How To Boost Your Sales With Reciprocity Marketing

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Reciprocity Marketing

You are a human being, right? And human beings are social creatures. Which means in one way or another you value interacting with other human beings on some level.  

It’s a well known fact in social psychology that the way humans build relationships is through “terms of reciprocity.” 

So, what is reciprocity?

Why is it important, and how can it boost your sales in your business? 

Great question…

And that’s exactly what I’m going to answer for you today. 

What is reciprocity?

“In social psychology, reciprocity is a social norm of responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions.” – Fehr and Gächter

In layman’s terms, it means if you do something nice for a person they’ll do something nice for you in return.

Studies have also shown it’s common that the amount of reciprocation given is often in an excess to the amount of the original action.

So how do we use reciprocity in marketing?

Well, it turns out that reciprocity is not only a strong determining factor in human behavior, but also a powerful technique for gaining one’s compliance.

One of my favorite practitioners of reciprocity is Nicholas Kusmich, one of the top Facebook marketers in the world. Nicholas wrote a book called Give and in this book he basically states that you need to give value before you can get it.

When approaching a Facebook campaign for a client, one of the first things Nicholas does is ask his client what valuable thing they are willing to give their potential clients that would benefit them.

The reason this approach works so well for Nicholas and all his clients is the fact it builds the reciprocity trigger into the heart of their campaigns.

By giving something inherently valuable away for free, they are activating that reciprocity trigger for prospective clients which naturally makes them want to give back.

Giving back could come in the form of an email, attending a webinar, buying a book or any number of positive outcomes after that first initial interaction.

And the more you give, the more likely people will want to give back.

Many persuasion professionals will give away are free: 

  • infographics, 
  • PDFs 
  • EBooks 
  • EBriefs
  • webinar presentations 
  • free e-letters, 
  • consultations and more…


Because they know the more value they give to their prospects, the more value that will come back.

For perspective, let’s look at this image below of a simply landing page that leverages the reciprocity trigger:

In this example above, this advertiser gives away a free e-book in exchange for your first name, email, and business website.

They are using the reciprocity trigger to collect potential client’s emails.

And if they are smart, they will keep providing these potential customers with good content increasing the customer’s natural inclination to reciprocity.

Companies that invest in a content marketing strategy, (a form of reciprocity marketing) tend to see at least a 2.4% higher click through rate on their websites than those that don’t.

Those companies have also been documented to have a whopping 6.6% higher conversion rate for MQLs (Marketing qualified leads) than their non-giving counterparts.

All in all, the more value you give, the more likely you’ll receive.

Consumers are inclined to buy and/or convert better if you utilize and build the reciprocity trigger into your campaigns.

If you want to sell anything, you have to build some type of relationship & trust with the buyer. 

And a great way to do this is through terms of reciprocity. 

Why does reciprocity in marketing work so well? 

Robert Calidin was one of the first people to publicize this idea in a marketing book but it has been a force in marketing far before his famous book Influence

Humans hate to be indebted to each other and when they are provided value, they feel guilty if they don’t give value back. 

For those who “fail to conform” to the reciprocity rule, public disapproval is likely to follow.

It has been embedded in our human psyche through the course of history and transcends different cultures around the world. 

And the funny thing is… even if the gift given is unwanted, people still feel compelled to give something back. 

Which means if you give value in marketing without intending to receive anything back, you’re likely to receive it back. 

So just remember…

Always Provide Value and Always Keep Giving!

Till next time… 

Cheers M8! 


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John Mullinix

John Mullinix

I'm a father and Digital Marketing Fanatic. I enjoy helping brands grow and reach their sales goals by using copywriting, data driven marketing & conversion architecture.

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