How to Run, Organize & Plan a Successful Giveaway

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The definitive guide for running, organizing & planning a successful giveaway. If it's not here; you don't need to know it!

Giveaways are great ways to increase traffic to your blog or website and to grow your social media following. Knowing how to plan, organize and run a giveaway is often a test of trial and error, but it doesn't have to be. Here's the definitive guide to planning, organizing and running a successful giveaway. There's going to be quite a bit of information in this post, so just take it in bite-sized chunks and don't let it overwhelm you! Alternatively pin this post to refer back later; I promise, it'll come in handy for your next giveaway!

How to Plan, Organize and Run a Successful Giveaway

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Hosting or even just participating in a giveaway can be a fantastic way to grow your blog. There are only a few things you need to host a giveaway, but if you've never done it before, it can be daunting. I've been hosting and participating in giveaways for years, each time seeing a greater increase in blog traffic and social media followers. Although hosting a giveaway does take a bit of work, with proper planning and organization, you'll be running a successful giveaway in no time. Just follow my advice and you'll be sorted!
Here's what we'll talk about! You can jump to the sections that interest you or just read straight through:
Planning a Giveaway
Crowdsourcing for a Giveaway
Organizing a Giveaway
Using Rafflecopter for a Giveaway
Promoting a Giveaway
Sign up for an amazing giveaway opportunity!
 
Planning a Giveaway
Before you start canvasing for support with your giveaway, you'll want to know the answers to these basic but vital questions:
  • When would you like your giveaway to run? (ie: seasonally such as for an upcoming holiday or in conjunction with a blog milestone such as reaching 1,000 likes on Facebook etc)
  • What are you going to give away?
    • Are you giving away something you already own? For instance, has a company sent you two products for the purpose of a giveaway?
    • How much is the prize going to cost?
    • Will there be a shipping fee?
    • If you are working with a company, who is going to be responsible for getting the prize to the winner--you or them?
  •  What do you want to gain from hosting a giveaway? (ie: more Facebook likes, more Pinterest followers, more newsletter subscriptions?)
  • Are you willing to host this giveaway alone or would you like help?
Crowdsourcing for a Giveaway
 One of the best things about the blogging community is that it is a community, and when it comes to giveaways, bloggers band together more than ever to make every giveaway sensational. I almost always involve other bloggers in my giveaways; even if I'm personally funding the prize, getting other bloggers involved is an easy way to get the giveaway seen by followers that I may not have access to.  If you plan on crowdsourcing your giveaway, be sure to consider:
  • Asking other bloggers to join your efforts.
    • Ask bloggers that you know and trust. (ie: advertise the giveaway as an opportunity on your blog to attract other bloggers who read your blog.)
    • Ask bloggers who have been involved with you on previous giveaways.
    • Spread the word about your giveaway in blogger opportunity groups on Facebook and G+ and by using relevant hashtags on Twitter
  • How will your hosts benefit from joining you in this endeavor? (ie: are you going to include a link back to their site in your giveaway post? are you going to share their content on your social media?)
  • How much will you charge other hosts to be involved in your giveaway?
    • Figure out the total cost of the prize, including any fees for shipping and tax. Divide this number by 20 (most giveaways have at least 20 bloggers involved) and set that as the price for interested hosts to pay to be involved.
    • The easiest way to collect funds from your hosts is through Paypal. Provide the email address associated with your Paypal account and instruct the participants to send money to friends and family so that money is not deducted from the giveaway's funds.
    • During most giveaways, participants pay for links to be included on the Rafflecopter. So for instance,one link may be $10 and 2 links might be $20, with different options and prices thrown in.
    • You could also further incentivize by dividing the bloggers that help you with your giveaway into two groups: co-hosts and participants. Co-hosts tend to pay a bit more but get more benefits such as having their image/logo and a link to their blog included in the giveaway information that everyone (including participants) must post on their blog. Here's an example of one of the benefits I gave my co-hosts in a giveaway I organized:
An example of how to incentize a giveaway to get co-hosts when planning a giveaway. From Anyonita Nibbles
This giveaway has now ended; this is just an example.
Organizing a Giveaway
As the giveaway host, you'll be solely responsible for keeping things organized and running smoothly. You'll be the main point of contact if anything goes wrong. Remember that you are asking your hosts to pay to be included in this giveaway; as such, you are providing a service to them and you need to be sure they get their money's worth. To do that, be sure you:
  • Keep track of all interest in your giveaway and all the payments received or outstanding.
    • The easiest way I've found to do this is through a spreadsheet on Google Drive. It keeps things neat and tidy and contained in one place. As soon as you receive a payment from Paypal, you can quickly open up the spreadsheet and modify it to reflect that. 
  • Keep track of the social media information your hosts provide you with.
    • If you use Rafflecopter to run your giveaway, you'll need to know which actions your hosts want included in the entry form. For instance, do they want people to follow them on Pinterest or like their Facebook page? Ask for this information when people sign up for the giveaway and keep it safe; you'll need it to set up the Rafflecopter.
  • Keep the lines of communication open between you and your hosts
    • Ensure that your hosts can reach you at any point during the giveaway process if they've got questions or concerns. How you conduct yourself will reflect the quality of the giveaway and the likelihood of other bloggers to work with you in the future.
  • Ensure that everyone puts in effort
    • From the very beginning, you should have laid out guidelines and expectations of what you expect your hosts to do. (ie: sharing the giveaway on their Facebook page or posting it on their blog). Be sure that every member of the giveaway holds up their end of the bargain. If they don't, be prepared to remove them from the Rafflecopter. Giveaways only work when everyone puts in the effort.
An example of how to use G+to organize particiant and cohost details when running a giveaway. From Anyonita Nibbles
Click to view a larger version of this image.

