12 Proven Steps to Successful Giveaway Campaigns

12 proven ways to giveaway campaigns

Growing your email list, by hundreds or thousands of new subscribers shouldn’t be hard. Finding new Facebook or Twitter fans shouldn’t cost you thousands. Generating social stories, getting your videos on YouTube watched, and driving traffic doesn’t have to required expensive software or complicated technologies. Growth hacking really is about using good information and making informed decisions in a creative way to spur the health of your user base. Giveaway campaigns are great for getting people talking about your brand. But it’s the perfect giveaway that sparks dynamic growth we’re all seeking!

Creating the perfect giveaway doesn’t have to be hard. There are proven tactics you can use today, no matter how large or small your reach is, to drive traffic, attract new fans and followers, capture leads, and generate new top-line sales.

Just imagine reporting back to your director or VP after capturing thousands of new emails, Facebook fans, YouTube views, and generating thousands more social stories. Sound enticing? Exciting?

I’ve done exactly what I’ve described above for Logos Bible Software.

Today I’m sharing with you a list of proven objectives I tackle with each giveaway I’ve executed using the PunchTab widget. And whether you’re using PunchTab or some other tool (although I don’t know why you’d do that), my list will help you achieve the same kind of results I’ve been seeing for over two years time and time again.

Before I give my take on how to run effective and successful giveaways, we should clarify a few things.

  • Contests do not equal giveaways.
  • Sweepstakes do not equal free offers.
  • Free offers do not equal contests.

However—“giveaways” can be recognized as sweepstakes or free offers. In this particular case, we’ll be focusing our attention on giveaways when there is generally one winner, drawn by luck with no requirement of purchase or skill.

Additionally, nothing in this article should be considered legal council or advice. You may have specific legal concerns and constraints to consider and that requires professional legal council. My only suggestion is that you have your legal people read over pertinent TOS and rules and regulations. OK, let’s keep moving!


How to Create Successful Giveaway in 12 Steps:


1. Identify what you need the giveaway campaign to accomplish.

Identifying your goals or key performance indicators (KPIs) upfront is absolutely imperative to outlining the best possible and most effective giveaway. These KPIs can be any number of items.

Here’s a few KPIs you may want to consider:

  • New top-line sales
  • Unique social stories generated
  • Email addresses or phone numbers captured
  • View of a YouTube video
  • Number of downloads

Identify which is most important to your campaign up front. Then, continue outlining your giveaway and it’s flight plan, always considering your most primary KPIs. Every action from here on out should help you better achieve your primary KPI.

It’s also good to select one or two secondary KPIs. For example, you could identify “Unique social stories generated” as your primary. You may then identify as a secondary KPI, “Number of downloads”. This will set you up for success as you move forward.

Your secondary KPI(s) should see success without competing to deviating action away from successfully achieving your primary KPI(s).

2. Pick a prize relevant to your most broad audience.

I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. For us at Logos Bible Software, I tend to select the latest in tech devices that can run our software or mobile apps as prizes. Why? Because if I’m going to run a giveaway meant to drive traffic to our blog, then I want people to read the benefits of our software and applications on that tech device.

Remember, the prize is the incentive but you should use that opportunity to talk about what that prize and your product or service have to do with each other.

This allows the consumer to enter the giveaway hoping to win not just our software, but also the tech device that will allow him or her to use the software. And you better believe they’ll tell everyone and their mother about how they won. Just like I did when I won a camera through a photo contest recently!

Here’s a few examples for you to consider:

  • Clothing brand – give away a watch that fits well with your tees
  • Conference – give away a pile of books from featured speakers
  • Auto dealer – give away camping gear to fit SUVs
  • Etailer – give away one of your featured sale items

3. Find an awesome promotional partner.

This is the true hack to quickly expanding your reach. When possible, ALWAYS find a bigger player to work with. Do the heavy lifting in setting up your flight plans, creating graphics, and landing pages. Setup up the PunchTab widget and hand deliver all necessary items to your promotional partner. Your promotional partner will be blown away by how awesome this is because they didn’t have to think about it, do the work, and run the show.

Ideal promotional partners can be:

  • Non-competitors with similar customer
  • Similar style companies that compliment your product or service
  • Celebrities or influencers (bloggers, speakers, authors, athletes, musicians)
  • Other brands or divisions from your company

When your promotional partner sees how they can add hundreds or even thousands of new fans to their social media channels, it will open up new opportunities for future partnerships and giveaways. This creates a multiplying effect of how well each future giveaway can perform.

