The 5 Keys to a Successful Giveaway

A giveaway can be a great way to introduce yourself to new customers and drive traffic to your site but without careful planning, and a whole lot of thought, a giveaway can be a waste of your time and money.

So how do you make the most out of giving away the goods? Read on. . .

Here or There

There are two ways you can run a giveaway. You can run it on your own site or hire a blogger to run it on their site.

When you run a giveaway on your own site you get full control and it won’t cost you any more than the value of the prize and shipping. The downside is that you’re solely responsible for driving the traffic to your site and it can be difficult to go beyond the people who already know and follow you online.

When a blogger runs the giveaway on their site, you reach a new audience and you get the benefit of being recommended by an influencer. The downside here is that unless the blogger is a friend, you’ll need to compensate the blogger for their time. The more influential the blog, the more you’ll have to pay for what is basically an advertisement.

Tip: Reach out to bloggers who follow you on social media and ask about payment in trade or product rather than cash. If a blogger likes your work, they might be happy with an item from your line as payment.

Keep it Legal

There are a few steps every store owner should take to make sure their giveaway is being run within the law. It begins with the language – if you’re picking a winner at random it’s not a “contest” so don’t use that word on your giveaway page or in your promo text.

Create a clear “rules” section on your giveaway page with the requirements for entry and the deadline to enter including time and time zone. Exclude anyone under 18 and anyone outside of the US. I can hear the Canadians grumbling but it’s illegal to run a random draw in parts of Canada so it’s complicated when you cross the border. (If you don’t live in the US, check the giveaway laws in your country before proceeding).

You cannot require people to buy something or do you a favor in order to enter. Meaning you can’t ask them to Tweet or Like a Facebook page, etc. You can ask them to do those things in order to get an additional entry.

If you’re running the giveaway on another site and you’ve paid the blogger. The blogger must state this on the post in accordance with FTC rules.

Keep it Simple

You can use a widget like Rafflecopter to run a complex giveaway with lots of working parts but it’s not necessary. If this is your first time, simply create a post on your blog with all the information then ask people to leave a comment to enter.

Spread the Word

Once your giveaway is live, you want to promote it everywhere you can. Post several times a day to your social media networks and ask friends to spread the word through their networks.

Post your giveaway on

Also, do a recent Google search for “giveaway linky”: this is a tool that allows you to quickly load your giveaway on to dozens of blogs. There are two types of “linky” systems and once you’ve filled out the text for each, the text will autofill (after typing a few letters) on every linkup you land on.

Who Will Buy

The toughest part about running a giveaway is that you’ll get a lot of giveaway pros who simply want a chance at a free item and don’t care about your business. The better the prize, the more you’ll attract. This is the nature of the beast and there’s nothing to be done about it. Just know that not everyone who enters is going to take the entry and run. Some will take the time to poke around your site and look at your products and hopefully a few will buy. You can encourage this behavior by giving away a gift certificate to your store rather than a specific item. But please make sure the dollar value is high enough to cover a range of items in your store plus shipping.

The best way to think about a giveaway is that it’s a form of marketing or branding. It’s like buying a Facebook ad or a banner on a blog. It might not lead directly to a sale but as part of a larger campaign, it’s a way of getting your name and your product in front of people who have never seen your work before.

Isn’t that worth the amount of money you have invested in one item in your store?

Are you a fan of giveaways? Have you ever run one for your store? Tell us about it in the comment section.

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