Marketing and advertising are two domains that always change and adapt to the characteristics of the population and other social or economical factors. There are many ways to advertise something in the world today and one of the most popular and maybe the most efficient is through free samples.
People love the idea of getting something for free and they will almost always try that product just because they have the feeling of getting it for free. Usually, this method of advertising is done for products, although there are some cases where special services can be offered for free as a sample of the paid service, in order to attract customers.
Why do samples work?
Samples take away risk. People hate risk. Risk aversion powerfully drives how we spend our money. We would rather live with lousy things that we are familiar with than take a risk to spend money and try something new.
We THINK samples just give us a chance to see if we like something – which sure, they do. But even more powerfully, samples show us that we’re not going to throw our money away. People are far more concerned about the possibility of wasting time and money than they are about missing out on something they’ll like.
Effect of free samples
Some might say that free samples induce feelings of guilt, reciprocity or even gratitude when getting something free, which then drives a purchase. Interestingly, research (study done at Stanford) has revealed that there’s a dopamine release with a sample, causing us to feel good about the said sample, but not satisfied. The promise of reward is what drives the purchase and satisfies the customer.
Who is doing it?
In June 2013 Procter & Gamble hosted an enormous giveaway in New York City. Throughout Manhattan, company representatives handed out more than 40,000 products from P&G brands such as Gillette, Duracell, Scope, Febreze, Pampers, and Cover Girl. Simply getting these products into the hands of consumers is something of a success: After all, every person who tries out one of these products has the potential of becoming a lifelong customer.
Benefit of product samples
Raise awareness. People who have never encountered your brand before can experience it directly with a sample. Once they’ve tasted, touched, smelled, seen, or heard your product, it starts to make sense what you sell.
Creates a law of reciprocity. Most people feel a closer connection to a company when they’ve tried a sample product. It usually creates a law of reciprocity that, if they can’t actually use your product, they may think of someone who can. Everyone loves getting a gift. Let it be from your business, and be generous.
Get feedback and reviews. Whether it’s a new product line you need assessed by the public or you need people to start giving you valuable feedback to help populate your reviews and testimonial pages, samples help put the word out. Be transparent and let recipients know you’d appreciate their feedback. If one of your customers is a blogger, for example, this could help grow sales for that product.
The information used in this blog was provided by Time Magazine, Toltec Global Services, Psychology for Photographers & Practical Ecommerce.