The Foot in The Door (FITD) technique is a psychological method of persuasion that’s widely used in sales environments. Its purpose is to encourage compliance without applying pressure to the targeted individual.

In 1966, Freedman and Fraser (Stanford University) carried out psychological experiments dedicated to the study of compliance without pressure. The results concluded that when someone is presented with a small, less significant request initially, they are more likely to go on to comply to a bigger request later on. This is the basic idea behind the Foot In The Door technique.

Naturally, over the years, marketers have taken advantage of FITD to increase their sales. One of the most common ways to implement the FITD technique in sales is through email marketing campaigns. Every time you request an email address with the intention of establishing further conversions, you are using the FITD technique. It’s little wonder how email marketing generates an average ROI of $32 for every $1 spent!

Today, we’re going to show you how to create a structured plan that you can use to increase email engagement and generate more sales using FITD.

Phase 1 - Your Small Request

Your small request will depend on what stage of the sales funnel your customers are on. If you’re planning on increasing engagement with existing subscribers, you need to determine an appropriate small request, something that anyone could do easily and quickly.

Some examples of small requests for existing subscribers are:

  • Requesting a review
  • Watching a video
  • Reading your blog post
  • Testing a product
  • Downloading an ebook

According to WPforms, the preferred lead magnet among subscribers is an ebook, so this is definitely worth considering.

The FITD Technique When Gathering Email Addresses

First of all, you need to present your audience with a reason to give you their personal information. Determine what you’ll offer in exchange for an email address. This could be:

  • An ebook
  • A free trial
  • A download
  • A regular newsletter
  • Exclusive information
  • A chance to voice their opinions e.g. a survey

According to WPforms, the preferred lead magnet among subscribers is an ebook, so this is definitely worth considering.

Pop-Ups VS Contact Forms

Contact forms are essential for most websites. Keep the form above the page fold and only request a small amount of information at first, such as a name and email address.

While contact forms are a vital website inclusion, pop-ups can be much more effective at prompting a sign-up. They are a growing trend among marketers and for good reason!

A common type of pop-up is one that makes the target feel guilty or silly for saying no.

Let’s look at an example;

“Get access to our free ebook”.

Your audience is presented with two choices:

  • “Yes, please send it me”
  • “No. I don’t like free stuff!”

You are forcing your audience to make a decision to either accept your free ebook or reject it by claiming they don’t like freebies. The declining option is, in all likelihood, not true. Therefore, by declining your offer, you are forcing visitors to accept a false statement about themselves, making the process all-the-more painful.

This is just one example of the type of psychological persuasion techniques you can use in your pop-ups. Another example is to generate a sense of urgency or intrigue around the pop-up.

You could also make the colour of the “Yes” button much bolder and brighter than the “No” so that it captures your audience’s attention better. Associate the “Yes” with positive feelings and/or the “No” with negative ones.

Ensure a Fast and Easy Process

The key thing to keep in mind during your sign-up stage – and every other stage in your FITD campaign – is to make the process simple and smooth. The easier your small initial request is to do, the more likely people will do it. Make sure your pages, contact forms, and pop-ups load quickly, paying specific attention to mobile-friendliness.

If the loading time is slow, try clearing your website cache and check for any updates. If you’re still having speed problems, you may want to look at your hosting plan. Shared hosting plans are not usually ideal for small businesses because they slow down and lag as traffic increases. VPS hosting is generally quicker and more flexible, which may be a better option if you’re striving for a traffic boost.

Once your target customers have completed their small task, you’ve got your foot in the door and are well on your way to encourage better email engagement.

Phase 2 - Your Pitch

Your “pitch” phase is about gearing up and preparing your audience for the bigger request; the sale!

Craft your Subject Lines

Before your email content can be seen, you need to establish an open-worthy subject line for your emails. According to Convince&Convert, for 35% of people, the subject line is the sole deciding factor for opening emails – no pressure then!

Writing your subject lines can be a tricky task. You don’t have much room to articulate a winning and persuasive combination of words. But, it can be done!

Top tips for crafting your subject lines:

Less is more – More words doesn’t mean more opens. Keep it short and sweet. 3-word-subject lines have the highest rate of engagement!

What does the email contain? – Use a few simple words to describe what the recipient can expect from opening your email.

What to include – The words “daily” and “weekly” included in a subject line will increase the likelihood of it being opened. Additionally, recipients respond 29.9% better to the word “soon” compared to the word “now”.

What to avoid – Of course, there are words that statistically perform worse than others in a subject line. Avoid the following:

  • Subscription
  • Training
  • Report
  • Journal
  • Learn
  • Monthly

I would recommend carrying out an A/B test on different subject lines to determine the ones with the highest open rates.

Create Your Email Content

Now you’ve got your audience hooked, you can proceed to reel them in with your fantastically-persuasive email content. Your email content can provide all you need for encouraging further conversions and sales.

Hone in on a pain-point then offer a solution

A pain-point is something that people find inconvenient or annoying. For example, if I were selling a cordless vacuum cleaner, the pain-point would be how cords hold you back, making it annoyingly-necessary to keep unplugging when you’re cleaning…

And, voila!

Here is my solution…

… a cordless vacuum! This is your solution that will drive your audience towards a sale. Tell your email recipients what you’re offering and why it’s so amazing.

Use testimonials

Testimonials and reviews are a great way to back up any claims you’re making. You can include them in all forms of media and across all channels. Every time you get a sale, request feedback and proudly display it in front of prospective customers. They can be the deciding factor in the purchasing process.

Use video content and moving imagery

Videos receive higher engagement than text. Consider creating and emailing a video to pitch your products or services. Explainer videos are great, as well as product demos and whiteboard animations. They are also another opportunity to showcase your testimonials and reinforce your brand logo and colours.

Moving images are a relatively new concept that can be quirky and fun. They grab the attention of your readers, making it difficult for them to ignore what’s in front of them.

Your call-to-actions

Invite your audience to click through to your product page where they can learn more. Your call-to-action will also act as a further “small request”, leading them to a product page where you can pitch in more detail. The wording in your call-to-actions is key. This is another area for A/B testing to get the most out of your pitches.

Keep in mind that emails are not the place for lengthy essay-style writing. They need to be short and straight to the point to push the reader towards the end goal.

Phase 3 - Your Big Request

If your audience has committed to clicking through to your product page, you are that much closer to making the sale. It’s now time for the big request. Reinforce what you’ve pitched to make that final push.

Make the big request easier for you and your customers:

  • Offer a special discount
  • Incorporate a sense of “togetherness”
  • Make the checkout process easy
  • Have an FAQ section
  • Accept multiple payment methods
  • Consider FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out – Create a sense of urgency about buying

Once you’ve made the sale, customers are more likely to go on to purchase from you again, spending larger amounts of money with subsequent purchases.

According to, 80% of future profits will derive from just 20% of your existing customers, making customer retention high-priority. Not only that, but the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the chance of selling to a new or prospective customer is just 5-20%.

So, in effect, this “big request” turns into the “small request” before further and bigger purchases!

Planning is Important

Planning is an essential element in any marketing campaign. Create a detailed strategy for your email campaigns, purposefully incorporating the Foot In The Door technique to boost engagement. Use the proven technique to drive sales. By going through the sales funnel one small step at a time, your audience are more likely to make it all the way through.