Have you ever thought about holding a giveaway on your blog, but didn’t quite know how? In this article, I will share my experience with holding giveaways and why I take the time to offer them.
Note that this post is written more for those with a smaller following. If you happen to be a super blogger and have enjoyed great success and have many followers, then holding a giveaway on your site will have a different dynamic. A different level of response. But you may still benefit from the advice in this article.
So the main points of this article revolve around four questions–why, what, how, and where? And the answers to these questions may vary depending on how far you’ve progressed as a blogger.
Why do you want to hold a giveaway? A great question to start with! Perhaps you want to just show generosity to your readers, promote your product, acquire more followers, or something else. Only you can answer this question. I like to hold giveaways for all the aforementioned reasons. For me though, the jury is still out as to how well giveaways will gain more followers or loyal customers. There are tons of people out there who make it a hobby to enter contests or giveaways. So many of these people are NOT looking to subscribe to your blog, become a customer, or join your community.
Will holding a giveaway increase traffic to your site? Yes it can, but in my experience it’s usually short-term traffic. Perhaps if you do this often enough, you may turn some of those giveaway entries into followers or links back to your site, but there’s no guarantee.
Now that you’ve answered the why question, let’s go on to what. What do you want to give away? Being a woodworker and crafter, I like to give away crafts that I make and write about. You might decide to give away a book, a gift card, or maybe a service.
My advice is to pick something that will naturally draw followers to your site. So choose something connected with your blog. It could be a valuable resource, product, tool, or service, but it’s directly related to your website. For example, If you blog about birdhouses, why not give away a book on making birdhouses or a tool that will help someone make a birdhouse. But don’t give away a gift card to Starbucks. Everyone and their brother wants a gift card to Starbucks.
However, if you already have a large following, and know that a lot of your audience would appreciate a gift card to Starbucks, then, yes, go that route.
I first started holding giveaways on my inspirational blog, Trails of Life. I simply asked people to enter the giveaway by leaving a comment. It was a very manual process as I would write down all the entries on strips of paper and pull names from a hat. Incidentally, that is what defines a giveaway—randomly picking a winner. A contest, however, involves judging someone’s performance or creativity. I have never held a contest, so I can’t speak to that.
About a year ago, I read about using Rafflecopter. This is a free service that allows you to place a giveaway widget on your website. The widget allows you to specify giveaway rules and allows people to officially enter the giveaway. It also keeps track of entries and will randomly select a winner when you’ve reached the end date of the giveaway. Contestants must leave their email, so you automatically have a way to reach them if they win. You can ask people to do different things like comment on your blog or like a Facebook Page. You can assign points to these tasks and you can make some tasks requirements and some optional. I usually have the one requirement that contestants leave a thoughtful comment on my blog. I also list the option of liking my Facebook Page. By gaining more and more points, the contestant has a better chance to win.
Rafflecopter is not the only tool you can use for holding giveaways, but it’s the one I’m familiar with. Do a google search to find others.
If you have a small following, you will then need to tackle the final question—where? Where on the web can I share my giveaway and let the world know about it?
So you’ve decided to hold a giveaway, but your site is relatively unknown. That means you must find a way to get the word out about your giveaway. Fortunately, there are contest/giveaway listing sites that will help you spread the news about your giveaway.
Below are a few of the ones I have used with some success. Make sure you read the requirements for submitting your giveaway. Most provide a free basic listing, and then offer upgrades at a cost. I usually go the free route. Some ask for a link back to their site. Some make a distinction between whether your site is monetized or non-monetized. If it’s a monetized site, they may require you to pay for an upgraded listing. With some of these upgraded listings, they claim to give you more exposure.
Contest / Giveaway Listing Sites
Besides using the giveaway sites, also target your social media networks. Sometimes you will get a bigger response if you share your giveaway with a niche group. So if you’re giving away a book on building birdhouses, share this with your birdhouse groups or woodworking groups.
I would encourage you to at least try holding a giveaway. Maybe experiment a few times with different giveaways and note the response you get. I’ve noticed that the response will vary based on at least a few things—time of the year, dollar value of the giveaway, the appeal of the giveaway. Anything over a $100 value will get a decent response. Time your giveaways ahead of special days or events, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Christmas.
I hope this post was helpful. If you visit the Rafflecopter website, they have several helpful articles also. Please leave a comment if this article was helpful. And please share your advice and experiences with holding giveaways.