Stop me if you’ve heard this before:
Giving away free, valuable content is one of the best ways to get clients.
It showcases your knowledge and insight, positioning you as an expert in your travel specialty.
It helps clients get to know you, like you, and trust you.
It can help you grow your list, if you’re giving away content in exchange for an email address.
All of the above is absolutely true. But there’s one BIG reason missing from that list.
Why should you give away free content? Because it makes prospects feel indebted to you, which makes them more likely to do what you ask them to (like, ahem, book a consultation call).
This is thanks to a psychological phenomenon called the rule of reciprocity. And it’s the reason why in 1974, a sociologist sent out 600 Christmas cards and got over 200 in return. But here’s the kicker: he sent his cards to (and received cards back from) total strangers.
That’s how powerful our need to reciprocate is. From childhood, we’re taught that, “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours.” That’s the polite thing to do. And if we’re denied the chance to return a favor, it can drive us a little crazy!
Think about it: Are you more likely to buy someone a birthday present if they bought you one for your birthday? Are you more likely to leave a bigger tip if the server left you a piece of candy with your check? (The studies say “yes” on this one — on average, tips go up 3.3 percent). We all love free stuff — but we just don’t like feeling indebted to someone. That’s why we reciprocate.
How to Use Reciprocity in Your Travel Business
So here’s how you can leverage this psychological principle in marketing your travel business: After you deliver free content — whether it’s in the form of a blog post, opt-in offer (a.k.a. IFOs or lead magnets), webinar, etc. — make sure you follow that content up with a clear call to action. Often, this is done in the form of an email follow up campaign that leads up to asking your prospect to book a travel consultation with you. But you can experiment with smaller calls to action too, like asking your prospects to “like” your Facebook page.
If you’re investing your time (or money) in creating free content, but aren’t asking for anything directly in return, you’re missing out on the power of reciprocity.
There is, of course, a caveat: This principle only works if you’re delivering HIGH-VALUE free content to your audience. If you’re churning out slapped-together, just-plain-sucky content, no one is going to feel obligated to reciprocate (in fact, they’re probably going to be ticked off that you wasted their time!).
So take a look at the free content you’re offering. If it’s just not juicy enough, beef it up with more valuable information, insider insights, or entertaining stories. Then make sure you’re following up that content by asking your prospects to do something for you in return.
And if you don’t have free content yet, start writing with the power of reciprocity in mind!