Consumers love free samples, period. Some people never buy the full-size product, but many do. Others buy the product regularly and just want to stretch their dollars and get that extra ounce for free. Regardless, free samples work when you know how to use them.

Although free samples are often used inside of loyalty programs, they’re actually a separate marketing strategy.

Beauty businesses thrive by using free samples as the core of their marketing efforts. Just walk through the middle of any mall to see this in action. You’ll be offered endless samples as you make your way through the crowds. Perfume, cologne, lotion, face cream, concealer and lip gloss are just some examples of free samples you’ll be offered.

Walking through the mall may look like a cosmetic free-for-all, but retailers are giving away free samples intentionally. If they can get you to try their product, you’ll have an immediate experience and if that experience is positive, you’re likely to buy the full-size product.

Free samples can be used by every industry

Providing free samples in the beauty industry is easy, but what if your business doesn’t have a product that can be put in a one-ounce tube or jar? What if you don’t sell a product, but offer services through your website?

Free samples are designed to prove value to the customer prior to purchase. This is possible to achieve in any industry, though it requires some thought.

Determining what to offer as a free sample

Free samples aren’t always for consumption. In many industries, free samples are used to help consumers make choices when they can’t see the finished product before their purchase. To see this aspect of free samples in action, let’s look at our industry.

 Free samples in the consulting business

Coaches and consultants are hesitant to offer a sample of their time for free, and for good reason. Time is precious and limited. However, a “free consultation” is not just a marketing tool – it’s a method to qualify leads. In other words, a free consultation is first and foremost for the coach.

Once a lead is qualified, the consultation can become a marketing tool for the coach to prove their value and get a commitment from the client.

If you’re a coach or consultant, offering free sessions is a great strategy provided you use it correctly. You can’t expect free sessions to automatically lead to paying, committed clients. You still have to do the work to close the sale at the end of the session.

Your free sample doesn’t need to be something you can toss at people walking down the street. It can be a high-quality kit that customers need to request directly. You may even want to qualify your leads before sending them the sample so you know it’s getting into the right hands.

Depending on your industry, your free sample kit might cost a bit of money to produce. However, putting time and money into producing a sample kit makes sense when your price point is high and your product is an investment. Remember, samples aren’t just a marketing strategy – they’re part of the sales process, too.

RAC Creative Solutions can create your "sample" in the form of an assessment that you can use as a tool in your marketing kit to drive suspects into your sales funnel, as well as qualify leads. At the very least you will be able to data mine interested parties and collect a name and email address so you can market back to them in the future.