Giveaways are an amazing way to grow your email list, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube, as well as boost your business overall.
But the question I hear all the time is…
“Do giveaways really work?”
At AppSumo, we know a thing or two about how to run a giveaway. After all, we’ve collected over 100,000 email subscribers from giveaways. Plus, our giveaways help promote our social channels on YouTube and Instagram, because they’re a great way to get our brand out there. From there, we know we can promote our signature awesome deals that new leads won’t be able to resist!
Creating Giveaway Magic with KingSumo
So how do we set it up? KingSumo is a tool that we built specifically to create giveaways. You decide your prizes, plug in the details, and within minutes, you’re ready to go. Contestants have the opportunity to get more entries by sharing the giveaway with their friends and taking specific actions that you set (Instagram follows, YouTube subscribes, etc.). Great for their chances, awesome for you to get new leads.
It’s a system that incentivizes viral giveaways for your benefit, and you can get a lifetime deal on it right now.
How to Run a Giveaway in 7 Steps
Running a successful giveaway all comes down to the right execution, and missing a step could mean not seeing results. While KingSumo walks you through the actual setup process, there are crucial things to consider before and after the giveaway. Let’s dive in:
1. Set a Goal
You need a way to track your success. Setting a goal will give you metrics to measure and gauge how effective your giveaway was. It’ll also be useful when you launch future giveaways down the line. Here are some numbers we monitor whenever we run a giveaway:
The main goal for us is driving New Buyers, but we track additional metrics to ensure things are on track.
2. Pick a Prize
What’s a giveaway without something amazing to give away?
Decide on a giveaway theme to make the idea catchier and the prizes more than just a hodgepodge of stuff you like. Choosing a theme helps unify your prizes, keep you on track, and make your giveaway more memorable. Find out what your audience has a need for and go from there. Do they need to upgrade their work from home setup? Are they looking for the tools to create better video content?
Make sure the prizes are relevant to your audience. While you may go absolutely bananas for a record player and vinyl N-Sync singles, your SaaS business crowd may not have that same enthusiasm to enter and share with their friends (chumps).
Check out some of our giveaways for a little inspiration. We’ve gotten pretty creative, if we do say so ourselves, offering prizes that range from design software to mushroom hot chocolate.
3. Keep It Simple
First, you need to decide on the rules. What do you want them to do in order to enter?
Entry should be very simple, like submitting their email address. Many of the additional details can come after you’ve selected the winner (who will be happy to cough up some more info for that sweet prize).
Don’t overcomplicate the process, or people will just give up.
In our giveaways, it’s clear and obvious what users need to do. Just enter their email address…
…or enter through social (Facebook, Google, Twitter, etc.).
4. Add Bonus Actions
Bonus actions are ways for your contestants to get more entries (i.e. MORE chances to win). These actions should benefit your business, such as sharing the giveaway with their audience or following your social channels. This creates a virality component that will get entrants posting on social media, and get you more leads.
KingSumo offers the following options for bonus entry actions:
Here’s what it looks like for users after they enter:
5. Choose a Deadline
Raffles are no fun if you have to wait 16 weeks for the prizes. Choose an appropriate length of time to run your giveaway that allows for a lot of leads, but doesn’t outlast the buzz.
A high-value prize typically equals a longer giveaway. Again, you want to be careful because you might lose steam. We find that two weeks or so is our sweet spot.
A small prize usually means a short giveaway. A short burst of excitement with a quick payoff that’ll get people excited about your next offering.
6. Promote It
Launching your giveaway is just half the battle. Once our giveaway goes live, we kick off our Facebook ads, publish our giveaway video, blast affiliates, mention it in our emails, and more.
Aside from the mandatory shoutouts on your social media, email list, and website (pop-ups are your friend), you’ll want to try and find people to partner up with — maybe with the company whose product you’re giving away.
Cross-promoting with other bloggers or businesses is a great way to gain access to their audiences in a low-risk, high-reward setting. So keep that in mind when you’re looking at prizes or thinking about future partnerships.
