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Pros & cons of sampling marketing (➕ the #1 way to use)

sampling marketing

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It’s Tuesday, and Inbox Hacking is about to envelop your brain like memory foam. What’s on tap? Facts, figures, and expert tips on how to best use sampling marketing. Costco isn’t the only freebie game in town and nearly every product / service can be given out for sampling. 

It’s just that some sampling and free trials work better than others. We’ll dig into the pros, cons, and studies. Then I’ll give you the number one tip for utilizing sampling marketing and why it works great with email campaigns. Also, today’s hack should be implemented right away if you’re letting website visitors slip away without reeling them in with these triggered emails.

Sampling Marketing Pros→ 3 Key Findings 

HubSpot’s deep dive into sampling marketing showed:

  1. Samples can boost sales up to 2,000%
  2. 40% of B2B SaaS companies have free trials between 14 – 29 days
  3. Customers who enjoyed a tasting were 93% more likely to spend an extra $10 at a winery

*SaaS free trials 7 days or fewer were least common by far.

Freebies increase initial sales. Plus, entice additional purchases. Win, win. But there are cons (not just in L.A. & Jacksonville).

sampling marketing

Cons of Giving Digital Wares Away

Free to them is not free to your organization. Possible cons:

  • Extends sales cycle
  • User gets full value of product during trial period (no need to continue)
  • Harvard Business Review found many free trial campaigns target new customers rather than enticing existing customers to spend more 
  • *Costs time and resources to get users onboarded

*Some users can’t operate a tv remote so this struggle is real😮

Also, if your follow-up is unsound, untested, or nonexistent, the user will bounce when it’s time for them to pay up.

A solid automated email series is a must for freemium models and trials. Segmented by user behavior, for example (log-ins, time-used, features accessed, etc.). 

Else users could forget about their trial period in a day or two. Up next, brand examples.

Sampling Marketing Done Right

Spotify gives full access to their premium service for 90 days. That’s 3 months, do the maths!

Warby Parker is crazy. They send you 5 eyewear frames to try for free. Including free return postage for the 4 frames you don’t buy. Or 5 if none are appealing.

Liingo matches Warby’s lunacy but also offers virtual eyewear sampling.

Walmart+ gives 30 days free. If you start to enjoy not bumping into pajama-clad People-of-Walmart, it’s an easy option to pay $13 a month post-trial.

Two Alternatives to Sampling Marketing

Money-back guarantee. Or up the ante if you have Clint Eastwood guts, make customers’ day with 120% money-back or double their money-back💪🏼. 

Video demos. Mix in plenty of real customers showing off how a product works and talking about how it makes their life better or job easier.

#1 Way to Utilize or Improve Your Free Trials or Samples

It’s not enough to tempt people with free offers. Folks are busy and distracted. Plus, the competition is offering freebies too.

But the peer effect is on your side. Combine that with sharp email sequences and you can increase sales via sampling marketing.

sampling marketing

Here’s the logic. Harvard Business Review’s study revealed this:

⏭ “When existing customers could forward a free trial to peers (who were also existing customers) they were more likely to redeem the offer.”

➕ “The sharer was also more likely to take up the offer, probably due to the positive reinforcement through their action of sharing.”

What’s the bottom line? Look below😃.

Sampling Marketing Summary

No follow-up makes freebies costly to brands.

Email automation solves this problem.

Next, if there’s any friction for the user, free offers and samples won’t increase sales. At Costco, you don’t have to conquer an obstacle course to get a bite of teriyaki chicken. Make things smooth and easy – like Warby Parker does.

Lastly, avoid the temptation to chase shiny new customers with freebies. Devise creative samples for your current users and customers. Then make it easy and urgent for them to share the offer with their friends, family, and co-workers.

Knowledge Base

Knowledge is power, but first, get your blood pumping.

Email Templates→ St. Patrick’s Day (T-minus 10 days) – this one’s cool too.

14 things ChatGPT can help you do (⭐create multiple choice questions).

Forbes deep dive into tech trends.

AWeber’s take on non-profit fundraising options.


Spoiler Alert

You can stop worrying about subject lines 24/7.

This one strategy unlocks better open rates.

Inbox Mailers holds the key…

Triggered Emails. And this works for businesses of all sizes.

  • Get open rates of 50% – 70%
  • Increase/Fix your reputation, deliverability, and inboxing rates
  • Increase/Fix Sender scores and IP Health
  • Re-engage your Dead/Unengaged list

Book a Demo. Inbox Mailers is your can’t-miss email marketing tool.

Self Help 

Help yourself to better brand storytelling:

The latter is a masterclass in under 5 minutes. 

*Shout-out to Inbox Hacking Subscribers → 

🦚Kelly at Kelly Griffin & Associates (PR)

👜Abbe at The Domesticated Jungle (Style)

Facts and Stats

  • Jungle Scout reports most consumers (61%) begin their product hunt at Amazon. Search engines are 2nd (49%), 3rd (32%), YouTube 4th (20%), Facebook 5th (19%) 
  • Millennials prefer getting coupons via email. Also prefer percent-off coupons over dollar discounts (35% vs.19%)
  • 67% of Americans use digital coupons – of that group – 90% access them on phones (Forbes)

sampling marketing

From Our Sponsor

How many candy bars have we all bought right at the checkout?

They’re right there. It’s an automatic decision.

That’s how Inbox Mailers works with email. 

The platform triggers your emails to slide into inboxes while subscribers are right there, in the inbox.

It’s an automatic decision for subscribers to open your emails while they open emails they already decided to keep. 

How else are you going to get 50% – 70% open rates and higher click volume? Inbox Mailers is the simplest solution ever for email marketers. Book a Demo.

Marketing Musings

Those of you needing help making ChatGPT’s email copy more human – read this.

That post can also be used to improve a robotic human’s copy.

Hey, not everyone’s comfortable behind a keyboard but may have mad knowledge about their industry or products.

My simple advice in either case→ ask someone you know for help adding life to the writing. 

Doesn’t have to be a writer. Just pick someone funny, enthusiastic, or who tells epic stories. 

Let them suggest tidbits that make the copy pop.

Get Hacking

Everyone’s abandoned cart and browse abandonment emails can create more sales.

Yeah, yours too! Even a 1% improvement would make an impact. Because globally, 75.6% of carts get abandoned, while abandoned cart emails get a whopping – yes whopping🍔, 48% open rate💥. Oh, and a 21% click rate💥💥.

Today’s the day to improve these triggered emails in your arsenal. Use this list of 100 abandonment subject lines by Constant Contact. My top 5 from the list:

  1. “Looking for a 🛑 sign? Free shipping”
  2. “Check out as a guest at [STORE]”
  3. “[NAME], don’t miss out; your items await”
  4. “The 💵 price of [PRODUCT] just dropped”
  5. “Uh, oh. Your 🛒 cart’s starting to rust”

I added the emojis, but do what you do. 

😱BTW, 35% of online transactions are dropped because of a required registration prompt.

Interesting tidbits from newsletters I read recently:

N/A – Because I was sucked back into The Walking Dead🧟 this week. Not proud of it.

But here are 2023’s Do’s and Don’ts of Email Marketing

📝Please take survey below. It’s gluten-free.