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How to Effectively Host a Giveaway

While we all like to believe that our quality content and great writing style will be enough to consistently gain more readers, sometimes you need to make a bigger splash to draw attention to your blog. Hosting a giveaway is a great way to accomplish this with very little effort on your part.

While it may seem like giving away any amount of money for practically nothing would be enough to attract enough people, you have to market it well in order to be successful. Do you have a garage sale without an advertisement in the newspaper or fliers in the neighborhood? Absolutely not. Likewise, in order to effectively utilize a giveaway to grow traffic and readership, you have to plan it out.

Step 1 – Decide What or How Much Money will be the Prize(s)

While I have only had a few giveways for my site, I have had enough bad experiences to know what works and what doesn’t. If you hope to gain hundreds of new readers with $25 cash, you will be disappointed. No question about it.

Another important thing to consider is how many prizes you want to offer. I have found that it is best to offer at least two prizes at once. While it may not mean that much larger of an investment, it increases the odds of winning – and the visitors know this. This may seem ridiculous, but visitors will be encouraged by multiple prizes as opposed to one grand prize. Instead of a visitor thinking, “There are hundreds of entries already… I have very little chance of winning,” as they would with one prize, they are now thinking, “Well, if I don’t win the 1st place prize, I might win the 2nd place prize.”

Establishing the number of prizes and how much you want to invest will contribute to how much interest you gain. It isn’t the only thing that will affect your success, but it is a large part of it. If you are wanting to make a large splash, sometimes giving away popular items like an I-Pad will be more popular than the cash that it’s worth.

Step 2 – Plan the Time and Duration of the Giveaway

This is perhaps one of the easiest steps to accomplish. While it might be more exciting to have a shorter giveaway, a giveaway with a longer duration will give you a larger window for new visitors. But, having it too long will make it lose its popularity. Can you imagine hosting a giveaway that will run for 6 months? While you may have some people who get interested, it will be hard to maintain steady interest over that long of a period. When I run a giveaway, I usually have it run anywhere from 2-4 weeks.

Step 3 – Determine Ways to Enter Contest

While it may seem like each blog giveaway should be the same, this isn’t the case at all. Each giveaway should be planned out to meet the blog statistics that you want to increase. It is important to realize that you can have multiple ways to enter the giveaway AND some ways can be weighted more than others. If you want to grow your RSS subscribers, you would want to make this the primary way to enter the contest – you might want to make it mandatory, or perhaps just give a few entries for this option.

If you don’t have any particular preference, you can include a variety of ways to enter the contest. Be careful when establishing mandatory entries that might exclude certain visitors. For example, not everyone uses facebook or twitter and making this mandatory may make you lose other important statistics.

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to keep it simple. A giveway worth $50 with lots of rules and entries may not be worth someone’s time.

Step 4 – Marketing Your Giveway

The very first giveaway that I had on 20’s Finances had a very poor marketing campaign to accompany it. The truth is that I didn’t understand how to spread the news about my giveaway. I posted a thread about it in a forum and had one of the entry options as tweeting about the giveaway, but that was it. What I didn’t understand is that marketing about your giveaway is just as important as the giveaway itself.

In case you are wondering how to effectively market your next giveaway, here’s a few sites that you can market it on:

Online Sweepstakes

Sweepstakes Advantage

Giveaways are Sexy

Contest Girl

Step 5 – Organize Your Giveaway & Entries

The next step to accomplish is making it official. You can create a giveaway post on your blog and include a description of your giveaway. Make sure to include the time it begins and ends, any restrictions, and ways to enter the contest. Don’t forget to make it easier for the visitors to enter your contest. If you want people to like you on facebook, provide a link to your facebook page. If it’s too difficult to enter, people won’t waste time trying to figure it out.

A great tool to use is Raffle Copter. This is a tool that allows you to easily create custom entry forms. This is a great way to take away the extra steps in running a giveaway. Not only for the contestants, but also for keep track of the entries.

Step 6 – Determine and Announce the Winner

While there are many ways to determine the winner, one of the most popular is to use Random.org. The widget on the front page allows you to select a random number between any two numbers. Once you see how many entries you have, insert that number in to the second field (in the widget) and click “generate.” This will give you a random number for your winner. If you have multiple prizes, do this until you have selected enough winners.

Then, email the winners and confirm that they are real people. After that, send them the prize and announce it on your blog. The other readers on your blog love to find out who won. Not only is this interesting to your readers, but it shows them that the giveaway was authentic.

Once you have completed your first giveaway, you can analyze it and make the next one even better. While there isn’t an exact science to effectively hosting a giveaway, there are certain things to do in order to improve your success. You might as well make it a success if you are giving away precious money.

What other tips do you have for hosting a giveaway?

 

 

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4 Responses to How to Effectively Host a Giveaway

  1. Wish I read this a Wei ago. I am currently giving away a copy of crystals ebook how I make money blogging and it ends on Thursday. I am doing decent for my first giveaway though.

  2. Great tips! I’m currently hosting a giveaway for an iPad and it is hugely successful!

    • Derek says:

      The iPad giveaway is a great one! I started that a few months ago and the results were amazing. The readers loved it too. Nice job Robert.