How to Get your Giveaway Right the First Time


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 creating 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 your next 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? 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 really work?” Also, keep in mind, a giveaway should not only benefit the giveaway participants but your business too. 

Here are a few 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 encourages people to enter your giveaway, but it also plays a large role in pinpointing your target audience.

For example, if you’re a wedding venue looking to gather contact info from your target audience of people who are planning for their weddings, the prize you offer should be something they find useful, such as free wedding planning services.

This wedding giveaway run by The Academy HVNY in Poughkeepsie and promoted through Chronogram Media perfectly matches a valuable prize with the target audience of engaged couples.

You also need to make sure the prize is valuable enough that your target audience will be willing to enter your giveaway and provide private contact information to your business.

It’s a one-two punch: Picking a prize that you know your target audience will love will attract more giveaway entries from your ideal customers. 

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 to:

Set a start and end date. 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 like alcohol.  

Determine your entry methods. Decide how many times someone can enter your giveaway. Only once or perhaps once a day? You can also offer bonus options for entry, such as asking people to follow you on social media so they can earn an extra chance to win.

Decide what personal information you need. Sometimes an email address is enough to contact winners and create a meaningful sales and marketing lead. But if more information would be useful, you can also ask for name, birthday, gender, or address. (Remember! If you want a consumer to give up valuable personal information, you need to offer a prize that’s valuable enough to incentivize them to do so.) 

Overall, It’s most important to keep giveaways simple. Keep the rules clear and obvious. Creating a seamless experience for entering your giveaway will encourage more people to do so.

4. Share, Share, and, Share Again

You did it! You created a winning strategy for your giveaway. Now you’ll see hundreds of people entering, right? Nope! Unless you have someone casually stumbling upon the giveaway page on your website, no one will know about your giveaway. Now is the time to share your giveaway with the world. 

For every giveaway we run at Chronogram Media, we create a social media campaign with placements that show to targeted users on Facebook and Instagram.

Pick three or more of the below marketing methods, and you’ll be well on your way to seeing those entries roll in:

  • Send an email about your giveaway to your email newsletter list.
  • Create a pop-up message or add a post about the gievaway on the homepage of your website. 
  • Post about your giveaway on social media (a lot). 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 to add hashtags so more people will find the post.  
  • If you’re a brick-and-mortar store, put signs with QR codes up in your store. It’s an easy way to get customers to quickly enter your giveaway. 
  • Find a social media influencer or community organization to get the word out to their own audiences. 

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 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. If you plan to run more giveaways, this also serves as an opportunity to spread the word about the awesome giveaways you’re now running. You can take that moment also tease another giveaway or even offer a consolation prize. 

After you giveaway is over, it’s also time to analyze the results. Because you created a defined 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, for example, you’ll be able to find the results in your Instagram insights. If you were more interested in customer sales conversion, those numbers will show in your website visits or sales. If you take the time to learn from the work you put into this giveaway, you’ll do even better the next time.

Now that you know the ins and outs of running a giveaway, it’s easier than ever to get started on your own! Giveaways are a positive, fun way to introduce customers to your brand in a way they’ll remember.

Let Chronogram Media help your small business create a compelling giveaway or sweepstakes that can provide leads, engagement, and brand awareness. Want to learn more about how we do it? Reach out to our sales manager Andi Aldin 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!


Start typing and press Enter to search

Shopping Cart
No products in the cart.

Support Chronogram Media!

Now more than ever, it’s important to support and nourish the Hudson Valley community. But we need your help to do it. 

Click here to support us.