One of the reasons people like Costco is because of all of the free samples.
Even if you’re absolutely starving when you walk in the door, you know that you’re going to leave with a satisfied appetite (and full belly) because there’s someone on the end of almost every aisle, offering you a bite of this or a drink of that.
Not only is this an ingenious way to draw customers in, but it also increases sales. For instance, Ilan Mochari, senior writer with Inc., shares how one company’s beer sampling campaign resulted in 71 percent more sales. Mochari goes on to report how lipstick and mascara samples enabled one cosmetics company to increase their sales by more than 500 percent.
So, how do you implement a product sampling strategy that has this same type of effect on your chiropractic patients? There are a few dos and don’ts to consider.
DO measure your sampling results
Before you hand out one free product sample, you want to have some type of system in place to measure how well this marketing avenue is working for you. “Just getting the brand out there is distribution, not measurement,” says business writer Sherry Orel in a post on Advertising Age. In other words, it doesn’t matter how many free samples you give out, if they’re not providing a financial return, you’re losing money instead of making it.
One option is to keep track of which patients you give a free sample to, noting how many purchase the actual product at a later date. Reviewing this information quarterly, semi-annually, and annually will tell you exactly how much sampling is contributing to your bottom line.
DO focus on patient safety
Have you ever seen a lotion sampler and instantly wondered how many people have already used it and what types of germs they may have? If so, then you know what an off-putting feeling that is. Instead of doing that to your patients, strive to create a product sampling program that doesn’t give your patients the same ill effects.
Before you disregard this particular piece of advice, know that there is reason for safety concerns as, in 2010, the Los Angeles Times reported on one piece of research in which 100 percent of the makeup tested on Saturdays (the busiest day for the makeup sections of retail stores) came back tainted.
Therefore, if you’re giving out samples of some type of topical, for instance, either provide individual use packets or put the product on a cotton ball or swab before transferring it to the recipient, avoiding any type of contact with the skin. This may require keeping the sample behind the counter so no one can just grab it and potentially contaminate the whole jar or tube.
DON’T just give your free samples to everyone
Ideally, the only one that should receive a free sample of a product is someone who is likely to use it. For instance, you wouldn’t give a wrinkle cream sample to an 18-year-old girl or a beef jerky sample to a vegetarian. This just won’t work.
That’s why Shopify recommends asking, “Who do you want to try your product?” Once you’ve answered that question and identified your ideal customer, it makes it easier to know who should get a free sample, as well as who would just be a waste of your product because they’d never buy it anyway.
DON’T forget to ask for the sale
Barnes & Noble College Marketing shares that instituting a call to action with your product sampling program can help seal the deal on an actual sale. In other words, if you want your sample recipients to do something after trying the free product, then you have to tell them exactly what you want them to do. This may involve following up with your patients, seeing what they thought of the product, and then asking specifically if they’d like to buy it.
You may also sweeten the deal by offering some type of discount, instituting some type of deadline to get them to make the buy. As an example, when giving them a try-at-home sample, you could include a card that says, “Buy this product within the next two weeks and you’ll get 10 percent off!”
The easier you make it for your patients to buy a product after trying the free sample, the greater the likelihood that that’s exactly what they’ll do.