How to Host a Successful, Stress-Free Blog Giveaway: 7 Things to Remember
By: Cora Harrington

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So you’re getting ready to run a giveaway on your blog – how exciting! Giveaways are a great way to treat your readers, promote your blog, and cement good relationships with brands. But giveaways can also be a huge drain on your time, energy, and resources if you let them. Below are 8 tips to make your giveaways an easy, breezy affair:

Ask yourself about both the purpose and goal of the giveaway.

When it comes to the purpose of a giveaway, ask if yourself why you’re doing this. Do you want to reward current readers? Attract new readers? Celebrate a special event? Build a relationship with a brand? When it comes to the goal of the giveaway, ask yourself what you’re hoping to get out of it. Do you want more fans for a FB page? More backlinks to your blog? Are you giving a ‘signal boost’ to a marketing campaign? When you know why you’re doing a giveaway and what you want from it, you’ll be better able to decide your giveaway criteria and have a way to measure the success of your giveaway.

Make giveaway entries simple and appropriate to the value of the prize.

Generally speaking, the more complicated it is to enter a giveaway, the fewer giveaway entries you’ll get. I’ve seen some bloggers basically ask people to write an 5 page essay for a chance to win a $25 gift card. While it’s definitely your right to do whatever you want on your blog, extreme entry criteria can result in an unusually small number of entries. Since many people still don’t use social media, it’s a good idea to make at least one entry accessible to everyone (such as leaving a blog post comment). In addition, avoid making your entry system too complex (25 total possible entries – 3 entries for this, 7 entries for that, 15 entries for this other thing, etc.). When people can’t figure out your system (or if your system takes too much time too read), they become a lot more likely to just move on.

Use a giveaway system to keep track of entries.

If your giveaway gets a lot of response, you would up with dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of entries. For managing it all, I highly recommend Rafflecopter. Their free version is perfect for most giveaways, and I’ve found their paid plans to be well worth the money if you’re looking for more robust ad entry options (such as Pinterest or newsletter sign-ups). In the past, I verified and counted giveaway entries by hand, but this is so much easier. Rafflecopter also has excellent customer support, and their blog is well worth reading if you’re looking for more giveaway tips and advice.

Remember to promote your giveaway!

You’ve done all the hard work of the three previous steps, so now you need to make sure that people see it. Our very own Grechen has an awesome fashion blogger giveaway directory at Free Grechen. I also recommend giveaway forums like Online Sweepstakes and giveaway blogs like Blog Giveaways. Of course, your own social media channels are excellent promotional tools, and asking your friends to mention your giveaway on their own social networks works very well too.

Avoid spam.

Nobody likes a spammer. Spam drives people away from you, your brand, and your site…and that’s the last thing you want when you’re hosting a giveaway. Not sure what counts as spam and what doesn’t? Here are some hints: If you’re leaving comments on blogs that basically consist of “enter my giveaway!” or tweeting the same at random strangers, you’re spamming. If you send a mass e-mail to a bunch of bloggers you’ve never spoken to before asking them to post/promote/share your giveaway, you’re spamming. If you post your giveaway link to a fashion blogger’s Facebook page when they haven’t asked you to, you’re spamming. Spamming creates ill will at best (do you really want to remembered as that fashion blogger who spams everybody?) and can get you banned from certain services at worst. Just don’t do it.

Be up front and crystal clear about any terms and conditions.

Have you checked for and simplified any confusing language? Do you know the laws of your country when it comes to sweepstakes? In America, for example, giveaway entrants can’t pay to enter, pay to win, or pay to receive their prize. In addition, you never want your readers to feel tricked. If the prize is only winnable by residents of a certain country, age, or dress size, say so up front in the giveaway announcement. Tell your readers when will you choose the winner, how will you choose the winner, how the winner will be notified, how their prize should be claimed, and how soon after notification they must claim their prize by. In addition, you should have a clearly stated back-up plan in place in case your first giveaway winner doesn’t respond, and you need to choose another. Think through any questions someone might ask upon reading your giveaway, brainstorm any what-if situations, and then address them.

Enjoy yourself!

Being able to give prizes to your readers is definitely a perk of being a blogger. It’s a really fun, exciting time on the blog, so enjoy it. Interact with your visitors. Respond to them. Give them something else to read while they’re there. And, above all, remember to have a good time!

