Foot In The Door

Making a small commitment now makes us more likely to agree to a greater one later

A low cost, unthreatening technique that has the power to increase sales, donations and recruitment, as long as you follow a few rules…

Burger (1999). The foot-in-the-door compliance procedure: A multiple-process analysis and review. Personality and Social Psychology Review.

The study

Setup

88 household individuals were split into three groups and  asked to either wear a badge supporting a  charity, asked to wear one along with another family member or not to wear at all. That same evening, all groups were then asked for a financial donation to the charity. 

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Results

Those who were first asked the small request were far more likely to go on and donate money than those who weren’t.

np_read_2490885_000000

In detail

Key Takeaways

Start with a question promoting reflection on one’s values. Their answers will create a desire to be consistent with their beliefs.

Have people perform a small related action. e.g. People who put a small “Drive carefully” sign in their window are more likely to follow the instruction than those who merely say they will. Frame it as a social norm.

Prime the ‘helpful’, ‘cooperative’ ‘supporter’ with positive feedback prior to a future request. 

Make the target request a continuation of the initial one. The more similar the activity, the greater success. Also balance your request sizes. If the initial request is too big, people won’t do it, never getting to the target request. But too-small tasks will widen the gulf between the two.

Make the target request a continuation of the initial one. The more similar the activity, the greater success. Also balance your request sizes. If the initial request is too big, people won’t do it, never getting to the target request. But too-small tasks will widen the gulf between the two.

Foot In The Door

Making a small commitment now makes us more likely to agree to a greater one later

A low cost, unthreatening technique that has the power to increase sales, donations and recruitment, as long as you follow a few rules…

Burger (1999). The foot-in-the-door compliance procedure: A multiple-process analysis and review. Personality and Social Psychology Review.

The study

Setup

88 household individuals were split into three groups and  asked to either wear a badge supporting a  charity, asked to wear one along with another family member or not to wear at all. That same evening, all groups were then asked for a financial donation to the charity. 

Results

Those who were first asked the small request were far more likely to go on and donate money than those who weren’t.

Key Takeaways

Start with a question promoting reflection on one’s values. Their answers will create a desire to be consistent with their beliefs.

Have people perform a small related action. e.g. People who put a small “Drive carefully” sign in their window are more likely to follow the instruction than those who merely say they will. Frame it as a social norm.

Prime the ‘helpful’, ‘cooperative’ ‘supporter’ with positive feedback prior to a future request. 

Make the target request a continuation of the initial one. The more similar the activity, the greater success. Also balance your request sizes. If the initial request is too big, people won’t do it, never getting to the target request. But too-small tasks will widen the gulf between the two.

Foot In The Door

Making a small commitment now makes us more likely to agree to a greater one later

A low cost, unthreatening technique that has the power to increase sales, donations and recruitment, as long as you follow a few rules…

The study

Setup

88 household individuals were split into three groups and  asked to either wear a badge supporting a  charity, asked to wear one along with another family member or not to wear at all. That same evening, all groups were then asked for a financial donation to the charity. 

Results

Those who were first asked the small request were far more likely to go on and donate money than those who weren’t.

np_read_2490885_000000

In detail

Pairings

Conversion

Encourage action by offering closure on mystery

Make it easy for people to want to develop a curiosity in your products with playful, suggestive messaging regarding its outcomes.

Even reframing an initial call to action, like:

"Sign up to get started"

As something more curious and goal-orientated, like:

"Sign up to see how to do it"

...shows us that curiosity needn't be a grand event, but instead can operate in subtle, suggestive ways that playfully motivate by holding back certain information.

Where can you inspire explorative inquisition within people with in subtle ways at the beginning of their journey with you?

Conversion

Overcome fear of new, unknown choices with a little taster

We're creatures of habit, sticking to what we know even when there are better things available.

However, we can use a Foot In The Door to offer a low risk sample.

Where are people sticking to what they've done for a long time? This could be using an inferior product from a competitor, or an old product that you're looking to sunset.

What small thing could you provide them to take that first step into the unknown? A free 1hr webinar, a 3 month free trial for existing competitor customers, a free software migration process... The list is endless.

Most importantly, keep it small, easy, relevant and attractive.

Conversion

Allow existing customers to get new customers started

Getting people started is often the hardest thing. However, those who've already made investments in a platform or service can act as a means to help new subscribers get started. For example, someone on a weekly coffee subscription could share a code with a friend to simply try the service for free for a week.

This could be taken further by allowing the existing subscriber to add a personalised note or make a product choice they think would be best for the new subscriber.

How can you use the wisdom of more experienced users to get the uninformed started?

Highlight how others got started

As well as providing a clear first, low-risk step into your world, bolster any new customer's foot-in-the-door task with some communicating that 'most existing customers started this way too'. This could be a membership tier, order amount or frequency or simply a first engagement with your brand (i.e. signing up for your newsletter before buying any products you've for sale).

Where can you provide reassurance that new or potential customers are taking the right step down a path trodden by many before them?

Start small. Start social.

Heavy past investments needn't weigh you down today

Working on a big project that's dragging on for too long or become inefficient?

How can you request time / resource for a small project that could be used to test a project hypothesis quickly more simply?

A small sprint involving a multi-disciplinary team and a necessary opportunity for everyone to let go of their sunk costs together.

Conversion

To get them started, begin with a very small task

Giving people a low-risk taster is a great way to test out the new without fear.

Where can you provide moments to explore the unfamiliar?

Connected to

Running workshops?

Foot In The Door

is included in Box One of our physical workshop tool.
is included in Box Two of our physical workshop tool.
Box Two