6 Persuasion Secrets Every Affiliate Marketer Should Know

Use Persuasion with Affiliate MarketingPersuasion is the primary goal of any affiliate marketing campaign.

You’re trying to convince a total stranger to pay for something – Solely based on your opinion.

With affiliate marketing your goal is to influence people.  You’re basically trying to control the way they think and act.

That’s why it’s important to use the persuasion techniques described in Influence by Robert Cialdini.

In this book, Cialdini talks about the six ways to influence people:

  1.  Reciprocation
  2.  Commitment and Consistency
  3. Liking
  4. Social Proof
  5. Authority
  6. Scarcity

You can apply this information in a number of ways.  Today we’ll talk about how to use these persuasion tactics with your affiliate offers. Ultimately, these techniques will lead to more clicks and more sales.  So pay close attention!

I’ll cover each influencer; plus I’ll provide a specific example from a fictional affiliate marketer in the “fitness for men” niche:

[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]1.   Reciprocation[/title]

Helping a person is a powerful way to influence their behavior.  Give something away and people feel like they should return the favor.

With affiliate marketing, reciprocation is done by offering value up front – And not asking anything in return.

You do this by giving away a no-strings-attached article, report, or video that solves a niche-related problem.    Do this enough and your followers will pay close attention to your content.  This teaches them to check out any affiliate offer you recommend.


[quote type=”medium” align=”left”]…and here’s a video that shows seven abdominal exercises you can do at home.  The great thing about this regimen is it easily fits into any busy schedule.

Oh yeah…this is 100% pure content.  It’s my way of saying thanks for being a loyal subscriber.  Here’s the link: http://www.yourfreeabsvideolink.com


[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]2.   Commitment and Consistency [/title]

We all want to feel special.  Nobody thinks they’re selfish, stupid, uncaring, lazy or boring.  Get someone to agree they possess a good trait and you can make them do something because it “fits” this characteristic.

How does this work with affiliate marketing?

You issue a challenge to a certain type of person (hard workers, go-getters, smart, etc.) and say ONLY these people should buy a recommended product.

This technique is a great way to increase affiliate sales.  That’s because people want to have others think they have good qualities – Even when they don’t.


[quote type=”medium” align=”left”]

…This fitness boot camp is only for those guys who are willing to work hard to get into the best shape of their lives.  Your days will be spent shedding a lot of blood, sweat, tears…and perhaps a few body parts.

What this means is it’s NOT for lazy, half-hearted men who cry for their momma when the going gets tough.

So ONLY click this link if you’re up to the challenge: http://www.yourtoughbadassfitnessprogram.com


[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]3.   Social Proof[/title]

We look to others to for how to act in certain situations.  If a thousand people like a product, then it must be good.  Social proof gets people to do something by showing how it’s benefited others.

Use social proof by providing testimonials and talking about the results people have achieved.  This can be done by telling stories or giving specific numbers/facts.  The trick is to let followers know that others have taken action on the link you provide.


[quote type=”medium” align=”left”]…As of today, 1267 guys have read this home workout report. So far, the response has been incredible!  One dude just told me it was the “best step-by-step workout regiment” he’s ever tried (His words.)

Over a thousand “action takers” have downloaded this report.  Isn’t it time you did the same?

Here’s the link:  http://www.youractiontakerworkoutreport.com


[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]4.   Liking [/title]

Liking is a powerful way to influence people.  When we like someone; we’ll go that extra mile to help them.  Think of your close friends.  I bet you’d do a lot for them if they needed you!

Liking is established over an extended period of time.  You achieve it by cultivating a friendship and showcasing a personality.

Talk to people like you’re having a normal conversation over a beer.   Even better – Tell stories and be funny as you write the affiliate offer.  Both are great ways to show a genuine personality.


[quote type=”medium” align=”left”]I’d like to begin today with a quick story…

When I decided to get in shape at 40, I did what any red-blooded man would do – Hit the weight room.

Boy was I in for a surprise!

