Who isn’t fascinated by Marie Forleo? One day in 2012 I woke up and Marie Forleo was the queen of all ~business babes~. I thought “wait, what is this woman teaching people? My clients are telling me NO to good SEO practices, wtaf is going on?”

And then like a ton of bricks women were coming out of the corn fields asking for websites and referring to Marie Forleo.

I wasn’t interested in what she taught. I wanted to know what hypnosis the world was under flocking to her. All the women who had taken the course had the same layout on their website it was everything I tell people not to do.

This all might sound assholey of me, but I really just was interested in the marketing. I’d never considered building a list, I always thought that was from when the internet first came out in the 80’s or whatever. I would never advise people that their first priority should be to build an email list (It shouldn’t be, by the way. It should be to get a sale, that’s number one.)

I wasn’t surprised when her game was so buttoned up, she didn’t even have anything bad written about her, she is SO GOOD, in fact, that she has templated reviews of her program to stave off potential google listings that are not hers.

Want to know how Marie killed it when she started bschool ? Keep reading and your mind is sure to blow up.

This article is no longer online , but is SUCH a great lesson in sales pages & funnels. It was written by Doug Allen.

Maybe you know Marie Forleo. She teaches women how to be Rich, Happy and Hot. She should be teaching them how she used Robert Cialdini’s influence strategies to market herself.

I can provide an interesting perspective because I’m not her target market, I’ve never heard of her until recently, and I have no idea if anything she teaches makes women any richer, any happier, or any hotter. But anybody who is trying to fill the world with rich, happy, hot women can’t be bad.

She’s also a master at using Cialdini’s tools of influence to market herself. Keep reading to see exactly how she does it.

1) Everything Begins with Rapport

Rapport is nothing more than people seeing themselves in you. People like people like themselves. If you don’t get rapport with people you can’t influence them to do anything. People are always asking, especially when they meet somebody new, “Is she one of us or one of them?”

I think this might be a remnant of tribal days. Back in the day knowing who was a member of your tribe meant life or death. Those that could tell the difference survived to reproduce. Those that didn’t died before their time.

This is an important point!

People perceive things about other people in the blink of an eye. Malcom Gladwell wrote and entire book on this. You have about 3 seconds to get rapport, at a subconscious level, before the other person begins to accept you as one of them.

Marie Forleo begins this process with her brand and her target market. She’s targeting women who want to be rich, happy, and hot.

And what do you know?

There’s Marie laughing on the banner of her site looking happy, rich, and reasonably hot, but not too hot.

This is important too!!!

When your target market is women who want to BE super hot, you can’t come across as super hot! You have to be like your market -pretty hot but not so hot you walk around thinking you’re hot.

Make sense?

Forleo IS her market in every way. Look at the photos of the women in her audience. Look at Marie. They are all part of the same tribe.

If you’re marketing yourself or your business to people and making it out like you’re better than they are, or you’re different than they are, like MJ says it’s time to start to make a change.

2) Authority + Social Proof

I’m combining these two concepts because it’s what Forleo does. Let’s break this down.

When people have uncertainty about what to do they look to other people around them and see what they’re doing. It’s why Tony Robbins has state inducers dancing on chairs when the doors open to one of his events. When people see others acting a certain way there’s an internal pressure to act the same way.

It goes back to the “who’s tribe are you in” concept. When you see a tribe of people you’re better adapt and BE part of their tribe or you might lose your head. (Note: this is legit. The tribes in Fiji still lived this way a couple hundred years ago!)

Authority is a similar concept. When people see others who they perceive to have a higher social status they fall in line and do what the authority figures do.

This is also part of the reason Tony Robbins brings in his Platinum Partners into an event before the doors open and seats them in the front rows. When the doors open and people see the Plats in the front going nuts and dancing on their chairs they have an instinct to conform and be part of the tribe.

So what does Marie Forleo do?

She has testimonials on the top of her site from Tony and Sir Richard Branson saying how cool she is. She also has pages of testimonials of people who attended her event. Some are more known than others.

The combination of authoratative social proof alone is almost enough for people to click the buy button to see how much Forleo’s event costs, and if they can make it to New York that weekend. You don’t need at 16-page sales letter or a 30 minute video if you have social authority.

