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.
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.
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!
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