Having a product is all well and good, but people are unlikely to buy yours over a competitors if they haven’t sampled the final product itself. It’s human nature to trust what you know, and to be dubious about that which you don’t. When it comes to marketing, sample products can give the crucial difference between a sale, and a pass.
The main issue with demo-products is simple, not all products can be demo’d in an easy way, if at all. If your business is service based, such as a plumber or electrician, then the product cannot be demonstrated in a typical way, as you have no transferrable product. Anything that has a physical product can be demo’d, and even products such as games or programs can be sampled, which always increases brand awareness and sales.
Demonstration products are usually just a small representation of the final product, as giving away the full product is a loss. Take Costco as an example; various stalls set up throughout the store to give customers a small sample of a particular item. Now these products are never the most famous, but by giving customers a taste of the final item, say a cookie, they are more likely to buy that brand which they know they like, than another brand which they are unsure about. When giving samples of a product, it’s important to not give too much away, or else the customer will be fully satisfied and not purchase.
Samples are used throughout almost every media available, from magazines to online to mail. There is one consistency within demo products however; they are always a small piece of the finished product. It’s of no use giving someone an unfinished product, as it will put them off, and give your brand a poor image. Take perfume as an example, with thousands of tiny bottles available online for free. Now these bottles are single use only, but they are the final product. An unfinished perfume is awful, and most who tried an unfinished version will never purchase the full version. The same can be said for phone apps and games; getting to play a few minutes of a finished game is better than playing all of an unfinished game.
Samples do not have to cost alot of money, and in fact can be made cheaply if your business already has the infrastructure in place. The key here is to promote to as many people as possible, while still retaining a healthy profit margin. It’s again important to not give too much away, as then it’s probable that the customer will feel like the product should be cheap or free, which is not the aim of this.
Of course, maintaining a balance is always key, and so is the security of your product and staff. For instance, say a new phone comes out and you need public awareness about it. Now, the best way of doing this would be to set up a secure environment like in-store where people can try the full phone for a limited time, rather than allowing people to take half built phones home to test. If the product is a high value one like a phone, then there is always a danger to public demoing, so a secure environment is key.
If your business has no tangible product, such as an accountant, then demoing can be more difficult, but not impossible. For this scenario, the way to do it would be to provide an offer of services for a discounted or free rate, so that people can test and see if your business suits them. This always runs the risk of one-and-gone customers, but odds are that your business will retain at least a few long term clients from such a demonstration. Just remember, people do not want to buy things which they know nothing about, and having someone sample a product leaves a long lasting impression.