The need for balance – psychology meets email marketing, pt. 8

Sabine Kowalski
Content Marketing Managerin

The need for balance

When you get a present, you want to return the favor. Small acts of kindness inevitably make you want to give something back. Psychologists call this phenomenon reciprocity. A complicated word for a simple concept: An intrinsic need for balance. A need that you can evoke in your customers to increase profits.

When your child gets a free slice of cold cuts, you gladly buy more meat at the counter. Also, when you receive free greeting cards with motives painted by orphaned children, the willingness to donate for “Save the Children” increases. And when you get one gratis rose at the flower shop, you buy two more.

Gifts create a liability that your customers can hardly ignore. As an onlineshop-owner or service provider, you can also provoke that sense of duty by making small gifts. Today, we show you three effective methods to create a need for balance:

Method 1: Give to Get

You need to give in order to get – every sales professional knows that. Extra services and give aways don’t cost you much, but can significantly increase your turnover.

In „The Effect of a Gift – Upon-Entry on Sales“ (American Journal Of Business, May 2016), Friedmann and Herskovitz could increase sales by 16.8% after investing 0.50€ in one give away per customer. Learning: Give your customers small gifts whenever possible!

  • If you own an onlineshop for candy, add one praline to every order
  • A travel sized bottle of lens solution is an ideal gift for customers buying contact lenses
  • A pet shop sends a gratis treat that matches the pet of the customer

These small gifts create a positive experience for your customers – and can make them buy exactly this product with their next purchase. Good reviews can also be a result of your gifting. This is also of great value for you, since more than 85% of all customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Use your newsletter to advertise special promotions involving samples and give aways. For example, you can add one free product with the purchase of two items within the same range. Or you can offer an individualization like monogrammed towels or free engraving for jewelry.

Providers of monthly services can work with free trials. Magazines, streaming services and software providers successfully enlarge their customer base in this way, because only few customers cancel their subscription after a trial. Mostly because they already got accustomed to your service, but also because they want to return a favor by staying your customer. With this method, Spotify became a global player with a turnover of over 4 billion euros in 2017.

Whatever you want to gift: ensure that your goodies match your product!

Method 2: Sharing is Caring

Knowledge is power – gifting knowledge can be powerful, too. Customers are thankful for free content that offers them benefits. You might ask yourself now: “Why should I give away my expertise for free, when I could easily charge for it instead?”

Easy: Because the return will be so much bigger than your investment – especially when knowledge is your business. You can decide, which part of your expertise can be given away for free (“shared content”), and which part you only disclose to paying customers (“paid content”).

IT experts can share clever tips in their newsletter, and tax consultants can draw attention to changes in the law. Content of value that is accessible for everyone will draw more customers to you, because again: whoever receives information for free of you, sooner or later wants to give something in return.

Method 3: Tit for Tat

Would you like to collect e-mail addresses for your newsletter marketing? Offer your customers real added value! This can be an attractive discount on the first purchase or access to your premium customer program with many advantages such as free shipping. For example, in addition to price advantages, Amazon also offers Prime customers free access to the Prime video library. The possibility of free downloads of coveted e-books, audio books, games or whitepapers are also attractive options that turn “takers” into “givers”.

You see, generosity can be lucrative. We wish you all the best with your own gift ideas!

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