is making things difficult on them. They will feel like you really understand their troubles, and they will trust you to help them fight the common enemy together through the use of your services. Instead of feeling making them feel like you are their service provider, you will make them feel like you are their partner in crime.

8. Counter Objections

To persuade someone to do something, you have to get past the roadblocks in their mind about it. Those objections may be myths or they may be factual. They may feel like something is going to be too hard to implement, when the reality is that it wouldn’t be. They may feel like something is too expensive, when the reality is that it will save them more in the long run. If you have been selling something for a while, you will likely gotten a lot of your customer’s common objections through pre-sales emails and phone calls. Answer those as a part of your marketing message. Persuade people by letting them know they can, in fact, benefit from your products and services. That any investment they make will be recouped when they have implemented your product or your advice.

9. Tell Hard Truths

Marketing isn’t always roses and rainbows. Sometimes, you have to be the bad cop in your marketing by telling people the hard stuff. No one wants to hear that the reason they are having a tough time is because it’s their fault. But by letting them know that, you are putting the ball in their corner. Let’s say that you sold an exercise solution, whether it is a book, video, or class. Let people know that there is a solution to them getting in shape, and the only reason they are not getting in shape right now is because they have not decided to make the decision to get in shape. The solution is right in front of them. All they have to do is take advantage of it.

10. Show Proof

Of course, you can’t blame people for not taking advantage of something if there is no proof to back it up. This is why you need solid proof to share with your potential customers. This proof should come in the form of specific numbers from specific clients. Testimonials from real people using their real names and faces. Photos from real customers showing the before and after. Stories from real customers telling the before and after. If you don’t have this kind of proof just yet, you can start by being your own customer. Use yourself as a case study. Alternatively, find some people you trust to try your product or service in exchange for them giving their review of it. Once you have the proof, the persuasion will be simpler.

11. Get Endorsements

Not everyone knows a celebrity, but most people know a celebrity in their industry. If you don’t have concrete proof for the things you are marketing, or you simply want to amp up the affect of your marketing, getting endorsements from celebrities in your industry is the way to go. You can start by looking through your emails, testimonials, recommendations, or other communications to see if any big names have given you their seal of approval in any way. If it’s directly linked to your promotion, such as an endorsement for the product or service you are selling, that is perfect. If not, make it an endorsement for how you or your business is qualified to offer the product or service.

12. Tell Stories

Stories are one of the most powerful ways we can communicate.  When we communicate through stories we are tapping into a built in power that has been based on thousands of years of history. Since the beginning of time humans have relied on the power of stories to both entertain as well as teach. When we utilize stories we are benefitting from that history.   You can use stories for all different purposes including to break through objections, inspire, present testimonials, teach, etc. No power is as easy to use or as powerful as the power of storytelling. 

13. Assert Authority

Your marketing should be focused mostly on your customers. When you talk about products or services, you shouldn’t talk about features but about benefits. The only time you should make marketing about you is when you are at the stage of asserting your authority. For example, whether you are selling a course, a book, or a service, you want to establish yourself as an authority in your market. What makes you the person to trust to deliver the product or service? If you’re the most knowledgeable, then where did you get your training? If you’re the most recommended, then who do you get your recommendations from? Assert your authority through credible sources when possible. This is the part of your marketing where you drop specific names: certifications, celebrity endorsements, media spotlights, testimonials from other recognized names in your industry, etc. Don’t be shy or humble. Persuade by making it known that you are the person or business to turn to.

14. Promote Scarcity

Think about the popular expression FOMO (fear of missing out). It’s popular because it’s true – no one wants to miss out on anything. This is why urgency in marketing is one of the best persuasion techniques. If someone thinks it’s their last chance to buy something (either for a long time or forever), they are going to take a little less time to really weigh other options and overall, they will have less time to talk themselves out making the decision. Scarcity comes in all forms. You can say that you’re closing the doors to your course in a number of days. You can say that there is a limited supply of your product, and once it’s gone, it’s gone. You can say that there is a limited-time bonus that is only for the first 50 customers or the first week of the sale. In short, make something scarce. Whether it’s the full product or service you’re selling, or just a feature or bonus, make it something that only early action takers can get. That will increase your marketing effectiveness.

15. Create Urgency

If you’re not a fan of scarcity, go with urgency persuasion instead. This allows you to keep selling your product or service indefinitely, but makes the buyer feel they have to buy it sooner than later. For example, if you have listed out the main benefit of your product or service, remind people that the longer they wait to make a purchase, the longer it will be before they can feel the satisfaction of having that benefit. And the longer they wait, the more people will experience it before them. Alternatively, if it’s not something that provides satisfaction, but something that provides a life-changing benefit, like better health, a fatter wallet, or similar, make that a part of your urgency. Tell your customers that they can’t afford to wait any longer to purchase your product or service. That the longer they wait, the longer they will stay unhealthy or stay broke. And since you are so special, how about a bonus one…

16. Remain Persistent

Marketing is not a one-time effort. If someone doesn’t consume your content or make a purchase, you can’t give up on them. Persistence is persuasion. Maybe they are not ready to buy today. Maybe they are not ready to buy next week. But once they have seen lots of great information coming from you over the long haul, they will get to the point that they are ready. All you have to do is make sure that you are there in their inbox, on their Facebook news feed, or in their Google search results when they are ready. If you can do that through persistency, then you will be able to persuade them to choose your product or service when the time is right.

In Conclusion

While these are not all of the persuasive techniques out there, these are some of the easiest to explain and some of the most proven. Find the ones that fit best with your business’s goals, mission, products, and services. Then start implementing them throughout your marketing strategy, both online and off. What are your favorite persuasion techniques?