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… (source)
Reciprocity in Business and Marketing
In business, the theory of reciprocity also applies. I recently experienced this first hand when I visited the Fir Point Farms pumpkin patch for some Halloween festivities.
On our hay ride around the farm, we were given a free piece of banana bread. (Yes, it was delicious, and yes, I’m baking some right now.) This small, unexpected gesture made a big difference, and planted a tasty, well deserved seed.
We were not told that the bread could be found in the bakery, but we found some there after the tractor dropped us off. We hadn’t planned on going into the bakery or buying any baked goods, but a loaf of their banana bread (with some other items from the store) made it to the register and into our shopping bag. No time was wasted, and that loaf lasted mere hours. Their simple offering resulted in good PR, word-of-mouth, and some increased revenue.
When thinking of ways to convert your visitors into customers, consider some kind actions. Studies have found that when given something of value, however small it may be, people are more likely to convert and become customers. So, give things away, share your knowledge, and know that people will come back. Even if they don’t, you’ve done something kind and the world can use more of that.
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