A Marketing Tip from a Musical (Using Reciprocity to Get More Conversions)

Ambassador Theatre, showing the musical Chicag...

Image via Wikipedia

Remember this lyric from the musical  Chicago?

There’s a lot of favors
I’m prepared to do –
You do one for Mama
She’ll do one for you!

In the musical, Mama (the warden) is singing about “reciprocity.”  She promises that if you do a favor for her, she’ll do one for you.

Does a musical work in real life?

Sure, people in real life generally don’t stop and break into song in the middle of the street, but using the technique of reciprocity does.

It’s a strong persuasion technique which was famously proven by Robert Ciadini in his book “Influence”.

He reported that Ethiopia (an extremely poor country) donated large sums of money to Mexico after a devastating earthquake. Why would a poor country do that?  Because Mexico had supported Ethiopia when Italy invaded years before.

When you’re good to mama, mama’s good to you

The idea is that if you do something for someone, they feel obligated to reciprocate in some way.   So, you offer a sample chapter of your book, or a free report, or a free blog.  Then you ask (and you have to ask) for something in return.

It doesn’t have to be a request to buy something (and probably shouldn’t be right away). Instead offer something that the reader will find valuable and useful.  It can be a free landing page assessment or a report in exchange for filling out a survey.

The photo on this post is licensed as Creative Commons, which means I can use it, so long as I reciprocate with a link and attribution to the original source.


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