Offering Free Samples: Does It Work?

Offering free samples. It’s one of the oldest sales and marketing tactics in the book. Does it work?

Short answer: yes.

But only when you do it right.

If you’re using (or looking to use) free samples to generate new customers, here are some points to keep in mind.

First of all, why do free samples work?

They give us a preview of the product. And how it helps us solve a problem or satisfy a desire. And if the quality of the sample is high, that’s the final push to make us buy.

How to design free samples

Make sure the free sample does not replace the paid product. Of course, this doesn’t mean it should be low quality. You can limit the quantity (e.g., 7-day free trial) or the usage (give away a strategy to generate leads, but not how to convert them). But don’t limit the quality of the sample.

Companies profiting from free samples

  • Amazon lets you read the few initial chapters of books on Kindle.
  • Record labels release high-quality music videos of single songs on YouTube so you go buy the whole album.
  • Microsoft, Adobe, Netflix, and Hulu, offer full access to products and services for a limited time period
  • The New York Times offers free access to its content, but you can read a limited number of articles.

Free samples work, both to increase sales or generate leads. However, many businesses, even large established companies, give away fluffy lead magnets to get users’ emails.

But without providing real value, people will churn. They might leave you their email out of curiosity. But once they find out your sample has little to no value, they’ll unsub or ignore future emails.

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