Most business people will recoil at the idea of being offered a bribe.  Of course, you hear about corrupt business practices, but the majority of business people are ethical and honest.  So why would I suggest that you offer a bribe to potential customers?

It’s all about reciprocity.

If you give me something of value at no cost, I have good feelings about you and your business.  This means that, psychologically, there is a built-in wish to return the favour.

Also – in order for me to get this free item, I’m usually willing to part with my name and email address.  In the world of internet marketing this is known as an ethical bribe.

There is nothing underhand about this – you have almost certainly signed up for something (probably many somethings) somewhere yourself.  The range of ethical bribes include:

  • A pdf download ‘report’ or ‘white paper’ and may be anything from 1-10 pages long.
  • A checklist
  • A ‘how to’ document
  • A tips sheet on a specific subject
  • A free webinar or video tutorial
  • All or part of an ebook (also sometimes called a ‘report’ or ‘white paper’ – but ebooks tend to be more than just a few pages.)
  • A free book (sometimes you pay for the postage and packing, but not for the book)

These are all items of perceived value and, providing the title is interesting enough, many people are happy to part with their contact info to get the item.  After all, they all know that they will be able to unsubscribe later.

What makes a good subject for your ethical bribe

This is an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge – but don’t go overboard.  Typically a good place to start would be with:

  • A checklist – people like to check they’re on the right track and see this as a quick way to identify where they need to fill in the gaps.
  • A ‘how to’ document – everyone wants to know the secrets of your expertise. Don’t be shy – give a few away and most of the recipients will try it themselves, but without your expertise, discover it’s not as easy as it appears.  However, they know now exactly who to ask for help!
  • A tips sheet on a specific subject – we all like helpful tips and it’s a great way to engage people in how to deliver best practice.
  • A document that reveals ‘The three biggest mistakes business owners make on …’ or ‘The five things every business owner should avoid when …’ Everyone wants to know they’re not making any of these critical errors so it’s a good ‘carrot’ to offer.

If you’re planning a webinar or video tutorial these are equally good ideas to work with, but also results-focused subjects are often well-received – e.g. ‘how to get over 100 leads in 5 days’.

If you’ve explored the internet much you’ll almost certainly have come across marketers who offer an ethical bribe so you’ll have some idea of what people respond to.

What expertise could you package to build your marketing list?