Reciprocity and building trust
The law of reciprocity explains that when someone gives you something, you feel an obligation to give something back. If someone does you a favour, for example, you feel the need to return that favour.
This law also says the more you give without getting anything in return, the bigger the payoff.
Marketers in the B2C space use this simple law all the time. They’ll offer free bonuses with their product, and I’ve even seen marketers give away cash as part of their promotions. They know – through testing – they’ll get back 5, 10 or 100 times this amount.
In B2B and technology marketing, you can emulate this by giving away free content.
Content that genuinely helps scientists and researchers learn something, make a decision, or solve a problem will position your company favourably.
This is nothing new, but you have to go beyond just giving them a white paper every quarter. Or a blog post every other week. Or a case study every month. 10 years ago, this would have been OK. But today, with content marketing at a peak, everyone is doing this. So you need to take it a step further.
And one of the best ways to do this is through a dedicated resource, such as a website, or blog that’s continuously updated – a resource where your prospects can go to get help whenever they want.
A dedicated website (separate from your company website) for example, that’s continuously updated with articles, webinars, videos and tutorials will keep prospects coming back again and again. And keep you top of mind.
And because of the massive amount of valuable content, the law of reciprocity says your customers and prospects will trust you to provide them with whatever they’re looking for.
Reciprocity in action
Want an example?
Take a look at the blog by Indium Corporation – a company that manufacturers materials used in electronics assembly.
This is not just the standard blog you see on most business websites, updated once a month with company news and product announcements.
Instead, Indium Corporation use their blog to produce valuable content, like videos and tutorials, and answer questions on various engineering topics such as soldering, plating, solar cells and alloys.
Very technical stuff, but they’re striving to bring these ideas to life through interactive conversations, content and storytelling. The blog is updated all the time with valuable material, which keeps their prospects and customers coming back.
In fact, according to Epic Content Marketing by Joe Puluzzi, Indium’s marketing director said they experienced a 600% jump in leads since they started the blog. You can check them out at www.indium.com/blog
Another great example is Leica Microsystems and their Science Lab resource (www.leica-microsystems.com/science-lab/).
They post articles, webinars, tutorials and events on Science Lab, aiming to help life scientists learn more about microscopy and their own research. This positions Leica as a go-to resource for microscopy, as they’re giving away tons of free, helpful material.
So you need to think about creating a dedicated website/blog that helps your readers solve problems and learn more about what they’re doing – and add to it regularly.
Over time, it’ll become the go-to resource for your prospects and customers.
And because of the law of reciprocity, eventually you’ll get back much more than you put in.
All the best,