I quickly realized how weak I had become over the last two decades.

I’m talking about “getting sand kicked in your face on the beach” kind of weak.

In fact, I couldn’t life more than one plate on each weight machine.

To add to my embarrassment, every time I’d finish a rep, the plate made a loud clanging sound as it came down.  So basically my “workout” went like this:

1st Rep


2nd Rep


3rd Rep



The gym was full of guys who regularly bench press small elephants and they were all staring at me.  Some were trying not to laugh.  Others weren’t so kind.

Anyway, the reason I mention this story today is…


[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]5.   Authority[/title]

Authority is one of the best ways to get people to purchase an affiliate offer.  It’s influential because everyone likes to buy from a trusted source.

Establishing authority is another long-term process.  It starts by offering valuable content that showcases your expertise.  Then it’s increased through a series of multimedia content that answers many niche-related questions.  Finally it’s reinforced by reminding people of your experiences with a certain market (ie: Showing your credentials.)


[quote type=”medium” align=”left”]…As you’ve heard me mention before, I’m kinda obsessed with finding the PERFECT home workout regimen.  I’ve tried 23 different products.  And I’ve read over 50 books on the subject.  Plus I’ve personally spent over a thousand hours trying different exercises.

That’s why I can honestly say I’ve NEVER found a program that works as well as Jim Bob’s Stupidly Awesome Home Workout System:



[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]6.   Scarcity [/title]

Last, but definitely not least, is scarcity.  This is the biggest influencer of them all.  You can literally print money on demand simply by threatening to take something away.

It’s often been said that most people spend their lives doing things out of a fear of loss rather than a desire for gain.  Use this knowledge wisely and you’ll do very well with affiliate marketing!

My advice is to make scarcity your secret weapon.  It’s that final push to make followers take action.

You can use scarcity in a variety of ways:  Set a time deadline, limit the quantity of product, increase the price on a certain date or offer bonuses to an exact number of people.

Scarcity is powerful when used sparingly.  Once in awhile create motivation by telling followers they’re missing out on something.   Nobody wants to lose out on an opportunity.


[quote type=”medium” align=”left”]

…I’ve sent this email to 78,901 guys on my fitness list.  But there are only 50 spots available for this fitness boot camp.  Do the math.  You have to act quickly if you want in.  Go now to sign up before someone else takes your spot:



[title color=”green-vibrant” align=”scmgccenter” font=”verdana” style=”normal” size=”scmgc-2em”]Using the Six Affiliate Marketing Influencers[/title]

These six influencers are important to the success of any affiliate marketing campaign.

Every endorsement should use (at least) one of these principles.  Think carefully about how it influences the reader.

Are you establishing authority?  Do you want to use social proof?  What action do you want subscribers to take?

Knowing how an affiliate offer is persuasive makes it much easier to create.

Questions?  Comments?

Respond below…

Take Action. Get Results.

24 thoughts on “6 Persuasion Secrets Every Affiliate Marketer Should Know”

  1. Very good advice here, Steve! I think the best way to be a successful affiliate marketer is to just provide people with MASSIVE value for FREE. If you do that enough, people will literally be ASKING how they can repay you. Help people first – make money as a result!

    • Thanks for the comment Thomas. I absolutely have to agree. MASSIVE vaule is essential! It is all about differentiating yourself from the teeming masses

  2. Hey Steve, great examples.

    Funny this post came up… I’m actually in the process of going through that book for a second time and writing out my own insights every time something new strikes me.

    @thomas @dave — There are a lot of people providing value but not being heard. You need great marketing to get notice, and great value to be sustained.

    • Thanks for the comment Derek,

      It is funny how some ideas just have a “time” when everyone is thinking about them. Good ideas never get out of date!

  3. Excellent tips and guidelines that you’ve shared. I especially enjoyed the read due to your personal experiences that you’ve mentioned along with the advice. This made for a great read with valuable and viable information.

    • I totally agree with free stuff… People love value!

