Guess what everybody loves free, yes you do too!
And you can leverage free giveaways to grow your business, which is actually a lot easier, and it is a secret that a lot of successful ecommerce businesses use.
In fact, this could be the best ecommerce promotion strategy To grow rapidly
Good news is that it is a really simple thing to do. Bad news is if you don’t use free giveaways you might not be able to create a successful brand, judging by how competitive it is to create a successful ecommerce brand.
In this post we cover how to achieve rapid growth for your ecommerce store by implementing giveaways and viral contests.
Need some proof?
Shopify might be the perfect example for this. According to their experience:
“We’ve run a few giveaways in the past. Every time, we’ve seen tremendous growth in not only traffic to the Shopify Blog, but to our social media accounts as well.
We have also mentioned beardbrand before on our blog and they have been able to achieve 100% email list growth and 400% social media growth in a single day!
Hydro flask is another ecommerce business which uses instagram giveaways successfully.
In this giveaway, Hydro Flask celebrates the milestone of reaching the 200k followers by running a contest to earn a few more.
They asked fans to follow @hydroflask and tag two friends in the post comments to enter to win a 32-oz. Hydro Flask. The post has over 12,500 likes.
There is also Elleandcompanydesign’s story on What I Learned from Gaining 3000 Instagram Followers in One Day.
Actually, there are a lot more businesses which achieved the same results with social media giveaway ideas. But what is the secret to achieving such rapid growth with viral giveaways?
Let’s jump right into how to run successful giveaways and viral contests.
NOTE: There are specific legalities surrounding giveaways and contests. Here is what you need to know about social media giveaways.
What you have to have before running a successful giveaway
One of the most important factors of a successful giveaway is having a solid foundation. And you also have to have a clear goal for your giveaway.
Are you looking to grow your email list or are you looking to grow social media profiles? Are you looking to create excitement around your product and get more sales? Or are you trying to do both?
- Well-defined goals
Figure out what key performance indicator you’re going to focus on and do everything to achieve that goal.
For example, if you have a large instagram following, why not use it to grow your email list? Or leverage instagram following to increase following on other social media channels.
And whatever your goal is you need to be as specific as possible
- An exciting prize
What are you willing to give away for free? A new product, an entire collection or money?
You have to determine the actual prize before you begin.
If you need some inspiration on what to give here are some prize giveaway ideas :
- A limited edition product
- An entire product collection
- Product(s) from influencers in your market
- Gift cards
- A once in a lifetime opportunity
One of the best examples of this is how The Fifth Watches launches exclusive timepieces on the 5th of every month. Besides that, they promote it by also giving away watches on social media, and in order to enter to win you have to tag a friend!
- Leverage influences
Chances are while building your business you have come across some influences in your niche. These influences can be individual businesses or pages the important thing is they have to have large following and engagement.
Consider working with high authority influencers in your niche to give an extra boost for your contest giveaway.
Now we have our goals in check and we have covered the basic info about what is contest giveaways, it is time to bring it all together and launch it.
Leverage tools to create giveaways
There are actually plenty of ways to create a giveaway. You can create a landing page and let people share it and pick a random winner.
But that can be harder if you don’t have a good coding experience. Like this-
But you don’t need to go though that. Especially with tools like Rafflecopter, Promosimple, KingSumo giveaways or even Gleam. These tools are proven to be incredibly useful. It is recommended to check out their offers and pick the one that suits your goals best.
Let everybody know
Tis might be too obvious and you might thought that I am stupid to involve this in here but you woud be shocked that how many people forgot this.
If your prize consists of another product from an influencer, make sure to let them know when you plan on launching the giveaway to ensure that they help promote it too.
Communication between parties is too important to forget. So make sure to email, text or tweet (do whatever you can) to let everybody know when the viral giveaway is live!
Let your customers know
If you already got few customers, let them know about the new viral giveaway contest too! If they have purchased products from you it means they trust you and they probably are interested in your viral giveaway.
Use your best email marketing tools to let your customers know about your new viral giveaway.
Heathen the virality
Until now you might understand virality is an essential part of your giveaway success. To hat up the viral giveaway contest share it with your friends and family even ask them to share too.
The tools we covered above have this functionality so leverage it to your advantage.
