Understanding the principle of liking and knowing how to use it in your marketing and on your website can give you an unfair advantage over the competition.
People feel an obligation to do something for you when you’ve done something for them. This is the principle of reciprocity.
Here’s everything you need to know about the principle of reciprocity, plus all other important principles and theories that can supercharge your marketing and influence people to buy your products or services.
Research proves that reciprocity can be powerful
Sociologist Phillip Kuntz conducted a study in 1974 testing out reciprocity tendencies in complete strangers.
Kuntz mailed approximately 600 Christmas cards out to people he had no relationship or contact with. He wanted to know how many would feel obligated to return the kind gesture.
As it turns out, he received around 200 cards in response. One in three of the card receivers were influenced by the principle of reciprocity enough to initiate action.
The Behavioral Insights Team tested the principles of reciprocity differently. A group of investment bankers was asked to donate a day of salary to charity. While many complied, researchers found that when the request was accompanied by a bag of candy, the number of bankers who opted to donate doubled. That is a very small investment for a big payoff!
Bankers weren’t the only ones influenced by sugary treats. David Strohmetz of Monmouth University conducted an experiment with his colleagues on service tips in relation to reciprocity. The experiment, set in a restaurant, showed that waitstaff could increase tips by 3% when they bring candy along with the bill.
Tips jumped up to a shocking 14% when customers were offered two pieces of candy and rose even further (21%) when the wait staff delivered a single piece of candy and returned a minute later to give another piece because it had been 'such a great table.
How Your Business Can Use Reciprocity To Grow Faster
Reciprocity is a powerful psychological principle that can help you to grow your business faster. Read below for actionable tips and insights.
Give customers and prospects a gift before you ask for something
Giving something first can seem counter-intuitive, but offering a gift or service without the expectation of something in return can be profitable.
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Use reciprocity effectively to boost your content marketing efforts
The goal of content marketing is to share valuable, relevant, and consistent information used to attract and retain an audience.
This type of marketing is naturally reciprocal. You create meaningful content to share and the audience and readers show appreciation through engagement. It is the epitome of 'I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine', and an essential tool for all businesses.
Importantly, 73% of consumers are impacted by a brand’s content marketing when making a purchase decision.
Avoid the urge to push for a quick sale – nurture the relationship instead
Ever have a salesperson work so hard for your sale, only to disappear as soon as you have signed on the dotted line?
Don’t be that business.
Gaining a single sale is a short-ended achievement. Investing in a client’s experience and relationship with your business can yield consistent sales and the probability of the client sharing your business with others. Continue to nurture the relationship by offering first-time customer discounts and communicating with your e-mail list about upcoming sales and promotions.
Ask customers to provide feedback about your business
If you run the type of business where word-of-mouth referrals are important, ask your customers to post reviews on Google, Yelp, and other review sites. Such reviews can be critical to businesses, even if they come from total strangers.
And if your business has an amazing mobile app, you have a potential gold mine of reciprocity. Clients who download and regularly use an app you provided are very likely to provide a rating when asked. Timing is key for this type of action. You must give the user ample time to review, use, and form an opinion of an app before asking for feedback.
What are the core principles of marketing psychology?
There are many important principles, theories, and concepts used in marketing psychology. These include:
- the principle of reciprocity
- information-gap theory
- social proof theory
- and loss aversion marketing
You can research each of these principles, plus dozens of other key principles of marketing psychology, via the links below.
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