      Scarcity, though, while valuable and a good tactic is one tha I think sometimes gets over used.

      Regardless though, they all have their time and places.

  4. Steve, Robert’s book is great. I do use some of these influencers but not often enough. Thanks for the reminder and from my experience scarcity is one of the most powerful influencer.

  5. Loved the post! I think the best thing is Reciprocation, unless you reciprocate you cannot create a brand awareness. Things have become so Viral now a days that unless you communicate and reciprocate, it is difficult to survive!

  6. Hey Steve,

    This reminds me about the book called “Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation” – what you’re saying is a little different, but the triggers to fascinate can be used in affiliate marketing as well.

    The triggers in this book are:

    1. Lust
    2. Mystique
    3. Alarm
    4. Prestige
    5. Power
    6. Vice
    7. Trust

    What I see most in affiliate marketing is lust and mystique and power, but I believe that trust is the most important one.

    • Jens,

      YOu are right, there is a lot of similarity there.

      I would also say those triggers are good for analyzing what and why people will buy from you. After all they pretty well encompass everything most people are looking for.

  7. Hi Steve,
    very good points. And I think, that they are more universal – we can apply them not only to affiliate marketing, but also to another parts of our business life.
    We must also remember, that each person has different needs…
    BR, Chris

    • Chris,

      Absolutely. They are very universal, and like you pointed out, they run the gamut and will be effective for different types of people. Used together they will give just about everyone the “hook” they are looking for.

  8. These are the essence of persuasion! Thanks for giving example for each technique. I think if we have read enough email, we will see the patterns in some of the great email marketers 🙂 I love to collect these email as my swipe file as they will come in handy when I need to use them.


  9. Hi Steve,

    Great post. This question isn’t entirely related to your post, but still somewhat on topic. I’m just about to get started with your No B.S. course. I know that listbuilding is a huge part of what you do, so I was just wondering, in terms of profit/subscriber, how much is each subscriber worth per month to you on average?

    So if your list is 5000 people, how much would you expect to make from your subscriber base? Over the years, I’ve heard that $1/subscriber/month is the target, but that sounds a bit high to me. Just running through a few goal setting exercises, with a goal of $2k/month from my list in the health niche. What would be your target number of subscribers for this income level?


    • Mike,

      Actually I have heard the 1$ per year per customer. Which would be signifcantly lower. But that is also a number I personally do better than (Maybe 2-3+ $ per customer per year).

      The thing is that MOST of the sale you will make from a new member of any list are going to be front loaded to the first month…since that is likely when they have the most interest.

      Thinking in terms of each customer being worth 1 dollar in sales is not a bad measurement, though. It gives a good ballpark.

      • Steve,

        Thanks for the quick response:)

        Wow! $1/year/customer? So, if I wanted to make an extra $2k/month…I’d need a list of approx 24,000 subscribers? Even if I was able to get 10subs/day, that means it would take almost 7 years, or just over 3 years if I could get 20subs/day. Don’t you think that per subscriber is a bit low?

        Leads me to my next question – If you were shooting for $2k/month…how many subscribers would you set as your benchmark? Sorry for all the questions…just getting started with listbuilding, so 10k, 24k, etc seems a bit daunting and far away at this point.

        Keep up the great content!


  10. You know i am kind of amateur on these stuff but i will agree that providing free info people will pay the double after the see what is all about!

  11. SS,
    GREAT post. I actually had one burning a long time ago in the back of my head on the same book! Was a great read. I’ll tell you one I enjoyed even more (I think because it seemed to be more updated, etc) was “Yes”50 Scientifically proven ways to be persuasive. By Cialdini, Noah Goldstein, and Steve J. Martin. Really good book. Add to the “to read” list…if you haven’t already. 😉

  12. Influence looks like a book I must check out! looks like a good read. Giving value to as many people as possible is one way to succeed in affiliate marketing. If your not providing any value you are doomed to failure. Thanks Steve!

Comments are closed.