Sellerscast: When to Use Free Samples for Lead Generation


On April 2nd, 2019 our own Andrew Maff, Director of Marketing, sat down with our own Gina Milazzo, Head of Accounts, to talk about when to use free samples for lead generation. 



Andrew Maff:  What's up? It's episode number 21 of the Seller's Cast, and today we are talking about when to use free samples for lead generation.

Andrew Maff:  All right. So, today we are talking about when you can use free samples. You have a couple different ways you can do this. Obviously, you can do just a free sample. Give me your email, give me your address, here you go, here's a free sample. Or, you could do free plus shipping, which to me is a little bit safer so you're not covering shipping, but they're still getting a free product. So, in most cases, as long as your product is less than a couple dollars, you should most likely get the sale. But, the real question is when should you have a free sample? Question answered by-

Gina Milazzo:  A good rule of thumb, if it's something that you would want to either hold in your hand or try out for yourself before you buy it, probably a good idea. Biggest category for this is food, 100%. It's absolutely subjective. People wanna know if they like how it tastes, if they like how it smells, if it does something weird when they mix it, taste it, eat it, if it doesn't agree with them, if they're allergic, things like that. It's troubleshooting. At the end of the day, you're giving people an excuse to either really love it or just not be angry customers.

Andrew Maff:  Yeah. So, we get this question a lot too, where we'll have someone who like, okay, I sell a candy bar. Like, I'm not going to send them one candy bar. That's ridiculous. [crosstalk] duh, no.

Gina Milazzo:  Why not?

Andrew Maff:  No, but if you can take a little piece and be like here, try it, yes it sounds dumb because you're getting one bite, and you're like, why would I bother doing that? But in reality, a consumable, the biggest problem is that there's such a barrier to entry.

Andrew Maff:  Everyone's opinion is completely subjective about whether it's good or not. And it becomes this huge issue. So, you want to give them something to give it a try, even if it's coffee. If you have coffee, no you don't want to send them a whole bag, but if you can send them enough-

Gina Milazzo:  Send them nine pounds of coffee, free.

Andrew Maff:  Nine pounds of coffee, you're gonna love it.

Andrew Maff:  If you can send them enough to give it a sample, so that they can have one cup, and go, "Okay, this was a good cup of coffee. I am going to order from them."

Andrew Maff:  For coffee, to me, even though most people prefer ground or however, you know, obviously it's a huge industry, whatever. But if you can do the Keurig cups, I prefer those, just because A, they're easier to ship, B, Keurig is going to make it the same way every time.

Gina Milazzo:  Yes. They're consistent.

Andrew Maff:  If you send someone the grounds you're like, "Oh, I don't have enough and I usually make 12 cups every time I make this crap," so it's kind of like tough.

Gina Milazzo:  If it is something that's easier a good thing to keep in mind is send instructions or like, you know, an email with a link to a video or something, like give people everything they need to not mess it up.

Andrew Maff:  Yeah. But it's not all foods, because not all foods would do well with this so you still have the issue of things that need to stay frozen. It's not worth it to ship that kind of stuff.

Gina Milazzo:  Frozen peas!

Andrew Maff:  Um ... like frozen peas! There's something else, there was another one too that I knew wasn't going to do well and I forgot it but we'll come back if I remember it. But the thing you have to remember is that if you can give them a free sample you're reducing that barrier entry so you're allowing them to come and try it out. Now there's more than just foods. Sometimes you can send like ... I don't want to say like ...

Gina Milazzo:  Blister packs?

Andrew Maff:  ...swatches. But like, no I meant for clothes. So your clothes, you can send like a fabric. Like not literally the shirt, but like if you're unsure that how this shirt feels we'll send you this little thing so you try it out. Maybe you want to do that. Clothes are a real big pain selling online just because people want to try them on, maybe it fits well, maybe it doesn't. Fit is another day for another episode but ....

Gina Milazzo:  ... skincare, makeup, anything like that. If you can send like a teeny little blister pack or something. They might be a little bit expensive to get produced but like Andrew said, reducing the barrier entry is the goal.

