Law of reciprocity is an simple principle of influence and creating an good karma. Likewise, I have noticed the same effects of helping other people to acquire something or appealing to their self interest and good karma started to manifest in my life.
However, there is an interesting article by Yaro Starak on the principle of reciprocity and how it can benefit you in the long run.
By Yaro Starak
Another equally important concept is Reciprocity. I think reciprocity, more than any other technique, is one every online business owner needs to master, especially if your platform is built on your personal brand.
What Is Reciprocity?
Wikipedia explains Reciprocity as:
Reciprocity in social psychology refers to responding to a positive action with another positive action, rewarding kind actions.
As a social construct, reciprocity means that in response to friendly actions, people are frequently much nicer and much more cooperative than predicted by the self-interest model; conversely, in response to hostile actions they are frequently much more nasty and even brutal – Wikipedia.
In other words, do something nice and people will feel compelled to do something nice for you in return.
Practical Techniques To Drive Traffic And Make Sales With Reciprocity
Here are some practical techniques you can implement to invoke positive reciprocity from any expert you are trying to get in touch with (and yes you can try using these techniques on me if you like!).
- Write articles that specifically focus on or at least mention a person you are attempting to connect with. Of course make sure the article is valuable to your audience, but if you can draw in a certain expert by mentioning their work, especially if you are positive about it and send them traffic, your job is done. Try repeating this many times if you really want to grab attention.
- Podcast interviews are still effective tools to generate reciprocity. It can work either way – you interviewing someone else and sending them traffic, or you be interviewed by them offering valuable content. Just bear in mind certain people will view an interview as doing a favor for you depending on who you are interviewing and what you can offer in return.
- Ask a person what problem they are grasping with right now and then offer to help them. You can’t necessarily help everyone, but maybe you just happen to be the right person for the job.
- Offer them access to your resources, give them your software, build them a website, write some copy for them, set up their blog, do research for them… just find a way to create value and then give it to them.
You can try the following techniques to influence your audience and elicit positive reciprocity. The more you do of the following, the more people will buy from you and recommend you, which helps with both traffic and profits.
Best of all, if you do this without asking for or expecting anything in return, you will reap rewards eventually – it’s like a law of nature. Plus you get to enjoy giving just for the sake of giving (yes it really is Christmas!).
- Give away your best ideas. This is still the single most powerful form of reciprocity generation I have ever come across.
- Package up your best ideas in complete resources like free reports, video series, audios, ebooks, books and physical study materials. The more all-in-one solutions you provide in easy to consume formats, the more people will feel indebted to you.
- Be prolific in both content volume and media format. By delivering your best ideas in easy to consume and complete formats using all types of media (text, audio, video, physical and digital), and making it all available at the most popular sites (google, itunes, amazon, youtube), you reach more people.
- Over deliver beyond expectations that you originally set. If you set a certain expectation, then exceed it and do it in unexpected ways. Do this often enough and people will start to evangelize. There’s no greater form of reciprocity from your audience than when a community forms around you and you become part of the common vernacular in your industry.
- Give rewards. Offer coupons for discounts, free products, invitations to events, gift vouchers – anything that will surprise and deliver value. This of course needs to be perceived as genuine value and not just a “marketing” trick, so make sure you work within your audience’s expectations.
Don’t forget, once you have established some good will with reciprocity, it’s important to “cash in” at some point. Sure you go into this expecting nothing in return, but at some point you will need to do things to help grow your business, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. Again, do it expecting nothing, this is not meant to be seen as a “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” relationship or the true heart of reciprocity is lost.
You can ask for links, or guest posts, or JVs, affiliate promotions, interviews, opportunities to speak at events, access to contractors, free products and services – anything you currently need to help your business.
Just make sure the magnitude of what you are asking for is within the realm of the help you provided initially to invoke the reciprocity.
If you really do over deliver, you will find people come to you offering to reciprocate without even being asked for it. I’ve enjoyed this experience thanks to my blog many times. It can be one of the most heart-warming experiences that comes from sharing your ideas online.
Reciprocity should not be a hard concept to grasp. We all understand it.
It’s also an easy technique to implement because all people who are sane of mind enjoy the experience of helping others.
The challenge, as with most things, is not letting all the reasons that stop you from contributing to other people’s lives get in your way. Laziness, fear, jealousy, low self esteem, poor choices – all of these things can stop you from doing the work necessary to help others and trigger reciprocity.
Using Social Proof, Scarcity and now Reciprocity, you have some of the most powerful marketing forces available when selling to humans. Use it wisely to help others in mutually beneficial relationships and you can have a pretty incredible business.