A Marketing Lesson from My Alligator Skin

By Alexis Rodrigo | Entrepreneurship

Mar 01
Marketing Lesson in Sampling

I never used moisturizer until that day I discovered I had alligator skin on my thighs.

Alligator Skin Yuck

Let me backtrack:

I had just returned to my tropical home after spending a week in Canada. Granted, it was May, but it was still way colder than my skin was used to. Hence, the alligator scales, I mean skin.

Panicked, I ransacked my closet for something—anything—that might help and found the sample bottle of Clinique moisturizer my older sister sent from the States. You know, the yellow one that sells at the rate of one every 15 seconds?

Moisturizer Sample

I applied it on my dry, scaly skin, and after two days, voila! No more alligator skin! #mindblown

When the time came for me to buy moisturizer for my face, guess which one I bought? Yup, the yellow one, even though, converted to pesos, it was pricey. I didn’t even look at other moisturizers.

I figured, if it could take away alligator skin in two days, then a tiny drop every day should be able to keep my face soft.

That’s the power of sampling.

It works!

That’s why Costco spends a lot of money stuffing us with samples of sausages and perogies. And why every cool app has a free, lite version... or at least a 14-day trial. Sampling makes people buy.

Stores like Costco happily give us free samples because sampling works! It makes people buy.

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You Give Out Samples, Too

Every blog post you publish, every video you post, every lead magnet you put out into the world is a chance for potential customers to sample your product.

If the sample blows their minds, then they’ll buy the product.

Sometimes they won’t even shop around, even if your product is more expensive than your competitors’.

Sampling removes the most common sales objections when prospects have experienced for themselves the transformation you deliver.

Think about this:

  • How can you give people the chance to try before they buy?
  • What “samples” do you have right now?
  • What do they say about you and your product?
  • Do they make people fall in love with you?
  • If not, what can you do to make your samples deliver even a small but meaningful transformation?

How can your samples deliver even a small but meaningful transformation?

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Not Quite Sampling, But Just As Good

Although not free, money-back guarantees are another way you can try a product to see if it works for you, without risk.

I especially like no-questions-asked, hassle-free guarantees. They let you know that the vendor stands behind their product and are truly looking out for customers to be happy and satisfied.

If you have a service-based business, it may be impossible to offer a refund. After all, you can’t get your time back, which ends up unfair for everyone involved: unhappy customer, unhappy entrepreneur, everyone loses. But don’t dismiss it entirely; you may yet come up with a creative way to give a guarantee on your services.

Well, that’s today’s marketing lesson.

Have you ever ended up buying a product because you were so happy with the sample? Tell me about it!

PS: Speaking of guarantees, did you know that AppSumo has a generous 60-day refund period? That’s more than enough time to test-drive an app and decide if it’s worth keeping. I’ve refunded a couple of times from AppSumo so I can tell you from experience that it’s truly hassle-free. Some apps you may want to try are:

  • Stencil, the image editor I use almost every day
  • ShortPixel, the image optimizer I used to improve my site's speed test grade
  • Publboxthe all-in-one social media marketing platform that lets you discover content, create social media posts, and schedule them for automatic posting
  • Fleeq, what I'm using from now on to create software demo's and other kinds of how-to videos
A Marketing Lesson - Sampling

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means I earn a commission when you buy through the links on this page. While I only recommend products I myself use or have vetted, you should always do your due diligence before making any purchases. (Full Disclosure)


About the Author

Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.