I was chatting recently with Robert Glensor the founder and owner of Paraoa Bakehouse.
Robert's bakery became New Zealand's first Bio-Gro certified organic bread, earning product and bakehouse certification in August of 1996.
Robert sells his products online and through a number of outlets around the country.
Now I had never tried Robert's products when we first chatted.
So Robert kindly sent me some samples of his breads and other products to try.
I was pleasantly surprised at how delicious they were.
I then went on to become a paying customer based on my positive experience with these samples.
Marketing with samples is something that can work well for many businesses.
I received an email a few days ago from Giles Scott the sales manager of a graphic design and printing firm in New Plymouth called Graphix Explosion.
Giles was telling me about his firm markets their services by giving away free samples of personalised A6 note pads.
Over to Giles for his comments...
"Regarding the pads, they are our most successful marketing product. We give away hundreds of Graphix pads every year; in fact I give away more pads than business cards these days. Because they're so useful people keep them and always have our contact details at hand. As they work so well for us we decided to let our customers test them at our risk. We print 25 note pads at our expense for selected businesses to try. They get to prove they work to their own satisfaction by giving away the 25 free pads. So far we've given away over 150 sets of free pads and the promotional has already paid for itself because we've had so many paid orders. It is also leading to further business as customers are starting to order other printed items from us."
Giles has discovered that if a business tries using their promotional note pads (and gets a positive response) it is easy to get that business to buy more note pads.
You can also market with samples when you offer a service.
Here's a good example...
Jamie Tulloch runs an accounting firm called E3 Business Accountants.
Jamie has found that the best way to get potential clients to get a sample of what they offer is to share some of the valuable knowledge that they have.
Jamie does this two ways.
First of all he puts out an excellent Ezine each month that has valuable tips to increase business results. It also has tax tips and some fun trivia as well.
I've spoken to a number of business owners around the country who tell me they get this Ezine from Jamie and find it excellent. (And it's something I personally find very helpful to read as well.)
Jamie is also happy to answer general business enquiries or queries that might come through via email. If he can answer something off the cuff he will answer that the same day to anyone who actually sends him a query. And you don't even have to be a client to take advantage of this service.
These two things allow potential clients to get a sample of what E3 Accountants can potentially offer.
And it is responsible for their business getting brand new clients on a regular basis.
There are many ways to use samples in your marketing.
1: Could you share a sample of what you do with a key centre of influence? In other words someone who if they like what you offer could potentially give you a positive recommendation to a good number of people they know?
2: Could you donate a sample of what you have to a good cause and get some positive publicity as a result?
Marketing with samples does work and it could be worth testing in your business as well.
"You will get more word of mouth from making people happy than anything else you could possibly do." - Andy Sernovitz
How could you use samples in your marketing?