So you’re considering planning a sampling program? We know, there’s a million ways to go and the process can be a daunting task. The good news is, there are a few simple steps you can take to make sure your sampling spend goes a long way. Whether you’re in the beginning stages or in the midst of launching your program, we’re giving you a list of tips that’ll help you reduce costs and maximize benefits, for an ultra successful product sampling campaign.
Know your objective
Set yourself up for success from the very get-go by identifying the primary objective of your sampling program. Are you looking to increase brand awareness, grow your CRM database, or generate ratings and reviews? Whatever it is, honing in on the purpose of your program and communicating that to your sampling partner is key. This will allow you to design your program accordingly and acquire the insights you’re looking for.
Choose the right sample
Not all samples are created equal. Some are simply logistically better than others. To avoid high shipping and handling costs, design a sample that meets the specs and requirements of your logistics partner. Consider things like size, weight, and volume. Packaging is also key, so make sure your sample is packed accordingly to avoid damaged or leaked deliveries.
If you’re debating which of your products to sample, ask yourself a few simple questions. Are you looking to promote a newly launched product, seasonal item, or are you hoping to convert potential customers with your all star best-seller? Figuring this part out will help you pick the most suitable sample to give out.
Target the right audience
Making sure every sample goes to the consumer that is most likely going to buy your product is key for a successful sampling program. It limits waste, increases ROI, and delivers a personalized experience to your potential customers. You can target users based on age, gender and location, or target specific demographics such as expectant mothers or beauty enthusiasts. If you want to take this a step further, consider asking consumers qualifying questions like “What grocery store do you shop at the most?” or “How much do you usually spend on skin care products?” An in-depth diagnostic to qualify consumers is a key element in a successful product sampling program.
Handling and distributing hundreds, sometimes thousands of samples is no easy task and can take a lot of time and effort. Partner with sampling management experts that remove the fulfillment burden and take care of the entire shipping process from start to finish. This not only allows for a much smoother program but frees up your time to focus on the core aspects of your business.
Split shipping costs
If you’re trying to keep costs to a minimum, sending out samples in individual packages exclusive to your brand can be costly and not the best use of your budget. Instead, ask your sampling partner if it offers a multi-brand packaging option. This splits the shipping costs across multiple products allowing you to sample at a lower cost per sample. Bonus tip: ask your trusted sampling partner for category exclusivity to prevent competing products from being offered in the same box.
Spread the word
Now that you’ve got your sampling program up and running, it’s time to leverage your platforms to get the message out. Give your followers a chance to claim their free sample by posting your program on social and encourage them to share with their friends and family. For added exposure, motivate consumers to post pictures of their brand new samples and collect valuable User Generated Content that you can repurpose in the future.
Leverage influencer marketing
Have an influencer marketing strategy in place? Piggyback off of it to make your product sampling efforts go an even longer way. Using influencers to promote your sampling program not only amplifies brand awareness but also helps drive sales and website traffic. In turn, you’re delighting consumers by letting them actually try the product at home after a recommendation from their favourite influencer.
Study the insights
One of the prime benefits of digital product sampling is the amount of valuable data you collect during your program. For any brand, acquiring insights on demographics, lifestyle habits, preferences, and purchase intent of customers is huge. Discovering things like why your consumers choose your brand over others or which of your products they like best can help you detect important patterns and make every sampling dollar count. All of these insights can be put back into your sales and marketing efforts and even help refine your targeted audience.
An important 3-letter word: CRM
It’s no secret that Customer Relationship Management can offer a multitude of benefits to businesses regardless of their size. By collecting and organizing all of your customer data, you'll be able to better understand your customer and as a result offer them improved and more personalized experiences. If you’re contemplating launching a sampling program, consider this: offering a high-value incentive will drive a 5-10X increase conversation to CRM. This will not only help you target more specific demographics in the future, but also help you plan more effective remarketing strategies.
There are many moving parts when growing a business, but launching a successful sampling program doesn’t have to be a task you dread. The tips above will help position you for success early on and make every one of your samples count. Use this product sampling checklist for a closer look at the things to consider before launching your program