The Reciprocity Principle

“The reciprocity principle is one of the basic laws of social psychology: It says that in many social situations we pay back what we received from others. In other words, if John does you a favor, you’re likely to return it to him.” – Nielsen Norman Group

The Reciprocity Principle is the heart of Content Marketing. What do blog posts, ebooks, informational videos all have in common? They are intended to HELP people. They are helpful. Well, some are helpful – nonetheless, they are INTENDED to benefit the lives of their targeted audience. By giving, giving, giving; customers will then feel obligated to return the favor somehow.

I was doing some research the other day on real estate when I came across a blog post at Placester. I was impressed. I found the information useful and on the bottom of the post, it said, “Enter your email for a FREE download of our Ultimate Guide to Building a Real Estate Website Book.” 

Placester did me a favor by giving a free valuable resource establishing themselves as the industry expert. I returned the favor by giving them what they asked for – my email, so they could add another person to their email newsletter. Since then they’ve made such a positive influence with their content, I’ve become one of their new customers.

If I was a marketer for a Real Estate Team, I could use the reciprocity principle by creating a vlog series interviewing local business owners. Video interviews will shine the spotlight on local businesses owners and give them the opportunity to attract new clients.

I’d keep them short, three-minute videos once per week. The questions will be carefully crafted to incite intriguing dialogue, uncovering the person behind the business. I’d post this on the website, social media and encourage others to share it and check out our page for more. If I do this consistently and if it appeals to my audience, I have the opportunity to build a brand following, more site traffic and more clientele.

Jim: “Hey Mr. Robertson, we’re looking to buy a new home next Summer. I know you’ve moved around quite a bit. Which real estate company do you recommend me and Sarah work with?”

Mr. Robertson:  “You should check out Weichert. They’ve done a lot for the community and they have their customers best interest in mind.”

Jim: “Oh that’s right, Sarah reblogged the interview they did with your restaurant. Very nice, I’m gonna go check out their website!”

Promoting local businesses demonstrates compassion and goodwill for those in our community. This is a game changer. Not a lot of local real estate agencies have the time, budget or interest to invest in a consistent vlog series. Business owners would reccomend Weichert to their customers. Our videos will attract a lot of local community members. More exposure + consistent, creative, content that benefits audience = positive branding, customer satisfaction and the return of favor – more customers and referrals.


Fiorella, S. (2014, September 24). The Principle of Reciprocity and Influence Marketing. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from
Badiu, R. (2014, February 16). Nielsen Norman Group. Retrieved February 28, 2016, from




DTE Usability Testing

SCENARIO (for Tasks 1 & 2): “You saw one of your friends wearing a ____ that they purchased from Do The Extraordinary. You head home and browse the DTE website to find similar items with a clear budget in mind.”

TASK 1: Purchase a sweater for under $70.

TASK 2: Purchase a bracelet for under $50.

Explain why testing these tasks are important and what you expect to find when you do the test. 

The Home, About Us, News, DTE TV, Contact pages have very little content. When your websites only experience is its e-commerce; having a decent shopping user experience is essential. I expect plenty of critical errors from testers when they’re attempting these tasks. I also expect 100% of the testers to experience frustration, mainly  because there are no captions underneath the pictures! There is no option to filter  products by type, size, color, or price. So in order to browse sweaters, you must browse all TOPS.

Without captions underneath the products, you won’t know how much each product costs until you click its picture. So the only way to find a sweater for under $70 is to click on each picture of a sweater. If these issues get resolved, people will have an easier time shopping. This increases customer satisfaction, website traffic, and online revenue.

Tell us how you would potentially recruit participants and what you would tell them when they get to the test. 

I wold recruit shoppers visiting Do The Extraordinary store in Downtown Seattle. First, I would give a debrief on the who, what and why of this usability test. I’d mention the importance of providing a good UX for our customers and improving our website. I’d encourage participants to think out loud. I’d ask them what they did for work, how many hours they spent on the internet so we can segment our results by demographics.


Krug, S. (2006). Don’t make me think!: A common sense approach to Web usability. Berkeley, Calif: New Riders Pub. 

Entrepreneurship – The Good, the Bad and the Ugly?

My favorite aspects of learning entrepreneurship deal with the introspection, branding, and marketing. Week 1 addressed the same questions many personal development leaders talk about;  Understanding your strengths,  driving motivation, and core values.

I don’t plan to work for someone or a job I don’t find fulfilling ever again. Sounds cliche, I even cringe when I hear a wantrepreneurs make boastful claims in public but their action proves otherwise. But I trust myself to follow thru to my promises. Knock on wood but I haven’t let myself down when it comes to rising up to the challenge and stepping out of my comfort zone.

