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How to Run a Giveaway to Generate More Customers

Richard ClaytonRichard Clayton
April 22, 2019

Giving away free products may seem counterintuitive for many businesses; however, the impact of a giveaway could bring in more revenue than the product is worth.

This is because giveaways often result in higher engagement levels than traditional campaigns, increasing your reach. Giveaways can also improve a businesses’ brand reputation and customer loyalty while showcasing a fun side to the company.

Because of the many positive sides to running a giveaway, more and more online sellers are using these promotions daily.

If you’re late to the giveaway-game and want to know how to get started, continue reading below >>

Determine Giveaway Goals

When planning your giveaway, remember first to determine your goals. By keeping them in mind, it will be easier to monitor the effectiveness of the campaign, giving you valuable insight for future promotions.

Some goals to consider:

  • Generate product buzz – Are you looking to launch a new product and generate buzz? Giveaways can help you do that. To maximize the effectiveness of word-of-mouth, consider having a refer-a-friend option as part of your giveaway.
  • Boost website traffic – Giveaways can drive traffic to your online store; traffic that can then be used for retargeting campaigns. If this is your goal, make sure to set up your website accordingly.
  • Increase lead database: Email is an effective way to share special offers and promotions. However, email marketing campaigns won’t be effective if your list is not composed of relevant potential customers. Offer an opt-in mailing list (and perhaps announce that the winner will be informed via email!).
  • Customer market research – If you are looking to collect additional information about your customers, consider including a form as part of your entry requirements. This will help you build a more accurate customer profile and understand their needs better.
  • Increase social followers – If you are looking to increase likes/followers for your social media platform, a giveaway can help boost your presence with relevant fans.

Decide on a Promotion Type

To run an effective giveaway, you must first decide the type of contest that best suits your business needs and goals.

Sweepstakes contests are based on the random selection of a winner. Many require liking a page or sharing content to enter. Other giveaways are categorized as contests and require participants to be more active to enter the giveaway. For example, businesses may require sharing a post, tagging friends or sharing a link to enter the giveaway.

Avoid requiring entrants to pay for submission or purchase something in order to enter the giveaway. This will make your promotion a lottery and may be prohibited by law depending on where your business is located. This also restricts the relevance of the giveaway and reduces your potential exposure to new customers.

Choose the Right Platform

Once you decided you’re going to run a giveaway, you need to determine what platform you will use to promote the promotion.

The most common platforms for giveaways are:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Amazon
  • Your business website
  • Email

If you can invest the time in managing cross-channel campaigns, you can run the same contest across all your platforms.

If you run a campaign solely on your business website or to your existing email marketing list, you may not see such far-reaching results. On the other hand, this is a great way to connect with your existing leads and upsell to past customers.

If you are looking to expand your reach rapidly, Facebook and Instagram may be the right choices for you. The shared ad management platform makes it easy to create campaigns for both, simplifying campaign management.

For Instagram giveaways, consider creating a hashtag to boost engagement. Avoid using generic hashtags such as #giveaway or #freebiecontest; while they may increase visibility, they will not help you reach the right audience for your business.

If you have an Amazon store, consider running an Amazon giveaway. This will help attract new traffic and potential customers as well as improve your store ranking. Instead of running the campaign independently, consider using the Amazon Giveaway Service. Not only will this make running the giveaway easier, but it will also give the campaign the added authority of being backed by the Amazon brand, increasing its potential success.

Set Clear Rules

Whatever type of giveaway you chose for your eCommerce business, be sure to make the entry terms and conditions known. For example, if you are a US based business, make sure to limit your entries to US customers.

Things to include in contest rules include:

  • Age restrictions
  • Eligibility requirements
  • Number of winners/prizes
  • Deadline for entry
  • Deadline for selection of the winner
  • Judging criteria (if contest)
  • Chances of winning
  • Privacy of winner

Make sure to also adhere to the rules of the platform you will be using to promote your giveaway.

Invest in Picking the Prize

Many companies often give away a highly coveted product to encourage giveaway participation, however, this is not always effective. Giving a free iPad, for example, may get you a lot of submissions, but it is unlikely to help you meet any of your giveaway goals.

Have a prize that is relevant to your business and is an accurate representation of your brand.

Set a Budget

Just because you are giving away a free product, it doesn’t mean your giveaway campaign will be cost-free. Relying on organic traction will reduce campaign reach, impacting overall effectiveness.

To determine your budget, consider the task you will have people do to be eligible to win. Keep in mind that the higher the barrier to entry, the more expensive conversion will be.

For example, if you want people to record a video with a favorite product, upload it and share it with their friends, you will need a budget to reach many people. If all you want is for people to tag friends, for example, the barrier to entry is reduced, as is the cost.

Post Giveaway

Once your giveaway deadline has passed, make sure to announce the winner in an exciting way. Reach out to the winner (or winners) promptly and deliver the prize as promised. If you promoted the giveaway through posts on social media, go back and edit them to make it clear that the contest has closed.

Whenever possible, try to use the winner to generate further buzz – for example, ask them to share a picture with the prize. Remind them that it is not mandatory to do so.

Be sure to analyze your results based on your giveaway goals and see if the giveaway was effective in meeting your business goal.

What’s next? Another giveaway of course!

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