SoPost, a new start-up is bringing product sampling online, with innovative digital campaigns to turn samplers into customers. WGSN Director of Brand Extensions Lauretta Roberts reports
It’s the season of giving and it seems some of the world’s biggest brands are queuing up to gift us (and our friends) for free. But they haven’t just been consumed by seasonal goodwill, it turns out giving us free stuff is a very good way of creating extremely loyal customers. So this is one trend we can expect to last well beyond the holiday season.
Of course free samples given out in shops, at events and on the streets are nothing new but exploiting consumers social networks to distribute free samples is. One young entrepreneur, Jonathan Grubin spotted this opportunity and conceived SoPost, which neatly combines the world of free samples, social media advocacy, publicity, customer acquisition and loyalty in one simple process.
Brands come to SoPost to create a campaign, which allows users to click on a link to redeem their free sample. That campaign is then pushed out to the brand’s social channels whose advocates pick it up and share with their friends. Their friends in turn click on the link, provide their contact details to receive their free sample (and can opt-in to receive further information from the brand), and hopefully then go on to be fully fledged customers.
SoPost already works with leading consumer brands, including Benefit cosmetics, Liz Earle, Britvic and Cadbury’s, which has just completed its second #CadburySnowball Christmas Campaign with SoPost. Twitter users were able to “hit” each other with a #CadburySnowball Tweet and when the recipient input their postal details, they received a free gift pack of Cadbury’s seasonal Snow Bites treats.
It’s too early to reveal the results of the campaign (but that Cadbury’s has come back for seconds suggests it works, as do some of the recipients tweets), however after a recent campaign with Benefit, SoPost claims 97% of the 14,000-plus recipients of a sample of its new POREfessional product said they would go on to buy another Benefit product.
They do say it’s better to give than receive and here’s a very good example of why.
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