5 Steps to a Successful Sampling Campaign

Traditional sampling strategy has always prioritized quantity over quality. With this approach, marketers are left questioning if the end result will justify the cost of giving free product away.

Despite popular belief, it’s through targeted sampling strategies that brands can experience the best results. When executed correctly, sampling is extremely effective and has the ability to generate purchases and create a myriad of loyal customers.

Here are five steps to help you create and execute a successful product sampling campaign:

1. Select a target market.

Be as specific as possible when defining your key market. By doing so, you in turn reach a larger number of quality consumers that are more likely to end up making a purchase.

2. Choose the right medium.

Now that you know who you want to target, make sure that you pick a medium that fits their lifestyle. A good way to do this is to partner with influencers. For example, if you’re launching an awesome new baby brand, you might want to partner with a parenting blog that you know will understand the benefits of your product. Have her blog spread the word about your sampling strategy. Other options include sponsoring a local event, including your product in a monthly subscription box or open sampling to your valuable newsletter subscribers.

3. Leverage social media.

Social media is a valuable way to spread campaign awareness through influencers or your own channels. It’s also a great way to amplify your message by letting people share samples with their friends. A Nielsen report found 70 percent of consumers said that recommendations are the No. 1 factor that influence final purchasing decisions. Look into social sampling.

4. Get feedback and continue the conversation.

You’ve discovered your target audience and led them towards your product, now what? Continuing communications with these potential consumers is vital when trying to create loyal customers. It’s important to show the value their feedback holds and that you’re really listening to what they’re saying. Pick a sampling strategy that allows for you to track which consumers responded both positively and negatively to your campaign, and have a plan for remarketing to them post-sampling. This will be important in trying to increase conversion to purchase.

5. Test, measure and learn.

Before your campaign starts, set performance goals e.g., the total number of samples you want to distribute, the number of people you want to reach, the rating you hope to receive when consumers send product reviews back, etc. Sampling strategies can get expensive, so you’ll want to make sure that each campaign is more effective than the last. Pick a strategy that will give you the opportunity to measure your key performance indicators and take time to evaluate each strategy once it’s complete. One of my favorite quotes is Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Every strategy needs to be seen as a learning opportunity.