🤔 Did you know…

On 7/11, you can get a 7.11 ounce Slurpee from 7-Eleven for free? I know it’s a mouthful.

In theory, this marketing stunt (giving away 4.5 million Slurpees) should cost 7-Eleven millions.

Yet sales were up 38% during the campaign.


Today we explore reciprocity and, who knows, we might just convince you to embrace your generous side.

Let’s dive in…

This post is sponsored by Klaviyo and Zolt ❤️

Imagine this…

You’re scrolling and *ping*–you get an email.

You start reading.

Your coworker, the annoying one who is always trying to one-up you in meetings has baked cupcakes.

“Just to let everyone know, I’ve baked some cupcakes and put them in the kitchen.”

Translation? ‘I’m a big suck-up who wants a promotion.’

You head over to the kitchen to grab a cupcake.

And these aren’t just any cupcakes. These are chocolate-covered, melt-in-the-middle, perfectly presented, and totally gobble-worthy cupcakes.

Eurghhh… why are some people just so good at life?

A few hours later said coworker pops by your desk and asks for your help.

He needs ten minutes to run through a presentation.

Usually, you’d brush him off but he did just make you the best cupcakes you’ve ever tasted.

Why do you find yourself sitting down, ready to listen with a notepad in hand?

In today’s edition of Why We Buy 🧠 we’ll explore Reciprocity—why we feel compelled to return favors.

Let’s get into it.

The Psychology of Reciprocity 🧠

Ever notice you feel obligated to do something if somebody does something for you?

Dr. Robert Cialdini describes the principle of reciprocity with an unusual study about–of all things–mints.

Picture this: a busy restaurant, diners filling the tables, and the bill comes along…

When diners were given a free mint with their bill, the waiter’s tip increased by 3%. Not bad.

When the diners were given 2 mints, the tip increased by 14%. Okay… interesting.

But (and here’s where it gets weird) when the waiter gave the diners one mint–and a few seconds later returned in a fluster with the second–the tip increased by 23%.

Shut the front door.

The TLDR? Small *free* gifts go a long way.

Inside Your Buyer’s Mind🧐

When you do something kind for buyers, they feel compelled to reciprocate.

In 1974, Sociologist Philip Kuntz ran a hilarious study. He sent out 600 Christmas cards to people he’d never met, and the wild thing? Phil ended up with over 200 replies… From. Total. Strangers.

Why are we telling you this (I mean apart from the fact it’s funny)?

Because reciprocity is a powerful technique–and you can use it to get prospective customers to like you more and part with their cash.

How To Apply This 🤑

Alright, so how can we apply this right now to sell more?


Go the extra mile with a *small* free gift

Kylie Cosmetics is a behemoth of a brand.

With retail sales topping $221.8 million (and that’s in a down year). Clearly, they are doing something right when it comes to building a product people buy.

This year they ran a 40% off Black Friday sale and do you see the small print? ‘Free gift with your order’. A little giving goes a long way.


Partner with bigggg influencers known for their generosity

Most tech companies know one thing–you need to use the software to like the software.

How do you get people to use something they’ve never tried before?

Shopify partnered up with Chief Giveaway Officer (CGO) Mr Beast and offered $10,000 to 10 people with the best business ideas. The result? A cool 6.2M views.

And no doubt of the millions of people that saw it, a proportion converted into paying customers. Beautifully done, Shopify 👏

Retail & Hospitality

Make dollar-worthy content free

When it comes to gift-giving, most people automatically think product.

It makes sense… it’s what most companies do–free perfumes, nibbles, gift cards to get you in the door. But we know following the crowd is the easiest way to be ignored.

BlueBottle does something different.

Instead of giving out free goods they give out *realllllllllly good* free content. Content so good you would pay for it.

And that evokes reciprocity.

Service Businesses

Solve a *presale* pain point with a freebie

Before deciding to buy, many folks have questions.

If your bread and butter is service-based you should ask yourself, ‘What pain points do my customers have *before* they come to me?’

Just like John the Plumber. He offers a simple *free* water testing service.

Embrace delegation

It means he builds his reputation with customers and when they have a plumbing problem, who do you think they call? You guessed it, John.

Small gestures like make sure you remain top of mind for potential buyers.

The Short of It 💥

Giving is good for business.

It’s a win-win: your customer gets something extra and you get increased loyalty.

Business is all about building relationships with customers–you can start building that relationship with a freebie.

Until next time, happy selling.

🐦 Your Brainy Tweetable

Underestimated marketing strategy: Give away free stuff.

  • Free products
  • Incredible free content

Reward your customers *before* they purchase and they’ll feel compelled to reciprocate.

Tweet this now >



Wanna really get inside your buyer’s head?

When you’re ready, there are a few ways we can help:

Written By Katelyn

Katelyn Bourgoin is the CEO of Customer Camp, a 4X founder, and a cheese lover. She lives by a simple mantra: whoever gets closer to the customer wins.

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