What is the Foot-in-the-door Technique?
The foot-in-the-door technique is the idea that it is more effective to start by asking people for something small, and then when they give it to you, you are in a better position to ask for something bigger.
Studies have shown that a small agreement creates a bond between the requester and the requestee. The person you ask acts according to the cognitive bias that they have to justify their agreement to themselves. Humans like to justify their decision-making so they will convince themselves that they accepted the first request for a reason and then feel obliged to act consistently with this reason by accepting a second and third request, and so on.
The phrase “foot in the door” originated during the heyday of door-to-door salespersons that would place their foot in the way of a closing door. With their foot literally in the door, the potential customer would have to listen to the sales pitch and this would potentially give them their way in to a bigger sale.
The Foot-In-The-Door technique draws strongly from the “Ben Franklin Effect“. This phenomenon occurs when a person is asked for a small favour. Most people feel more positive towards a person they have previously helped, and so will be likely to repeat (or go further than) their earlier favour.
A common strategy used by digital brands for engaging a potential customer is to ask for opinions, advice or feedback. Even this superficial engagement can lead a consumer to think about a product in ways they had not previously considered.
Another strategy, more common to Saas companies, is to engage users with a “Freemium” plan. The hope is that the customer will upgrade to a paid account once they experience the benefits of a service, or that they will renew their subscription when the trial comes to an end.
Engaging with the visitors from the beginning and asking them to do simple things can make them more willing to listen to your value proposition. Therefore, the Foot-in-the-Door Technique can help you improve your conversion rates.