3) Primary Authority

Ok, I just made that term up, but I think it’s an improvement to Cialdini’s model. Primary authority is where you stand in the pecking order of your tribe. The idea is that if you’re the chief everybody will listen to you.

Again, like rapport, perception of authority is subconscious, and happens almost instantly. Read Gladwell’s Blink if you haven’t already.

Nevermind, I just told you everything you need to know about it. Perceptions that are important happen in an instant, and they are subconscious.

To be seen as the leader of a tribe you need to be one of the tribe, and you also need to be different in good ways.

How does Forleo immediately differentiate herself from her tribe?


Think about it. Back in the caveman days people had to survive on visual cues. We still make all our most important decisions, especially first reactions, based on what we see.

Marie Forleo does this with her website.

First, look what her site doesn’t have.

It doesn’t have a Twitter feed or Facebook “Like Me” button on the front page. If you have these on your site remove them immediately. They haven’t made you a penny, and worse they telegraph to the world that you are far down in the pecking order.

I didn’t want to go here, but I guess I have to. You can learn a lot about the concept of authority from the pick-up artist train, especially from the book, The Game.

We are genetically predisposed to respect the alpha males, the leaders, of a tribe. Think about it. It makes total sense from an evolutionary standpoint. Beta males who mess with alpha males either back down or die. Females who rely on beta males to protect them die.

So it’s important to always be aware of this concept.

How this manifests itself in today’s culture is through what is known as “qualifying.” Google it. It’s all about trying to show how important you are. Don’t ever do that. Alpha males don’t have to tell people they are the alpha male. Don’t brag about yourself. It has the reverse effect. If you brag about yourself people will immediately KNOW your not a leader.

Back to Facebook and Twitter.

Do you think cool people ask other people to “follow me” or “like me” in the real world!?

Of course not. That’s what wannabe’s do.

That’s not what successful people like Marie Forleo do. She does the opposite. She cares about you. She doesn’t try to get you to like her, she doesn’t ask you to like her, and she doesn’t ask you to follow her.

But you do like her. You do follow her. And you like her because she doesn’t ask you to.

It’s ironic, but the very act of asking somebody to like you makes people like you less. Asking somebody to follow you makes people NOT want to follow you.

Leaders go first and look forward. They don’t turn around to see if anybody is following them.

4) Scarcity

Scarcity has been beaten to death and misused by thousands of people trying to sell stuff online. No, scarcity isn’t dead, just the businesses and brands of the people who totally screwed up using it.

Here’s the key point:

Genuine scarcity works. False scarcity works too -it works to destroy your credibility. This is why a few internet marketer guru types who were successful because they were in the right place at the right time burnt out their lists. They used blatantly and transparently false scarcity because they thought it worked.

It didn’t.

They sold stuff in spite of the false scarcity because the demand was high, not because of it. It reminds me of traders who think they have some fool-proof trading indicator when the market is going up. It’s not their indicator that made them money. The market going up is what made them money.

Same thing with false scarcity. It never sold a thing.


Again, it goes back to people being able to perceive things in an instant and at a subconscious, intuitive level. People know when you’re full of crap, and when they lose trust they won’t buy from you.

Marie Forleo never uses false scarcity. Everything she sells is legitimately in limited supply. Only 300 people can attend her event because that’s how big the room is at the hotel. Only a handful of people can be part of her mastermind group because she gives everybody one-on-one attention.

She doesn’t even use false scarcity price deadlines. She’s too smart for that. She understands that her brand is everything, and her relationship with her fans is 1000x more important than anything else in her business.

5) Reciprocity

Forleo doesn’t blatantly use reciprocity tactics. When people (like the thousands of people who don’t know what they are doing) blatantly try to trigger reciprocity it has the opposite effect -people will sense immediately that you’re desperate and not cool and will have zero desire to help you triggered by you false act of “giving.”

Marie Forleo triggers reciprocity because she truly comes across as trying to add value and make people’s lives better. When you are genuinely helping people and totally authentic people will want to help you.

This goes back to the idea of the tribe.

You know how to tell if somebody is really part of your tribe? They help your tribe!

