Free samples are everywhere! Walk into any mall or store and you will find people handing out samples. Go to a grocery store… There are samples of coffee, cookies and many other things… Go to a mall department store… There are samples of perfumes for you to try… Even technology companies that do not have physical stores have got into the game with the so called “freemium” business model. They provide “samples” in the form of limited functionality product for you to “try”. If you want additional functionality you need to pay for it. Apple store is constantly buzzing with people sampling their latest gadgetry.
Samples are everywhere because they work. Customers love samples. It gives them opportunity to “try before they buy.” They don’t have to spend money on something new before figuring out if they will like it or not. It also lets them find new products that they didn’t know existed. With the number of product choices available to consumers increasing every day they do not have time to research all the new products before buying them. Samples provide them a way to uncover something new.
As you can see samples provide companies with an interesting marketing avenue to reach their customers. There are several ways small businesses can use free samples for effective marketing. The list below shows how you can use free samples for low-cost yet effective marketing.
Introduce New Products
Introduction of new products is the most common use of samples as marketing strategy. As we mentioned earlier customers want to try before making decision to buy. This is particularly true of new products. When the customers don’t know how the new product would taste, smell or work, free samples gives you opportunity to demonstrate it.
Create Instant Demand on Select Products
Samples provide good way to run marketing campaign focused on select products and generate demand for them instantaneously. Research shows that many customers tend to purchase products right after they receive the samples. No wonder the grocery stores are staffed with people providing free samples on the weekends.
Acquire New Customers
Customers who have tried your product and love it are going to buy it no matter what. You don’t need to spend too much effort in convincing them. It’s those new customers that you want to acquire where samples can help you. It’s the same “try before buy” principle mentioned earlier that is now applied to acquire new customers.
As mentioned earlier samples can generate instantaneous demand for your products. You can use samples to sell items that have been sitting in your shelves for some time. Providing samples and combining it with discounts or coupons for those items will make those items fly off the shelves.
What is your experience with free samples? How have you used them for effective marketing?