Free: The Benefits of Free or Trial Samples

Strategy Plan One

February 2, 2012 

If you are in a goods or services business, you obviously have reviewed several possible, different marketing activities to build customers.  In this batch of activities, one of the most effective marketing outreach activities may include providing free or trial samples.


You may think or ask yourself, why provide free samples. Or you may be thinking “this is going to cost me a fortune”.  You may be surprised at the results.


The context and delivery is different whether there is a physical location or a location off the track.  Websites or software that offer trial periods, take on another dynamic as well.  All have similarities in terms of benefits that can result from these activities.


Here are some potential benefits in providing free samples:


– Drives traffic to your location, website, etc

– Gains initial interest in a part of you suite of products, goods or services

– Builds brand recognition

– Gains interest from non-customers in close proximity

– Builds a higher conversion rate from pedestrian or visitor to consumer

– Builds relationships

– Builds immediate awareness of product or service

– No investment, no risk on the consumer side

– Experience is the richest, as opposed to an ad in a newspaper (different purposes)

– Free sampler turning into a consumer is a repeat customer

– Free offers spread like wild fire, as one customer will broadcast to others quickly

– Less costly than other forms of marketing

– “Free” is a motivator to try, later converting to buy

– Builds a database of potential customers if asking for basic info (such as a website providing trial provided you give email address)

– Providing free samples is a non-intrusive method of marketing

– Staff generally like to provide give-aways (differing operational activity)

– You convert lag or down time in your business to productive time, eventually generating more customers, more revenues and a stronger business



  1. Plan for this – write out a strategy, goals, operational issues, budget, method to capture data and results, etc.
  2. Remember to put your best foot, best product, best sample forward (i.e.: bakery sample of fresh bread, not liquidating days old bread)
  3. Ensure the free sample will be consistent with the paid product.  Do not mislead potential customers.
  4. Control your costs and scope on the offer (you know you will be able to budget for X number of free samples)
  5. Keep track of your data, results, and all important – how many new customers you gained out of this activity


You will be surprised at the Return on Investment with this marketing activity of free samples.  Keep track of the event or offering, provide a secondary offer and keep in communications with those clients, as you have created relationships.


Strategy Plan One

© Strategy Plan One 2012

Business information, resources and tips for the entrepreneur


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s