Most everyone I know likes something for free, like a giveaway. And giveaways can be very effective in garnering attention for a particular brand, program or service and growing sales.

Ways to use giveaways for your promotional marketing strategy include:

  • Sweepstakes
  • Contests
  • Social Media
  • Promotional

So let’s explore some these various uses.

Sweepstakes Giveaways Don’t Require Skill to Win

Most companies run a sweepstakes because it’s not a game of skill nor do you have to “pay” to play. It’s typically more of an enter to win type of “drawing”. You may request some information but you need to be careful as the laws are constantly changing regarding the “monetary” value of “likes” for your facebook, pinterest pins, etc , and even for retweets. If you ask for too much you could run into the risk of being considered a lottery.

Sweepstakes do not require Skill to Win Giveaway

Sweepstakes do not require Skill to Win Giveaway

However, we’ve all seen and entered into very successful sweepstakes. Enter to Win! Sometimes it doesn’t matter what that giveaway of the day may be as long as it has value to the person entering. You may offer different levels of free giveaways or even have a gift card giveaway. They can help you grow loyalty with your existing customers (maybe it’s only offered in store or on your website) or to help expand your potential customer database (just remember they have to be able to opt out of anything you send).

If your sweepstakes giveaway is something of larger value we recommend you have a “loser” follow-up strategy. Let people know who did win the big ticket item and then provide them with a special limited time discount for participating. It’s another opportunity to “touch” your current and potential customers and ultimately increase your sales.

Contests And Giveaways Can be Tricky Strategy

Now the opposite of a sweepstakes is a contest in the sense that if you require some skill or you have to pay some sort of value to participate in the giveaway, then you are running a contest. And be careful of contests and giveaways. There are laws that govern contests so if you are not prepared to follow the laws; it’s usually recommended you restructure to be a sweepstakes or more of a promotional giveaway.

Social Media Platforms Prime for Giveaway Strategy

Over the last several years social media has taken over many companies promotional marketing strategies.  While we agree it can be a very cost effective medium, it should be cautioned that it should not become your only medium. There are still many forms of effective communication that most people like to receive, be it direct mail, billboards, television, radio or even skywriting. We just want to make sure you look at all potential options that work for your target audience.

With that said, giveaways can be very effective to increase page likes, followers, visits, referrals,

Use Social Media Platforms to Promote Your Giveaway

Use Social Media Platforms to Promote Your Giveaway

comments, or something else. So, first you need to be clear on what you want to accomplish and with whom. Maybe your customers are diverse and you want to target a specific group of customers; all that is critical to for your giveaway to be successful.

Once that is determined you can focus on what the giveaway is. Just make sure it makes sense. You don’t necessarily want to giveaway pet accessories if you aren’t in the pet business! You want your giveaway to be relevant for both you and the recipient. If you are targeting a younger audience you don’t want to be giving away something that only their parents would love!

When setting up your program, especially on social media, you want to keep your giveaway window somewhat short. This isn’t a year-long strategy, maybe a couple of months at best. It’s also good, if you blog (and you should) to cross-promote your giveaway on your various social media platforms. And of course if you have a good relationship with a few industry leaders, get them to promote it as well in their social media programs.

Promotional Giveaways Boost Sales

Giveaways are Effective in Building Traffic and Awareness

Giveaways are Effective in Building Traffic and Awareness

The uses for giveaways in the promotional arena are vast. Think about how you use giveaways to attract traffic to a trade show booth or how you use a giveaway in a loyalty program to thank a customer for their business and motivate them to buy from you again. Promotional giveaways are a great way to increase awareness because most are kept and used months.

Again, make sure your giveaway makes sense for you and your customer. If you are a car dealer then a trunk organizer makes sense (it can also make sense for many different types of retailers) but it might not make sense for a florist or technology company.

Promotional giveaways can also be used as a motivator for increasing sales at point of purchase; the buy “X” and get this free gift. I just bought a new smartphone and they gave me a VR (Virtual Reality) headset for free. It was a limited time offer, just a 3-day weekend offer. And, it wasn’t the reason I bought the phone when I did, but it was the reason I bought them there. Because at a different location they weren’t offering them so I figured why not get something more for my purchase. And that’s who a successful promotional giveaway works.

Changing Buying Behavior Key Goal

You goal on all giveaways is to change buying behavior. One, to make sure they are buying from bargain-455990_1280you and two, to shorten the window to buying now.

As you can see, giveaways have many different ways to be effective. Just be prepared before you start for the ending of the program. Are you going to have a “losers” offer? Are you auto collecting all the new contacts? When will you follow up with them? How will you notify the winner (s) and stay in touch with them?

And finally, remember to evaluate the giveaway program when completed. Did your results exceed expectations? Can they be repeated? Did you not get the response you wanted? Why? What needs to change?

Danette Gossett

Danette brings more than 30 years of experience developing advertising campaigns, direct marketing programs and sales promotions to her clients. Prior to starting her companies, she worked for New York advertising agencies including Saatchi & Saatchi & Lowe Marschalk.

Her corporate marketing experience included National Advertising Director for Avis Rent a Car Systems, Inc., and Director of Marketing Services for Royal Caribbean Cruise Line. Read More