Whether you are launching a new product, establishing a brand restage or promoting valuable content for lesser-known merchandise, product sampling has the power to drive brand awareness. Sampling, in which your business offers consumers your product in exchange for their feedback, enables your brand to collect and amplify content from real customers about the merits of your product.
Shoppers care about what other customers think. In fact, the PowerReviews Snapshot for Ecommerce report found 42 percent of shoppers think it’s important or very important for a product’s reviews to have user-generated content, such as videos and photos. Younger audiences feel this even more strongly: 58 percent of consumers between the ages of 18 and 29 find user-generated content such as photos and videos important.
Here are three steps to ensure your product sampling campaign both maximizes the quantity and quality of the content it generates:
Target Your Sampling Audience Strategically
A strong first step to a successful product sampling campaign is to understand who you want to target. Go further than a simple demographic or geo-location for your product sampling efforts.
Instead, try to target your audience by purchase behavior, lifestyle interests, affinity groups and hyper-targeted customer profiles to better align with your sampling community. As you develop your plan for who to target, it’s important to do your research, monitor the relevant social media indicators (e.g. hashtags), and follow your existing customers on social media. These are the people who are already inclined to talk about your brand.
Choose the Product You Want to Promote Wise
Brands often struggle to generate reviews for new products—which is why sampling is a critical step. And studies show that a large percentage of shoppers will look to a search engine if a product doesn’t have any reviews on its own product page.
Be smart about what you want to promote in the product launch strategy and have goals specifically tied to that launch. For example, going deep on one specific product by sampling it to your target audience can generate a high volume of authentic, trustworthy content, which is essential prior to a product launch.
These reviews help convert customers from shoppers to buyers, but it also allows brands and retailers to draw unbiased insights to identify and fix any product flaws before the launch.
Trust Your Everyday Influencers Over Big Follower Counts
Influencers with large social follower counts have long been the staple of influencer marketing campaigns, but increasingly, brands are smarter with their efforts. Instead of paying a premium for a leading influencer to provide reviews and social content, many companies are turning to their everyday shoppers to promote, review and talk about their experiences with products.
Not only is this content authentic and trustworthy, PowerReviews experience shows that everyday influencers deliver product ratings and reviews at an 85% response rate. Those who already use and enjoy your products are the perfect group to sample in order to ramp up reviews in advance of a new product launch.
Shoppers expect authenticity in your brand message and products, and ratings and reviews with user-generated content and visuals are the best way to achieve this. When it comes to a new product launch, strategic sampling campaigns enable you to generate vital, quality content that will convert buyers, enhance your product loyalty and build trust in your products and brand.
How Cosmetics Company Maesa Uses Sampling Content to Drive Credibility
Maesa is a cosmetic company that designs and creates accessible and high-quality beauty products for brands, including Flower Beauty, Kristin Ess and Col-Lab. When Maesa launched sampling campaigns to get the word out about its products, the company was able to generate authentic, valuable content, including more than 986 authentic reviews from sampling campaigns. These reviews led to higher brand credibility for its new products. Click here to view the case study.