Digital marketing

Grow sales by using sampling methods

- February 18, 2011 3 MIN READ

Giving potential customers a taste of your wares is a great way to move them along the buying path. Supermarkets, shampoo and coffee companies have been using sampling methods for years. Here’s how you can too.

Offer a free, entry-level option

Having a free entry-level offering that has your customers falling in love with your service or product is a great way to encourage them to upgrade to your more premium products.

There are many good examples online. For example, after using Wufoo’s free surveys, I was so impressed that I’ve since upgraded twice and am now using their mid-level product.

Make sure you package your offering in a way that allows customers to see your whole range and compare the services or products you offer.

Don’t tell them, show them

Using a video or animated overview on your website is a clever way to get cut-through and communicate the key features of your product or services. And if yours is a personality-driven business, what better way to give your prospects a taste of who you are and what you’ll be like to work with?

If you’d like to see some examples of businesses that have done this well, visit these websites:

  • Red Balloon – their video gives viewers a clear sense of their customer focus, and a taste of what it’s like to buy and experience one of their packaged adventures
  • Mailchimp – they use video to take prospective clients on a tour of their software
  • Dropbox – they use animation to explain how their service can help you work better

The value proposition is loud and clear with these visual demonstrations.

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

Provide valuable content for free download

Guides, tools and other valuable content given for free are a great way to give prospects a taste of you, and a fantastic  way to collect names for your database and generate a mechanism for follow up.

Good examples to review include search engine optimisation software provider SEOmoz and marketing software expert Hubspot. Flying Solo does this well too, offering new subscribers free downloads jam-packed with valuable tips for soloists.

Capture attention and go viral

The now famous YouTube campaign showing an iPhone and other unlikely items being blended to bits has been a huge success for Blendtec. They’ve used the footage to demonstrate their product capability and also showed a sense of humour, a combination that has resulted in enormous awareness of their brand – at the time of writing more than 9.5 million people had watched the iPhone video alone. Could your business do with that kind of exposure?

Another good example of a viral campaign is Earth hour, an idea that started with four people in a pub and has now spread to every corner of the globe via social media.

What can you communicate in a compelling way to get people on board with you?

Be authentic and connect

Social media has taken word of mouth to a whole new level, enabling customers to have conversations with us and about us in forums, tweets and other mediums besides.

Those businesses that show themselves to be authentic and inspiring differentiate themselves in this environment, and give customers a reason to engage with them.

If we can get to know, like and trust you, then we can believe in you and what you’re selling and are more likely to buy from you.

As an example, social media expert Chris Brogan has made a career out of connecting with others and being himself. There is no sugar coating. His authenticity on Facebook, Twitter and his blog enables us to really connect with him.

Sampling might just be the smartest marketing strategy you ever try, so how you can package a little taste of your product, service or yourself in a similar way to the businesses listed above?

Do you give your customers a taste of you? We’d love to learn about your sampling methods and the results you get too.

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"