How to Run a Successful Giveaway

6 Steps to Maximize Your Sweepstakes Potential

Image of a Sweepstakes Administrator Designing a Giveaway
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Image (c) Westend61 / Getty Images 


Sweepstakes can be very beneficial
for the companies who run them. Running a sweepstakes can bring you free advertising, boost your sales, explode your newsletter list, and more. But running a successful giveaway takes planning. Here’s how to do it.

Why Successful Giveaways Need Planning

People love to enter giveaways, but that doesn’t mean that you can use an “if you build it, they will come” strategy and still be successful. Without proper planning, your advertising dollars will be wasted. Here are seven steps to ensure that you get a good return on investment.

1. Set Your Goals

The first step to running a successful giveaway is defining what success looks like for you and your company. A giveaway can help you achieve many goals, but you should pick only one or two to focus on. Here are some common sweepstakes goals:

  • Increase newsletter sign-ups
  • Drive awareness of a sale, marketing campaign, or other initiatives
  • Drive sales or paid memberships on your website
  • Increase your following on Facebook, Twitter, or other social platforms
  • Obtain free user-generated content to use for ads, ebooks, or website content
  • Encourage more links to your website

Your business might have other goals that giveaways can help you achieve as well, so take a look at which areas could help boost your business in the long run and decide where you should direct your efforts.

2. Measure and Quantify Success

Once you’ve defined your goals, you need a way to measure them. After all, you won’t be able to tell whether your giveaway is a success unless you can quantify what success means. To do so, pick an achievement that is reasonable, but also makes you feel like your advertising dollars were well-spent.

Here are some examples of the goals we listed above, quantified so that you can measure them.

Goal Quantify That Goal

Increase Newsletter Sign-ups

10% increase in newsletter subscribers

Drive Awareness of a Sale

15% increase in page views due to advertising during the campaign

Boost Sales or Subscriptions

5% increase in new purchases while the campaign is running

Increase Social Media Followers

200 new followers throughout the campaign

Free User-Generated Content

10 high-quality recipes to use for your website or ebook

More Inbound Links

25 new backlinks

3. Pick Prizes to Fit Your Audience

You might think that any prize will help your giveaway meet its goals, or you might think that the highest-value prize you can afford is what you should pick. In either case, you’d be making a mistake. To know what the perfect prize for your campaign is, you need to define your audience. Who are the people who will help you achieve your goals for success?

If you are running a national giveaway and your ideal audience is “everyone” then you can go with a prize that “everyone” will love: cash, for example. But for most giveaways, it makes sense to narrow your audience. If you are trying to increase paid subscriptions for a programming tutorial website, think about the kinds of prizes that would get your audience excited: Perhaps an iPhone X, or a private mentoring session with a programmer.

Choosing a prize that exclusively excites your ideal audience will reduce the number of people who enter your giveaway without a true interest in your product.

4. Advertise Your Giveaway

Even a perfectly crafted giveaway won’t be a success if people don’t hear about it. Luckily, there are a number of ways—both free and paid—to help you get the word out.

You might reach a broader audience, and have a better chance at making your giveaway a success if you spend some of your advertising budget to promote it.

Free Ways to Promote Your Giveaway:

  • Make sure to make your giveaway prominently visible on your home page.
  • Promote your giveaways on social media platforms, blogs, through your mailings, and in newsletters.
  • Use sweepstakes directories to spread the word to sweepstakes fans.
  • Post in the sweepstakes community of Reddit.
  • Post a press release on a distribution service.
  • Incentivize your entrants to spread the word by giving bonus entries for referring friends.
  • Find other relevant websites who might be willing to promote your giveaway.

Paid Ways to Promote Your Giveaway:

  • Buying ads that your ideal audience will see can be a very effective use of your money.
  • Pursue paid ads on Facebook, Reddit, or Instagram.
  • Buy a featured spot in a sweepstakes newsletter.
  • Advertise on a competitor’s site.

5. Promote Your Winners

Once you’ve picked your winners, you might think your giveaway is over, but don’t stop there. Make sure you promote the winners’ stories to continue to use the giveaway to get the most out of your campaign.

Confirm that your privacy policy lets you send sweepstakes-related emails.

You can then send an announcement about the winners to all of the entrants. Make sure you also include a call to action to make your giveaway more of a success; For example, inviting entrants to sign up for newsletters to find out about future giveaways can be very effective.

You may also be able to interest news organizations in writing an article about the winners, and you can write another press release announcing the results. You can use your social media platforms to spread the word, especially because promoting your winners gives you lots of options for free PR.

6. Evaluate Your Results

So the prizes have been awarded and the winners have been promoted. But you’re not done quite yet! You have one important step left to do: analyze the results of your giveaway to see where it was successful and where it fell short.

Compare the results of your giveaways with the metrics you set up to analyze success. How did it measure up?

Also, check whether your giveaway had any other positive effects on your company. Maybe you were trying to increase website visits, but your giveaway gave you a bonus bump to your newsletter subscriptions. This can be measured if you’ve properly quantified your data.

You should also check which promotional campaigns had the most success. Did one sweepstakes directory drive much more traffic than the others? Did you see more results from Twitter or Facebook? By carefully analyzing your results, you can evaluate whether you’ll want to run more giveaways in the future and whether you need to adjust your strategy.

Want to know more about giving away prizes? Check out How to Run Amazon Giveaways for a quick and easy way to get started. If you’d like to offer sweepstakes without having to deal with legal restrictions, find out more about how sweepstakes administrators can help. And if you’d like an easy giveaway plug-in, read about Rafflecopter.