How to Do a Giveaway and Gain Loyal Customers

Hosting a giveaway is a powerful way to connect with your audience and gain loyal followers — but how? Keep reading!

Giveaways are a tried-and-tested way of inducing a massive spike in online followership, traffic, and engagement. Depending on the mechanics, they’re also popularly used by brands to identify brand loyalists, collect consumer data, and gather user-generated content.

Running a giveaway promo isn’t complicated, but it requires proper planning and strategy. If you rush into it, you will likely waste time, effort, and resources to give away something for free without cultivating any benefits for your business. But if done correctly, a giveaway can rake in invaluable ROI that goes beyond increased sales. Let’s talk about how to do a giveaway and find success.

How to Do a Giveaway: 4 Expert Tips

1. Consider Your Objective

Think about your why: Why do you need to do a giveaway? Setting your main goal for the giveaway will set the direction for the entire thing, ranging from your platform choice and promo mechanics to your target KPIs. You may already have one at the front of your mind, based on your business’s areas of improvement. Otherwise, if you need a few pointers, dive into Google Analytics or your social media insights to see what needs work. 

Some examples of common objectives for giveaways are:

  • Increased awareness for your brand, product, or service.
  • Boosted online engagement.
  • Increased traffic to your social pages or website.
  • Gaining user-generated content.
  • Gathering customer information or driving sign-ups for your email list.

2. Plan the Details

Once you know your why, you have to figure out the who, what, when, where, and how.

Who can join the giveaway?

Before you say “everyone,” think about your brand identity, reach, and capacity to send the prize. Be clear about the eligibility requirements because once you post about the giveaway publicly online, anyone can see it. Ensure that your marketing collateral will state the following:

  • Age: Can people of all ages enter, or is there an age restriction (i.e., 18+)?
  • District, city, and state of residence: Consider your shipping capabilities. Is the giveaway local, national, or international?
  • Other requirements: This will also be determined by your brand identity and target market. For example, a dog food brand may partner with a local pet store for a giveaway. Since they are a dog food brand, the giveaway may be for dog owners only. This distinction must be clear in your marketing material to prevent other types of pet owners from submitting invalid entries. 
excited women entering a giveaway

What prize will you give away?

One common mistake that businesses commit is to give away a highly coveted product that has nothing to do with their brand. It’s common to find fashion retailers, restaurants, convenience stores, and other businesses conduct giveaways with laptops, smartphones, or even cars as prizes.

While these get the job done in terms of grabbing attention and enticing people to join, they don’t do anything for the brand in the long run. You might run a successful giveaway with a lot of participants, but there’s no guarantee they’ll stick around because they didn’t develop any awareness or affinity for your brand.

In the end, you will have spent a lot of time and money on short-term buzz but minimal long-term ROI.

When choosing a prize, consider the following:

  • Relevance to your business: The prize might be something that you’ll ultimately sell, such as a soon-to-be-launched premium product. You may also partner with a related business to sponsor the prize, like a convenience store teaming up with a food company to give away a month’s worth of groceries or a gadget store partnering with an audio company to give away wireless earphones. 
  • Value in proportion to the promo mechanics: Select a prize that is appropriate for the “work” that your participants will do. For example, a car might be too much if you are only requesting participants to like a post and tag three friends. Conversely, a gift certificate might be too small if you expect participants to submit user-generated content like video challenges or trends.

If your budget permits or you’re able to secure a sponsorship, consider offering more than one prize. Perhaps have more than one winner or offer tiers such as a grand prize and runner-ups. People might be more inclined to join a contest that has multiple prizes. 

When is the giveaway promo period?

Decide your promo period, including your start and end dates. It must be short enough to drive a sense of urgency and sustain anticipation, but long enough to reach willing participants and allow them time to submit their entries. According to research, the ideal duration for a contest is 25 days. 

Where will you host and promote the giveaway?

As with other business marketing efforts, spread the word about your giveaway efficiently through strategic advertising choices. Blast it across all your online platforms — website and social networking sites — to increase your chances of reaching your intended participants.

Identify the channels that will best enable you to reach your target audience. Social media is the easiest because most people are present on one or more platforms, and they offer a ton of options in terms of post formats and audience targeting. If you have an existing database of customer information, consider sending out a promotional email newsletter or SMS notice.

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have guidelines on how to run promotions on their platforms. Factor these in when developing your posts.

Instagram, Facebook, Twitter icons on smartphone

How can people join the giveaway?

The giveaway mechanics are one of the most critical aspects that you must carefully consider. Guided by your objective, think about what you want your entrants to do or how you expect them to engage with the brand through this giveaway.

If your goal is to increase awareness for your brand, then you might ask your followers to tag three friends in the comment section. If you intend to establish a trustworthy reputation, then you might have the participants post a photo of themselves using your product or service.

As much as possible, make the giveaway easy and simple to join. People might be discouraged to join if the mechanics are too complicated or require too much “work,” unless you’re giving away a substantial prize like cash or luxury items.

3. Choose the Winner

In legal terms, a giveaway is a sweepstake, which entails that participants are rewarded based on a random draw. This is different from a contest, which means that winners are decided on a merit-based system, such as selection by a panel of judges or voting. This is an important distinction to remember, as there are federal and local government guidelines that pertain to each type of promotion. 

Once you have a winner, you may opt to reach out to the winner privately first before informing the other participants or announce the results on your social media pages. But it’s important to follow through so that everyone is aware that the promo has concluded. 

4. Track Your Giveaway Results

The work doesn’t end after selecting the winner and giving the prize. Circling back to Step 1, the giveaway is simply a method to help you reach a bigger goal. So, in the end, you must evaluate if you’ve achieved it or not.

Analyze your social media followership and engagement, website traffic, sales rates, and other relevant metrics. Review your process from planning to shipping to identify areas to improve the next time you do another giveaway. 

Now that you know how to do a giveaway, what actions are you planning on taking?

man looking at analytics on laptop

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