Do you know why marketers draw sales tricks from psychology?
Well, they do so because PSYCHOLOGICALLY DRIVEN MARKETING METHODS WORK.
They work because:
They understand what gets the audience ticking…
They identify the cues that get the audience to comply…
And they know how to get the audience to say, “YES”.
The foot in the door marketing technique is one such effective, psychologically backed marketing technique.
The Foot in the Door Technique of Persuasion
In the foot in the door marketing technique, a prospect is first asked to do a small action. After the prospect completes this small action, he or she is asked to do a big action.
For example, if you try using the foot in the door marketing technique to collect emails, you won’t make an upfront request of asking for the email. Instead, you will ask for a risk-free mini-commitment like asking the user to answer a poll question or take up a small survey. Once the user complies with your first request, only then you will ask for the email.
The foot in the door marketing technique is a classic example of our tendency to stay consistent with ourselves once we have made a commitment.
This technique is based on the commitment and consistency principle as laid down by Dr. Cialdini in his seminal book, Influence: The Principles of Persuasion.
To understand its underlying psychology, let’s first look at its two main aspects:
When you ask a prospect to do a small action, you’re getting the prospect to commit to you.
After complying with your small request, the prospect feels committed to his or her choice of complying with your request. The prospect’s commitment then triggers the second part of the principle — consistency.
As human beings, we like to stick to our choices. We also like to stay and look consistent with them.
So if a prospect has listened to you once, he or she is very likely to listen to you for the second time as well.
After making a commitment to you by complying with your small request, the chances are high that this prospect will comply with you when you make another (and an even bigger) request.
The thing is this:
We’re always looking for shortcuts to make decisions. And commitment is one of these shortcuts. Every time we have to make a decision to do something, we have to think. Thinking requires effort. But for repeat (or for similar or consistent) actions, there’s very little thinking involved. We know we have done something earlier, and so we can do it for the second time as well.
An interesting research:
A pair of Canadian psychologists conducted a study involving bettors on a Vancouver racecourse. They found that the bettors estimated higher chances of their horses winning after they had placed their bets.
Now this should sound strange.
Because nothing changes in reality. The horses are the same. The racetrack too is the same.
So what really changes?
Well, the act of placing a bet on a horse [COMMITMENT] makes the bettor more confident in his or her choice [CONSISTENCY].
The act of committing (of making a decision and taking a stand) triggers a sense of consistency.
After placing the bets, bettors feel bound to stay (and feel) consistent with their choice of placing the bets on their horses. And the best way to do so is to feel more confident about the winning chances of their horses.
Compliance Without Pressure: the Foot in the Door Technique
In their journal, Compliance without pressure: The foot in the door technique, researchers Jonathan L Freedman and Scott C Fraser offered some groundbreaking findings about compliance. Their experiment recorded a compliance rate of 76% with the foot in the door technique.
In the conducted experiment, the researchers asked the experiment subjects to stick a small “Be a safe driver,” sign on their cars. The sign was a small 3 inches square.
Two weeks later, they approached all the subjects again and asked them if they would be willing to put up a large sign about safe driving in their front yard. While pitching the idea, the researchers also showed the subjects a picture with a very large sign with the message “Drive Carefully” placed in front of an attractive house.
The picture was shot such that it was very uninspiring. It was rather unattractive.
Yet, a whopping 76% of the subjects complied with the second request!
Now contrast this compliance rate with the less than 20% compliance rate of the experiment subjects who were directly asked to put up the not-so-great-looking board in their front yard, i.e., without being reached out before for the smaller request.
The experimenters ran different versions of the experiment. In one of its versions, the researchers asked for quite dissimilar requests. For the first small request, they asked the subjects if they’d sign a petition to keep California clean. And for the second and bigger request, they asked them if they’d put up the drive safely board in their front yard.
Surprisingly, this time too, they recorded a compliance rate of 46%.
The bottom line:
If people give in once to a small request, they are likely to give in to the second, bigger request as well (even if it’s of a dissimilar nature).
The foot in the door marketing style is effective in both online and offline scenarios. Here’s an example that shows it in action.
Example: How Obama Used the Foot in the Door Technique to Get a 5% Higher Donation Conversion Rate
Optimizely, the company that managed Obama’s digital marketing campaign, tested the campaign’s donation form. In that test, Optimizely replaced a long donation form with a multi-step form.