The most daunting section of this course was learning about the finances. I struggled. It didn’t seem as interesting as the other topics, but once I got into the flow of learning I started to build momentum. Plugging numbers, doing the critical thinking, I got lost in my assignment and finished with a deep sense of accomplishment. I can now say that I’ve created my first Cash Flow Statement and P&L Projection!

I had the same experience in the module when we learned about taxes. 1099? Schedule C? 1040? Do I file quarterly? Yearly? You mean I can’t just not worry about it and get paid a whole lotta cash during tax return anymore like everyone else?

Intimidating, but like the cash flow projection I KNEW these were subjects I had to learn. Regardless of my initial impressions of these subjects, I have a deep sense of appreciation for them. To live at a time where all of the resources we have to learn are at our fingertips? Is truly a blessing. I am grateful to be alive in 2016. I’d be foolish to not take advantage of the abundance of knowledge available.

Entrepreneurship is the only way. Every project and every lesson learned will only contribute towards a more positive outlook on the entrepreneurial life. My openness to learning new skills and discipline have led me to be the man I am today. I’m learning so much about the actual risks of starting your own business through these courses. It’s intimidating but more-so exciting. The idea of staying at a comfortable job and spending another minute doing something that doesn’t bring fulfillment scares me more than anything.

From our very first breath, the timer to our last days had just been set. We don’t know how long this journey will last. Every time I really think about it, it trips me out. But I say it often to remind myself to be grateful. To enliven my spirit.


Creating Something From Nothing

I created a sample blog post promoting an open house event for Weichert Real Estate. I used Canva to combine the pictures into a digital flyer. I used a Real Estate sectioned theme and replaced the pictures and information on an actual listing home. I changed the color scheme to match Weichert’s; tweaked the circle, added a line and changed the font size/types.

I initially wanted to create a video, but I didn’t get to look at this discussion until it was already Wednesday. The Realtor I’m working with wants to start doing videos for his marketing and I really wanted to make a home tour promo vid. I didn’t get a chance to this time, but I did take that first step in really researching the How To’s and Tips for creating videos for marketing.


I re-wrote the description of the actual listing home. I looked at the top real estate agents and noticed they used vivid imagery when describing their homes. I rewrote the description, switched up the vocabulary and attempted to tap into the readers emotions.  I was pleased with the results. I think the slightly exaggerated language is effective in inciting excitement in home buyers.

Throughout this course, I’ve learned how to tap into a newer source of “flow”. I get into this flow state when I write and now; creating graphic designs. It’s hard sometimes since I get distracted easily; but once I commit, I am immersed in productive creativity. Atmospheric instrumental playing in the background and I am 100% focused and in the zone!

Dealing with a difficult client, what would you do?

This week, put yourself in the role of the web designer. As the designer, you have gone through the whole creation process and completed a usability test. The test showed some major issues. However, your client doesn’t want to pay any more money to fix the problems and just wants to “roll” with the site as it is.

I’d look my client directly in their eyes. Speak with a calm, but directive, professional tone and communicate absolute certainty.

1. Affirm My Obligation 

I’d begin the dialogue by affirming that their success is my obligation (or something along those lines). By doing this, I’m reminding them “Hey, we’re on the same team here! You hired an expert for a reason!” Conveying that I have their best interest in mind is imperative in gaining their trust.

2. Driving Results  

Emphasize how these issues impact whether they attain their goals or not. Speaking in rational terms is necessary for productive dialogue, especially in business. I’d explain the circumstances and use KPI’s to support what I believe is true.

“If we don’t fix this…” – Begin with the repercussions of not fixing the major issues and how they will affect website goals/objectives.

“If we do fix this…” – Close the dialogue with optimism. Paint the picture for a strong online presence and positive effects of addressing these issues now. I’d probably bring up how this will give them the edge over their competition. I’m highly competitive myself and the thought of putting extra effort to outwork the competition excites me. I hope to incite that in my client!

Example Below

“(Clients Name), Part of my success in what I do – is making sure that you have an online presence that brings you results. Professional tone* Commence stare* Brad Pitt Body Language*

People are using mobile internet more than ever before. This (whatever the issue) has an impact on everyone who visits your website through their phones – this is most of your audience.

If we don’t fix this, your users will have a hard time navigating this page. They won’t find the information they’re looking for which means they’re not going to trust you with their email. It’s going to make it real difficult getting those 50 subscribers like we planned for.

But if we do fix it, they won’t have this problem. They’ll find what they’re looking for, they’ll trust your website and they’ll want to subscribe for more information. When people have a good user experience, they tell others about it.