#ProTip: show your promotional partners you can deliver stellar results and they’ll often jump at the chance to join your campaign. Sometimes, they’ll even front the cost of all the prizes!

4. Decide on an appropriate duration to run the campaign.

This is challenging. Your giveaway campaign should run as long as you can continue sending out messages or advertising it without beating up your readers and customers. That may be a day, a week, or several months.

Here’s a few examples:

  • Book tour giveaway – could run months, taking advantage of large crowds and hashtags
  • Grand opening – several weeks leading up to the opening
  • Christmas sale – 3 weeks leading up to
  • Flash giveaways – 1-5 days, ideal for a single social channel and meant to achieve a sharp increase of engagement

Consider the buying cycle of your customer. If you know the length of time and the number of messages required to reach conversion, then you can apply that knowledge to flight planning your giveaway. And if you don’t, you need to get on that!

If your prize isn’t motivating, however, no amount of time or messaging will matter.

5. Leverage your blog as a landing page.

I often run giveaways where my top-line sales are not the primary KPI. Therefore, it’s important for me to contain cost. By virtue of running giveaways in this fashion, I’ve found that using our branded blogs as the host for giveaways can be effective in getting engagement while being a fantastic solution for containing costs.

For many smaller businesses or independent bloggers, building specialized or custom landing pages can be expensive. Using a blog is great when implementing a giveaway because of its low build time and cost investment.

Here’s a few other reasons to host your giveaway on your blog:

  • The giveaway will reach subscribed readers via email or RSS instantly
  • Smart bloggers will have their social accounts linked to share each blog post (do you?)
  • Blogs have comments built in (one of the best ways to get readers to engage, rather than just reading and leaving)

Specifically, with PunchTab, you can embed the giveaway into your sidebar. So after the giveaway gets pushed to your second or third page of posts, it’ll still keep prime-time real estate positioning on the home page via the side bar.

6. Host the giveaway in multiple places.

I’m writing this tip with PunchTab in mind (but this can be applied to other widgets that deliver giveaways). The beauty here is the widget is embedded with a javascript. Without going all technical on you here, this simply means your giveaway can live in multiple places.

Remember step #3? Make sure your awesome promotional partner runs a blog and will blog about the giveaway. Now, users can enter and share the giveaway from two locations—double chances for engagement! #Protip: get two or three partners.

Here’s an example of what I mean about hosting the giveaway on multiple blogs:


I actually have the example giveaway above running right now on three different brands’ blogs. This is getting our campaign exposure to new people. Consumers often need more than one impression, so with some crossover in readership I expect our conversion rates to increase.

This tactic can help enforce how awesome your promo is when they see the same messaging in more than one place. But note we have different headlines and different images.

Want to see the giveaway I mentioned above? Check it out here.

7. Blog with your giveaway in mind.

Keep in mind your giveaway is going to attract a lot of new visitors as well as activate your base. This should be true for each blog post you publish. Be sure to include back links to your giveaway in subsequent blog posts following your announcement post.s

Here’s a few ideas on how that can work:

  • Publish the interview of an author of a book you’re giving away after you announce the campaign
  • Create a footer ad and have it run for a week straight in every blog post
  • Be careful in selecting prizes from multiple partners (remember #3) so that several follow up posts with relating information is easy

Here are some examples: Announcement postFollow up 1Follow up 2

See, that wasn’t so hard, now was it?

8. Use existing targeted marketing channels to promote.

Email lists, mobile applications, chrome extensions, or desktop software. All of these have messaging capabilities and should be explored as channels to push your initial, ongoing, and last chance messaging. You should also help your promotional partner do the same with their channels.

This is an example of pushing messaging through an Android mobile app:

mobile app

Tell your people directly versus hoping they discover your giveaway will dramatically increase the likelihood of engagement and how well you are able to meeting your identified KPIs.

Get creative!

Here are a few solutions to promoting your campaign you may have over looked:

  • Use SMS to announce the campaign
  • Create special banners to live on product pages
  • Install footer ads into all of your current email communications
  • Send messaging to any application or software you have and link whereever possible

Here’s what an footer ad might look like at the bottom of an email:


9. Push messaging on social media.

This should be a given, but I see this fail to occur often. Be sure to have graphics made just for social media. Reach out to large Facebook pages and groups that may have something to gain from sharing your giveaway. Mention influencers and ask them to share on Twitter or Google Plus.

These strategies don’t have to take a lot of time and are easy to implement when given some thought.

