Give Before You Get

“When you go to a great hotel, sometimes you’ll look in the desk drawer and you’ll see some really nice, high-quality stationary, with the hotel’s name in gold leaf across the top,” Cialdini says. “But when I was at the Mandarin Oriental, I pulled out this stationary and my name was at the top. They had given me a gift that wasn’t designed to promote the hotel. It didn’t have their name on it — it had my name on it. I’ve never stopped recommending that hotel to anyone traveling to Hong Kong.”

What does this quote have to do with blogging? I’ll explain later but…

First, I don’t claim this is the only way to make money online.

When a prospect uses Google, for example, and she is indeed ready to buy a product, you may get the sale if you are the one who provides a quick link to the product page. In fact, a lot of people made a fortune online a few years ago with this simple method.

If you want to build a business, something that could last longer than a sale or two, you want to approach it differently.

Let’s talk about it from the perspective of an information provider / marketer.

Instead of focusing on taking or getting, you should think of building relationships.

Give away what is perceived as valuable by your audience. It doesn’t have to be something costly. You can write a 8- to 10-page report that addresses a core problem your readers try to solve, and give it away.

It may contain your most important technique. One that works wonder every time people try.

The question is, “why gives it away?”

And usually the follow up questions are…

“Shouldn’t you charge for it? What are you going to sell if you give your best technique away?”

The strategic thinking behind this will be a topic of a different series of posts — you want to subscribe to make sure you don’t miss them.

But in concise, you want to give away the idea and sell the system. Furthermore, you may extend it to give people quick result, but sell the details.

Engage the audience so they come back for more, so they could not resist buying your products.

Even if you sell ad spaces, you want to give away valuable information so the advertisers want in some ways to attach their brands with your site, so the readers want to stick with your site long enough to see and click the ads, and so they want to come back for more content and click on more ads.

The side effect is very powerful. There is more than one principle working here, but one that stands out, Robert Cialdini calls it reciprocity.

He says, “The tendency among humans is that we want to give back to those who have given to us.”

It is one of the six principles that make persuasion work. If you give away valuable content, you are with or without knowingly use persuasive technique to win people’s heart.

If you want your audience to never stop talking and recommending about your product or service, give them something that produces result, something they want.

It is the key to building feed subscribers.

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