free lemon perfect samples
May 30th, 2024 | 7 min read
  • Product Sampling

No Strings Attached: Product Sampling Campaigns

People love free stuff, and so do marketers. Why? Because giving away samples is one of the most effective ways to get consumers to try your products or services. From cereal brands to pilates studios, businesses in nearly every industry have found that the best way to sell a product or service to consumers is often letting them try it for free.

The numbers speak for themselves: a recent study by Eventeem found that 65% of consumers who sampled a product purchased it in the same shopping trip; more than three-quarters of them said that the sample is what prompted the purchase. Sampling pays off longer-term, too — some 58% of purchasers in that study said they’d buy the product again. And giving away samples to existing customers is a great way to keep them engaged, and to encourage them to branch out to your brand’s other products.

But making a sampling campaign work for your brand is about more than just handing out products. Here are some of the advantages to giving away samples and tips for doing it effectively — so they come back (and pay) for more.

Benefits of Product Sampling

Beyond just increasing sales — because people are more likely to buy something they’ve already tried and enjoyed — here are some advantages to giving away product samples to consumers:

Sampling puts products in consumers’ hands, often for the first time: For some product categories, like food and beverage, the best way to convince consumers to buy a product is often to let them try it first. This makes sampling a uniquely effective means of launching new products. Condiment brand Sir Kensington’s took this approach when launching its new vegan mayonnaise via a 20-state, 83-stop food truck tour that let consumers sample the product with french fries.

Sampling boosts brand awareness: Free samples generate brand recognition, especially for new products or in new markets. Consumers can try your product and see if they like it, a low-risk activity that sparks interest and curiosity. “When companies distribute free samples to a wide range of consumers, they generate excitement and intrigue around the brand,” according to a recent blog post by iMP.

Flavored-water brand Lemon Perfect used sampling to increase brand awareness and distinguish itself from other enhanced-water brands. The brand targeted seven markets with high concentrations of its target audience — young, diverse, health-conscious consumers — for a sampling campaign based out of a fleet of branded vehicles. In just under two months of working with Promobile Marketing, Lemon Perfect managed to give away 300,000 samples.

Sampling inspires customer feedback and content: Consumers who’ve sampled are more likely to share their experiences within their personal and social networks. “This word-of-mouth marketing amplifies brand visibility and reaches a broader audience.”

lemon perfect product sampling campaign

Samples provide valuable insights into customer preferences. By observing how people react to your product, you can gain valuable feedback to improve your offerings or marketing strategy.

Sampling also creates opportunities to accumulate reviews, unboxing videos, and other user-generated content, says microinfluencer agency InBeat. “UGC or user-generated content helps you stand out from the crowd, get your customers’ attention, and build social proof.” UGC also increases sales; studies show that 90% of customers decide to purchase based in part on user-generated content.

Sampling cultivates customer loyalty: Sampling isn’t just a good strategy for attracting new customers; it’s also a great way to keep existing customers engaged and loyal, says InBeat. According to, 72 percent of beauty brand customers say they’re most loyal to brands that give away samples. Customers appreciate the chance to try something new for free, and it can encourage them to become and remain repeat customers.

Implementing a Successful Sampling Campaign

Successful sampling campaigns are built on more than mere freebies — they start with clearly articulated goals, a keen understanding of the target audience, and a solid plan for followup. Here are some tips for building a campaign that connects with your ideal customers.

Define Your Goals and Target Audience

What do you want to achieve? Is it brand awareness for a new product launch, increased sales of an existing product line, or customer feedback? Clear goals will guide your approach.

Identify your ideal customer, considering demographics, interests, and buying habits. Distributing samples to people who wouldn’t be interested in your product is a waste of resources, so focus on your target audience as you decide on sampling method and product choice.

Choose the Right Sampling Method

There are various ways to distribute samples, and “your choice should align with where your target audience is most accessible and engaged,” says InBeat. Here are the most common methods:

  • In-store: Typically a booth in retail stores frequented by your target audience, this approach allows for direct interaction with potential customers as well as product demonstrations.
  • Direct mail: Sending samples directly to consumers’ homes is effective for targeted campaigns and avoids geographical limitations.
  • Online: This is the most effective method for digital products like books and software, but other brands can also provide codes or coupons online for picking up free samples in person.
  • Event-based: Distributing samples at trade shows, conferences, pop-ups, activations, or other events can be a great way to reach your target audience. “These occasions provide a captive audience already interested in your industry,” says InBeat, “making them more receptive to new products.”

Choose the Right Sample

“Choose a product that represents your brand well and has broad appeal to your target audience,” says InBeat. “Consider factors such as ease of use, the likelihood of repeat purchases, and the product’s ability to stand out in its category.”

Consider sample size, too: Samples should be large enough to provide a good experience but small enough to control costs. Packaging should be eye-catching and informative, and include a call to action.

Plan for a Smooth, Shareable Presentation

From the consumer’s perspective, the process of finding, receiving, and using the sample is a customer service experience, so make sure it’s a pleasant one. This means working out how the samples will be produced, packaged, and distributed, as well as any supporting information like instructions, ingredients, and specifications.

Unboxing matters, especially if your target audience includes social media influencers or if you’re aiming to gather UGC through the campaign. “Complement your sampling campaign with digital content that educates about the product, shares user experiences, and encourages social sharing,” says InBeat. “This can amplify the impact of your sampling effort.”

Follow Up

Don’t leave consumers hanging after receiving the sample. Make purchasing the sampled product — and your brand’s other products — as easy and appealing as possible by including a coupon or discount code with the sample. Send follow-up emails with additional product information, special offers, or invitations to join a loyalty program.

Tracking and Analyzing Results

Build into your campaign the means to monitor key metrics like website traffic after sampling and social media engagement. This will help you gauge the campaign’s effectiveness and identify areas for improvement for future campaigns..

Data gathering might also involve including unique QR codes on the packaging that link to landing pages with product information, surveys, or social media profiles. This allows for easy data collection and engagement tracking. Create opportunities for samplers to provide their email addresses or phone numbers in exchange for access to future promotions via email or SMS.

Actively seek feedback by incorporating feedback mechanisms like surveys, social media polls, or contests into your campaign. Create incentives for sharing feedback or reviews such as discounts, swag, or free samples of your other products.

By carefully planning, targeting the right audience, and choosing the most effective sampling method, brands can leverage product sampling to achieve their marketing goals and build stronger relationships with consumers.


Promobile Marketing is a dynamic experiential marketing agency based in New York City. For over a decade, Promobile Marketing has collaborated with a range of brands—from budding startups to major CPG brands—on immersive marketing campaigns. Get in touch to discuss your next project.