Have you heard of it?
Even if it’s news to you, chances are you’ve instinctively acted in a manner in accordance.
So the Law of Reciprocity isn’t anything new – cultural evidence of such behavior has been documented as far back as the Hammurabi code and Homer’s Greek Iliad.
In the early 1900’s two psychologist’s, Richard Leakey and Kurt Lewin attributed the very nature of humans to reciprocity, claiming humans survived because their ancestors learned to share goods and services "in an honored network of obligation".
So what actually is the Law of Reciprocity?
Well, have you ever noticed that you feel compelled to do something for people who have helped you along the way – even if they haven’t asked you to?
Say I randomly give you a $100 gift certificate to your favorite restaurant.
How would you feel?
You’d feel the need to give me something in return – a very heartfelt thank-you, money in exchange for the certificate, even just a hug or thank-you note.
This is the Law of Reciprocity in action.
The Law of Reciprocity simply states that when someone does something nice for you, you will experience a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return.
So how does this translate to business?
When we give a consumer something – something free – they will feel compelled to give you something in return (i.e. sales). This can be a great way to help move potential consumers through the five-stage purchase-decision making process, especially if they tend to get hung up around steps three and four.
A couple common things online businesses can offer site visitors and social followers include: e-book downloads, free 30-minute consultation, course discounts, special offers, free trials, etc.
Let’s look at some examples of successful freebies:
Alright – who’s pumped about giving?
Hopefully, those examples gave you some ideas about ways to incorporate the Law of Reciprocity into your marketing strategy.
In the words of Damon Richards, “Your customer doesn’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”
By offering our potential customers something – value, inspiration, discounts – without demanding something back in return, we can experience the multitude of benefits directed by the governing principles of the Law of Reciprocity.
Remember: In the world of business, it pays to be a giver.
About Hannah Becker:
Becker Digital is a full-service Marketing and Public Relations Agency dedicated to empowering mission-driven organizations to reach their goals. We apply our expertise in community development, social media strategy, and public relations to connect organizational clients with today’s always-scrolling online users.