Marketing / Business marketing

Generating new business through sampling

In a previous article on proactive marketing, I looked at selling to existing customers with the phrase "I've got an idea for you." But what about using a similarly proactive approach with generating new business through sampling?


Recently I was approached by an editor looking for freelance work. But rather than send through a CV or samples, she edited my website with some recommendations on how it could be improved, and even picked up a couple of typos that I hurriedly corrected!

This sampling strategy definitely beats the traditional “Here’s my CV call me if you have any work” approach.

Sean D’Souza, a marketing writer I follow, has described revealing a lot of your best material as “The Bikini Concept” because a little taste makes people interested in finding out the rest.

This proactive marketing idea is not new. It’s really just sampling for professional services. Sampling is a very common tactic when marketing consumer goods. For example:

"This sampling strategy definitely beats the traditional "Here’s my CV call me if you have any work" approach."

  • iTunes Store lets you hear samples of any song before purchasing
  • Paul Kelly puts full songs and videos on MySpace before releasing his album
  • Baker’s Delight offer you a taste of choccy scones as soon as you get to the counter

Want more articles like this? Check out the  business marketing section.

With service-based industries, the way to give people a sample is to give away your expertise freely. This can be done through public speaking, articles, whitepapers, blogging, authoring a book, allowing trial periods or sharing templates, processes or ideas.

Many successful careers and businesses are built on giving away loads of hard-earned knowledge, tips and expertise. You become the expert in the industry and you attract the best clients because they’ve sampled your best work and they want more.

Are you willing to give away your secrets? We’d love to hear what sampling techniques work for your business.


Peter Crocker

looks after content at Flying Solo. As part of Business Copywriter he partners with digital agencies and corporate clients on websites and digital content. He's the co-author of Flying Solo Revisited: How to go it alone in business.


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