How To Use Reciprocity To Get Better Quality Leads [Copywriting Guide]

If you’ve heard of Jay Abraham, you’ll know about the concept of pre-eminence. The idea is to deliver great value without asking for anything in return.

Or, to put it into internet marketing speak: “no optin or lead magnet required”.

Every half decent content writer on the planet has been doing it for years. The cognoscenti call it inbound marketing (which is really a stupid name, since you cannot get any “inbound” marketing without first doing some “outbound” marketing – you have to put something out there at some point or no one will know you exist – or to put it bluntly, everything we publish is outbound, and all enquiries and sales are inbound – anyway, let’s not get started on dumb marketing terms).

When we talk with family and friends the only time we ever pitch to them is when we want something. We would never think of using an optin form.

It’s also why Robert Cialdini’s biggest persuasion idea is Reciprocity – “if you scratch my back without asking me for anything in return, I will feel obliged to scratch your back later”.

So the whole idea behind pre-eminence is reciprocity – it’s just another name for the same thing (this is what most marketing is – inventing new angles for the same old same old).

If all the above is true, then all our marketing should be based on reciprocity (give first in the hope of getting someone to feel they should give back later).

I’m about to start an experiment at the ICA.

If you visit the home page, you’re asked for your name and email, and in return you get access to the ICA Getting Started series.

It was originally only available by email, so supplying an email address made sense.

The optin rate is a staggering 76.8% as I write, so it achieves its objective without any icky marketing.

But now I’ve put the whole thing online, so there’s no longer any need to ask for an email address. Here’s the new link:

Is this good practice? Not according to the “the money is in the list” gurus. But what about customer experience?

The experiment will prove if this reciprocity approach works.

Hang on though, what about the people who went through and didn’t sign up – the so-called “left money on the table” people? Well, if they later decide this is for them, they will join, if not, they won’t. There’s no coercion and no unhappy customers.

Except for ONE small problem. Memory. Our memories only retain a small amount of ‘front of mind’ information.

And that’s where retargeting comes in. By using tools like Facebook’s pixel (or Google Tag Manager) we can record visitors to our site. We can’t identify them of course (that’s a GDPR, FTC, etc. etc. thing), but platforms like Google and Facebook can be used to remind them of what they’re missing out on.

Using this method, the money is still in the list, we just don’t own it (and we have to pay to use it).

But there’s a way to have your cake and eat it. Put the optin at the end of the free online content, and then create an email sequence to remind people of your offer.

With all three parts in place, we have pre-eminence, retargeting, and list building (plus better qualified prospects) and that’s what everyone in business wants.

PS. There is of course one way to pitch at home using a lead magnet, and it’s this: “If you do the dinner, I’ll do the dishes” (or the optin version: “if you sign this form promising to mow the lawn every week for a year, I’ll do the shopping”).


cialdini, reciprocity

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