The explosion of the online market has made the way for digital marketing to be effective when grabbing your consumer’s attention, especially when executed with a knowledge of psychology. By applying the psychological science of persuasion, small businesses can target their markets through theories of persuasion and influence.

1. Amplification Hypothesis

When talking with another person, displaying a certainty about an attitude will harden and increase that attitude. The opposite is true as well: when the attitude displayed is more uncertain, it will soften the attitude. Therefore expressing certainty is key when attracting consumers to your company.

2. Conversion Theory

In society, the minority in groups can have a disproportionate effect on influencing those in the majority. Typically, many individuals in the majority group are not strong believers in its cause, so may be going along with an opinion because it seems easier. Therefore, using consistency, confident minority voices or arguments are most effective to benefit your website or company image.

3. Information Manipulation Theory

In order to persuade or deceive,misinformation this theory involves a person deliberately breaking one of the following four conversational maxims. There are three :

Quality: Information is truthful and accurate.
Quantity: Information is complete and full.
Manner: Information is presented in an easy-to-understand way and aligned with non-verbal language.

4. Priming


Priming is providing a stimulus that can influence an individual’s short-term actions and thoughts. In effect, in your SME, priming effects bring new things and thoughts to the surface of the subconscious. The effect of priming lasts for around 24 hours.

5. Reciprocity Norm

A very common social norm, indicating that we are obliged to return favors done by others after they have given/done something for you. This norm is incredibly powerful in marketing influencing and persuasion, which can be seen in marketing techniques when freebies are given.

6. Scarcity Principle


What you want now is in short supply. This desire increases as you anticipate the regret you may feel if you have missed out by not acting fast enough on your desires. An example of this is buying airline tickets online that use an inherent fear of missing out on a good deal to persuade you to buy the tickets sooner rather than later and investing time and energy in this kind of marketing is likely to be cost-effective.

7. Sleeper Effect

Persuasive messages have the impact to decrease in persuasiveness over time. However, the sleeper effect predicts that messages from low-credibility sources gain persuasion as our minds slowly disassociate the source from the material. An example of this is a sleazy car salesman and his advice on which car to buy; which is an important theory to be aware of when advertising your products.

8. Social Influence

Social influence is the change in behavior that one person causes in another, whether it is unintentional or not. As a result, we are influenced based on how we perceive our relationship to that person, and/or society in general. For example, using social media to branch out and persuade consumers to use your company is effective, especially if you are sharing recommendations and testimonials from authoritative sources or big brands.

9. Yale Attitude Change Approach

This research from Yale University, which is a psychological theory of persuasion found a number of factors in a persuasive speech over a number of years. To persuade your target audience, a few of these factors include: being a credible, attractive speaker, presenting both sides of the argument and distracting the audience off topic during the persuasion.

10. Ultimate Terms

Within each culture, there are words that have special meaning and carry more power than others. This theory separates persuasive words into three categories:

  • ‘God’ terms: carry blessing and or demand obedience, e.g. value, progress.
  • ‘Devil’ terms: evoke disgust, e.g. fascist, pedophile.
  • ‘Charismatic’ terms: Unlike ‘God’ and ‘Devil’ terms, they are associated with observation, e.g. contribution, freedom.

Using these ultimate terms in your small business will enhance its web development while ensuring the targeted consumers are affected.