Andrew Maff:  Yeah, nutrition is tough because you can't really ... it's going to be dependent on nutrition, right? So one of the biggest issues of your product is all of my competitors taste really bad or it's a fish oil and it has a fishy smell kind of thing. Then, yes, maybe you want to send them an example they can test that out.

Andrew Maff:  But if it's like a daily vitamin, like they're not going to wake up and be Superman and be like, "Oh my God, this is great!" But if it's sport nutrition then you have a pre-workout is great because they have an immediate result or they feel it at least. Protein, they always complain whether it tastes good or it tastes bad. Obviously that still kind off falls under like a food consumable kind of thing.

Gina Milazzo:  I think with immediate results ... so if you're selling like, I don't know, like hair vitamins that take 30 days to see results, unless you're going to sell people a 30 days supply you will not see any kind of benefit to this.

Andrew Maff:  And I wouldn't be afraid from a "Order it now and try it for 30 days before you get charged." That tends to be a ....

Gina Milazzo:  That's a better idea ....

Andrew Maff:  I know that's kind of a ... sort of a free example. I guess you're sampling it for free but you're being forced to return it if you don't like it, but you'd be surprised at how many people go, "You know what, it's okay. I just don't want to deal with returning it so I got the sample."

Gina Milazzo:  Has anyone ever done that with a mattress in their entire life? Those things always make me laugh.

Andrew Maff:  I know, I want to know that, too. Casper, you are a liar.

Gina Milazzo:  They're liars. No one is going to go through the trouble of shipping a mattress back. If anyone has ever done that please comment and I swear to god I'll Venmo you four dollars.

Andrew Maff:  Someone tagged ... someone comment in here a video of someone putting a Casper mattress back in the box.

Gina Milazzo:  We're here for it.

Andrew Maff:  I want to see that happen. Anyway, there's ... what else, there's another one ... liquid you could totally do, just use smaller bottles. Like, I know it's like oh, we have to pay for that we have to do this but the biggest issue you always have, especially when you're just starting out with consumables is that no one wants to try it because no one has ever heard of it so you have to get case studies, you have to get proof of someone trying it. You have to build reviews, you have to go through that whole process. You might even be able to get a bunch of reviews from people that have sampled it but haven't purchased it yet.

Andrew Maff:  You can ask them for reviews. Just because they haven't tried the whole product doesn't mean that they don't have an opinion about it.

Gina Milazzo:  Exactly.

Andrew Maff:  So it's giving you the opportunity to build up case studies and build up market research, to actually get some idea about what the customer's saying. And free samples, the biggest issue, is like, "Oh my product's hard to ship, or it's going to get expensive to ship".

Andrew Maff:  But don't always look at this is how much my product costs and this is how much it costs to ship and this is what I'm making and I'm losing money on that. Look at it as this is what it costs to ship but what else am I getting besides that?

Andrew Maff:  Maybe you're getting a review if they like it. Maybe you're getting ... send it to social influencers. Send that stuff to them for free. That' again that's another video for anther day.

Gina Milazzo:  Email addresses.

Andrew Maff:  Yeah, there's a ton of extra things out there. So there's a ton of ways to offer free samples. If you think that you have a product that you can't offer free samples for, comment below. I will challenge you on that. There's always something you can do to reduce that barrier entry, which is always the biggest problem.

Andrew Maff:  Yeah, so we always feature a prod ... software thing, so today ... we featured Privy before but I'm going to feature them again just because we use them for this. Or any pop-up out there. Sorry, Privy, for belittling you just a little bit. But still you can use any pop-up out there to actually have like a, "Hey, thinking of trying this product? Give it a sample first and we'll send you one."

Andrew Maff:  Sometimes people go no I don't want to go through waiting a week or two but Privy's a great way to pop up especially if they've been on the page for 10, 15 seconds and haven't made a decision yet. But we suggest using Privy. But, uh yeah, thank you everyone for joining us. Of course, comment below if you want us to talk about anything at all. Let us know what you're thinking about and then we will see you all next week

Gina Milazzo:  Woo-hoo!

Andrew Maff:  Have a good one.

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