Back in the early days of print advertising, plastering the word “FREE” all over your ads was considered the height of marketing sophistication.
The question is, are things any different now? Well, yes – and no.
Sure, marketing strategies and methods are now more advanced than ever before. But if you dig deeper, you will still find that same word “FREE” at their core.
We all love to get something for nothing. And a savvy business owner can capitalize on it by giving away free stuff and turning it into a tidy profit down the line.
That’s why giveaways are so darn powerful. They can grow your business by thousands, even tens of thousands of hot, qualified leads in a matter of days (as in this impressive case study).
Today, we’ll look at what makes a great, powerful giveaway, step by step.
Pick the right prize
Something your target market would kill to get (metaphorically speaking)… but anyone not in your target market would just go, “Nah, I’ll pass.” Find that perfect balance, and everything else in the giveaway will take care of itself.
Which brings us to some do’s and don’ts:
- DON’T use your own product or service as a prize – unless you’re Apple, this won’t go well. Most people who don’t know your brand yet (i.e. the ones you want) won’t care enough to enter.
- DON’T make it something generic like cash or an iPad – everyone will want those, which defeats the purpose of the giveaway.
- DO find out what matters to your audience, and pick the prize based on that – do they like to travel, or enjoy an incredible meal, or love a particular brand? The more specific you can get, the better.
- DO be generous with the scope of your prize – if it’s not exciting enough, your giveaway will get much less traction than it otherwise could.
Overcome the self-interest
There’s no denying it: people’s first instinct when they see an opportunity to win something is to keep it to themselves. That’s just how we’re wired.
If you want your giveaway to succeed, you need to give all contestants a good reason to act against their self-interest. It’s tricky – but fortunately, smart marketers figured it out long ago!
Here’s the best way to accomplish this: make people’s odds of winning contingent on how well they share your giveaway. Better yet, make sharing and promoting your content, product, or service the main point of the giveaway.
If you use a special platform to host your giveaway, you don’t need to think about it too much – “entries for social shares” system comes built-in. If you’re doing it the low-tech way, you’ll need to be much more explicit about what you expect from contestants.
Set everything up
There are two ways to set up your giveaway.
The second, low-tech way, is just asking people to spread your message and compete for the awesome prize directly, while you keep track of everyone’s efforts through blog comments and social media.
Both ways have their advantages. For something massive and easily trackable, pick the high-tech way. For a taste of what you could achieve, or to promote a specific piece of content, go with the low-tech way (here’s a great example from Tim Ferriss – scroll to the end of the post).
As long as it’s honest and it grows your audience, there’s no wrong way to do a giveaway!
Promote the heck out of it
Finally, now that everything’s in place, it’s time to promote your giveaway to your existing audience. Get it in front of enough people, and the chain reaction of sharing and spreading the word will begin.
To make the most out of your giveaway, leave no stone unturned:
- Reach out to your existing customer base, and your past customers if possible.
- Email your subscribers about the giveaway.
- Schedule regular posts and updates about it on social media.
- Tap your network and see who would promote it to their audience.
- Reach out to the brand you’re using for your prize for a chance at free publicity.
To maximize people’s enthusiasm, create a definitive start and end date to your giveaway, and use this sense of urgency to get even more people on board.
And now that you’ve ticked all the boxes, brace for the madness!
(bonus) Market after the dust settles
Even when the giveaway ends and you announce the winner (or winners), your work is still far from over. Now you need to onboard everyone who entered but didn’t win, make them familiar with your brand and gradually lead them to their first sale.
Remember – this isn’t about cashing in as fast as possible. Be ready to play the long game, and gently nurture your freshly acquired leads into loyal customers. Their first impression of you was positive, so don’t ruin it with high-pressure selling.
No matter what industry you’re in, giveaways are an amazing way to grow your business by leaps and bounds. As long as you choose the prize wisely, give people a powerful sharing incentive, and work your face off promoting it, you will be successful.
And when you have to upgrade your email service provider to fit in all those new emails you’ve collected, you’ll thank us. Enjoy!