Here’s a few other ideas:

  • Add a link to your giveaway to all your social profiles about or bio section
  • Change out your timeline covers or avatars to promote the campaign
  • Reach out to influential social media accounts that have something to do with your prize (I often reach out to groups of Christian bloggers to share about our Bible study software and iPad giveaways)

Here’s a screenshot of my post in a group of over 5K other bloggers!

giveaway social media

10. Advertise your offer through focused channels.

I don’t spend much money (often I spend none) on promoting giveaways. That’s not to say it can’t work. You may know your acquisition cost per customer is about $4.00. So spending $.50 on CPC campaigns on Facebook to get new consumers to see your product and potentially opt in by incentivizing with a giveaway opportunity is worth it.

When considering where to spend and how much to spend, you need to consider several items:

  • What are the company/brand/product’s priority goals?
  • What are the priority KPIs of the giveaway and how will paying for advertising help achieve those?
  • How much is a new customer or lead worth spending on? (This isn’t easy to figure out. You may want to do some research on customer acquisition costs)

11. Be sure to post unique posts for last chance offer.

This is as simple and straight forward as it gets. If you don’t send the most urgent and high-priority messaging to all the channels you have access to telling people it’s their last chance to enter, you will always miss your maximum exposure and engagement.

Just like when I was a little kid and my mom had to tell me several times to clean my room, you need to tell your people several times to enter for a chance to win some awesome prize.

  • Use bold text.
  • Make it exciting!
  • Always give a clear CTA

12. Follow up with all entrants.

When your giveaway ends, you’re not done quite yet. You need to announce the winner.

It’s probably a given that’ll you’ll announce the winner via social media. But what about all those other channels we discussed earlier? Especially, what about email!?

Be sure to, if nothing else, email those who entered your giveaway. Your email should communicate some or all of the following:

  • Who the winner is
  • Extend special deals relevant to the giveaway (probably has something to do with your primary KPIs we identified earlier)
  • Offer other ways to stay connected for future freebies or giveaways
  • Announced your next giveaway

Keep it simple. I’ve seen all text with one or two hyperlinks in the email do REALLY well for CTR.

Final Takeaways

Your giveaway campaign may follow perfectly inline with the outlined items above or not. When deciding on how to create the perfect giveaway, consider factors specific to your company, brand, or product. The important thing is to operate from a principled foundation—and that’s what the above outline is to serve as for you.

Keep in mind that your campaign will require you to remain flexible, to move fast, to adjust, to test and to measure. When one fails, adjust and try again.


Nathan SmoyerGuest post by @NateSmoyer

Nate Smoyer, originally from the Philadelphia area, now resides in Bellingham, WA. He manages partnership marketing and advertising for Logos Bible Software, the world’s leading Bible software company. Nate’s expertise in digital marketing and publishing has allowed him to work with some of the today’s most renowned NYT and Vyrso.com best-selling authors and their publishers.

  • http://www.morningledger.com/author/joel/ JOEL JOSEPH

    This is a well written article Nate. You gave some great points.
    Just logged in to say this :)

  • http://www.jasonbrueckner.com/ Jason

    Incredible piece — Clear, professional, applicable.
    Thank you for taking the time to do this, Nate

  • nabil shack

    good How To Increase App Downloads Successfully goo.gl/fb/dmql0F

  • http://www.startupinstitute.com Alison Tugwell

    Very helpful and thoughtfully written. One of the best pieces I found on strategic partnerships.

    • http://natesmoyer.com @NateSmoyer

      Thanks for the super kind words, @al@alisontugwell:disqus! If there’s anything I could better expand on, please let me know!

  • Camelia Waxman

    Good ideas , I learned a lot from the insight , Does someone know if my business can acquire a blank OR DoR 40 document to type on ?

  • Casey Xiao-Morris

    Very informative. I wish you could provide a few 3rd party sites that host giveaways.

    • http://natesmoyer.com @NateSmoyer

      @caseyxiaomorris:disqus – here’s a few to consider:
      1) Sumo Giveaways from AppSumo
      2) Vyper
      3) Raffle Copter
      4) Gleam.io
      5) Maitre

      I’ve used each of these except for Maitre. Vyper is one of my new favorites. I also really like everything I’ve seen from Maitre, but have not used them yet.

      Also, Amazon’s giveaways can be effective, but they require a bit of a different strategy than what I have outlined here. Hope this helps!

  • http://delante.pl Mateusz Calik (Matt C)

    Good post @Jacek!

    • http://natesmoyer.com @NateSmoyer

      Thanks, @MattCalik:disqus!

  • Jerry

    Thanks for sharing this information, it clearly tells that Giveaways are best way to promote your Business. Promotional Giveaways helps allot to promote your business and let the world know about your brand.