Digital Product Sampling: What Is It & How to Do It Properly
When discussing the possibilities and opportunities of product sampling, the idea of a physical sample or an in-person marketing strategy often comes to mind. You might be thinking of samples distributed in supermarkets or as gifts when you make a purchase in a cosmetics shop. However, the product sample market has become much more efficient in the digital world.
With digital product sampling, brands use the internet and social media to reach out to potential customers, creating a strategy that is much more effective, targeted and environmentally friendly. In turn, this approach makes consumers more likely to consider buying the product.
In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about digital product sampling, how to create an effective campaign and what to consider when using this marketing strategy.
What is digital product sampling?
Digital product sampling is a marketing strategy consisting of specifically targeting potential consumers using digital methods.
The strategy begins with brands defining their target audience. Depending on the product they want to distribute, companies can clearly define their consumer's age, gender, residential area or other characteristics that will guide their behaviour online.
With data in hand, brands can then create customised digital campaigns shaping their message according to their audience. Unlike traditional product sampling strategies, the digital version will be completely focused online, using email marketing tools, social media platforms, websites and influencer marketing.
Since the entire relationship between the brand and its audience happens online, so does the feedback stage. Through digital platforms, your audience will respond faster and have a more direct way of communicating with your company.
How to develop a digital product sampling campaign?
There are many similarities in creating a traditional or a digital product sampling campaign. Both approaches require a deep understanding of your product, your target audience, and your campaign goals and expectations.
Define your objectives
Every successful product marketing campaign has clear goals and objectives. These goals will depend on your product and the current situation of your business.
Is your campaign structured around a launch? Has your product been updated, and do you need to communicate changes to your customers? Do you want to increase awareness or improve sales? All of these are valid objectives in which a product sampling strategy can bring excellent results. However, each goal will guide your process towards a different path.
Identify your target audience
Once you have your objective set, it is time to determine who consists of your target audience. For example, the target audience for a launch might differ from those you are trying to reach in a campaign aiming to raise awareness or drive sales.
Defining your target audience in a digital product sampling campaign is essential. Understanding your customers' needs, preferences, and interests will give you clear ideas on where to run your campaign and how to best cater for this audience.
At this stage, digital platforms can already help you with some insight into your audience. You can run surveys and pools in your brand's social media channels, encouraging customer comments and participation to get more information about followers and potential customers.
Select the digital channels you will use
In an increasingly digital world, there is a vast selection of digital channels and platforms to use in marketing strategies. That is why carefully defining objectives and your target audience is crucial. These two things will help you determine which channels work best for your potential customers and your campaign goals.
Is your audience active on social media? What digital influencers are they most interested in? Do they subscribe to newsletters or read certain websites? With the answers to these questions, you will be able to define the best digital product sampling strategy according to your goals.
Prada with the launch of the new fragrance Paradoz, the brand created a sampling distribution campaign combined with an active social media presence. Through ads on Instagram and TikTok, they invited customers to claim a sample and try the product for themselves.
When Armani relaunched its Code Parfum fragrance, they also worked closely with digital influencers to create a similar campaign, encouraging their followers to register with the brand and claim their samples.
Every digital platform has its audience; understanding how to use it to promote your product and your brand is crucial. Working with an experienced sample marketing agency can help you create campaigns using many different platforms.
Create a sampling offer
Deciding what product and what type of sample you will send to your future customers is also part of the marketing strategy.
It is vital to decide early how many samples you will give away, what kind of packaging you will use and what you will require from your potential clients. Partnering with the right product sampling agency can ensure that you develop the right strategy for your brand, creating exclusive packaging according to your goals.
Monitor your results and ask for feedback
One of the main advantages of a product sampling marketing strategy is collecting customer feedback to adjust your product.
With a digital strategy, you can receive feedback almost instantly, offering customers a channel to share their thoughts and opinions about your brand and your business.
With a traditional product sampling campaign, customers will take your product home or try it in a stand at a shop. You'll only know it was successful if you see an uptick in sales or people voluntarily post about it on social media. In a digitally native campaign, you immediately offer a means of communication with your customers.
What are the benefits of a digital product sampling campaign?
