The Principle of Reciprocity: Why Promo Products Are So Effective
Does it make sense to spend money on people who aren't even your customers yet?
The principle of reciprocity is your secret weapon when it comes to boosting customer acquisition and lifelong ROI. The best bit is that there are so many ways to use it in your marketing strategy!
What is the Principle of Reciprocity?
Everybody likes to get something for free. It gives us a positive feeling towards the giver.
In turn, that positive feeling means the recipient is more likely to do the giver a favor. This favor could be an action, such as signing up for a newsletter, or a positive interaction, like recommending your company to their friends.
Why Promotional Products Build Loyalty
The theory of reciprocity is that, when you give somebody something without them asking for it first, they will feel valued and trust you more.
Promotional products work well for a reciprocity strategy as they provide the recipient with a physical item that reminds them about your company long after your interaction.
Recipients keep branded products that have a function, such as a pen, for an average of eight months. This exposes the recipient to your brand every time they use it. They will remember each time that they received something from your company for free, and it will bring your brand to the forefront of their mind.
Continuous brand awareness built by promotional products is important. Not everybody will be at the buying stage when they first encounter your brand.
Products that are useful, such as notebooks or branded mugs, will keep your business at the forefront of their awareness. When they are ready to start their research stage in preparation to buy, they will remember your brand.
Understanding Your Reciprocity Budget
Cheap promotional products are a nice gimmick but you need to invest in different levels of giveaways to make the theory of reciprocity work for you.
Give away branded sweets and pens at an exhibition as these are quick wins that give your potential customers a warm glow inside. Double up on your brand awareness opportunities with giveaways that other people see, too, such as branded bags.
However, to continue the warm fuzzies that people feel around your brand, it's important to develop more targeted reciprocity strategies for hot customer leads.
When you have a targeted audience, quality promotional products count. Spend a little extra on high-quality items: go for the notepad with a thicker cover than the cheapest option, for example. The little extras are what people will remember.
Find Your Balance
There is a sweet spot to find when you want to make reciprocity work for your brand. Cheap branded promo items will give you the quick win. higher-quality items will build your brand reputation, but too fancy an item may make customers think twice.
If you bill thousands of dollars to every customer, but then give them back gold-plated playing cards, they are going to feel cheated. Find the balance for your audience: imagine you were that person. What would make you trust a brand?
It Isn't Only About Physical Items
Reciprocity strategies can be seen most clearly with physical products, but you can make the most of the concept for free, too!
Your potential customers will remember your behavior as much as they do your promotional products. Remember that a simple thank you note in the mail will build trust and help your clients feel valued.
Using both paid and free reciprocity marketing strategies will help you to manage your promotional budget and use paid elements for the most targeted audience to maximize ROI.
Five Perfect Ways to Use Reciprocity to Build Loyalty
There are many ways, big and small, that you can implement reciprocity in your marketing strategies.
1. Free eBooks or Downloads
This is a quick win for any business, and it also builds your marketing email list at the same time.
Offer your customers free knowledge in the form of a downloadable PDF. They will see your brand as one that cares about the individual, not only the sales.
Sharing insights is an important route to building trust with your customer community. It is an evergreen lead generation tool that will build your marketing list over time.
2. Give the Gift of Time
Offer a free hour of consultation for your new customers, or spend time sharing your knowledge at a local business networking meeting.
People understand the value of time in today's busy world, so offering yours is a valuable commodity that they will respect.
You could spend your time doing something as simple as introducing two customers who would benefit from meeting. Treating your customers as individuals, and showing that you understand their needs will build trust.
3. Exhibition Giveaways
Every conference you've ever been to will have used some type of promotional giveaway. This is because it's a prime audience: a room full of buyers interested in your industry and what your business has to offer.
Branded giveaways can be classics, such as notebooks, or something a little more fun that stands out from the crowd. Items such as reusable coffee travel mugs are great as they will provide an ongoing benefit to the customer.
4. Thank You Gifts
Reciprocity doesn't only apply to new customers. Keep your existing clients interested and feeling valued by sending them a thank you gift. You can even send a postcard or gift basket when they have done something extraordinary.
If, for example, a customer has recommended you to a new client, send them a gift to say thank you. They will remember that you have been grateful for their actions and be likely to repeat their recommendation to future clients.
5. Free Trials
Offer a limited-time free trial for your service so that people can try it out before they buy. Once they have used your product, software, or service, it's likely they will want to continue a paid subscription.
You can extend the reciprocity by offering a recommendation program, too. Once someone has completed a free trial, offer them additional free months or money off if someone signs up based on their recommendation.
Find Your Perfect Giveaways Today
Small branded giveaways are perfect starting points to see the principle of reciprocity in action. From branded sweets to functional free pens, something that costs you a little will bring your business a lot of trust.
Take a look at our promotional giveaways for inspiration to get your reciprocity strategy started today.