[Image credit: Shutterstock.com]

Comments

  1. Avatar of Filipa
    Filipa says:

    I think giveaways are a great way to get more readers, but also to reward them. I’d feel very happy if I know that one of my readers got a free gift thanks to me.
    At the moment, I’m hosting an Oasap giveaway on my blog. It ends tomorrow. I think the steps to enter it are very clear and not that demanding. I didn’t use Rafflecopter this time, but I might do it in the future because I think that it really is the best way to count entries etc.

    It also took me a lot of time to promote the giveaway, because I needed at least 50 entries, which I got. I found some nice online Sweeps sites and giveaway blogs, even a Facebook page that promotes blog giveaways. I guess, it turned very good in the end. :)

    xx
    Filipa from http://ohmyfilipa.blogspot.com

  2. maddie says:

    Great tips. Giveaways are a great way to build exposure but it’s hard not to cross the line of pushing a product on readers. I have had most success when I relate the product or the service to a personal story. It shows that I am personally involved and not only trying to gain followers, likers, or readers.

  3. Avatar of Kenneth Jacobs

    How do you know when to start doing giveaways for your blog website? I do believe it’s a great way to grab readers onto your site, but if you’re still building your readership (been blogging a few months), is it logical to do giveaways or should I wait?

    Kenneth
    http://www.thefashionatefotobug.com

  4. Avatar of The Science of Happy

    I can’t stand those who can’t hold giveaways properly. Big companies are guilty of this too. I won some much saught after Zaggora hot pants and guess what? They only sent a pair to one winner, myself and the other winner received nothing. They ignored all our emails, including the ones from the blogger who held the giveaway platform!

    http://thescienceofhappy.blogspot.co.uk/

  5. S says:

    I’m so glad you posted this now, because I’m currently running a giveaway. These are great tips!

    Http://www.thesassylife.com

  6. Avatar of Jessica Flores

    Great tips. I just closed a giveaway – three items from the limited-edition bareMinerals Remix Trend Collection. I’ll definitely keep everything above in mind for the next one I have coming up.

    http://www.DomesticatedMe.com

  7. Avatar of runwaymonk
    runwaymonk says:

    Thank you so much for this post. Its been 3 days since i hosted a giveaway and i isn’t going well. I am struggling to make it successful. This post gave me few ideas how i can improve the number of entries. :)

    https://runwaymonk.wordpress.com

  8. Avatar of Miss City Chic

    very informative post! i will definitely keep these tips in mind for my next giveaway!

    http://www.misscitychic.com/

  9. Avatar of Julz
    Julz says:

    I want to do a giveaway but I know a lot of bloggers use P.O box numbers and thats pretty expensive plus I honestly dont know if there is any other way than using your street address?

    I dont want no creeper stalking me! :O Thats scary stuff!!!

    http://wardrobeinharmonybyjulz.com

  10. Avatar of Nasreen
    Nasreen says:

    Great post! I don’t spam but I find there is a very fine line between using your social media channels to promote it and spamming. It’s hard because you need to make the giveaway aware to people but at the same time not giving them unwanted things!

    I think it’d be a bad idea to post my giveaway link here, now THAT would be spamming hahaha

  11. Julia says:

    Loved the tips. Quick question: what do you do about the return address? I’m about to host my first giveaway where I mail the prize, as opposed to something digital like tickets, but I don’t want my home address exposed. I’ve heard you need a return address to send a package, so I thought about buying a P.O. box. Any other thoughts?

    • Trisha says:

      You can actually send a package without a return address but if the receivers address is wrong you won’t get the package back.

  12. Avatar of Pam
    Pam says:

    Great Ideas! since I’m doing My First one year giveaway soon! & I would use a PO Box or use another address? I had another giveaway on another blog & used my home addresses & It was ok.. Nothing happened! Just stay safe!
    if You don’t want to give your address away I would just save money for a PO Box & wait till I get one.
    Xo Pam

  13. Jullie says:

    Thanks for the tips.

  14. dayo says:

    how much would you spend on a giveaway.

  15. Bike Pretty says:

    For my old job, I used to run contests and giveaways on Facebook all the time. It was a lot of fun, but a lot of work sorting through all the entries.
    And just this week, I was contacted by a company about sponsoring a giveaway on my current blog! I’m looking forward to running it through Rafflecopter. I wish that I had known about them before :)

  16. Avatar of musankmuse
    musankmuse says:

    Thank you for the tips! I want to schedule summer giveaway of a tote bag I made myself, but I was hesitating. This post helps building my courage :)

    Thank you,
    Musank

    http://www.fafafoom.com

  17. Avatar of
    Miri says:

    Great tips – I am currently hosting a Benefit giveaway (my first proper giveaway):
    I am raffling off their brand new fragrance Noelle and a great beauty kit.
    Feedback and comments as well as entries are appreciated :)

    http://www.inbedwithfashion.com/2013/06/in-it-to-win-it-benefit-noelle-primping.html

    IN BED WITH FASHION

  18. Thanks for Awesome tips. Giveaways are really an wonderful way to build exposure. I used to use this techniques through social media and it was really fun and helpful.

