What is the Principle of Reciprocity? How to use?

Called the principle of reciprocity, this persuasion technique: refers to a social rule that you feel obliged to pay for that good if someone does something for you.

What is the Principle of Reciprocity? How to use?

One of the areas where this principle is widely used is the marketing sector. Marketers use many different strategies to persuade consumers to shop. Some of these are simple ways to take advantage of discounts, coupons or special promotions. Others are more elaborate and are based on basic principles of human psychology that many people are not even aware of.

Marketing is based on analyzing human behavior.

After all, you need to persuade your potential customers to buy your product or service.

… And it doesn't make much sense to expect people to do it just because of the kindness in their hearts.

Rather, you need to be able to simultaneously touch stereotyped social norms, moral rules, or the different survival mechanisms brought about by millions of years of evolution.

Fortunately, thanks to our personalities and social psychology (and Dr. Robert Cialdini) we are able to make all this happen.

The principle of reciprocity is an effective example of the application areas of human psychology that marketers use to manipulate potential customers into purchasing certain products or services.

You can also use this policy in your online store or business. Taking advantage of the principle of response in marketing can lead to increased sales.

Would you like to know how?

We seem to hear you say "of course".

So keep reading, because in this article we'll go through the principle of reciprocity for you. We will teach you what the principle of reciprocity is and how you can use it in your marketing strategy, with real-life examples.

How Does the Principle of Reciprocity Work?

Have you ever felt like you had to do something for someone who has done you a favor before? Calling the principle of reciprocity, this is just one of the social norms that can have a powerful effect on our behavior.

Reciprocity is based on this simple principle: If people do good for us, we tend to do a favor for them.

If your new neighbors bring a plate of cookies to welcome you, you will feel obliged to pay for this cookie goodness at the beginning when your neighbor will go on vacation and asks you to take care of his dog.

Usage Examples of Reciprocity Principle

What is the scope of the reciprocity principle in your opinion? In 1974, sociologist Phillip Kunz conducted an experiment. He sent his handwritten Christmas cards to about 600 randomly selected people, each with a note and family photo. The recipients of the cards were completely foreigners. Replies began to arrive shortly after the cards were posted.

Kunz received nearly 200 replies. Why do you think so many people answered a stranger? This is exactly the principle of reciprocity. Since Kunz did something for them (he had sent a thoughtful note to show that he cared for them on this holiday), many buyers felt compelled to pay back the favor.

Other examples of the use of the reciprocity principle are:

A salesperson who gives a gift item to a potential customer and hopes that they will buy something in return for the favor.
A leader who offers attention and mentoring to his followers in exchange for their loyalty
Providing customers with valuable information in exchange for signing up for future marketing offers now
There are several obvious benefits to engaging in this type of behavior. First, keeping a close eye on others helps species survive.

In addition, the reciprocity principle allows people to do things that they cannot do on their own. When people work together or exchange services, they can achieve more than they can individually.

The Principle of Reciprocity and Persuasion

There are a number of persuasion techniques used in realizing the reciprocity principle. These strategies are often used by people like salespeople or politicians who try to get you into action or persuade you to comply with a request.

One of these is known as the "Not that much" technique. Let's say you're shopping to buy a new cell phone. The salesperson showed a model and said the price, but you're still not sure whether to buy that model or not. You may feel they are doing you a favor if the salesperson offers to include a phone case in the package at no additional cost; This makes you feel like you have to buy the phone in question.

Relationship between the Principle of Reciprocity and the Marketing Sector

One of the most frequently quoted books that relates both psychology and marketing to each other is Dr. It is Robert Cialdini's The Psychology of Persuasion. The book discusses six principles of persuasion, each of which can be used to get a potential customer to perform a specific behavior.

So what's the number one persuasion principle?

The Principle of Reciprocity.

This topic is not new to the field of personality and social psychology, either. The issue of reciprocity even goes back to the 1960s, when Alvin Gouldner explored the benefits of cooperative interaction between two people.

Dr. Cialdini has taken this research one step further and conducted research on how this rule can be applied to the business and marketing sector.

Dr. Cialdini realized there was a common marketing strategy at the disposal of business owners who repeatedly make use of basic survival mechanisms.

What was this strategy?

Before each business made a purchase, they were giving a reward to potential customers.

“Why would I give my products for free? Doesn't that make my brand cheap? And don't people just value the things they pay for? " we seem to hear what you say.

Not exactly!

When you offer your customers something for free — if it's a useful offer — people feel indebted to you.

This feeling of indebtedness is a real phenomenon and has a significant impact on human behavior: the likelihood of your subsequent demands being fulfilled will increase in parallel with their likelihood of repaying - that is, paying off - for this favor you have made.

When business owners offer free giveaways or small gifts to potential customers, they actually create a social imperative that they can use this favor to their advantage. If we do not take into account the first gift given, everything proceeds in line with the principle of loyalty.

Businesses increase their sales, even indirectly, by offering free products first. You can do that too.

The concept of reciprocity has existed for millions of years. In fact, this concept is a behavioral pattern that helps us humans survive.

"Come on, scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours."

I mean, I will do you a favor, but if you do it to me in return… It is a concept that permeates all areas of our lives. And they can be easily used in your marketing strategies.

If you want to engage in such a collaboration with your potential customers using the reciprocity policy, you should keep these five tips in mind:

1- Offer something to the other party first.

Instead of running an ad and hoping that the target audience watching it will have to make a purchase, first offer them something for free.

In this process, you need to know how difficult it is to get something for free, as well as making you feel obliged to pay for the good that is done only within the framework of social norms. Perhaps your potential customers may be reluctant to put their hands in their pockets at first, but they'll certainly be generous in paying something just as important - their attention.

The attention you get in exchange for your free offer may be enough to turn anyone who is passing the road into a paying customer.

2- Make your customers feel special.

To keep your customers flocking to your online stores, you need to make them feel special before distributing free products.

How Does?

You can do this by sending personalized notes or letting them choose free rewards themselves. By putting a little more emphasis on choosing customer rewards personally and giving them the necessary freedom, you are showing your customers that you do not only see them as a potential source of income, but also as a human being.

3- Help your customers beyond merchandising.

One of the reasons the principle of reciprocity is functional is that you just do a good job without even anticipating that your good will return. Of course your kindness can influence the behavior of your customers or help you build long-term relationships with them so they can continue to shop from your store for many years, but your initial offer should be given without anything you would expect from the customer in return.

You ask why?

Because only in this way will you create a strong bond of trust between you and the customer. This ensures that customers have a positive experience with your brand before making any sales action. When customers feel positive about your brand, they will be much more likely to shop from your store.

Another way to build that trust is by offering people value outside of your store's scope. For example, another of the popular content marketing tactics is to offer free guidance to help users make an actual purchase or not.

This simple gesture offers you an important opportunity to demonstrate both your expertise and the value your business can offer. In return, the customer is much more likely to turn to your business the moment they're ready to make any purchase.

4- Be unforgettable.

While it may seem tempting to make cheap and easy offers like offering free product samples in hopes of eventually convincing your potential customer to make a purchase, such an experience can only make you an unforgettable brand. Instead, you should make the customer experience unforgettable.

Start a big social media campaign or collaborate with other brands to make a fun and exciting offer. If you manage to make both your brand and your offering unforgettable, it will be much more likely that people will remember your brand the first time they are ready to make a purchase.