In the multistep variant, users were first made to choose the amount of donation. All the other form fields were only shown at the second step.
Optimizely reported an increase of 5% in the conversion rate as a result of offering the multi-step form.
The psychological hack at work:
When users entered an amount to donate, they made a mini-commitment.
This commitment triggered a sense of consistency. These donors now got more likely to finish what they started. They felt obliged to stick to their choice of committing once.
(The fact that a long form got broken down into multiple steps also contributed to the higher conversion rate.)
The foot in the door technique is all about getting a small commitment upfront. In the above example, the mini-commitment was getting the potential donor to enter the amount to donate. In your case, this commitment could be to get a prospect to attend your webinar, request a demo, or signup for a free trial.
Now that you know what the foot in the door marketing technique is and why it works, let’s see a few ways you can use it to generate more leads.
How to Use the Foot in the Door Marketing Technique to Get More Leads
The foot in the door marketing technique can be used to improve the conversion rate of almost all types of lead generation activities.
For example, you could apply it to:
- Email subscriptions forms
- Landing pages
- Lead capturing forms
Further, if you can find a way to tie this technique with content marketing (especially with interactive content types like polls, quizzes, surveys, etc.), you should see even better conversion rates.
As it is, when it comes to generating leads, content marketing makes 3 times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing and costs 62% cheaper. And when it’s powered by a hack so effective as the foot in the door marketing technique, you can expect even better results.
The following content types do well when clubbed with the foot in the door marketing technique.
Quizzes (a special shout for the small fun ones) enjoy great completion rates.
The ones that are about the assessment of the personality and knowledge of the person taking the quiz boast of an average completion rate of 76%.
A shining example of a company that uses quizzes well is BuzzFeed. Brands like HBO and Mattel sponsor BuzzFeed quizzes. You’ll be surprised to know that 96% users who begin a sponsored quiz complete it.
Quizzes reclaimed their place in BuzzFeed’s mainstream content when its quiz titled, “What City Should You Actually Live In?” went viral.
How BuzzFeed uses quizzes:
At the end of each survey, BuzzFeed asks users to share the survey results with their friends. For BuzzFeed, it’s all about virality and collecting user data.
But if you’re a B2B organization, you can end your survey by asking for information. Just like Ipsos does. Ipsos uses a quiz to generate leads.
When you visit their site, you’re presented with an interesting personality quiz.
Nobody asks you for your email or other details. Just a fun quiz.
The following screenshot shows the first question in their quiz. (See how easy it looks.)
The complete quiz has eight questions, and as you complete it, you’re asked for your details.
Notice how getting users to participate in fun quizzes can make way for you to ask for the real actions.
Polls are simple one-question surveys. Because of the little effort it takes to participate in them, people happily take part.
Poll participation can serve as an excellent mini-commitment.
Calculators are getting increasingly popular with content marketers. Calculators serve as a great engagement tool and often act as the perfect mini-commitment agent.
Tools too are somewhat similar to calculators, where the initial ask is only to try to get a prospect to use the tool to get something done. And then the second step involves asking for the big action.
Once a prospect complies with your request to try your calculator or tool, he or she gets a lot more likely to comply with your bigger requests that could be to fill up a long lead-gen form or to give contact details.
Marketers have forever used contests and giveaways to generate new leads.
If you’ve noticed how travel agencies market, you’ll see that they use a lot of contests and lucky draws. They often ask you to attend an informal chat and stand a chance to win an exotic tour package or some luxury gift.
Online or offline, contests work.
Essentially, they appeal to people’s greed, and greed is a powerful motivational factor.
Asking people to participate in your contest could also trigger a sense of compliance.
- Interactive White papers
Love them or hate them, whitepapers work.
I’m sure you have come across agencies that make you fill 15-field forms to download their exclusive whitepaper.
Now I’m not suggesting that all these fields are unnecessary, they might be required. But throwing such a big form in the face of potential customers can overwhelm them.
Instead of making it look like such a lot of work, make it fun, just like Pardot has.
Pardot gives its conventional white paper a pleasant twist by adding a little interaction.
Its small ask is only to get prospects enticed into knowing about the content type that’s right for them.
Once prospects commit to it and answer the following questions, only then they’re asked for their other details.
You’re only trying to achieve a sense of compliance in your prospects.
If that comes by getting your prospects to participate in a poll or by getting them to use your web tool, so be it.
