Foot-in-the-Door Technique

A simple way to boost email engagement

Foot-in-the-Door Technique: Once someone has agreed to a small request they are more likely to agree to a larger request.

Researchers posed as statistics students from a university (Gueguen, 2002). The researchers sent emails to 58 people who were real students of the same university. Participants were split into two groups. Researchers sent one group of students an email asking for help:

“I have to sent my CV to a company in a Word RTF format. I don’t know how it works, can you help me?”.

A second email was then sent to all the groups. The second email asked for help but this time to complete a questionnaire, a task that would take significantly longer to complete than the first request sent to half of the participants.

In both conditions compliance was relatively high, however, when a small request was first complete (help with a CV), the participant was 76% more likely to complete the longer questionnaire sent afterwards. Only 44% of those who received a request to complete the questionnaire, but not help with a CV, actually completed it.

People are more likely to agree or comply with larger requests if they’ve agreed to a modest one first.

This is an extract from my widely acclaimed book, Product Gems: 117 Science Experiments Demonstrating How To Build Products People Love. Get your copy today and join over 1,000 other readers who have purchased this month.