How to Get your Giveaway Right the First Time

Have you ever entered a giveaway or a sweepstakes that has promised an enticing prize? Giveaways seem simple. You choose a good prize, share it with your audience, and let the entries flood in. Without thinking it through, however, you could go from a compelling sweepstakes to an immediate unsubscribe. 

I make pottery in my spare time and there is always a step-by-step process to a successful piece. With a bowl, for example, you center the clay, compress it over and over, pull up the clay (but not too much), trim the bottom, and, for the love of god, don’t let the clay get too wet or too dry. Do it right and you end up with a beautiful bowl. If you don’t follow each step with care, you’ll likely have a mess on your hands—literally.

An effective giveaway/sweepstakes follows the same philosophy. Just as there are essential steps to pottery, there is a process to creating an effective giveaway/sweepstakes. 

Here are five steps to getting the giveaway right the first time.

1. Define Your Goal

Before you start your giveaway, you need to define your goal. What are you looking to achieve with this giveaway? Defining a goal will provide you with a measurement of whether or not your giveaway is a success. You don’t want to get to the end of your giveaway and wonder, did that work? Also, keep in mind, this giveaway should not only benefit the giveaway participants but your business too. 

Some sample giveaway goals:

  • Brand exposure
  • Lead generation/getting personal consumer info
  • Direct sales conversion
  • Social media engagement/follows
  • Increasing your email list

2. Choose Your Prize Based on Your Target Audience

Great, you have a goal! Now it’s time to think of a great prize. The prize is what is going to drive entrants into your giveaway and it’s also what should be driving your target audience. Choose a prize that is relevant to your brand. If your target audience is homeowners, make sure the prize you’re offering is useful to homeowners.  

Picking a prize that you know your target audience will love can help you attract more giveaway entries from your ideal customers. These prizes promote your business and they’re also things you know your target audience will be interested in. Pick an amazing prize and your giveaway is sure to be a success.

3. The Rules: Keep It Simple.

One of the most important parts of running a giveaway is that it makes sense! If you create a giveaway that is confusing to enter or has too many barriers to entry, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.

You’ll need:

A start and end date. Your giveaway won’t go on forever (I hope). It’s important to be clear about how long this contest will last.

Set an age limit if you need one. This is especially important if your prize includes something involving alcohol.  

Entry methods. Decide how many times someone can enter the giveaway. Only once or perhaps once a day? You can also offer bonus options for entry, such as social media follows for extra chances to win.

Personal Information. Sometimes an email address is enough but if you want more information you can also ask for name, birthday, gender, or address. However, if you want a consumer to give up personal information, you need to offer a prize worth enough to incentivize them to do so. 

Overall, it’s most important to keep giveaways simple. Keep the rules clear and obvious. It’s all about the user experience.

4. Share, Share, and, Share Again

Alright, so you did it! You set up a giveaway. Now you’ll see hundreds of people entering, right? Nope! Unless you have someone casually strolling through your giveaway page, no one knows about your giveaway. Now is the time to share it out into the world. 

  • Send an newsletter update to your email list
  • Post on social media. That includes Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even TikTok. Offer bonus points to those who tag friends in the comments (it’s all about the engagement). And don’t forget the hashtags.
  • If you’re a brick-and-mortar, put QR codes up in your store. It’s an easy way to get customers to quickly enter the giveaway. 
  • Have affiliated businesses reshare your social media content in their feed.
  • Get an influencer or blogger involved. It’s all about getting the word out to a relevant audience. 
  • Create a pop-up or post to the homepage of your website. 

Bonus Tip: Send out teasers in advance of your giveaway start day so you have tons of entries on day 1!

5. And the Winner Is...

Congratulations! You organized a giveaway and you selected a winner.

Take this opportunity to share the winner’s good news on social media. This is your chance to celebrate the winner and thank everyone for participating. You can also tease another giveaway or offer a consolation prize. 

Analyze the results. Because you have defined a goal for this giveaway, you’ll be able to understand if you were successful based on the data you’ve collected. If your goal was to gain more Instagram followers, you’ll be able to find the results in your insights. If you were more interested in customer conversion then those numbers will show in your website orders. Learn from the work you’ve put into this giveaway and you’ll do even better next time.

Now that you know how to do giveaway/sweepstakes, get started! Giveaways are a positive, fun way to introduce customers to your brand in a way they’ll definitely remember.

Let Chronogram Media help your small business create a compelling giveaway that can provide leads, engagement, and brand awareness. Want to learn more about how we do it? Reach out to our Business Development Director Lisa Montanaro at [email protected] to start the conversation!

Want more marketing tips geared toward small businesses in the Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Berkshires? Subscribe to our monthly newsletter, The Art of Business!


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