As marketing strategies go, there is a definite balance of risk vs reward when it comes to giving free samples to consumers. Unlike money off or other purchasing based offers, a free sample provides no obligation to consumers to put their hand in their pocket, making it a potentially expensive exercise. Whilst a successful run of sampling events can yield fantastic results, turning consumers into paying customers, if samplers are not converted, this can be a costly and wasteful strategy.
Sharing your wares
Sampling can come in many shapes and sizes, and at its most traditional end, sample distribution includes offering a small amount of product to passing customers with a view to enticing them to your premises to spend some money. This has been incredibly successful for food and cosmetics vendors, who can often employ someone to stand directly outside their shop, offering a small sample of coffee or a spray of the latest fragrances.
The golden rule of sampling is to let a customer try your product and decide that it is precisely the item they were looking for.
What to share
A coffee shop which offers a single core line may well have a very easy job in deciding what they can offer to entice potential customers. Other businesses may find this decision more daunting. Varying the offerings sampled can help your customers decide what is for them. Rotate between offering your best selling lines, new products and some that don’t sell so well. Increasing customer visibility of these products can help to form new habits, and form new opinions on their favourite lines.
Who to target
When organising a campaign of product sample distribution, it is important to keep in mind the demographics you are targeting. Different products may have wildly differing target markets, with some confectionery products being aimed more at a young audience and others being more universally appealing, for example. It is important to brief the people coordinating the sampling to be mindful of your target audience, but bear in mind that anyone could be a potential customer.
In order to best meet your target audience, it is important to consider the time and place you plan to offer your samples. A product aimed at young men could do great business if you aim to set up stall somewhere near a football stadium on match day, for example, due to the demographic of the passing foot traffic.
An important marketing strategy
It should be considered that sampling is a vital part of the marketing process. This is doubly true when a new product is brought to market, and even more so when this product is to be marketed by a relatively young company. With brand and product recognition come sales, and sampling is a great way to build this among your audience, helping to launch the product successfully.