Plus, you can get existing entrants to help promote the deal! Set up emails to go out after someone who’s already entered. Entice them with the ability to unlock more entries by doing the bonus actions you’ve selected.
Don’t forget to add a sense of urgency. When the giveaway is about to end, send out one last reminder to get more entries! This is your final push.
There are also Facebook groups centered specifically around giveaways that could give your brand that extra audience boost when you post. Some groups to follow and join are Enter Free Giveaways by KingSumo, Facebook Giveaways, Share All Giveaways Sweepstakes and Contests, Freebies and Giveaways, and Giveaways Contests and Sweepstakes Sharing.
Check out this example post of an eye-catching giveaway that keeps it simple.
7. Follow up
It’s the part that nearly everyone forgets. After you’ve picked a winner – announce it on social media. You’ll show that not only did someone actually win your giveaway (someone who doesn’t work for your company), but it’s a second opportunity to get eyes on your brand. People will be on the lookout next time you pop up.
Offering a consolation prize is also good form. You’d be surprised how many people sign up for your email list, just so they don’t miss out on more free stuff.
Here’s the consolation email we send to all the folks who don’t win our giveaways. Just a nice 10% discount to sweeten the pot for next time.
Common Misconceptions of Running a Giveaway
After going through the steps of how to run a giveaway, you might still be skeptical or doubt that you can run one successfully. Giveaways are fairly misunderstood as a marketing tool, and riddled with common misconceptions like:
1. Giveaways require a large audience to be successful
You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, this works for AppSumo because you already have a large audience.” (And also, “When is the next season of the Mandalorian coming out?” But that’s a different blog post.)
A bigger platform definitely helps, but that doesn’t stop you from having a successful giveaway. Remember that this will increase your reach and get you more leads to do business with. Think of it as a fun outreach method, and remember that you decide your own metrics for success.
Check out this giveaway from T-shirt company, Qwertee, for example. They were a small company trying to grow their Facebook page.
In their efforts to reach a goal of 100,000 Facebook likes (this was before Facebook’s restriction on requiring people to Like your page to enter a giveaway, but you can still use a different platform/require different actions), the company offered 1,000 t-shirts per week in exchange for entrants’ Facebook likes and email addresses. Today, they stand at nearly 500,000 Facebook likes.
Maybe you don’t have 1,000 T-shirts to give away, but even a prize as simple as a $50 Amazon gift card can get people talking and sharing.
2. Giveaways just get you a bunch of bad subscribers
Here’s the rundown: 50% of entries are just looking for free stuff (because y’know, who doesn’t love FREE?). That’s a hard pill to swallow for a lot of first-time giveaway organizers. But the other 50% actually will be good for your business, and that’s incredibly valuable.
So how do you get more of those good entries?
Solution #1: Choose the Right Prize
We touched on this above, but it bears repeating:
Any marketing strategy can lead to bad subscribers if you target the wrong audience. So pick a prize that you know your audience wants.
We ran #WFHHustle giveaway where we offered a complete remote work package for your home office because we know our target audience is working from home these days. It was topical, useful, and everybody was already looking to bolster their home setup. And yes, we got a lot of leads from it.
You don’t need to break the bank, though. Just find prizes that appeal to your target audience, and the rest will come.
Solution #2: Clean Up Your List
One crucial tip is to have double opt-in to prevent you from ending up with a bunch of fake email addresses.
If you’re worried about hurting your open rates, don’t be. You can scrub your list and remove people who haven’t opened emails in the past 6 months (I would recommend doing this regardless if you run a giveaway).
Give a Little Bit
Giveaways are a fantastic way to boost engagement, drive traffic, and find new customers. You don’t need to dish out crazy amounts of money for prizes, either.
Find out who you can partner with and cross-promote to make your giveaway as successful as possible. Putting in the work now could mean big benefits down the line for your business.
You’ll find that if you give a little bit of love to your audience, you get a lot back in return.