Last week, we talked a little bit about how giving out samples and freebies can help people familiarize with your brand before they even spend a dime.

But there are other ways to think about the concept of “try before you buy.” For example, clothing retailers commonly invite you to try on clothes at the store before you take them home. This has always been so successful that many stores have recently been seeking ways to emulate the tactic online by creating simulated dressing rooms for customers to “try on” clothes before making a purchase. When it comes to e-commerce, customers are also likely to shop online when there’s no cost for shipping the item to them or back from their house in the case of a return or exchange. This diminishes the risk of trying out something that a person is not yet sure he or she wants, and makes it easier to complete a transaction up front.

Having a loose return policy in person also helps. People can buy from you and then return it without any hassle or cost within a certain period of time if they don’t like it. The message is that your company can pay for and deal with any returns because you don’t expect there to be many. And if there are, you want to help the buyer exchange or replace their merchandise as easily as possible because you’re a helpful brand.

Beauty counters at department stores have traditionally allowed potential customers to try products without needing to make a purchase first. That used to involve making an appointment or giving a beauty expert free reign over your face. One great example of modernizing this classic concept is the beauty franchise Sephora. Sephora built its brand on being a concept store where people can freely touch and explore all of the beauty products before making their purchases. They can also consult with makeup professionals about which products might suit them best. Sephora also sends home samples of new products with any online purchase so that customers can explore other items they might consider buying.

Not every business type has a product that can be passed around. You might sell contracts or offer consultation services – or similar intangible things. This is where you might have to get a little creative. Consider creating a webinar that’s hosted online where people can see you at work. This might mean giving a lecture, teaching a lesson or being interviewed by another industry professional. Just give your potential customers the chance to see you at work in addition to your professional resume and recommendations. And it’s almost always a good policy to consider offering free first consultations to get new people in the door.

Got any questions about how you can implement “try before you buy” or free sample marketing? Don’t hesitate to contact us with your inquiries – we pride ourselves on an ability to get creative with any type of client or company.