We have already mentioned some of the advantages and benefits of choosing a digital approach in your product sampling campaign. However, the strategy of distributing samples to potential customers is already advantageous.
Increased brand awareness
A traditional product sampling strategy allows a brand to reach a wider audience, introducing new customers to products and increasing brand recognition.
When taken to the digital environment, this marketing strategy can potentially be even more beneficial. With more people discussing your product and your brand online, you stimulate word-of-mouth, reaching an even higher number of potential customers.
It is important to remember that people often trust friends and relatives more than corporations. Having your product recommended or talked about by someone they know only increases the likelihood of people buying your item in the future.
A digital product sampling strategy is often less expensive than other marketing strategies or even than traditional product sampling approaches.
A traditional approach requires trained employees to distribute samples and talk to consumers, while a digital strategy is centralised in a website or platform, attracting customers to claim their sample.
With a well-defined number of people interested in your product, you can also optimise your sample production, avoiding surplus.
One of the key advantages of working digitally is targeting only people who fit your buyer persona and are interested in your product. As a result, you will have a much higher conversion rate.
As mentioned previously, a digital approach to this marketing strategy offers a benefit that traditional product sampling does not: quick and easy access to customer feedback.
With a digital campaign, you can track engagement rates, conversion, clicks and a series of other information that will help you guide future product development or marketing strategies. You also create a communication channel with customers interested in your brand, who are willing to give you feedback and share their opinions about your business.
Increased customer loyalty
When customers receive a sample of a product they enjoy, they are likelier to become loyal customers and recommend the brand to others.
As we discussed, doing this exchange in an online environment increases the chances of more people hearing and being interested in your product.
Improved customer experience
Digital product sampling provides a convenient and easy way for customers to try new products, which can enhance their overall experience with the brand.
Customers will receive the sample at home once they show interest in the product. Therefore, they don't receive something they don't want and don't go through any inconvenience.
Tips for a smooth digital product sampling campaign
Now that you understand what a digital product sampling campaign is and how you can create one for your product and your business, here are some tips that will help you ensure everything runs smoothly.
Dedicate a lot of time to defining your goals
The goals and objectives of your campaign are crucial, as they will guide your decisions. Before starting your campaign, ensure you know what you want to achieve and what your brand needs.
Study the platforms available
There are many digital platforms to choose from, and you might think that a great strategy is to run your campaign in all of them. That is definitely not the case. Your brand needs to be in the platforms your audience is. The media you use will define your entire campaign, so it must fit your business and objectives.
Have your target audience in mind, always
Your campaign and your messaging need to be tailored to your audience. With every marketing campaign or communication strategy, knowing who you are trying to reach is crucial. This understanding will provide you with a much clearer path for your process.
Create compelling content
Content is what attracts people to your brand, leading potential customers to claim their samples. Develop visually appealing and engaging content that highlights the benefits of your product and encourages participation.
Keep it simple
Make the sampling process easy and straightforward for customers to participate. Do not create unnecessary steps or complicated tasks that will have them looking for clues. The easiest the process, the more people will learn about your product.
Encourage people to share their experiences
Having people in the digital environment talking about your brand is highly beneficial. Encourage people to share their experience with your product and ask for feedback.
You can offer incentives and rewards – such as exclusive discounts or products – to people who actively participate in your campaign or get friends to join.
Track and analyse results
When it comes to metrics, it is important to have access to them and analyse what they mean and how they can improve your business.
The amount of information you can get through a digital product sampling campaign will allow you to make data-driven decisions.
Use the insights gained from the campaign to optimise future sampling initiatives and improve your product and overall marketing efforts.
The more you understand your customers and your product, the more you can improve to grow your business and increase your reach continuously.
Digital product sampling is a fantastic strategy to increase your brand awareness and introduce your product to a larger audience.
Similar to traditional sample distribution campaigns, the digital approach offers the added benefits of better cost-effectiveness and faster and more measurable results.
With an online presence, you can collect and analyse data to improve your decisions and guide future initiatives for your business.
At Odore, we have created several digital product sampling campaigns for clients in many different sectors, creating strategies that included websites, newsletters and influencer marketing. With customisable packaging and fulfilment, we can help you take your launch to the next level. Contact us to learn more.