Fundamentally, marketing is about influence; influencing someone to do business with you rather than someone else. In his book, Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion, former professor of marketing, Dr Robert Cialdini, highlights six laws of influence. These laws are:
In this series of blogs, I’ll be sharing insights into these laws of influence so you can use them to craft more persuasive messages and improve the effectiveness of your marketing program.
The first law, reciprocity, is based on the notion that humans are wired to return favours and pay back debts. If you give something to someone, they will feel ‘indebted’ to give you something in return.
When I made my first business CD some years ago, I used the law of reciprocity in several ways. I gave the CD away to people who came to my seminars; I made it available via my website; and I gave it away at business networking events.
This proved to be a valuable lead generation strategy.
As a giveaway at seminars, it gave something of value to prospects that helped educate them about me, my message and how I could potentially help them. As an opt in on my website, I got people’s contact details in exchange for the free CD. It also served as an effective way of networking; more memorable than the usual business card exchange.
Examples of the law of reciprocity used in marketing are a business giving away free samples in the hope you will purchase the full product (think supermarket food samples), internet sites offering free downloadable information in exchange for your contact details, or a charity offering a flower or other token gesture in the hope you will be encouraged to give a donation.
How could you use the law of reciprocity to improve the effectiveness of your marketing program?