You know, (Competitors Company) website is mobile friendly but they don’t have a beautiful design like ours. I don’t even think they have 50 subscribers, maybe 20? (joke, lighthearted, competitive dialogue). Haha.

You said you wanted to take your business to the next level right? Then let’s do what’s right for you and your business, (Client). 2016 is the year of taking action!”

I have an expressive and adventurous style of communication. As long as I am speaking in logical terms, with information to back it up, I can make a positive influence. My client will make the right decision and allow me to make the changes necessary. My client will attain their goals. My client will surpass their goals and Super GaspiMan saves another difficult client, one client at a time.

Sample Open House Blog post

Greetings everyone!

Here is this week’s featured, Spotlight Open House.

For more information on one of our listings, please give us a call at (253) 555-5555 or email at


Open house (1).jpg

Price: $389,900

Date: Saturday February 20th, 2:00 – 5:00pm

Built in 1964, this gem is located in Tacoma’s desirable West End Neighborhood. A spacious 2,678 sq ft. 4 bedrooms & 2.5 baths, just minutes away from the magnificent Chambers Bay Golf Course. Take a relaxing stroll down Titlow Beach. Invite friends over for a Summertime BBQ or catch the morning sunrise on this enchanting 820 square ft. deck atop its spacious backyard. Elegant hardwood floors, Travertine Tiles, and 2 fireplaces made perfect for cozy Winter evenings. Master bedroom with en-suite bath lies beyond a grand set of French doors. Contemporary, private & everything you need in your new humble abode. Don’t let this one pass you by.

Stay up-to-date on our latest open houses. Sign up for our email newsletter below!


Ryan, C. (2014, January 07). Real Estate Blog Posts Made Easy: Open Houses. Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

Williams, S. (2013). SOLD! How To Write Real Estate Ads That Sell Properties Fast – Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

MLS Home Listing in Tacoma. (n.d.). Retrieved February 18, 2016, from

How to Stand Out on Social Media as an Entrepreneur

Patrick Bet-David is a Successful Startup Entrepreneur Coach and Mentor, Author of 25 Laws for Doing the Impossible and Creator of Valuetainment YouTube Channel”  – 

Patrick Bet-David goes over the transition from traditional to social media, and its effect on marketing as entrepreneurs.  Blogging has become the new Journalism, YouTube the new television, Periscope the new live broadcast and Twitter the entertainment daily news.

One thing all of these platforms have in common is that they are absolutely FREE.

“Social Media has become the great equalizer against giant companies”.

Patrick makes the case for those who claim they’re too busy to utilize social media to market their business. This is what his social media schedule looks like…

  • Write 1 blog post per week on Sunday.
  • Check Twitter 20-30 mins every morning to catch up on the daily news.
  • Make 1 Instagram post a day.
  • Periscope 1x per week during a special event.

…All while balancing family time with his wife, two children and running a multi-million dollar insurance company.

The biggest struggle micro business owners face in digital marketing is efficient scheduling and strategy. Halfway through my second-quarter in this social media marketing program, and wow. It’s a lot to take in! Being immersed in the subject for this long I’m realizing why many business owners must resort to outsourcing.

One contact found through Patrick’s YouTube channel turned into a $1 Million dollar profit for his company.  The idea is to build a brand that will attract quality relationships to your business. The money isn’t in the YouTube ads or amount of subscribers, but the people that you end up connecting with.

Here are Patrick Bet-David’s 8 elements of marketing as entrepreneurs (with my interpretations).

  1. “Have A Message/Opinion” – What is your industry? What do you believe? A lot of thought leaders have built brands around marketing, leadership, spiritual health and fitness. Some popular industries right now revolve around tech, start-up, and real estate.
  2. “Value-based” – Become a value seeker/sharer. Promote other influencers who are producing great content. Be a leader and source for knowledge.
  3. “Target Audience” –  Big companies can afford to mass-market. But if you try to be everything to everyone you will lose. Having a target audience narrows down to a quality market, who can potentially become your biggest brand ambassadors.
  4. “Be Where Your Audience Is” – Online and offline. Can you think of one important person in your life whom you would have never met, if you weren’t at the right place, at the right time? Actively look for opportunities to where your audience will increase your chances of finding successful relationships.
  5. “Be Relevant” – Follow the trends. Be active in your industry. Contribute to online groups to build social proof and credibility.
  6. “10 o’clock News Happens Every Night” – Be consistent with your social media marketing. Consistency = credibility
  7. “Authenticity”– Your service must be congruent with your deepest core values. Congruency = authenticity
  8. “Transparency” – An excellent stature combined with the capability to be vulnerable with your audience will increase their respect for you tenfold. transparency = trust + vulnerability