Using Rafflecopter for a Giveaway
I tend to use Rafflecopter for every giveaway I run, because it is straightforward, reliable and easy to use. Here a few points that you should know about Rafflecopter:
  • Sign up for a Rafflecopter account and follow the very simple, on-screen prompts to add your first giveaway. You'll need to plug in basic information like the name of the giveaway, when you want the giveaway to go live and any photographs you'd like to include.
  • Remember the social media information you collected when your hosts sign up? You'll need to input that information in the entries section of Rafflecopter. Decide how many points each action is worth and be sure that you use the correct links! 
  • Rafflecopter's default terms and conditions are pretty good, but you might want to tweak them to suit your blog and your giveaway best. You'll be prompted to do this, so don't panic.
  • Keep the entries list short. People lose interest after the first three dozen or so entries. Avoid having more entries than necessary.
  • Remember, it is against Google policy to incentize +1s, so you cannot use Rafflecopter to gain +1s and followers on Google+.
  • After you have set up everything on the Rafflecopter, you copy and paste the HTML code into your blog post where you want the giveaway displayed. You'll also send the HTML code to your hosts and participants so they can post it, too.
  • When it comes to choosing a winner, Rafflecopter can do this for you or can choose manually. No matter what you choose, you can keep rejecting potential winners and choosing better ones. I tend to double check what their winning action was before announcing the winner. For instance, if the Rafflecopter says Jane won for following Sarah on Pinterest. I would then go to Pinterest and double  check that Jane is indeed following Sarah. I'll also double check to make sure Jane's account is a genuine one that she uses and not an account created for the purpose of entering giveaways. If everything checks out, I would go ahead and notify Jane as the winner!
Promoting a Giveaway
The success of any giveaway is down to effort put into promoting it. Through promotion you'll find the people who'll enter and who will become followers of your blog or social media. This is the most important step in running a giveaway. Here are my top tips for optimum giveaway promotion:
  • Utilize your hosts' fanbase. 
    • You asked them to participate in this giveaway with you because you can't do it on your own and because there's strength in numbers. One of the most valuable things your hosts provides you with is access to all of their current loyal followers. Encourage and require them to share the giveaway on their social media and on their blog during its duration; that's easy promotion.
  • Utilize your own fanbase.
    • When it comes to social media, actions like liking a Facebook page or following a Pinterest or Twitter account can only be done once. That means your current followers are already eligible to enter to win whatever fabulous prize you're offering! Remind them of this when you run your giveaway.
  • Submit to giveaway directories.
    • There are loads of websites out there that are simply directories and lists of current giveaways. Adding your giveaway to these sites is usually fairly easy and requires nothing from you.  Be mindful, some of these websites have demands such as requiring that you provide them with a link back in order for them to publish your giveaway. Others want you to pay for premium services, but they're not always needed. I've only ever submitted my giveaways to free sites or used free listings and have consistently received traffic.
    • My top three giveaway directories:
  • Promote your giveaway appropriately on social media.
    • Ensure that when you promote your giveaway, you use the language and style photos that will be the most appealing to users on those social media platforms! For instance, here's a set of graphics I created for my last giveaway. The vertical image was perfect for displaying on Pinterest, while the square image was created for use on Instagram, G+ and Twitter. (Read more about the types of photos to use on which social media platforms.)
Example of a Pinterest optimized giveaway photo. From Anyonita Nibbles
Please note this giveaway is now ended; this is only an example.

