Cialdini's 7 principles:
influencing human behavior

For every marketer, the challenge is: how can I capture my target audience's attention and convert it into valuable conversions? An approach that is gaining increasing recognition is based on Cialdini's principles. Are you familiar with these 7 guidelines? 

March 7, 2024
Rik van den Buijs

What are Cialdini's 7 principles?

Cialdini's principles are psychological guidelines developed by Dr. Robert Cialdini to influence human behavior. These guidelines offer valuable insights into consumer behavior and are based on fundamental human instincts. Essential in marketing, these principles encompass seven strategies, each designed to uniquely move consumers to action. Below we explain the principles. 

1. Reciprocity: the beginning of mutual exchange

The principle of reciprocity implies that people tend to return kindness with kindness. In an online context, this can be applied by offering value before asking for something in return. Examples include giving away a product for free, offering an exclusive deal, or sharing valuable information. By creating a sense of mutual connection, you increase the likelihood that visitors will want to engage with your business and ultimately convert. 

2. Scarcity: create urgency

The feeling of scarcity can be a powerful motivator for taking action. By emphasizing that a product or service is limited in availability, you create a sense of urgency. Visitors feel compelled to act quickly to secure the desired value. Limited edition products, temporary offers, or exclusive access are examples of how scarcity can be applied to boost conversions. 

3. Authority: build trust

People tend to trust authority figures. By highlighting your expertise, such as certifications or partnerships with well-known figures in your industry, you build credibility. Visitors are more likely to convert when they feel they are dealing with a trustworthy and knowledgeable source. 

4. Consistency: anchor commitment

Consistency is key to building engagement. By getting people to make small commitments, such as signing up for newsletters or completing surveys, you anchor their commitment to your brand and business. This increases the likelihood that they will take larger steps in the future, such as making purchases or sharing your content. 

5. Liking: connect on an emotional level

People are more likely to convert when they feel an emotional connection. The principle of liking emphasizes the importance of building positive relationships. By sharing human stories, showing empathy, and using a friendly tone, you increase the chance that visitors will feel connected and want to support your mission. 

6. Social proof: follow the crowd

People look to the behavior of others to determine what is socially acceptable or valuable. Social proof leverages this instinct and encourages actions by showing what others are doing. Displaying testimonials, reviews, or user-generated content can enhance credibility and influence behavior. 

7. Unity: create a community

People long for unity, which can be based on shared values, interests, or even common locations. Feeling part of a community is essential. In the marketing world, emphasizing this sense of togetherness can increase conversions by building trust, fostering recognition, and creating an emotional bond. 


Cialdini's principles highlight essential psychological insights for conversion-focused digital marketing. From reciprocity to unity, these principles offer a blueprint to influence consumer behavior. By providing value, creating urgency, building trust, promoting consistency, fostering emotional connections, applying social proof, and emphasizing a sense of unity, marketers can develop effective strategies to increase engagement and drive conversions.

Understanding these principles opens the door to an effective approach to online business and marketing, with a focus on human behavior. Do you want more information? Fill in the form below. 

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