Give updates through the giveaway
The worst mistake you can do is to forget to update everybody while giveaway. You need to keep everybody hyped through the giveaway.
Especially if you are giving away multiple gifts through the duration of the contest- So make sure to update everybody throughout the contest.
Winner in the spotlight
When it comes to branding you definitely don’t want to be self centered. Instead you should put winners to spotlight to show that you care about your customers.
You put a lot of time and effort to this, and the winner (hopefully) spent some time promoting the giveaway for you.
Depending on the price don’t forget to share the winner’s picture with the prize itself.
DreamGiveaway does this the best, they even have dedicated page to show past winners.
This boosts social proof for your business, as well as be an enticing way to get more entries into your future giveaways.
6 Tips for running ecommerce giveaways
- Pick the right season
One of the best tips I can give you is understanding the context of your product and knowing how it will resonate with your audience. As an example If you are selling swimsuits and launching your viral giveaway during the winter month you honestly will not be successful with this giveaway.
Of course this applies when your products have seasonal nature. That is why you need to pick the right timing.
- Offer a specific product
Guess what you are, not the only one that uses giveaways (surprise)! In fact, there are tons of gift cards from amazon steam or other stores available. Which means you will face some competition. That is why you need to get creative and choose a unique product for giveaways.
By offering a new product, you are :
- More likely to attract people interested in the product itself
- Getting the chance to additionally market the product when the giveaway is being shared through various channels
- likely to get a review of the product from the winners since people are sharing what they won in contests and giveaways
- User generated content
User generated content is really important for your brand. Include a requirement for the participants to create a piece of content in order to be qualified. For example, ask them to take a picture with your brand in it and ask users to make it funny.
Or ask people to write a brief note on why they should get the product. By raising the barrier for entry like that, you’re more likely to attract people who are interested in the product.
Here’s a great example: Zumba Fitness campaign was giving away concert tickets in exchange for a dance routine. Great idea and tons of reactions:
You can find other great video submissions to this contest–just search for #workthisbody on Facebook.
The downside of this approach is that your giveaway’s engagement might suffer, because of all the discouraged people. This is something that you have to experiment with–require content that’s easy to create, so that more people would go through the hustle of entering the giveaway.
Another great advantage of this approach is that you end up with tons of user-generated content that you can use in your promotions, social media posts and many other publications.
- Run ads
Here is a simple math: the more people see your viral giveaway, the better for you.
We will use most of the time advertisement on products which require full direct payment but if you use ads for something free, your ROI will be higher.
This is also useful if you are just starting out and have little to none audience.
Given that you’re not competing for people that want to actually buy something, the price of ads might be relatively cheap.
Of course, it also depends on your target demographics and the channel you advertise through.
Facebook ads are relatively cheap and can get many people interested (but those leads are less actionable).
- Social outlets
Wouldn’t it be great if you could test interest for your products before launching giveaway and before you invest in advertising money? This way you could also test different products and audiences to find the most fitting mix.
Yes, It is possible!
For example, here’s a list of 50+ subreddits, which you can use for your giveaways. They’re sorted by products, countries, and other parameters. You can test your giveaway with various audiences and demographics and find the right combination.
This also works for Facebook and G+ communities, related forums and other destinations, where your target audience might spend their time.
- Be honest about numbers
I mean any number that you mention in the giveaway: prize amount/quantity, deadline for submissions, deadline for any announcements, etc.
It’s important that your rules for the giveaway are clear and pretty straightforward. This way you’ll avoid any backlash and negative buzz about your brand or the product that you will give away.
11 giveaway mistakes to avoid
- Avoid sign ups
Ohhh! The sign up form – Something people hate!
Sometimes This can work if done correctly and the right incentives are in place, but if you make people jump through too many hoops, they will bounce from the page.
If you’re going to require people to sign up to enter your giveaway, I suggest running an A/B test to see how it performs. Send 50% of your traffic to version A where people sign up and then can enter the giveaway, and send 50% of your traffic to Version B where people can enter the giveaway and then are prompted to sign up.
You can test a Version C where you just send people directly to the giveaway and we do not ask them to sign up for your site at all. Compare the results from all 3 to see which variation works best for your business.
- Simple entering
If it complicates your entry process for Giveaway, guess how many people would take part in giveaway?………
I wouldn’t for sure!
