Did you know that you don’t always have control of your brain? Human brains are susceptible to a wide variety of mental glitches known as cognitive biases. These biases are essentially shortcuts we use to make decisions – and for the most part, we aren’t even aware that they’re affecting us.

The good news is that you can use these subconscious biases to attract new students to your school. One of the easiest to use is the cognitive bias known as reciprocity.

What is the Reciprocity Bias?

Let’s start by defining the reciprocity bias. Basically, it says that human beings have a tendency to want to return the favor when somebody does something for them. For the most part, we don’t like being at the receiving end of favors. It creates a sense of obligation in us that we can only eliminate by doing a favor in return.

You can probably think of times in your personal life when the reciprocity bias has played a role. Perhaps somebody gave you an unexpected gift and you felt compelled to buy them something to make up for it.

The same bias can be used in marketing.

How to Use the Reciprocity Bias in Marketing

Once you know that people have a deep-seated need to reciprocate when you do something for them, you can use that information to increase the chances that they’ll take action when they visit your website.

The core of reciprocity is giving away something for nothing. It’s why many companies use lead magnets such as free cheat sheets, templates, or eBooks to entice people to sign up for their mailing lists.

Here are some suggestions to help you use reciprocity in your marketing:

  1. Blogging is an easy and cost-effective way to trigger the reciprocity bias. When you provide valuable information on your blog, explaining the benefits of martial arts or explaining moves, you create a sense of obligation in your readers.
  2. Video marketing is great for martial arts schools. You can use it to demonstrate moves, or give a virtual tour of your studio.
  3. Other forms of written content may also be helpful. Consider offering a short eBook, a series of informational emails, or even a podcast.
  4. Finally, free trials and classes are probably the single most effective way to tap into the reciprocity bias. You may already do this, but if you’re not then it’s a good idea to start.

In some cases, you may want to ask for something in return immediately. For example, if you’re using reciprocity to get people to sign up for your mailing list, then you can offer them some free content to download immediately.

Ultimately, you can use reciprocity for both short-term and long-term benefits. Someone might read your blog without signing up for a class, but the more information you provide, the more likely it is that they will do so.