Be sure that you clearly display the prize on your graphics and that you write what the prize is, too, especially if you are giving away something with an established brand name. Don't forget to include the specs and details of the prize. You don't have to list everything; but you should include the big sellers. Finally, be sure to mention who's putting the giveaway on! For this giveaway, I had over 25 participants and there was no way I could mention them all.

Example of an Instagram optimized photo for giveaways. From Anyonita Nibbles
Please note this giveaway has ended. This is just an example.
With this photo, because it was for platforms that are all about photos, I used less content in the image. The image and the word giveaway is what hooked the viewers on Instagram in and encouraged them to enter. I also sent both images to all of my giveaway participants in case they wanted to use them to spread the word, too. 

Blogger Opportunities available on Anyonita Nibbles
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Not ready to organize a giveaway yet but still want to increase your social media following? I'm looking for more participants in an End of Summer Giveaway I'm organizing. The winner will receive a Kitchen Aid stand mixer. If you'd like to be involved, sign up here!

7 comments:

  1. This is great information to have and explained well. I want to do something like this, but I am still unsure about the amount of work involved and costs. Costs are not a major factor...at least I don't think they are, but amount of work involved is. I will think about your summer giveaway, but I'm just not sure at this point. You did a great job with this post...thank you for sharing such valuable information!

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  2. Thanks for the tips! I really appreciate all the time that you put into your tutorial posts. Have an awesome week!

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  3. Hi Anyonita, thanks for sharing this info. I enjoyed the Father's Day giveaway and look forward to next time. Thanks again, have a great week.

    Joanne

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  4. Thanks so much for these tips, Anyonita! You always have the greatest advice when it comes to blogging. Thanks for sharing your knowledge! Pinned. :)

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  5. Hi great advice,, my tips and I will be taking part in a Google Hang out for giveaways in September as a number of bloggers actually host competitions without adhering to the laws and guides that govern all promotions so read ASA and IPM for the laws. I have been hosting giveaways for 4 years now and have a fab following, the bloggers, comper bloggers and actual compers really boost my stats a lot as well.

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  6. Well, interestingly enough I have requested someone to run a comp / giveaway for me as I'm a Rookie (definitely ) & wish to see how it might work-out.

    Like thousands of fledgling online outfits I'm keen to draw attention & interest to products we are introducing which are marvellous, wonderful, unique and fabulous - no honest, they really are.

    Have tried paid for Google & Facebook campaigns with observable effect - but would prefer more organic/viral outcomes obviously.

    So it will be interesting to see what if any impact/interest is generated over the next 30 days - target audience is general human beings in the UK, who might spend on Natural, Organic, Vegan, Diabetic safe products rather then just say - regular gear down on the High Street - so quiet a wide inclusive brief.

    Happy to report outcomes in a month or so's time - can already see some tweeting interaction occurring, some facebook visits and a definate increase in visits to the web site - this might be an initial burst of peak interest - will have to wait & see - comp runs from Oct 15th - Nov 15th -

    All very interesting this
    Best regards
    Geoffrey
    PureNaturalFresh

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