This is where the testimonials come back into play. When you read testimonials from members of your tribe talking about how much somebody helped them it transfers the urge to reciprocate. I call it tribal reciprocity. Clever name, huh? Lol

What Forleo does is authentically stack reciprocity triggers. And it happens totally subconsciously in the blink of an eye.

6) Commitment and Consistency

This is where Forleo ties it all together and totally nails it.

Commitment and consistency is probably the most powerful of Cialdini’s principles of influence. Why? Because it ties into a person’s identity.

More importantly, when used properly, it allows a person to willingly raise their hand and define their own identity. And once they define they’re identity, they will do almost anything to stay consistent with that identity.

What Forleo does on her main page is brilliant. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen anybody else do this.

We all know that the idea is to build an email list. And all the big name gurus teach that it’s not the size of the list that matters, it’s the relationship with this list that’s important.

That’s like saying math is important because you figured out 1 + 1 = 2.

Your about to learn a multi-million dollar secret. This is super-important so pay attention!!!!!

People define their identities by the actions they take (or don’t take). People who smoke call themselves smokers. People who quit smoking call themselves “ex-smokers.”

The important point to get is that action defines identity in a person’s mind, and identity defines the actions a person will take. It flows both ways.

What’s even more important to understand is that Action A can define an identity, and once the person has that identity, that will lead to them taking Action B.

Here’s a simple example right from Cialdini’s Influence:

A person is asked to put a small sign in their window saying they are for the environment. Weeks later when they are asked to put a large sign in their yard promoting the environment they do.


Because that’s what “environmentalists” do.

Forleo uses this same principle immediatelu on her homepage. The headline beside her photo reads, “Get anything you want.”

But the headline isn’t what shapes the identity. It’s this sratement:

“I’ll show you how.”

At that moment the reader faces a decision. It’s not to put their email in the box. It’ to either stay on the page and give implied consent to let Forleo show them how to get anything they want, or leave the site.

Right below the sign-up form are blog entries with cool pics of Forleo and enticing headlines. Above the banner is a menu that says “work with me.”  Every second the reader stays on the site they are acknowledging they agree to let Forleo help them.

The “work with me” menu is the point of no return because if you click this, even out of curiosity, you’ve now taken an action that’s an acknowledgment you want to work with Forleo.

The menu leads to a sales page for Forleo’s upcoming weekend seminar. She’s charging $2000 for three days. To put this in perspective, Tony Robbins’ four-day Unleash the Power Within event, complete with a firewalk, costs less than 1/2 of Forleo’s event.

But it’s way too late by now if you’re reading about Forleo’s event. You already said “yes” that you want to work with her if you clicked the menu instead of leaving the page. You’ve said yes that you want her to help you get what you want.

But there’s more.

The page you’re taken too lists several of Forleo’s products for sale. To learn more about the seminar you have to click on another link that takes you to a future pacing, state-inducing, visual page where you begin to imagine yourself at the event.

By the time somebody reaches this third page they’ve taken three actions -first to go to her main site, second to “work with me,” and third, to learn about the event.

By the time somebody sees the “buy” button at the bottom of the page the question isn’t about what value the event will bring. No, the question is, “Would attending this event be something a fan of Marie Forleo would do if they wanted her to help them get anything they wanted.

Of course the answer is yes.

I have no idea how this page converts, but I do know it violates just about everything the gurus teach about how you need a long-form sales letter or a long video to sell a high-ticket item like a $2000 seminar.

I’m guessing that this page converts like crazy.

How could it not?

Forleo has stacked every one of Cialdini’s principles that trigger, emotionally, the desire to go to this event.

But I saved the best for last. So did Forleo.

At the end of this sales process Forleo’s last bit of copy says, “Either you feel in your gut your supposed to go to this event or you don’t.”

The entire process was designed from the first moment somebody lands on the page to the moment they read that last sentence to trigger a sequence of “gut feelings.”

There’s a saying from The Game, “Attraction is not a choice.”

Forleo gets this. She “nails the landing” by, almost as if she clairvoyant, mind-reading the “gut feeling” people have about wanting to attend the event.

This is the final piece that confirms everything the reader guessed -that Maria Forleo IS just like her, she does care. People feel like they know Forleo before they ever meet her.

It’s not an accident. It’s by design.