Can free samples be a major factor in your marketing strategy?
There is no doubt that free samples will help you achieve extra customers, but can it be a major factor in a marketing strategy? Would it be in your top five marketing ideas? I will attempt to highlight both the positives and negatives on using free samples to gain customers and interest in your product or service. Then see what types of companies free samples suit.
Positives of free samples
Create’s instant demand - Providing your product is a good one (free samples only work if this is the case) you will create instant demand. People will try it and realise how good it is an then buy it. The reason they will buy it now rather than without the free sample is because you have removed the element of risk for them. Now they can buy it and they know it will fulfil their needs.
Don’t need to be a great salesman – Do you struggle with sales? A lot of people do, don’t worry here is a perfect method to reduce your sales workload. You won’t need to have a great pitch and answer hard searching questions if they try your product and love it. The only question you will have to answer is ‘how many do you have?’
Boosting a friendly reputation- Giving stuff away for free is seen as a nice charitable thing to do. You can further enhance this by offering competitions for people to win a months supply or other large quantities all of which will bring people to your shop and traffic to your website.
Remove older stock – if you have a food product and it’s near its sell by date Why not create free sample out of it, you will only throw it away anyway. Like with anything in business turn every weakness into a positive and here is a solution for the old stock problem.
Negatives of free samples
Cost- if you are only a small company there is no doubt cost has to be factored in. Giving away 1000 free samples could cost you a lot of money if you are just starting up. The way to get around this, if you own a premises would be to only offer a small part of the whole product. For example if you sell chocolate’s you could offer a few chunks rather than a whole bar.
Free samples could devalue your product – If you are selling luxury perfumes and then suddenly everyone in the town is smelling of these perfumes it will devalue the product. The individual who paid full price will be annoyed when people presume they are just using the free sample aswell. This is obviously only a local problem but a problem none the less.
Upset the paying customers – How would you feel if you had just paid full price for a luxury venison steak. Then the next day the same shop is handing them out for free. You would feel a little silly and when you feel silly its unlikely you will go back to the place that created this emotion.
I think overall its clear free samples are brilliant but not if you are a small company or a startup due to cost and local reputation.
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