We all like to get something for FREE. At most every event I attend there is a bowl to collect business cards for a chance to win a free giveaway of some kind. Of course, the reason for them to have a giveaway is so they can get your business card to add you to their list of potential new

Promote Your Business at Events

Typically, at these networking events, everyone is eligible to win, if they are present. Another

business promotion

Promoting your Business using a giveaway at an event increases brand exposure

giveaway tactic. Being present to win makes sure you stay at the event for a least some length of time to listen to their pitch. Since the sponsors of the event are the ones donating the prize, they want you to hear how they can solve your problems so you will buy from them. And to be honest, there are times that I do stay just because the giveaway is worth waiting for. And I have won some pretty great giveaways over the years.

One year I was on a roll. So much so my team posted a chart on the bulletin board with all that I had won and when. Granted I go to a lot of events, but that year I was particularly lucky. I won Microsoft Office Software ($1200 value), I won a free 2-night stay at a fabulous Key West Resort, I won dinner for two at a local steakhouse to name a few. I even won a 2-night stay in Amsterdam. Now, I wasn’t going to Amsterdam, but I knew someone that was going for a convention, so I gave it to her. And she was thrilled that I thought of her. Now, she’s a great referral source for us!

Thank Prospects for Visiting Trade Show Booth

Most every company uses giveaways for promotional purposes. For instance, think about your trade show programs. Do you give something away? Of course, you do. Why? Because it helps you to attract people to your booth. The more people visit your booth, the more potential leads you have.

Some companies use several different giveaways at their booth. For example, they may have an inexpensive fun giveaway for everyone that comes by. Then something more expensive to hand people as a thank you for those that spend time at the booth. Or they may have a game of some sort that attracts people to the booth and encourages interaction while winning a prize.

Gather Information with Giveaways

Use Promotional Giveaways to gather information

Use Giveaways to gather information about your target audience

The primary reason most companies use a giveaway is to get something from a customer or potential customer in return (so is it really free?). When you sign up for a free white paper, book chapter or to receive special offers you are required give them your information. Many times, companies will also ask some key questions.

They may ask some key demographic questions: age range, male/female (not so much anymore but that’s for a different article), geographic region, household income. Or they may ask more buying habit information depending on the type of product or service the company provides. All the questions are geared to learning more about you and how they may sell you more in the future.

Information Is Key to Long-term Success

Knowledge and information about customers and potential customers are key factors to long-term success. If you don’t know who is buying and why then how can you make sure your products or services will continue to serve their needs?

That’s why giveaways are used so often for promotional purposes, it helps you gain knowledge.

As you can see from above, sometimes the giveaway has nothing to do with the company’s product or service. For example, an insurance company provided a free weekend giveaway in the Florida Keys at every monthly Trustee luncheon at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce for a year. They stopped a year ago, but I still remember who it was. They got mentioned and thanked at every luncheon. And, I still get mailed solicitation from them because I dropped my business card in the bowl each month. If I ever decide to change companies, I will definitely speak to them.

Increase Brand Recognition with Giveaways

I would think they got business from the promotion. And, they definitely got brand recognition!

website and promoting business

Book Provides some good tips to make your website more effective

Of course, giveaways are also a great way to increase traffic to your website or blog or other social media platform. I was reviewing a book by Steve Johnsen, “Make your Website your #1 Employee” recently and it has some great tips to make your website work better for you.

As a matter of fact, one of the people that posted a review stated “I was literally on designcontest.com writing a project brief for a new landing page when my daily motivational message from Steve Chandler arrived, recommending this book.  2 hours later it was finished (the book) and the brief I put out is now a LOT better than it was before.

Increase Site Traffic with Contests

When looking to increase traffic with a contest, keep in mind that you don’t have to have an expensive giveaway. And, you don’t want the contest to require a lot of work (keep it simple, stupid). In other words, you want it to fun and/or easy to win.

Many companies just ask a few survey questions that help them understand their site visitors better. Remember, information is key for sustainable growth.

People Love Winning

People love winning a T-shirt or tumbler with a great graphic or funny saying. Or a useful smartphone app is also popular. It doesn’t have to be the great trips that I won that famed year.

You want it appealing so people will come to your site and participate. Now, keep in mind that your spikes in traffic will drop when the contest is over. Many will opt out of your site when they don’t win, but you should keep some of the traffic if you targeted well.

The success of your promotion will also depend on how well you publicize it. So, make sure your current audience is aware, encourage them to share it, and of course reach out through all your social media channels. Tweet about it, post a fun YouTube video about the giveaway, ask your community to support you by retweeting and posting within their community. And, there are websites that promote contests that may be a viable option if your social community is in the early stages.

Raffles Help to Raise Funds for Non-Profits

non profits and giveaways

A giveaway works well for non-profits to raise money for their cause

Many non-profit organizations use giveaways to raise funds and gain awareness. A couple of years ago an organization I was familiar with was selling $50 raffle tickets to raise money for scholarships. At first, I thought, “wow, that’s expensive”. But their goal was to raise $25,000 so they limited the number of tickets sold to 500. The grand prize was an all-expense paid 11-night European cruise.

I bought 3 tickets. I decided I wanted to support their cause and had a decent chance to win (much more than if they’d been selling unlimited tickets).

And I won! Remember I said I was lucky! Now, this was a couple of years ago and yes, I took the cruise. I had never sailed this cruise line before (they donated the cruise to the non-profit) and I loved it. As a matter of fact, I just returned from another European cruise on that same cruise line, which I paid for. And, I’ve told many people about it and have encouraged them to try it. Not only did the cruise line get publicity for their donation they also got at least one satisfied repeat customer!

Track Everything

tracking promotional giveaway success

Data is crucial for long-term success. Learn all you can about your customers and prospects all the time

One last consideration for your giveaways. Track your budget, track your customer leads, track your increase in traffic. Track everything. Look at your return your investment (don’t forget about your time as well). Was your promotional giveaway a success? How do you improve it for next time? Did you get the type of leads you were looking for? Did you get the increase in the type of traffic you wanted? If not, what needs to change.

Before you start planning your next promotional giveaway contest a thorough evaluation of your last one will help you continue to improve and increase your ROI time and time again.

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