Lots of businesses run giveaways. It’s a great way to grow your reach and get new subscribers. The key, in my opinion, is to be focused. Know what you want, and go after it.
Many businesses want to grow their social media followings. I don’t recommend this, for multiple reasons. #1 – you don’t own it. Facebook, Instagram, twitter, etc, can ban your account at any time (my Facebook page has been deleted twice). Just like that, it’s gone. That’s why I recommend promoting your email list, first and foremost. No one can ban that, and you own it. If you need to start an email list, I recommend MailChimp (sign up with this link and get a $30 account credit). It has free to start options, and pricing remains reasonable as your list grows.
#2 – reach on social media platforms stinks. Again, they’re in control, not you. Spending a bunch of time promoting your Facebook page, only to have Facebook throttle your reach, is a waste of time (and money).
If you’re going to run giveaways, making sure you have a good platform is one of the first steps. Some are great, others, not so great. As someone who has used several on the backend, and pretty much all of them as an end user, here is what I have found.
Gleam is my favorite platform. It’s easy to setup (from the business perspective), and incredibly easy to use as an end-user. It has a free option, as well as premium features. It integrates easily with most major e-mail subscription services, and has plenty of options to keep users engaged. This is what I personally use when running giveaways.
WooBox is a strong contender. Not quite as robust as Gleam, it’s a solid option for hosting your giveaway. I found it particularly useful when running photo contests – users can submit and vote for their favorite photos. My #2 pick.
ViralSweep is probably my second favorite platform as an end-user. Entry options are plentiful, they have daily entry options, and it just works well. It does not have a free version, so that’s one down side. Tied for #2 with WooBox, depending on your needs.
Another solid platform. Plenty of entry options, no free version.
A relatively new entry into the market, with a few innovative features. They have a leaderboard that shows where you’re at, as well as a few entrants near you. Pretty cool to see where you stand. Unfortunately no free version here either.
Rafflecopter was the first giveaway platform I used. It is quite user friendly, but it’s broken. Referral entries don’t actually count like they should. I emailed them over a year ago, they confirmed it doesn’t work, and they still haven’t fixed it. There are better options, for cheaper.
What else should I know?
A few pointers when running a giveaway:
- 30 days is a good time limit. You’ll generally see a surge at the beginning, and a surge at the end. Running a giveaways for 6 months, it’s pretty dead in between. People will also lose interest when it goes on forever.
- Be sure to specify when the contest ends, and who can enter. If you use one of the recommended platforms this should be easy enough.
- Be clear about what your prize is. Don’t be deceitful. It’s hard for people to push your giveaway if they don’t know what the prize(s) are.
- Don’t limit referrals. Unless you actually don’t want the referrals. Don’t be surprised – some people can refer 100 or more people to your giveaway.
- Stick to the rules. Making people like your Facebook page is against the Facebook terms of service. As noted above – get their email. If they like your brand, they’ll follow you on social media.
- Make it unique! Everyone gives away swag. Give away something you would be excited to win.
- Contact the winner(s) via the email address they submitted. Social media profiles can be spoofed, and the prize given to a scammer. Email the winner directly to avoid this embarassing issue.
- Do NOT extend the giveaway end date. This is actually against the law, and it doesn’t look good to outsiders. It doesn’t matter why – don’t do it.
- Know the giveaway (sweepstakes) laws for your state. Every state is different, and some are pretty tricky.
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