Last week my partner bought me my favourite Aesop face oil that I had run out of. They came home with the gift and in true Aesop customer service style, the branded and reusable drawstring bag that it was packaged in was also accompanied by a handful of free samples of other Aesop products that I hadn’t yet tried.
During the week as the weather started to cool and I noticed my skin feeling more dry and less absorbent or responsive to my usual face routine I pulled out the samples and started looking for another solution. I found a highly concentrated face cream that promised to rejuvenate my skin. I emptied the sachet and lathered it on. Overnight I noticed a dramatic change and was raving about it to my partner and insisted that she also try it.
By the weekend we were back in the store to buy the product that we both agreed ‘must have in our lives.’ We walked straight to the counter to ask where to find it, already sold on our decision to purchase and without knowing the price happily swiped our card and left with yet another Aesop product to add to our ever growing range, along with some more samples to try at home.
Here’s what we can learn from this experience.
- Always observe your behaviour as a customer to learn what you can do better as a business owner. I remember a time of going into the Aesop store and making my purchase and waiting patiently at the checkout for my sample suggestions and hoping they would give me the expensive stuff. Over time I started asking for the samples that I knew I liked or wanted to try based on recommendations but still felt a little cheeky for asking for the free stuff (no one gets shit for free these days). Surprising your customer with a freebie, sample products and a reusable bag in this case, makes people feel like they’ve got more than what they paid for which then helps to build brand loyalty, returning customers and a reason for them to choose you over a competitor.
- Show and tell them what they don’t know. The genius behind Aesop as a brand is that they are always brining out new products and adding to their range without varying far beyond the bathroom. For me, skincare is something that I don’t prioritise or enjoy researching. But when I find something that I love and a brand that works for me, I tend to go back to it over and over – it’s one less decision I have to make in my life. If the person working in the shop can ask me a few questions and observe from my purchasing history another product that would work for me and then sends me home with it to try, the extra time they took to serve me in store and the less than $1 investment the brand spent to give me a free sample if worth the $70 return on investment when I realise how much I loved it and needed it. Had I not been shown that product, I would have not come looking for it. It also proves the point that a ‘warm lead’, a customer with a knowledge, awareness and previous experience of the brand is easier to convert to a paying customer than converting a stranger who doesn’t yet know about you and your business.
- Stay Visible + Back your products. I wasn’t in the store when the sample was given to my partner. But it sat on my bathroom shelf and everyday I went to do my morning routine I saw it and I was reminded of it (side note: make your freebie easy to store, recognisable, nice to look at and in the case of the free material bag, reusable with your logo to stay top of mind in your customers personal space) When I needed a solution, the brand had already put their product in my way (much more effective than a Instagram advertisement). From there, the product did the work for the brand. By having the solution at hand and seeing the results, I didn’t need the sales pitch. I became the seller to my partner on behalf of the brand due to the results. When you promise an outcome and know that your product will deliver on it, you don’t need a huge amount of followers, social media advertising budget or famous influencers to market your business. Your loyal customers who have had a real experience of the results you promised will eventually do the work for you. Wow them with over delivering on the results and you’ll be more confident to back yourself in marketing and can get it in the right hands.
So, to answer your question: How much do I give for free?
It’s not about how much you give and you certainly shouldn’t be out of pocket but take some time to consider the following questions to review your current business model and see how you can better show up for your customer.
-How much is your customer is worth to you? (Average spend)
-What else can you show + tell them about what you offer that they don’t yet know and might life/need?
-How can you get your product/experience in front of them, in their space for when they need you?
-Does your product/service deliver what you say it will?
-When was the last time you experienced your business to check if you’re clear on what results you’re promising and showcasing how it’s working for others or can give someone a chance to see how it would work for them/give them a free sample? E.g – physical sample, free trial, link to a video/podcast where you’re being an expert, testimonials, gift with purchase?
Let me know how you go.
If you’re looking to overhaul your business, give it a good health check, increase your sales and find ways to better serve your returning customers check out our First Aid Kit For Your Business. It’s packed with training videos, worksheets, advice and a step-by-step on how to review your business to see where else you might be missing opportunities to better serve your customers and how to implement your target market research into your marketing strategy.