Free samples are an excellent method for small businesses to reach more clients. You may even use this tactic already as part of your growth strategy. However, you can do even better than just giving your samples out randomly. To get the best results from your samples, you need to target specific people who are both likely to use what you offer and can increase your visibility even further. That makes getting celebrities to try your products and services a winning strategy, and it’s easier than you may think.
Here’s how free samples can launch your business, including exactly what steps to take.
The benefits of free samples
Samples introduce your brand to consumers, which is especially important if you are unknown, or unknown in a new niche. And, as with any marketing strategy, your free sample campaign should be directed toward a specific target group. Passing out samples randomly may bring in a few new clients, but it’s not a cost efficient way of operating your business.
You should certainly send samples through mediums that connect with your industry niche. But consider this—sending a sample to a regular consumer may garnish one new conversion. It could even get a loyal fan of your brand to spread word-of-mouth. And both of those are good results. But to get the most ROI from your endeavors, consider sending samples to someone who can extend your reach much further than their small group of acquaintances.
A common struggle for small businesses is to get their brand out in front of more people more times. If a celebrity likes your brand, they can give you that boost in visibility because people pay attention to what celebrities are wearing and using. They want to be seen with the brands celebrities are seen with, and they are interested in hearing what new things their favorite celebrities are interested in. For example, fashion brand Self-Portrait just launched in 2013, but they already had their clothing on the Red Carpet being worn by Lady Gaga and others. Even more impressive, they’ve seen their sales grow 300 percent between their launch year and 2015.
Establishing a celebrity client can also open the door to other celebrities in their network buying your products or services. And it gets you in front of their fans, creating additional visibility. Once you successfully gain a celebrity client, don’t underestimate the power of name-dropping. When pitching your brand to other clients, you can mention your celebrity client to boost your credibility.
The exact steps you need to take
The first thing you need to do when sending your samples to a celebrity is to match the sample to the right individual. You have two primary methods of figuring out which celebrity to choose. Either select someone you are already familiar enough with that you are certain they are a good fit for your sample, or do plenty of research to ensure you are not wasting your time with a poor choice.
For instance, your vegan, cruelty-free makeup line may not be as big a deal to a celebrity who loves steak and supports ranchers. Likewise, their fans probably are not a big part of your targeted industry niche. But, if you offer it to someone like Natalie Portman, who is a known vegan and animal rights activist, you stand a better chance of making an impact on how many people recognize your brand.
Also, consider reaching out to up-and-coming talent. They can be easier to get in with, and you have the advantage of growing your reputation with theirs.
Next, you’ll need to find a delivery method that works for your business.
1. Getting into a gift bag or gift lounge
Many brands have good luck with putting their free samples into a backstage gift basket for performances, events, or award shows. You will likely have to pay a fee that can be hundreds of dollars, but even the most prestigious events rarely charge more than $4,000 to put your item in the gift baskets. The up-front cost is an additional reason to choose your venues wisely.
Participating in a gift lounge at an award show is another option, but it can be pricier (in the thousands and up to the tens of thousands) and may be a better option for businesses that are already seeing some sales success.
Another way to get your samples into a gift bag or gift lounge is to use a PR firm or “middleman” agency that can help you get your foot in the door. These companies take your samples and do the work of finding appropriate celebrities to offer them to. Often, they can put your products or services in events where celebrities will be gathered, giving your brand more visibility. Having your brand showcased among other companies’ best brands will create an appealing reason for the celebrity guests to peruse the selections.
2. Going direct or through a celebrity rep
You can also send samples directly to the celeb, but know that if you use this route you will typically need to go through one of their representatives—an agent, manager, or publicist. Sending a package directly can be an inexpensive way to get your name in front of a celebrity, depending upon how many celebs you reach out to and your shipping costs.
In some cases, you may be able to contact the person without an intermediary. This is usually in situations with YouTubers or other online influencers. Note, however, that even some online celebrities require you to contact them through an agent or manager.
Contacting celebrity reps is another place where you need to do your due diligence in research. Sometimes you can find the name of the person you need by checking the celebrity’s website. If you are unable to find their representatives contact information on their website, another option is utilizing a celebrity contact database.
A good practice is to email or call the publicist before mailing anything so they know to be on the lookout for your items. Otherwise, your package could be put aside and lost or forgotten.
Here’s something else to consider if you sell clothing, shoes, makeup, jewelry, or other wearables. Rather than sending your items to the celebrity’s representative, you could send them to the celeb’s stylist. This option puts your product right where the celebrity has an opportunity to use it, and the stylist may even recommend your product to other clients if it is well-received.
Whichever route you go, be attentive to your packaging. When you send a sample package to a celebrity, you want to pay special attention to the first impression you are making. Choose attractive packaging materials that will stand out from a typical brown box.
Now you have the basic information for adding celebrity leads to your free sample campaigns. As a last bit of advice, be polite; be persistent; and follow-up on PR opportunities that present themselves. You may just find a devoted brand fan by putting in a targeted effort.
Latest posts by Billy Bones (see all)
- How To Get In Contact With Celebrity Stylists To Build Your Brand - November 28, 2017
- How To Get Celebrities To Notice Your Brand - February 12, 2016