Some of my fellow online sellers swear that Giveaways work wonders.
I agree that they're a lot of fun, stimulate interest and may generate a lot of views for your venue (blog, online store, etc.). But what does it really accomplish? And how do you get the absolute most from your Giveaway? Ask yourself a few questions and put some real thought into your plan:
What you are trying to achieve by offering a free product to a random winner? Are you trying to bring more attention to your blog? Are you trying to drive traffic to your website? Or are you looking for more customers to shop in your online store? I suppose these are fairly synonymous, as many use their blog to drive traffic to their shop and bring in sales. But it's very important to have a clear goal in mind so you can gauge the success of your giveaway. If your goal is to drive more traffic to your online store, be sure you have some type of tracking application installed on your site (Google Analytics, for example) so you'll be able to mark your average views or sales before, during and after your promotion. Keep records of all your stats so you can track your success.
What are you offering as a Prize? Is there true value in your giveaway - not only to you, but to the recipient as well? It's important to ensure that your giveaway is relevant to your business or blog, is a true representation of what you have to offer and has significant merit to the beneficiary. I'm not saying it has to be a big ticket item, just one with substance and impact. Be sure to keep your target market in mind, as well. Offering six weeks of free advertising on your blog is a completely ineffective giveaway if only a small percentage of your audience are business owners.
Who is your Prize Winner? Is the winner within your target audience? Is the recipient someone who ordinarily would shop at your store anyway? Is he/she someone who may have made a purchase regardless of a giveaway? Are they a blogger or online reviewer who may write about their prize? Are they someone who may refer friends and family to your store? Think about who you want to attract to your giveaway and who your target market is for both your store and your offer. If you're only promoting your giveaway on the front page of your website or in your shop announcements, for example, chances are good you're going to give a freebie away to someone who is already a customer or is intending to buy anyway.
How will people learn about your Giveaway? Are you just counting on people stopping by and reading about it? Are you only telling your friends and family about it? Set a strategy for promoting your Giveaway and stick to it. Mention it in the forums and newsgroups you belong to. Twitter about it. Bookmark your Giveaway page on Digg or Del.icio.us or stumbleupon. Post it on your Facebook or MySpace page. The more attention you draw to your giveaway, the more successful it will be.
Here is a summary of my best advice for conducting a Giveaway:
- Have a clear goal in mind for the results you want to achieve with your giveaway
- Establish a clear way to track those results
- Be sure your Giveaway is relevant and has value
- Keep your target audience in mind when choosing your Giveaway item
- Conduct your Giveaway away from your sales site
- Promote, Promote, Promote
- Have FUN!
Have lots of fun - and if your first Giveaway isn't as successful as you'd like, rethink your goals and strategies and try, try again!