How to get customers to try (and love) your products

As a small business owner, you no doubt put great care into ensuring your products and services are up to a high standard – perhaps even exceeding customers’ expectations. However, exceeding expectations proves difficult if you can’t get people to try out what you have to offer.

While promoting your products’ unique qualities through marketing can sell them as an idea, actually getting them into people’s hands (or mouths!) so they can experience them for real is even more powerful.

The challenge is how do you get prospective customers to sample your products? Here are a few tactics that can help:

Brighten people’s day with a free treat

Most people value the opportunity to “try before you buy” and let’s face it, we all love a free surprise treat. But there are moments when they could be even more welcome. If you live in a place where people commute by train, head down to your local station and hand out free samples to people on their way to work. It’s a great way to brighten their morning (especially if the train’s just left without them on board) and if it’s something they can eat or drink, all the better!

As well as timing, keep the weather in mind too. Free refreshments on an unexpectedly hot day or a nourishing snack in the cold can be a welcome indulgence as people go about town. And it’s not just the sensory enjoyment that counts, the emotional uplift goes a long way too. Just as a kind gesture from a stranger can make your day, handing out free trial products at the right moment can be incredibly effective as it creates a happy feeling – and subsequently, a positive association with your brand.

Create a pop-up shop or attend an event

In contrast to the surprise approach of stopping – and hopefully delighting – people in their tracks, organized events are great opportunities to appeal to people when they’re already in the mindset of discovering something new. Look for events in your area, such as farmers’ markets, and consider booking a spot where you can offer the chance to try different product flavours or scents. Hopefully some people will make a purchase there, but even if they don’t, you can give them a sample to take away, together with a calling card so they know where to find you.

Pop-up shops are another great way to help people discover your products. A pop-up shop is essentially a temporary retail space that appears for a limited amount of time only. Do a little online research for temporary spaces available in your area – whether in a mall or a street level location – thinking of course about your target customers and where they’re most likely to be. The great thing about pop-up shops is that they create a sense of excitement and one-off opportunity, perfect for getting people to try – and buy – your products.

Partner up with complementary businesses

There’s nothing like a perfect match to please the palate – or any of the senses for that matter, depending on your product. If you run a deli that sells artisan cheese, why not team up with your local wine shop to offer free tasting – perhaps with some ready-made gift hampers nearby in case it’s love at first sip/bite? If you’re in the business of bathing products, there’s some definite partnership potential in the wellness area. For example, your local fitness centre may be happy to hand out samples of your shower gels or lotions with their gym towels for members to enjoy after a workout. Just offer to display their flyers or brochures in your store, so they can benefit too.

They say the proof is in the pudding, so if you want people to know how great your products are, get them out there for prospective customers to experience first-hand. Just try out some of these approaches to get people sampling your goods – and coming back for more!

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