Free stuff has always been a major marketing tool, for direct mail, face to face sales and just about everything else you can think of. In many cases, that means a free sample, but sometimes, when you run a business that doesn’t offer physical products (or where products are large and expensive and can’t be scaled down) giving away a smaller size just isn’t an option. Enter the free trial. Here are a few ways you can use free trials and samples to get more out of your direct mail marketing.
What Kind of Free Trials Can You Offer?
Free trials can vary according to the type of service you offer. In the case of software or digital products, like Netflix or Fresh books, the free trial is a limited use period, usually either 14 days or a month. In the case of other types of services, like hairstyling, a free trial may be a lesser service, such as a shampoo or a child’s haircut. The idea is to get people to try your service first, free, to give you the opportunity to excel and over-deliver.
Partially Free Offers
One way to use free trials and still create sales from your direct mail marketing is by offering a free trial item as a part of another sale. For instance, if your restaurant is offering a new kind of coffee, offer a free cup with a meal on presentation of a coupon. By giving away the item you’re promoting free, you give people an opportunity to fall in love with it, but by requiring a purchase, you still make a profit.
Contact to Claim Free Offers
Another option to get more out of free trials as part of your marketing is to make the free trial or sample dependent on customers visiting your store or contacting you. If they come to your store to claim a trial or sample, your displays will speak for themselves and your sales team will have the opportunity to upsell or collect information, and if you use email as a means of contact, and include an opt in form, you can gather more customer information for other campaigns. If the freebie is a good enough deal, this can be a great way to gather information, but make sure it’s worth the customer’s while, or your campaign may not work as well as you hope.
If you do have a product to market, and you can offer a free sample, opt for the biggest size you can. People love free stuff, lumpy packages always get opened, and anything that seems bigger or better than the competition will get more attention, and be more memorable. Not to mention that a larger size will give prospective customers more opportunity to test out your product, and more time to find out that it works for them.
Free trials and samples cost more to run than just a regular campaign, with success rates of between 10 and 20% for in house lists, and 0.5 to 1% for prospects, so plan accordingly. If your samples are contact or coupon based, or if you offer a trial instead of a sample, it can still be worthwhile to send out larger, broader campaigns.