Robert Beno Cialdini was a Professor of Psychology and Marketing at Arizona State University. He is best known for his book from 1984 called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion.

The book explains Cialdini’s theory of influence which is based on the following 6 principals:

  1. reciprocity
  2. commitment and consistency
  3. social proof
  4. authority
  5. liking
  6. scarcity

Although it looks like the book was also written for online marketing, in 1984 when the book was written Internet didn’t exist.


Sean Ellis the “founder” #GrowthHacking wrote a post on the Unbounce blog called How to Use the 6 Principles of Persuasion to Create Landing Pages That Convert in which he described how to use Cialdini’s theory to create better landingpages.

Based on Cialdini’s theory and Sean’s suggestions, I will add idea’s how to use it for the P2P labour exchange for hospitality industry. See more about the background for P2P labour exchange in one of previous post #GrowthHacking for P2P labour exchange.

1. Reciprocity
[Cialdini] People tend to return a favor, thus the pervasiveness of free samples in marketing. In his conferences, he often uses the example of Ethiopia providing thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid to Mexico just after the 1985 earthquake, despite Ethiopia suffering from a crippling famine and civil war at the time. Ethiopia had been reciprocating for the diplomatic support Mexico provided when Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935. The good cop/bad cop strategy is also based on this principle.

[Sean Ellis] The principle of reciprocity is based on the idea that people’s natural instinct is to return a favor.

[Sean Ellis] How to use the principle of reciprocity on your landing page:

  • Give something away for free first.
  • Offer great value in exchange for the visitor’s commitment.

If we translate it for P2P labour exchange in the hospitality industry, here are some suggestions to give away:

  • guide for working or better get more tips in the hospitality industry (app, video or some other way that is easy to consume).

2. Commitment and Consistency
[Cialdini] If people commit, orally or in writing, to an idea or goal, they are more likely to honor that commitment because of establishing that idea or goal as being congruent with their self-image. Even if the original incentive or motivation is removed after they have already agreed, they will continue to honor the agreement.

[Sean Ellis] People take a lot of pride in being true to their word. Cialdini suggests that both oral and written commitments are powerful persuasive techniques and that people tend to honor agreements even after the original incentive or motivation is no longer present.

[Sean Ellis] How to use the principle of commitment and consistency on your landing page:

  • Ask for a very small commitment upfront.
  • Break up your “asks” into manageable steps.

Suggestions to use Commitment and Consistency for the for P2P labour exchange:

  • pre-subscription for flex employees before starting
  • pre-subscription for restaurants but without commitment before starting. It can also be in the form of email list or Social Media subscription even given by mouth but then it needs to be confirmed same day.

3. Social Proof
[Cialdini] People will do things that they see other people are doing. For example, in one experiment, one or more confederates would look up into the sky; bystanders would then look up into the sky to see what they were seeing. At one point this experiment aborted, as so many people were looking up that they stopped traffic. See conformity, and the Asch conformity experiments.

[Sean Ellis] Social proof relies on the idea that, in moments of uncertainty, people naturally do things they see others doing.

[Sean Ellis] How to use the principle of social proof on your landing page:

  • Use convincing testimonials from people who are similar to your target customer.
  • Use badges to highlight popular product and pricing choices.

And some idea’s for Social Proof in the P2P labour exchange:

  • make a list of subscribers for the restaurants. Try to show the closest restaurants directly visible on the subscription page
  • give an incentive to flexworker if he or she shares the fact that she subscribed or did a good job

4. Authority
[Cialdini] People will tend to obey authority figures, even if they are asked to perform objectionable acts.

[Sean Ellis] In his book, Cialdini notes that people tend to obey authority figures – even when asked to perform objectionable acts. As an example of this, he cites the infamous Milgram experiments in which subjects essentially torture another person with electric shocks simply because they’re told to do so by an authority figure. This tendency to respect authority figures is frequently leveraged in the sale of everything from shoes to toothpaste.

[Sean Ellis] How to use the principle of authority on your landing page:

  • Use an authority figure respected by your visitors (generic or not) to get visitor to take action.
  • Cite and reference experts and trusted institutions.

And for the P2P labour exchange (don’t worry we are not going to torture 🙂

  • Get recommendations from famous restaurant owners to use the P2P labour exchange
  • Get teachers from Flexworkers advice their students to participate

5. Liking
[Cialdini] People are easily persuaded by other people that they like. Cialdini cites the marketing of Tupperware in what might now be called viral marketing. People were more likely to buy if they liked the person selling it to them. Some of the many biases favoring more attractive people are discussed. See physical attractiveness stereotype.
[Sean Ellis] According to Cialdini, Tupperware parties (Influence was, after all, published in the ‘80s…) are evidence of the fact that people are more likely to buy if they like the person selling to them. This law includes biases toward people who are more attractive.

Aside from simply including visuals of attractive people (which doesn’t make sense for every product), this principle can be one of the hardest to pull off in an online environment. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the principle of liking to improve landing page conversions.

[Sean Ellis] How to use the principle of liking on your landing page:

  • Use images of friendly people who belong to the same demographics as your site visitors.
  • Use conversional copy that speaks your visitors’ language.
  • Relate to your visitor so they feel like they’re with people just like them.

And what about the P2P labour exchange:

  • try to use real pictures in a Facebook widget that shows the friends that already like you for flexworkers
  • organize the Tupperware parties for flexworkers

6. Scarcity
[Cialdini] Perceived scarcity will generate demand. For example, saying offers are available for a “limited time only” encourages sales.

[Sean Ellis] According to Cialdini, scarcity (whether actual or merely perceived) generates demand and thus compels customers to act quickly. The abundance of “limited time offers” and the inclusion of expiration dates on vouchers and coupon codes seems to support this.

[Sean Ellis]How to use the principle of scarcity on your landing page:

  • Make offers limited in terms of time or quantity.
  • Use countdown clocks to draw on people’s fear of missing out.

for the P2P labour exchange in the hospitality industry:

  • limited offer connected to neighbor restaurants.

If you have more suggestions to create landingspages for the P2P labour exchange in the hospitality industry then let me know.

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