Understand the Upsides & Downsides
Like any other marketing approach, not all giveaway campaigns will be successful. The internet is a congested space, with tons of free stuff being offered. It’s conceivable to spend a great deal of money on a giveaway campaign and generate any income or acquire a single subscriber. Attention still transcends free products.
Not all industries or websites will garner massive amounts of shares. A subscription to a specialized industry tool won’t propel hundreds of thousands of tweets. Neither will a product with mass appeal attract the right kind of attention nor get seen by the right audience.
So-called “spy tools” such as SEMrush or Ahrefs enable you to evaluate share metrics from your competitors or other industries. As part of your planning process, take a look at previous giveaway campaigns so you can set realistic expectations.
Set Goals for Your Campaign
Based on your current strategy and budget, work to define your marketing goals and determine specifically how the giveaway fits in.
Is your aim to gain more email subscribers? Boost sales? Get lots of shares? Increase brand awareness? Some combination of all of these things?
The fact of the matter is, whenever someone is giving away free stuff they’re going to be popular. Making a person’s day is always fun, and it’s totally fine if that’s your primary goal – but be sure to communicate that in advance.
Identify Your Audience & Choose Your Prize
Determine what specific audience you’re targeting and what product you’ll offer to entice them. The product you select as a prize will likely dictate not only the breadth of your audience, but also the type of audience to which you’ll present your business.
Unimaginative prizes, such as the latest Apple products or Amazon gift cards, will elicit a practically limitless audience. But you’ll also have a next-to-impossible task trying to get their attention. Since this kind of prize is neither directly associated with you nor your audience, the underlying message is that there are strings attached – therefore, there’s no reason for anyone to truly pay attention.
If your aim is to attract brand advocates, leads, or prospective customers, offer a prize that will engage people who are, at the very least, moderately likely to become customers. Some marketers are of the opinion that “a lead is a lead” – and ultimately, the more the better. While it’s true that some leads generate revenue, boost your brand, end up becoming devoted customers, other leads simply join your contest because they’re interested in winning a prize.
As a general rule, the larger the potential audience, the greater the prize needs to be. The more targeted the audience is, the more targeted (and desirable) the prize needs to be.
Define & Devise Your Promotion Plan
As with any other kind of content, you need to have some type of promotion plan. How will you notify people about the giveaway? How do you plan to spark their interest? How are you going to establish trust? (Most people recognize that there’s usually a catch.)
Begin with your current audience, then expand to an audience you don’t already have. Paid social media can be a helpful option, since that’s where most sharing will take place anyway.
Identify ways you can target specific audiences that might take an interest in the giveaway. Reach out to prospective clients who follow websites that are complementary to yours. See if their followers might be interested in your campaign as well.
Try to strike a balance between over-promoting and under-promoting. Employ a crafty mix of stunning visuals and compelling copy to get your message across. But, by all means, don’t spam people in order to get noticed. This is rarely effective and often detrimental to your business.
Configure Your Infrastructure
Take advantage of “plug-and-play” giveaway software such as Gleam, KingSumo, Rafflecopter, and PromoSimple. These useful tools are designed to help you collect entries, manage your campaign, and select a winner – in addition to providing a smooth and optimized experience for users.
Encourage Social Shareability
Incentivize participants to share the giveaway with friends and family in order to gain extra entries. Additional sharing creates a viral factor which will translate into more email addresses and participants that you would likely have received with pay-per-click ads or more organic promotions.
Announce a Winner & Award the Prize
After the contest has ended, your giveaway tool of choice will automatically select a winner. You will then give final approval based on predetermined contest rules and verify whether or not the entrant has confirmed their email address.
You then notify the winner and deliver the prize to them. Announce the winner to all participants. It would be great if you could get the winner to share a picture of themselves with the prize. This delivers social proof and encourages participants to enter future giveaways that you might hold.
Follow Up with Your New Email Subscribers
While some participants might have initially only been interested in free stuff, it’s possible that they might be at least mildly interested in your email marketing. Giveaway entrants might not show an interest in your current offer, but there’s no reason you can’t go back and reach out to them with a new offer in the future.
It’s essential that you clearly spell out what people are signing up for somewhere in the fine print of the giveaway itself. Allow them to opt-out if they’re no longer interested in your marketing emails landing in their inboxes.
Once the giveaway is over, “scrub” the unsubscribes and non-responders from the final metrics and start email marketing to all your new subscribers!
Analyze Your Results
Run your landing page URL through a sharing tool to generate final share metrics. Examine your analytics to view total sessions and your email platform to note the number of email addresses submitted.
Evaluate the results of the campaign based on your previously set goals. If the cost of the giveaway prize turns out to be less expensive than acquiring the same number of new subscribers through pay-per-click or other channels, then your giveaway is a marketing success!