The other day, my friend gave me a sample of coffee beans to try that he was sure I would love. I sure did and ended up buying a whole bag of these beans. I probably would have never thought of buying that specific type of coffee bean, and would just stick to my regular roast.
That little conversion probably didn’t affect the brand much, but if this sample distribution is scaled 100,000 times, it has a potential to affect brand’s sales significantly.
With that in mind, here are the six steps to running a strong sampling campaign so you can take advantage of the power of sampling.
1. Have some awesome samples/paper inserts to present to the world
The first step is to have samples and/or coupons that you would like the world to see, experience, and blow their minds with. The samples that we see perform the best are branded, have a strong call to action, and offer multiple uses. For coupons, we see better conversion with simple, clear copy and graphics that show off the product. Make sure to include a powerful, relevant consumer claim for maximum impact.
2. Find the best distribution method
Once you have your demographic target, sample volume, and budget locked for a sampling campaign, you want to find the best way to share your sample with the right audience. Whether it’s an event, a retailer, or something else, you should identify the best way to reach your ideal buyers. Focusing on specifics like gender, age, and lifestyle will help you get the best trial and conversion.
3. Dress it up
Package your sample to align with your campaign goals. Would clear plastic overwrap look best? Maybe you’d like to use a carton box? Figure out what your target audience would most like to see, and make sure that your packaging matches your distribution method.
4. Make magic happen
Once you’ve got your plan set up, it’s time to put it in motion. You’ll send your chosen product, whether it’s a sample, a coupon, or something else, to your distributor. From there, your sample will be sent to the appropriate retailer, and then given to your audience. An ecommerce distribution method offers more control over who receives your sample, but an event can also help you reach your customers.
5. Delight your audience
Here’s an example of how an ecommerce program might work:
Linda orders her beauty products at her favorite online retailer. A few days later, she receives a parcel with her products, and, surprise, a small pack with a sample she is excited to try. Linda also realizes that she has a chance to win a prize by sharing her thoughts on the sample, so she goes online, shares feedback about her experience with the sample, and leaves a rating/review of the product seamlessly.
This is my favorite part: we receive comments from the consumers ranging from “I loved the free sample” to “This was my favorite experience of the order I received” and “I am planning to buy a full-sized product thanks to the sample I tried”. Pretty cool, right?
These free samples are definitely loved by consumers and bring lots of smiles to a surprised and delighted audience. That’s one simple way to make this world a better place – by making of all these people smile a bit more.
6. Review the campaign results
We’re big believers in data and recommend performing a review of the campaign results at the end of your program. Depending on your goals, you can focus on trial, conversion, reviews, or a combination of metrics.
At the end of every campaign, we collect data that consumers submitted via our surveys that were sent along with the samples. Our extremely talented insights team dives deep into this sea of information, analyzes it, and then presents it a few weeks after all of the samples are distributed.
And that’s it. That’s how you run a sampling campaign. It’s a very simple and easy process that has the potential to greatly impact your brand.
Neesa Rajbhandari is an Operations Project Lead with Exact Media. She's been making magic happen for the last two years ensuring that our clients' products are delivered into the hands of happy consumers across North America.