Keep in mind that your entry process should be smooth as butter. If people don’t understand how to take part in your giveaway, you are going to see a serious drop in entries.
To avoid any confusion, send your promotion out to a few people to test it before it goes live. If everyone can enter smoothly and have no questions about what they need to do, then you’ve set it up correctly.
If people are coming back to you asking questions about the entry process, that should be a huge red flag that needs to be solved before the promotion goes live.
Here’s a perfect example of a promotion where people may be confused on what they need to do to enter. While the creative looks great, it provides 4 steps that people need to complete in order to enter.
However, if you don’t provide information such as the official rules, or even how the winners will be picked. In addition, there are several tasks to complete just to enter, but even if those tasks are completed, how are you supposed to know they have entered?
We can tweak a few things with this promotion to make it much more effective. First, they could collect entrants information by hosting this promotion off of Pinterest.
For example, they could place this graphic on their site, and below it include fields to ask for a name, email address, and the Pinterest board link.
On that page they would also include their official rules. These few small tweaks will help to increase the entry rate, while minimizing any confusion that people may have about how the promotion is to be conducted.
Don’t forget that the landing page for your promotion should be as clear as possible to make it easy for the end user to complete the action that you want them to take. If there is no clear call-to-action that you want the user to take, they get lost or frustrated and close the page.
Getting feedback before your promotion goes live is a must. If people review your promotion and they don’t immediately understand what they need to do in order to enter, then you need to make changes.
- High entry barrier
This is one of the biggest reasons a promotion cannot meet expectations. If the barrier to entry is too high, it means that either your entry process is too long and requires too much information or the requirements necessary to enter and take too much time to complete.
As example: If you’re running sweepstakes giving away a $100 Amazon gift card, and you ask the entrants to provide their name, address, phone number, and email address… that might be a little much. Keep it simple. Ask for just an email address and you’ll see the number of entries skyrocket.
If you’re running a video contest, keep in mind that the number of entries will be very small compared to the number of entries you will get with a sweepstake. A video takes time and effort to plan and shoot, but if the prize is good enough (and you have a loyal community) you can end up with some really amazing results with a video contest.
Facebook login is also another common barrier. Some people don’t use Facebook or, more likely, they don’t want to allow access to all of their information through Facebook login. If you are using Facebook, login with your promotion, be sure to provide an alternative entry method.
If you require people to enter a lot of information, try testing a few different variations to see which works best for your business. If you break up the promotion into smaller steps, it will make it less scary for the end user. Here is a noble example of this being done correctly:
After entering your email address, you are asked to complete the form to enter.
The great thing about this is, if people bounce from the second page, an email address was still collected so they can contact people again and encourage them to enter. If this entire form was put in front of someone without asking for an email address up front, the conversion rate would be much lower, and the bounce rate would be higher.
A large majority of the time though, you really only need a name and email address. If you need a shipping address, you can contact the winner at the end of the promotion to get that information.
- Wrong prize
The prize you give away can have an enormous impact on performing your promotion. If the prize does not align properly with the audience you’re targeting, your promotion will underperform. Do you think an athlete would prefer to win some new athletic shoes or a free large pizza?
When choosing a prize, ask yourself if the prize is a strong value proposition. If the prize is of extremely low value, or it is not attractive enough to your target audience, then people won’t be interested and they won’t take their time to enter.
In order to create a strong value proposition, the prize needs to relate to your business, and it has to be something customers will care about. If it is too specific to your business or panders too much to the customer’s desires, your promotion will not perform well enough.
You also need to keep in mind that it is a better idea to give something that your audience truly desires.
Here’s a great post on how to come up with a strong value proposition.
- Poor marketing
Marketing your viral giveaway contest or contest is just as important as building it and adding all the bells and whistles. One of the major reasons promotions fails is probably because the marketing was poorly planned or executed.
Posting on your Facebook and Twitter page one time is not enough; you should send out emails, encouraging people to share, and communicating the message multiple times to your target audience.
You need to have a target market that you are trying to reach with your promotion; otherwise you can end up getting sucked into the shotgun approach trying to get anyone and everyone to enter. This is another reason your promotion can fail: you marketed it to the wrong audience.
One thing you don’t want to do is build up a list of 1,000 leads where those leads are all freebie seekers who don’t care about your business or what you sell.
