Step 1: Decide Why You Want to Sample
For food items, it is the taste. For toys, it is the feel. For cosmetics, it is the wear. Whatever your product is, your business will first need to decide what the reasoning is behind pursuing a product sampling campaign. For smaller businesses looking to obtain more recognition about their products or brands looking to introduce a new product, sampling is a good option. For companies in the consumer industry, sampling is essential in order to obtain consumer comfort and interest in a product. “Skin care products and makeup can be really expensive so you want to make sure you’re making a well informed decision,” says Stacey Webb, the director of marketing at OleHenriksen, a natural skin care company based in Los Angeles. “Consumers are so savvy these days; they don’t want to spend their money on anything they aren’t sure about.”
Step 2: Decide Which Product to Sample
Once you decide the reasons behind why you are sampling, the next step is to figure out what to sample. One option is to vary samples – the brand OleHenriksen switches up samples from their bestsellers, new products or underrated or undiscovered products.
“You can’t always control who gets the sample,” says Webb, “Make sure it’s going to be something that generally a lot of people would try, like and see results.”
For example, a cosmetics company interested in product sampling marketing should look to use samples of their products that would look good on everyone – a statement red lipstick, neutral eye shadow colors, or other everyday products.
Step 3: Find a Target Audience
Much like any other marketing strategy, identifying your target audience is a key component of product sampling. For example, the company POM Wonderful targeted college students by advertising samples of their POMtea juices at festivals, beaches, bars and pool parties to over 660,000 visitors. The brand even handed out free magnets, t-shirts, flip-flops, tanks and tattoos.
Step 4: Get Creative
How you package your sample will score many points for consumer appeal. By switching up regular product packaging to something brighter, trendy or creative will wow over consumers and make them interested in the sample, and ultimately the product. Make sure to have your product’s packaging stand out in a way that makes consumers want to see what is inside. POM Wonderful handed out samples of their POMtea in painted Vespas and designed cart coolers to grab the attention of festival and partygoers.
Step 5: Turn Samples into Business
In order to determine if your sampling campaign is working, it is crucial to track its success. Get verbal feedback from consumers about your sample; track how many you are selling in a certain period, and how fast you are selling them. Track the social buzz your sample generates – especially among college students. Are more customers following you on social media? In order for sampling to pay off, it must turn into sales. Make sure to work closely with customers online and offline to guarantee their business in the future.
For more information on starting a product sampling campaign for college students, contact us at OnCampus Advertising today.