Sunday, January 8, 2012

Utilizing Sampler Boxes as Advertising Part 1: What do you want?

With the start of a new year, handmade artisans are evaluating their small businesses and revamping their processes and practices.  With this analyzing comes the idea of trying new ways to advertise their businesses to customers not keen on spending extra money on items deemed as "wants".

One of the most unique ways of advertising that has been picking up steam over the past couple years is the sampler box.  While sales are not guaranteed from a sampler box, it is an easy and, hopefully, effective way to reach many customers that are specifically looking to sample products from artists that they hope to be repeat customers of in the future.  I myself am a big fan of sampler boxes because I love getting a big box of samples that'll help me decide what businesses I would like to try next or that may be of an even higher quality than products I am currently using.  There are several handmade shops that I am a repeat customer of now because I found their products in a sampler box (see Freebie Friday Reviews posts for some examples).

When considering whether joining a sampler box is right for you and your business, there are several aspects to keep in mind when choosing a box and when submitting your samples.  This three part series will cover the whole picture of what it means to be in a sampler box.

Choosing a company:  Not only are you working for the sampler box, but the owner of the sampler box is working for you.  To begin the process, Google or Facebook search "sampler box" or "sampler".  On Google, the most active ones will appear at the top; on Facebook, look at the number of fans the page has.  It is important to see how many visitors/customers the box is exposed to because a higher number likely means a more "successful" box or lots of interaction from the fans.  The greater the fans, the more potential customers for you.  It's also important to observe and evaluate the amount of advertising the sampler box owner does on the behalf of the shop participants: does the owner post a whole bunch on the fan page; are there lots of links daily advertising the individual shops; are there highly enticing offers, such as contests, on the page regularly; do they have a comprehensive website catering to both sellers and buyers; etc.  While it is true that you are not "paying" the owner in money, the sales of the boxes do; and the boxes would not exist if it weren't for the participation of the shops and customers alike.  You are putting a lot of money, time, and effort into your samples, and you want to feel like the sampler box is doing the same for you in advertising.  Since no box can guarantee sales, and it's unfair to expect that, what you are "paying" for is the sampler box to advertise on your behalf adequately.  And you want to make sure the "payment" is worth it.

How do I know that it was worth it?  It's also important for you to decide before you submit your info to a box what you want out of the box.  Of course, the obvious answer would be "SALES".  But are sales the only thing to gain from a sampler box?  Some sampler boxes have a whole community or network among all of the sellers, an aspect that can set some boxes apart and, some might argue, above the rest.  Even those that have never gotten a sale from a box argue that the support they've gotten from networking among the community of sellers is more valuable because the love, support, camaraderie, and advice have helped their shops far greater than they could have imagined.  Sometimes, this advice has helped improve the shop immensely or change the seller's perspective, causing the owner to earn more sales even if none of them were gained from purchasing the original sample.  While it is easy to think about the direct impact of the box on your sales, don't forget to think about the INDIRECT impact the box can have not only on your shop, but on YOU as well.  Think about the whole not just the parts!

Part 2: Packaging Your Samples

{{As many of you know, I am a part of Sampler Village and am therefore biased when I wholeheartedly vouch for it and encourage you to join the box.  Part 3 of this series will be analyzing the good, the bad, and the ugly of Sampler Village to give you an in-depth look of what it's like to be a participating shop.  For many reasons, mostly time- and monetary-based, I have not joined other boxes... yet.  However, besides Sampler Village, I believe The Little Black Box and The Tantalizing Sampler are two other great places to start.  I know the owners personally and can vouch for their credibility; I've also observed their businesses, processes, and efforts and believe them to be among some of the most "successful" boxes in terms of how much work they do on behalf of their sellers.  Of course, if you do join one of these three, please mention that BKD Signature sent you - businesses do a lot of advertising, but are left wondering where their customers come from.  It's always polite, and beneficial, to the business to let them know how you found them. <3 }}

1 comment:

  1. This is fantastic!! I can not wait to see your part 2 and part 3 :) XOXO