  19. Jamie says:

    Love this post. I just posted a give away and so far I haven’t been getting much response. Hopefully, I can find some websites to share it without spamming haha.

  20. Michelle says:

    I just starting doing giveaways on my blog as well! Please check them out! Thanks for posting these lovely ideas!

    xo Michelle

  21. benhoward says:

    Great article. Keep writing and shower your readers with such useful information. Keep it Up!!!

  22. Ms J, says:

    I’m planning to have giveaways on my blog and I’m so glad I found your site. Thanks! Great Tips!

  23. Deonna says:

    Can you email the applicants who didn’t win afterward and tell them you would love for them to follow by email for future updates and giveaways or follow in other ways or is that not ok?

  24. I just found your post from a Google search on this topic. I do several giveaways every year on my food blog, but I have the biggest one ever coming up in October so I was just checking around for tips. I usually don’t have so many entries that I need Rafflecopter, but I’m definitely going to look into it. Thanks!

  25. Really good tip to get new readers by those giveaways . I am glad that I found this post because I didnt know what to do to get more readers for my blogs and for my readers freins who keep coming back to my site.
    Thanks and keep up the good work!

  26. julius says:

    Thank you so much for this post. This post gave me few ideas how i can improve the number of entries. Really loved the tips. Thanks and keep up the good work!

  27. Tylin says:

    Great article!
    I’m tossing around the idea of doing a giveaway, to try and bring some more people to my blog. How long into the blog’s existence would you suggest doing this? Should it have hundreds of pages of content, or will a dozen or so suffice?

  28. Thank you for all of the useful tips! This is my first year blogging and I am looking to do my first giveaway. Your tips were easy to understand and right to the point. Thanks!

  29. Kori C. says:

    Thanks for the tips! It’s very helpful since I currently hosting a Giveaway on my blog for items in my Etsy shop. etsy.com/shop/RenewDecor

    Giveaway is here: http://misshobbycollector.com/giveaway-its-finally-here/

    Thanks again!

    -Kori C.

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  31. Claire says:

    I have always wanted to do a giveaway! a great way to get people interested in what you have to say. here is my “almost” giveaway on youtube if any of you would like to enter https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yl5dZi11zp4

  32. Great says:

    Great information,
    https://www.hostdark.com
    helped me out

  33. Maria says:

    Thanks so so much for this info. I am getting ready to do my first ever giveaway, and was kind of nervous thinking about it. You made it sound like a breeze and definitely took my anxiety level down a notch. Cheers!

  34. Becky says:

    Thank you for this article! I am a new social media associate for a company and we just started a blog and soon we want to do giveaways of our products and for baby products. This will help a lot when that times comes!
    Thanks again
    - Becky @USHealthTests

  35. I had a look at rafflecopter, but it seems that there aren’t any free plans available. Maybe they changed their offers? The cheapest is now about $8 a month.

    Since I have a still very small blog, I already have to pay for the price and shipping it out, so I really don’t think that it would be worth the $8 yet.

    Do you know of any other options beside rafflecopter that offer their services for free? Or is rafflecopter the only one? (I can’t imagine that it is, after all the internet is huge, and more and more people are hosting giveaways.)

  36. MD says:

    Great post!!!!!!!!
    Thanks for a great post. Keep it up.

  37. I’ve promoted my first giveaway on multiple social sites and related blogs. Make it simple to enter, something unique to give away, and promote it.
    Check out my giveaway at http://rossanavanoni.com/958-2/

  38. Christina says:

    This is great! I’m going to do a giveaway on my blog soon, and this definitely helped me out a lot!
    Best,
    Christina
    TheDanceGrad.com

  39. Immy May says:

    Ah thank you so much for this post, amazing tips! I really want to host a blog giveaway and have been collecting little bits and bobs to add to a big goodie bag for months now! Just waiting till around Christmas/New Year to do it! :) Such a lovely thing to do, brings everyone closer and it would be lovely to find some new readers, too! :) Ix

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