Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tips for hosting a successful giveaway on your blog

Here are a few things I learned from running my first eight giveaways on my blog. I'm still new to this, so don't be fooled into thinking I'm an expert! But I did learn a few things (and form a few opinions,) and I figured I'd share them. Let me know if you have any more to add to the list!

1. Don't rely on your blog's Facebook page as your only method of spreading the word about your giveaway(s), especially if you don't have a gigantic Facebook following. Facebook wants you to pay to promote your posts, so it doesn't show them to everyone unless you pay or get a lot of people to like or comment on each individual post. Every day of my giveaways, the posts were shown to fewer and fewer people, even though I got more new fans each day. So for my sixth giveaway, when I had 207 Facebook fans, I posted the link, and in almost two hours, Facebook showed it to one person... me. It wasn't until I was whining about it on my personal Facebook page and a few friends intentionally went to my blog's Facebook page to look at and like my post that it was made visible to more people.

And I had more than one Facebook fan online at the time. I checked.

2. Do submit your giveaway to as many giveaway lists as you can! Some of the lists that got a good amount of traffic for my giveaways were:

     - Money Saving Mom
     - Tightwad in Utah (Only posts giveaways with fewer than 200 entries that end in one week or less.)

3. Don't host a giveaway for something that you wouldn't want to buy. Sometimes it's tempting to host a giveaway because you want more traffic and you can get a free product for yourself, but if it's not something that you'd want to spend money on, it's a hard sell as a giveaway. I've been contacted to do a handful of reviews and giveaways that I turned down, even though I would have gotten free stuff if I'd said yes, because I didn't feel like I could be honest and genuine when encouraging other people to buy the products. One company contacted me to do some reviews and giveaways of office supplies, but... I'm a stay-at-home mom. I don't buy office supplies, so I'm not going to try to convince anyone else to buy them or even enter to win them for free. When I set up my eight non-toy gift giveaways, I searched on Etsy for really cool products that I would genuinely want to buy, checked the reviews to make sure they were good, and only then did I ask the sellers to participate.

4. Do realize that it's going to be more work than you think it will be. It sounds easy: you're giving things away for free. Everyone likes free, right? But getting people to find out about the giveaway and actually take the time to enter takes work. And writing quality posts, taking good pictures, and setting up the giveaways all take work, too. That's another reason you don't want to host a giveaway for something you wouldn't buy. You don't want to put hours of work into a giveaway if all you're going to get in return is a free can of creamed corn and one Facebook like. (Unless you really like creamed corn, I guess.)

5. Do stalk other blog giveaways to see what works and what doesn't.  This will give you a chance to check out the different options for having people enter your giveaways (I used Rafflecopter, but there are other great options out there, too.) Plus, you can get a feel for how people run their giveaways and what you like or don't like about them. Which brings me to my next point...

6. Don't offer too many entry options. While I was checking out other giveaways, I came across a giveaway that had 139 entry options. (Yes, I counted.) 30-something of the entry options were "liking" the Facebook pages of the people who contributed products to the giveaway. And I seriously, seriously doubt that many people (if any) liked all of the Facebook pages. Which means that the participants at the bottom of the list weren't really getting any exposure in exchange for the product they provided for the giveaway. Plus it's kind of overwhelming. I wanted a gift card and some free products, but not enough to do 139 different things to get them. Plus, some of the giveaway lists (like Tightwad in Utah) only allow you to list your giveaway if there are less than 200 entries (regardless of the number of entrants), so if you give people the option of getting lots of entries into your giveaway, you run the risk of not being able to list your giveaway on the low entry lists, even if you only have a handful of entrants. This is just my personal opinion, but I think you should try to keep it below 10 entry options.

7. Don't make liking a Facebook page the only entry option (or a mandatory entry option.) Believe it or not, there are people who don't have a Facebook account but who do want to enter online giveaways. One of my friends doesn't have a Facebook account, but she has three young kids and she still entered all of my giveaways. Several other people whom I don't know also entered using some of the options but not the Facebook ones, so it's possible they don't have Facebook accounts either. If you require people to have a Facebook page in order to enter, you're preventing some people who might be interested in the product from entering for a chance to win it. Even if one of your main goals in hosting a giveaway is getting more Facebook fans, you can still do that without requiring it.

8. Do have some friends enter your giveaway and provide you with feedback. Especially if you're new to giveaways and don't have a tried and true system yet. My friend Teri entered my first giveaway while she was on the phone with me and gave me feedback as she did it. Thanks to her, I realized that I needed to add a "Pin it" button to my photos (since pinning one of them was an entry option) and that some of my wording was a little confusing.

So there you have it. My non-expert advice on hosting a giveaway. For those of you who have done blog giveaways before, what advice would you add? And if you've entered blog giveaways, what do you (or don't you) like about some of the giveaways you've entered?

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  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. :) And it was fabulous even though I didn't win!! :)

  3. These are great! I'm just getting into giveaways and can still use all the help I can get! I'd love to know: what's your opinion on having other bloggers share the entry form on their blog as well. I know some people are against it, but it seems a great way to get more eyes on the giveaway. Thoughts? (If you have the time. If not, then just great post! lol)

    1. You know, I really don't know!! It seems like especially if you have a smaller blog following (like me), this might sweeten the deal for companies or Etsy shops if you could say "Your product would be featured on three different blogs" instead of just one. What I really don't like is when you go to enter a giveaway, the directions are something like "Visit and follow each of these four blogs and then share each one on Facebook to get an entry." If it's too complicated, I don't enter at all. But I think maybe just having someone else host the giveaway widget (in exchange for an extra entry option for liking their Facebook page, for example) might be good. I haven't tried it yet, though. Maybe someone else who has hosted more giveaways can weigh in?

  4. Hi! I'm stopping by from SITS, and I'm so glad I found you and this post! I have been thinking about a giveaway, but have no idea what on Earth I'm doing. This is so helpful! Thank you!!

    1. I'm glad you found it helpful! Good luck with your giveaways!

  5. Hello! I am just beginning to get my feet wet in beginning blogging and all the good stuff that goes with it. I hope you don't mind that I shared this particular post on my facebook page at I thought it was an excellent source for those newbies to the blogging world like me, and it might help others who are asking themselves the same questions about giveaways, but aren't asking out loud...if you know what I mean! lol. Thanks for the hints!