How to use Foot in the Door (FITD) Technique in your Inbound Marketing Strategy


The Foot in the Door technique is a persuasion strategy often used in marketing and sales. It works based on the principle of compliance and consistency that suggests that if a person complies with the small request in the beginning, that person will likely agree to a larger request later on.

A classic example is a sales staff giving a sample of their product to people passing by their shop. The sales staff is more likely to convince those who accept the offer to come into the shop and make a purchase.

In online marketing, you can see the application of this technique in sign-up forms. Asking for an email address is the first small request, pitching them with a product or service via email is the next bigger request. If they say yes to the email address, they will likely say yes to the pitch.

But while the “give the sample and get the sale” technique still works in traditional B2C sales, the journey from email address to sale or from lead to customer in online marketing is often longer and not always as simple as it sounds.

The influx of emails that blatantly sells or emails that do not provide value to the recipients has made people suspicious of marketing emails in general. This is why it’s important that once you get your foot in the door, you must follow it up with the best practices in inbound marketing.

Foot in the Door Technique and Inbound Marketing

In the traditional way of marketing, ads were pushed to a wide audience hoping that the message would resonate with some of them. Often it is done in an interruptive manner, hence the term interruption marketing.

A new and better way to market, which aims to attract and pull the audience by providing solutions that they are actively searching for, is called inbound marketing. And at the core of inbound marketing is content: useful, meaningful and relevant information that targets a specific group of audience who can be subsequently converted to customers.

Using the same push and pull analogy, in the foot in the door technique, what you want is for the potential customer to open the door and pull you inside rather than the potential customer to keep pushing at the door and bar you from entering.

So how do you do it?

The key is sending the right message to the right person at the right time.

You need time to get to know your leads. What do they need? What kind of information are they looking for? How can you help them? Are they ready to buy? If they are, why would they buy from you?

Getting your foot in the door is only the first step, what should happen next is a carefully planned set of actions that will create a clear path for them to follow. You as the marketer must lay down the waypoints to guide them. You should have a direct influence on how they can go from being just an email address to a customer that you know and understand well.

Marketing-to-Sales Process using Foot in the Door Technique

This process is composed of at least four stages. In each stage, you’ll request them to do something but you’ll give them something valuable in return. This will allow you to get to know your leads better, earn their trust by showing your intention to help and your qualifications to provide the solution that they need and at the last stage, you get to ask them the ultimate request.

Let’s look at what happens at every stage and how the process works:

Foot in the door technique Inbound Marketing


Your request: Subscribe
Your offer: Product/Business news and updates

  • Create a landing page about your product/service
  • Ask visitors of your website to subscribe for updates
  • Promote this page: link to it from your homepage, promote in social media, ads, etc.
  • For those who subscribed, add them to a nurturing email drip that offers your free webinar


Your request: Register
Your offer: Free webinar

  • Set up a free webinar and create a registration page
  • Optionally, you can promote this page to get as many participants as you can
  • For those who registered, add them to a nurturing email drip that offers your free consultation


Your request: Sign up
Your offer: Free consultation

  • Create a free consultation sign-up page
  • At the end of the webinar, offer a free consultation to all participants
  • Give them the link to the sign-up page


Your request: Buy

  • For those who sign up for the free consultation, add them to a nurturing email drip that offers your product/service
  • Optionally, you can make a soft pitch during the free consultation or make a follow-up call

In between stages: Newsletter and Retargeting

  • For those who didn’t convert in any stage, you can add them to a newsletter list and continue to nurture them with useful and related information until they are ready to be activated again.

  • Alternatively, if you are serving retargeting ads, you can add them to your retargeting list and show them ads that are relevant to them.

The process combines foot in the door technique, targeted lead nurturing and a well-defined buyer’s journey map to ensure that you’re sending the right message to the right people at the right time. It can be customized and you can use different strategies in every stage, from business launch to growth, depending on the nature of your business. The most important thing is you give them something valuable in exchange for their compliance to your request.

Using a marketing automation software such as SharpSpring can help you to automate a large part of the Foot in the Door technique resulting in personalized customer journeys, higher conversion rates and the elimination of repetitive manual processes. If this is something you are considering, book a demo with us to learn more about how you can use marketing automation software to implement the Foot in the Door technique in your overall business marketing strategy.


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About the Author

Sheryll Chua

Sheryll is a project manager at FunnelBud who enjoys automating challenging processes as well as coming up with out-of-the-box solutions to make clients' work easier and more efficient.