This is a story similar to the one about the ‘mail glitter to your enemies’ story in class.
As some of you know, I have a sports drink business. It is a very niche product for people who cut weight. When I was first starting out, I was constantly offering free samples out to people. About once a week I would post something on facebook (I have a business page and business ‘person’ account you can see below) about sending us your address and we’d send you a free sample. I got maybe one or two people each time.
One day, I started receiving hundreds of free sample requests, they just kept coming in and wouldn’t stop. Needless to say, I panicked a little and tried to figure out why. Apparently there are a few coupon type websites and blogs that scour the internet looking for free promotions and post about them. A few had found my post. About 99% of these people were middle aged women – the exact opposite of my target market, who only wanted it because it was free. I spent an entire weekend stuffing envelopes to try to fill the requests and made it though about half of them. Eventually I gave up and posted that as a small business only a couple months old, we couldn’t fill all of the requests and that I was sorry. I also made the juvenile mistake of saying how unfortunate it was that people were only requesting samples because it was being offered for free from a coupon website – needless to say that didn’t go over too well with a lot of those people.
Long story short, you never know who will end up seeing what you post online.
In the years that followed however, not a single one of them ever ordered. However until then, about 75% of the people who received a free sample ended up becoming customers.