Just a bite. Most times, that is all we need to quell our raging sweet tooth. And sometimes, a bite is all you need to captivate a potential customer's curiosity.
It's doesn't have to be a taste of food, either. It can be free time, free bonuses, a test drive or offering a product/service to a reputable blogger for an honest review. Here are some examples of the good, the bad and the non-existent ways to use samples as a marketing strategy.
Let's start with the non-existent. There is a lotion product that I absolutely love. It's taken me 20+ years to find one that satisfies my strict criteria. Plus, I love the company and what they stand for. Hearing that my local store no longer carried the lotion, I was devastated. I visited the company's website and discovered they carried many new scents in my favorite lotion. But being the internet has no scratch and sniff feature, how could I know if I liked them? So I called them up with my predicament. The small business sympathized, but offered to send me no samples. The only way I could smell them was to travel to their New York store...almost 300 miles away. Had they sent me a few samples, I would have shared them with friends and ordered abundantly. But, instead, they lost a customer that day.
When the food is cold. When you're ridding old, outdated inventory and it's obvious. When the 'customer' has to wait...a long time...to redeem.
Fortunately, there are many good examples to model after in today's markets. Apple stores are always buzzing with giddy new customers because they get to 'play'. Adobe is another one that gets you to play with their software. And after a month, when you are just getting comfortable, they tell you it's time to buy. And you do. In a personal experience, my dog's vet offered us a free sample of an expensive supplement for my dog. Normally, I would be hesitant because I'm satisfied with the current brand, plus this new one, while promising more, was much more expensive. But actually seeing the results, I had to buy. So the manufacturer may have lost a few dollars in the free sample, but has gained much more revenue from my yearly prescriptions.
Offering free samples to potential customers reaps many benefits. Don't be stingy. Free samples allow customers to become engaged, comfortable with you and the product. You build trust. And they actually feel excitement about their future purchase. You will experience a high conversion rate than with just some slick marketing content. And finally, free samples encourage word of mouth. I can't share my lotion with any friends, but I will recommend a very good dog supplement!
Feed them when they're hungry for a solution.