Product sampling is an effective form of marketing your products. It is effective both for introducing new products and encouraging the increased consumer consumption of established items or services.
As the name would imply, product sampling involves giving away a small amount or ‘sample’ of a product that you normally charge for. By giving away a sample in this fashion, it is hoped that a proportion of those that receive it will enjoy it enough to return as paying customers next time.
A common misconception regarding sampling campaigns is that they are simple. While the concept itself may be straightforward, there are several techniques and tactics businesses should be aware of to ensure they make the most of product sampling and maximise their return on investment.
Key Factors for Sampling Success:
The people who you want to end up paying for your goods or services will undoubtedly play an important role in dictating how you tailor every aspect of your campaign for maximum efficiency. The demographic your sample is intended for will be a deciding factor that will influence every aspect of your campaign. The most obvious, and indeed, important factor here is quite simply ensuring that your sample reaches the hands of your target demographic.
Each product sample a company gives away still involves costs to the company, so cutting out any wastage due to poor demographic targeting is vital.
While it may be the most obvious aspect of the campaign, businesses should put a lot of thought into the product sample itself. Factors such as quality, quantity and value will certainly influence the campaigns success. The size of the sample will be one of the main variables to consider- should it be a miniature version of your standard product or the standard retail product in full?
To be effective, a sample has to be of a size adequate enough to give the consumer an accurate impression of the full item or service but not large enough to take away the incentive of actually paying for the product.
The quantity of a distributed sample is also important to campaigns run by businesses. If during a promotion, an item runs out of stock and is not available customers may be put off, and see the company as unprofessional.
Another aspect to consider is, will you allow for unlimited samples request, or limit the campaign to a fixed number of samples? Restricting the campaign to a certain number of free samples means you can work towards a fixed budget as you know beforehand how many free samples you need to produce. By letting consumers know that there is only a fixed number of free samples can also generate a buzz around your campaign as customers rush to make sure they get their samples and don’t miss out.
A product sampling campaign involves a financial risk and it is important for businesses to measure the success of any promotional work undertaken.
Success can be measured in different ways, with some being more quantifiable than others. Businesses should take steps to measure any increase in sales of a product or service that is experienced both during and following a product sampling scheme.
One technique businesses may wish to consider is combining a product sampling campaign with a digital platform such as Facebook. By encouraging samplers to interact with you directly via social platforms it is easier to gauge how effective a scheme is in boosting brand awareness. Metrics such as ‘likes’, ‘check ins’ and ‘follows’ offer an insight as to what the general public actually thinks about your business.