How to Use Digioh to Leverage the Foot in the Door Technique
If you look at all the above content types that get prospects to make mini-commitments, you’ll notice that it’s expensive to create some of them. For example, creating interactive videos and custom calculators could cost you a lot of money.
Quizzes, surveys, polls, and quiz-style contests, on the other hand, can all be implemented as simple multi-step forms. So if you don’t have the bandwidth, you don’t have to worry about the higher end options.
Digioh has recently introduced a multi-step form feature that allows you to use the foot in the door marketing technique to collect leads.
You can use Digioh’s multi-step form feature to create quizzes, surveys, and polls using slick-looking lightbox popups. Each lightbox popup links to the next popup in the sequence leading up to the final one where you can ask for the prospect’s email and other details.
It’s also possible to create a multi-step form and use the Yes / No lightbox theme. (Two-choice or Yes / No opt-in forms perform better than one-choice or just Yes opt-in forms as with two-choice opt-in forms, people have to make a decision and choose between two options rather than mechanically saying no to the single option.)
Three quick steps to get you started:
Step #1: Choose the type of content to create the multi-step form sequence.
To do so, see if your audience will respond well to a quiz, a survey, a poll, or maybe just a simple two-choice opt-in form.
- Don’t ask for too much. Ask for the least that your prospects will happily say YES to.
For example, ask them to attend a free webinar and not to buy (or try) your latest add-on.
- Keep the small action aligned with your BIG action.
For example, pitch a free webinar [small action] to promote and upsell your new add-on[big action].
Step #2: Create the questionnaire and design the sequence using Digioh’s multi-step form feature and drag & drop form builder.
When you’re choosing questions, select easy and interesting ones. Questions that target a prospect’s pain points tend to do well.
Assessment-style engagement does well too. For example, if you’ve an online hat store, you could create an assessment-style quiz to help your prospective buyers choose the right hat according to their personality.
Whatever questions you choose, make them relevant and engaging.
Step #3: Go live with your shiny new multi-step lead generating form.
Rishi has done a complete walkthrough of how you can use Digioh’s multi-step form feature.
Three Power Moves to Make the Most of the Foot in the Door Technique
Cialdini recommends the below tips to get the best results from the foot in the door marketing style.
#1. Choose the mini-commitment carefully
The whole idea of this technique is to get a commitment upfront. So your job as a marketer is to get a user to commit super-fast. And you can get it quickly if you only ask for the right thing.
Ideally, the first small action in your whole setup should seem effortless to a prospect.
If the action you choose looks like it will need some effort, ditch it. Pick another one.
Analyze your target audience and come up with requests they will likely comply with.
Think: what would your target audience be willing to do?
- Signup for a webinar (so you can pitch your SaaS offering later)
- Download a free ebook (so you can ask for their email afterward)
- Claim a demo (so you can get them to buy)
Take this step seriously. The more people that you get to say yes to the first action, the more people you will get to say yes to your BIG ask.
#2. Leverage public commitments
This one’s not possible always, but whenever you can, create a perception that a prospect’s commitment is public. You can almost always guarantee better results through public commitments. Because people don’t just want to look consistent to themselves but also to the people around them.
For example, once prospects follow your small action of signing up for a free trial, invite them to like your Facebook page — this can invoke a sense of a social commitment.
#3. Reward your prospect
Try to make the situation a win-win by rewarding prospects for doing the small action.
Your choice of a reward will depend on your business.
For example, if you’re a consultant, you can offer your prospect a few minutes of free consulting. You can also offer different kinds downloadable material like editable templates or free ebooks.
It’s a fact that we like people who help us meet our goals. If you offer content that will help people get closer to their goals, they will like you. And they’ll be even more likely to say yes to your second and bigger request.
The foot in the door marketing technique is simple: Ask for a small action that a prospect will do willingly. And then ask for a big action.
The idea is to get an upfront commitment by getting the prospect to do a small action. This small action will prompt the prospect to repeat the act of compliance when asked to do the big action.
The foot in the door marketing technique is a powerful compliance tactic. Depending on your business, you can find creative ways to make it a part of your lead generation process.
Like I said earlier, quizzes seem to do really well, and with Digioh, you can create one within minutes.
Do you need any help with choosing the right small action for your audience? And do you’ve any other questions about this technique? Leave them in the comments below!