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Over the past few years, I’ve written scores of posts dealing with online persuasion. Often, when I’m asked to make recommendations for improving a page’s performance, I’ll refer back to these posts (or at least the principles behind them) as a kind of checklist of potential techniques.

Since I’ve found this “checklist” helpful, I thought you might too. So here’s an abbreviated (more manageable) version.


Before you can persuade anyone, you first have to appear trustworthy. Here’s a link to a complete Trustworthiness Checklist.

Read also about Three Levels of Trust


Persuasion Techniques


When someone does us a favor, we feel a strong impulse to pay it back. Read about the Principle of Reciprocation.


We’re more likely to be persuaded by people we like. And the people we like best of all are people who are just like us! See how to look and act like your target group.


Sometimes it’s better to offer limited choice, rather than confusing customers with too much choice. Read about decide-o-phobia.


As things become less available, they become more desirable. Read about Scarcity.

High Price Equals Good

We tend to assume that expensive products are superior to cheap ones. Read about High Price Equals Good.

Public Written Statements

Once we’ve publicly come out in support of a position, we feel much more committed to it. Read about Public Written Statements.

Reasons for Requests

We’re much more likely to agree to a request if we’re told why we’re being asked. See Reasons for Requests.

Power of Free

We often find “free” offers irresistible, sometimes to an irrational degree. Read about the Power of Free.

Contrast Principle

We don’t like to make decisions in a vacuum. We prefer to compare and contrast products with others. See how to use the Contrast Principle

Social Proof

When deciding how to act, we often look to see what others are doing, then follow suit. Read about Social Proof.

Obedience to Authority

When told to do something by someone in authority, we tend to obey. See more about Obedience to Authority


Also helpful: Generally getting to know how people think

The Barnum Effect

Cognitive Biases

Cognitive Dissonance

Three basic human goals that motivate your customers

Is this really okay?

If you want to ensure you’re using your persuasive powers for a good cause, you might also want to consider the ethics of online persuasion.