Thursday, May 20, 2010
Giveaways How to Run Em
As a lover of handmade and winning awesome prizes, I love giveaways. Not only winning and entering, but running and having my own. I have done it all: I have entered, I have lost; I have won multiple times; I have shopped during, later or never; I have promoted and ran my own giveaways; I run this giveaway blog and ran others; I have been featured and sponsored giveaways on other blogs.
So I thought I would share with you thoughts and tips in relation to the giveaway world.
A few giveaway thoughts: First, giveaways are never guaranteed sales, and in fact you might not even get a sale while it’s running. What it’s good for is cheaper advertising and hits to your page. What it’s great for is that the people who really like it will mark and come back later. Most people entering giveaways aren’t planning to go shopping right then; they want to win something free.
Secondly, what some people fail to understand when doing giveaways is that, “I had no sales” doesn’t mean it wasn’t a success. You could have a sale months later from someone who had saved your page for the holidays, etc. (of course that is no guarantee either). I’ve had giveaways where I sold nothing, ones where I sold nothing but I’d get a sale later and find out that is how they found me, and some where I sold something while it was going on or right after (like the one I just had).
Lastly, whoever wins could be a potential customer, or share your shop with someone who ends up buying later, etc. (of course maybe not). Always make sure that what you send is up to par with what you sell.
In the end, I much prefer doing a giveaway and paying the cost to make and ship the item versus buying ad space.
Tips on having a giveaway:
1. –Make sure wherever you pick to have your giveaway hosted plans to promote it and get it some exposure. If you only end up with 3 entries, I would definitely say that was not a successful giveaway. While I may be a little biased, since I host giveaways on this blog, I am not totally biased. A good giveaway takes hard work. I literally spend 2 dedicated hours promoting each individual giveaway I host, plus little bits every day it is going. It also takes around an hour or more to write the giveaways I host and set it up (with graphics, etc.). You can run it yourself, but if you’ve never done it before, you probably won’t get much action. I would recommend having someone host it for you. It gets you exposure while they do the work. But, don’t pay for it! Do not pay to get featured. Some blogs require samples, and that is OK if you can send in something small. But if you have to pay a fee to simply be promoted, find somewhere else to go…such as over on my blog, By Hand Giveaways (BHG). Click for info on being featured here.
2. –Plan on waiting. If you have someone else host a giveaway, don’t plan on it running the second you think to do one. Most places will have a wait line of people who come to get featured. So, if you want to be running a giveaway close to a specific time, contact that blog in advance.
Facebook and tip:
3. –If you have someone host your giveaway, and they are a medium or larger blog, they will be promoting all over and you wont have to spend time submitting it to places like my blog. BUT, there are some areas of promotion that they can never help you with. No matter if you are running it, or someone else is, there are things you should always do to help promote it (if you use any of these): share it in your shop announcement, on your own blog, by tweeting, in forums, stumble it and other variations of stumbling, etc.
And, post it on your Facebook page if you have one! Speaking of Facebook, let me explain what I know of the rules (of course don’t take my exact word for it. I could always be slightly wrong about something). Unless you have written permission from Facebook to run a giveaway on your page, don’t do it. If you are running a giveaway outside of Facebook, like on a blog, you can point them you your page and condition them to be a fan ONLY for an entry. Don’t tell them to do anything else except be a fan.
For my blog, BHG, there are optional entries on the Friday freebies.
“Become a fan of BH (“like”) and comment here with your profile name. If you are already a fan, leave your profile name.”
Notice that it says be a fan, it doesn’t say “on Facebook.”
There is also no direct “share on Facebook” entry. The closest I get is:
“Post about this giveaway with a link back to this post somewhere else, like your blog. Be sure to leave the link to where you posted your entry.”
If someone decides to share on their Facebook then that’s great, but I didn’t tell them they needed to, give them a direct option of doing it, or require it for entry.
So don’t do Facebook giveaways and if you have an entry related to Facebook, all you can do is have them “like” your overall page.
4. –Price range. I require hosted giveaways to offer a prize that is worth at least $10 or more. Price is a big deal. Most people won’t even stop to enter a giveaway if the prize is only $2. At the same time I wouldn’t tell you to give a $100 prize either. Some good promotional places wont even post giveaway info unless the prize is worth $25 or more (promotional places are places that get a giveaway you are running some free exposure, like here BHG). So I’d say make your prize worth at least $10.
5. –Picking a prize. Some giveaway items always get a great deal of attention because they are popular (jewelry, soap), but of course not everyone has these types of items. Some things are really low, like art. So how do you pick something good? If you have a type of item that isn’t as popular, give options. The more “exact” a prize is, the less people will stop by to enter. Giving an option, like “any 8×10” is better than “only this 8×10 of a purple cat” because now the only people who enter will be art fans who like cats and the color purple. If you have a popular prize, or an expensive prize, you can be exact. But, I always say options are the best. People love earrings, but they like picking their favorite pair even more. You can always put a cap “earrings up to $10” etc. If you don’t care at all, do a gift certificate but, make sure it is worth enough to cover a $10 prize AND shipping!
6. –Giveaways are items that in the end are 100% free. It is not a giveaway if it requires someone to buy anything. It is not a giveaway if someone has to pay shipping. It is not a giveaway if it’s a $25 gift certificate but nothing in your shop is less than $30. So make sure the winner is getting their prize for free!
7. –Giveaway restrictions. Don’t offer an international giveaway prize if you don’t have international shipping turned on in your shop. And vice versa, are you an international person? Don’t offer the prize to someone in the US if they can’t even buy from you. You want people who enter to be able to be potential customers. While I wouldn’t mind entering to win a prize from a shop I couldn’t buy from (free prize!)…you could have a problem. Why would you want me to come to your shop, or win your prize, if I couldn’t spend my money potentially with you? So, be sure you include who can win in your rules, or if someone is hosting it for you be sure you know how they set up the giveaway. For example, BHG only lets readers in the US win (you wouldn’t want to be surprised and find out you have to ship it to Australia when you only sell to the US).
8. –Be honest. Don’t cancel your giveaway midway, don’t change the rules or end date while it’s going. Don’t decide “No one will notice if I don’t finish this giveaway so I’ll just delete the post and save money.” At the bare minimum, YOU will know you are being fraudulent. Ship the prize, follow through and don’t lie. You never know who is paying attention and just like you wouldn’t lie to someone’s face, don’t lie about your giveaways.
9. –Want to go big? Pair up with friends or team members and have multiple prizes in the pot that come from more than one shop. This is also beneficial because the more people who are participating, the more exposure it can get because each person is sharing the information in their own way.
10. –When you get the shipping address for the person who won, mail your prize within a week. If it will take longer because it is custom, state that. If a week goes by and you need slightly longer, contact the winner, or the blog, and explain so that the winner isn’t wondering why it is taking so long.
Tune in tomorrow for part two, where you will learn how what to write for your rules and tips on winning other giveaways.
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