Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Make Your Samples Work for You!

After a few years of sending and receiving samples I thought I’d share a few tips that I’ve come up with. Please remember, these are tips for *samples*. Samples and promos are not the same thing. Samples are a smaller version of something that you sell in your shop. Not a pen or button with your name on it. Promos are nice but not always memorable.

First of all, make sure your sample is an accurate representation of your work because that’s what potential customers will see it as. Don’t send seconds/mistakes! You want the customer to *want* your item. Your samples should be as good as the full sized item.

Send samples that the customer can *use*. If you are a soapmaker, send soap. Jewelry makers, how about a small pair of earrings? If the potential customer can use the item, they are more likely to fall in love with it and purchase more later.

Here are a few questions that the potential customer will want to know about your product sample:

1) What is it?
A customer can’t buy it if they don’t know what it is. Not only that, but a lot of my soap looks like food. I don’t want anyone to eat it! Soap and tarts smell and look alike. If a customer doesn’t know what it is, they won’t use it.

2) What’s in it?
This is especially important for bakers and bath & body makers. Please list all your ingredients in case anyone has allergies.

3) What do I do with it?
If it’s not obvious, please give details on how to use your sample.

4) How can I buy more?
Don’t forget to include your business card or website info! If the customer can’t find you, they can’t buy anything from you!

Now who do you give these samples to?

Try to focus on your target market. When you ship out an order include a sample of something else that you think that customer will like. Submit to sampler boxes that focus on your target market. Keep a few with you so when you strike up a conversation with someone about your business you can hand them a sample to remember you by. Hand them out to friends and family. Even if it’s not something they’ll use, there’s a good chance they’ll still support your business by promoting it to others.

I hope these tips help someone. If you have any tips of your own, feel free to post them here!

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