Sampling: An Effective Marketing Tool

One of the things I really enjoy about my monthly trip to Costco is all the samples I get to munch on while I peruse the aisles and shop. A few of these samples have even convinced me to buy the products being hawked.


Last month, McDonalds promoted their own sampling program. From September 16th to 19th, they offered free small coffees. McDonalds offered this free coffee to convince consumers that their coffee is worth purchasing on a regular basis. I am sure they won many new coffee customers with this offer.

Sampling is a great marketing tool. Offering consumers a “taste” of what they will get should they purchase a product has been proven time and again to draw customers in. Take David McConnell for example. David started selling books door-to-door when he was just 16-years-old. He struggled to gain customers interest and sell the books. So, David decided to offer an incentive to get prospective customers to look at his books. The incentive was a sample vial of a perfume that he had developed with the help of a local pharmacist. It soon became clear that customers loved and preferred the perfume over the books. David quit selling books to concentrate full-time on selling his perfume. The company he started eventually became Avon Cosmetics.

The Avon Cosmetics story and many others demonstrate the effectiveness of offering samples to convince consumers to buy a product. As an author or publisher, you can also use sampling to sell more books.

Here are a few ways you can offer a sample of your book:

  • Offer a free chapter or three for interested readers to read. Put the chapters on the book’s or author’s website and make it easily accessible for site visitors.
  • Blog excerpts from your book.
  • Write articles using excerpts from your book and make these articles available to other bloggers and ezines through article banks.
  • Tweet excerpts from your book.
  • Enable the “Search Inside” feature for your book on

Allowing customers to sample what you are asking them to spend their money on helps give them the confidence to invest their money.

I offer a sample of what you can expect when you purchase my book Your Guide to Marketing Books in the Christian Marketplace. The sample is available on the book’s website. Feel free to stop by and take a read.

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