How to Use Reciprocity Marketing to Boost Customer Engagement And Sales


Sow and reap. Give and receive. Do good and good will come to you. These old sayings have been moral guidelines for centuries, but karma is also a business strategy.

In a classic Robert Cialdini study, restaurant patrons who received a single mint with their bill increased their tipping by 3%. Two mints diners increased this by 14%. Interestingly, those who were given one mint and then given another by the waiter increased their tip by 23%.

But a gift is more than a freebie. It’s a way of showing someone you care and encouraging them to reciprocate. Reciprocity marketing works by giving something valuable away for free in exchange for a business-helping action.

A free gift can start a valuable long-term relationship with customers, inspiring them to use your products or services on a regular basis. According to a 2019 study, 61 percent of consumers believe brands should reward loyal customers with special offers or gifts.

Learn how to use reciprocity marketing in your campaigns to engage your customers.

Add Value

Are you ready to leverage reciprocity marketing? Doubtless you already do! As well as gifts and offers, valuable content can foster profitable and long-term customer relationships.

By providing useful information, you can demonstrate your expertise and entice potential customers. Consider providing your customers with downloadable how-to guides, ebooks, videos, or checklists. These could be gated content to increase your mailing list or just a nice welcome.

As soon as visitors arrive on your site, greet them with free content. With this digital warm transfer, you get a personal touch right away. Customers will feel valued and become more generous.

Keep It Real

Authenticity inspires reciprocity. Be careful when describing your gift or content. A gimmicky offer may leave customers wondering what the catch is. Instead, explain why your company wants to help or reward customers.

If you’re giving something away, make sure it’s not an advertisement. Audiences should be able to form associations based on information on your website and brand. A “how-to” guide could include links to useful products, but not all of the content.

Listen In

Giving away something that your target market doesn’t want or need is a waste. Make your offer memorable and customer-centric. Find out what your audience values the most. Collaboration with your social media managers, SEO experts, and salespeople can help you determine what rewards will be most effective.

Are your clients commenting on social media about a struggle? Free guide to answer their questions This will help them feel heard and valued while also generating more discussion.

Another option is to let customers choose their own rewards from a list, ensuring no one gets a freebie they can’t use. Allowing clients to make choices builds trust and ensures that they receive genuine value.

Watch Your Words

The value of free gifts or content is emphasized by wording. It’s critical that customers understand the value of a gift and believe it outweighs or equals their reciprocal action. Try not to bring money into it. “A free gift worth $20” sounds like a gimmick. “A gift to thank you” represents social reciprocity.

Use phrases like “white paper” or “definitive guide” in your headlines to subtly promote the value of free resources. This will command attention and authority.

Social Currency

Referred customers are 18% more loyal and spend 18% more.

Referred customers spend 13.2% more and have a 16% higher lifetime value. Recognize referrals with discounts, credits, or free gifts. In addition, it will make existing customers feel valued.

Customers can also be rewarded for subscribing to newsletters or following on social To keep this reciprocal, make the first move. Rather than promising a reward for signing up, inform customers that they will be the first to know about new offers or secret coupon codes.

Of course, social currency works both ways—your customers will be as pleased as you are to have something to show off on Instagram. Make it easy for people to share your free resources on social media, or create fun interactive quizzes or campaigns that people will want to share.

Keep it up!

The interaction doesn’t end with the first favor. Instead, use this as a springboard for a long-term reciprocal relationship. Follow up purchases with a personal thank you note or a reward for referring or reviewing.

These small personal touches can be difficult to manage, but a structured response pattern can help.

A formalized loyalty program that rewards repeat customers reinforces their sense of value to your business. 71 percent of consumers value loyalty programs, so don’t miss out on repeat business.

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