Guide to A Successful Free Sample Marketing Targeting College Students

Updated: October 8th, 2022


Lead Generation
Cost Details
You need to cater for the cost of production or the cost of offering the free services.

What Is Free Sample Marketing?

Free sample marketing is the act of giving products and services to prospective customers at no cost to them.

Giving out free samples means you effectively get your products or services into the hands of just the people who are most likely to want what you are selling. Therefore, it is a quick and efficient way of gaining customers.

In addition, getting free stuff makes the prospects feel valued and happy. In that regard, free sample marketing creates loyal customers.

Free Sample Marketing Key Takeaways

  • Freebies get prospects familiar with your brand and potentially expand the customer base.
  • Free samples take away the hesitation of having to spend money to try something new. Hence it is a win-win strategy as companies gain customers while consumers get to try something without the financial burden
  • Freebies’ marketing is cheaper than other forms of marketing

Understanding How On-Campus Free Sample Marketing Works

Freebie goodies to students typically create a subconscious need to reciprocate the favor. Generally, this results in the students purchasing from the brand that gave the free sample. The reciprocity principle not only nurtures the buying habits but also pays off in increasing your brand's customer base.

Besides, college students perceive sampling as being generous and so it is a good reputation for a brand to build upon. Students reward the brand's generosity by spreading the word and paying more for the same products or services. Ideally, when giving free samples you cater for the overall cost, and can feel a little daunting. . According to Shopify, free samples boost sales by as much as 2,000%.

Consider free sample marketing when you intend to:

  • Introducing products or services to new audiences who are unfamiliar with your brand
  • Encourage repeat customers and generate more sales of new products
  • Expand the customer’s knowledge about the product features
  • Foster relationships with customers and inspire brand loyalty with existing clients

Real-World Examples Of Free Sample Marketing Targeting College Students

1. How Krispy Kreme is Building Customer Loyalty By Giving Free Doughnuts to College Students

Krispy Kreme, celebrated 2021 college and high school seniors with the graduate dozen offer which run from May 10th to 16th.


Seniors wearing "class of 2021" graduation swag enjoyed a graduate dozen free at the participating Krispy Kreme shops.

2. How Microsoft is Promoting Product Awareness Through Free Version of Microsoft 365

Microsoft, is giving Office 365 Education for free to students enrolled in college.


This gives students access to online versions of the office, and a bunch of other productivity applications to help the students in research and collaboration in projects.

Such a freebie campaign helps Microsoft to build a loyal user base among the new entrants into the job market. This is considering that when the students join the job market, they are more likely to keep using Microsoft productivity and collaboration tools at the workplace.

How To Start Free Samples Marketing Campaign

  • Set up college giveaways and contests
  • Create campus-exclusive promotions
  • Collaborate with local businesses
  • Enlist student ambassadors as influencers
  • Find the right student clubs
  • Cause a scene
  • Focus on building a heavy influence on college students both on and off-campus
  • Leverage digital realm to keep college students engaged

Free giveaway campaigns are an effective way of targeting college students. Next time you are running a free giveaways promotion targeting students, capture those moments and share them on social media. Encourage your college students to give feedback through social media. This ensures maximum brand exposure and lead generation.

meet the author
Pat Walls

I'm Pat Walls and I created Starter Story - a website dedicated to helping people start businesses. We interview entrepreneurs from around the world about how they started and grew their businesses.