Set up your marketing plan before your promotion goes live, so you know exactly where you’ll be promoting it when you flip the switch. It’s easier to set a goal and work backwards from that goal to determine how to market the promotion.
You can learn how to set goals and market your promotion using The Advanced Guide To Sweepstakes.
- Bad timing
Before you launch your giveaway, take a look at the calendar. Are there any major events or holidays coming up that will conflict with your promotion?
You might think that launching your giveaway at this time of the year is a good ecommerce giveaway idea, but it is actually not.
Avoid scheduling the launch of your promotion on the days of major events (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, Super Bowl weekend, etc) where people may be away from the computer or on vacation.
- Incompatibility across different platforms
The most important thing you should do before launching contest giveaway is: TEST!
This means testing the promotion on all the major web browsers (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and even Opera) and on mobile and tablet devices.
Don’t just test to see if the page looks good – you need to go through the entire entry process and make sure it works. Sometimes a promotion will fail because people cannot enter!
Also, do not neglect your promotion for mobile. Over 1.2 billion people access the web from their mobile devices, and global mobile traffic now accounts for 15% of all Internet traffic.
Smartphones (mobile) is big, and it is only going to get bigger, so don’t ignore it!
- Bad follow-up
Your actual viral giveaway contest might receive many entries, but it can still fail in the long-run if you do not properly follow up with the people who entered.
You want to form a relationship with the people who entered your promotion, so the last thing you should do in your first email is try to go for the hard sell. Doing this can cause many unsubscribes and spam complaints.
A much better approach with your first email is to thank people for entering, announce the winners, and provide a consolation prize (like a coupon or discount) for those who didn’t win.
The goal with the first email is to build a relationship, and once that relationship is formed over time, you can slowly turn those people into customers.
- Non-realistic goals
While your promotion may not have failed in hindsight, it still could have been a failure in your mind if the goals you initially set for it were unrealistic.
If you run a small business, thinking that a single sweepstake can bring you 50,000 entries and 10,000 Facebook likes is pushing the boundaries of realistic expectations. Sure, it can happen if your value proposition and marketing is on point, but it’s very unlikely.
While it never hurts to aim for the stars, set goals that are realistic which you know can achieve. It’s much better to set realistic goals and surpass them, then to set unrealistic goals and become bummed out when things don’t go as planned.
You can always take the experience from your first giveaway and raise expectations the second and third time around.
Here’s a great story on how HubSpot set unrealistic goals for one of their promotions and had to pull the plug.
- Wrong platform
If your goals are to get more traffic to your website and increase your email subscribers, then it isn’t a good idea to host your promotion on a platform like Facebook.
If you don’t take your goals into consideration when choosing the hosting location for your promotion, it can have a negative effect on the outcome.
When you run sweepstakes or contest, choose the platform which matches best with your goals best. Usually, hosting the promotion on your website is probably the best choice, as you can grow all of your social channels using your own website using the right program.
- False duration
Choosing the right start and end dates can have a major impact on how many people enter your promotion. If you don’t run it for long enough, not enough people will have time to enter and if you run it for too long, it can drag on.
The sweet spot is usually around 2-4 weeks for the length of a promotion. This is just enough time to have all of your marketing kick in, but not too long that it drags on and people begin to complain.
Experiment with this; we have seen some companies execute well with daily giveaways. 2-4 weeks is a solid staple to start with.
Here we covered all the things you need to know about tips, mistakes and softwares to run a successful viral giveaway.Comment below if you have more tips, tricks or suggestions let everybody know!
Do giveaways increase sales?
Yes! And more importantly, giveaways can increase popularity (fast) of your Ecommerce business. Which means you can leverage giveaways to get a lot more followers and email subscribers really fast.
How do you make a giveaway go viral?
Marketing! It is all about promoting your giveaway. Here are a few quick tips:
1. Use facebook ads to promote your giveaway.
2. Choose a prize that excites your audience.
3. Leverage influences and ask them to promote your giveaway
Do online giveaways really work?
Online giveaways are possibly the fastest way to grow online. As example, BeardBrand was able to grow their email list by 100% and 400% social media followers in just a day ! It is especially effective when you are just starting out.
Why do companies do giveaways?
Giveaways are an amazing way to grow business relatively fast. When done right it basically makes you popular.