Why giveaways

Over the past few years or so we’ve run a lot of giveaways. Mainly through our Vancity Feature network (#VancityGiveaways) but also for a number of our clients, and we’ve got some great results! I like giveaways because they do a few things really well:


❤ They get your audience engaged

When you run a giveaway and you outline the steps needed for someone to enter, that’s where you can get creative and determine what results you want from this campaign (comments, followers, emails… etc), and how can you get people talking beyond just tagging a friend in the comments. One thing we’ve done in the past is ask our audience to follow our page, and leave a comment describing how you would use this particular prize if won. So we’re getting our audience thinking and being creative with how they envision using the product and seeing how it fits into their life. Only one person is going to win, but everyone else that didn’t win still sees a need for the product given that they left a comment so this is your chance to follow up with them, whether over social media, DM’s, or email, and offer them a discount or a free something/ incentive. Either you’ll earn a few new customers, or at the very least you’ll end up having conversations with lots of new potential customers that you can now continue to add value to over social media in the days and weeks to come.


???? They support growth efforts for both social media and your email list, big time

Whether you want to increase your Instagram followers, Facebook likes or your email list, the giveaway opt-in process is where you determine what channels you want to grow. Often times what we do when possible is drive our audience to a landing page where the user enters their email and after doing so is presented with options to gain bonus entries, such as “visit our website for 3 extra entries” or “subscribe to our YouTube channel for 2 extra entries”… etc. If you’re successful at driving traffic to the landing page and getting people to opt-in, you’ll be surprised at what percentage of users will go the extra mile for those bonus entries, which makes every opt-in just that much more valuable.


???? They’re a value add for your audience

Yes, only one, or two, or five people are going to win your giveaway depending on what structure you select. But for the few people that do win, that’s a pretty sweet score of tickets, or dinner for two, or gift cards to that swanky new apparel shop, that came from simply entering a contest on social media. Not bad for a few minutes of effort! I won’t lie, I always feel bad for everyone that doesn’t win and when it comes to picking a winner I just want to select everyone. This is where I think there’s room to innovate on the typical giveaway structure and find ways to add value to every single person that participates. We’re always thinking of ways to go about this, so just something to keep in mind when planning your next giveaway or contest.


???? They get you product exposure and help generate buzz

We’ve done a few giveaways specifically with the goal of raising awareness and creating buzz around the launch of new products, such as premium water proof jackets, or a Spring/Summer pants collection. Making the prize an item from your launch helps gauge excitement for the product and fuels conversations, engagements, and reach. This is also a good opportunity to collaborate with influencers to either host or promote the giveaway which really helps amplify overall awareness and interest with a bigger audience.


???? They’re inexpensive to execute and generally have good ROI

When done right, giveaways don’t have to be all that expensive. You’ve got the cost of the giveaway items themselves, the time you need to organize, execute and manage things, and the budget you want to put into paid media to get the word out there. By the way, part of organizing, executing, and managing things means thinking of a creative concept to use for launch which takes time. Will you invest in fresh content that’s specific to this campaign, or save time/ money and re-purpose old content? When can you spend time shooting new content… etc? With that said, if you’re efficient and organized with your setup and planning, and you have product to spare for the prize, you should try to leverage your budget on the paid media side of things so you can work with influencers and run social ads.


???? They’re fun! Both from a marketers and audiences perspective

We all love a shot at winning something cool! And as a marketer usually on the other end of things where I can’t be eligible to win, it’s still very satisfying running a smooth, successful, good-looking giveaway that get’s results. So if you’re looking for a campaign to liven things up on your channel and get people talking again, a good ol’ sweepstakes can definitely help with that.


Alright, that was a lot… let’s take a quick breath of fresh air with this photo we took from Vancouver Island a few years ago. Then let’s get back to it!


What makes a great giveaway

After doing a ton of these, we’ve noticed time and time again that there’s a few key pieces to a giveaway campaign that make all the difference in it’s results. Keep these in consideration and you’ll be off to a good start already.


✔ Good planning & execution: Giveaway’s by nature aren’t all that technically challenging, but there is a good amount of organizing, communication and planning ahead that needs to be considered. What day of the week and time of day will you launch on, how long will you run the giveaway for, will you partner with anyone to help promote/ host, what content will make sense for this to launch and promote throughout the campaign duration… etc, all good questions to ask. Some of the core area’s to cover in this planning process include: campaign goals, timeline, marketing strategy, copy writing (for launch posts, reinforcement posts, email blast, collaborators… etc), and strategic partnering, which we’ll cover more on the next point. One thing I want to emphasize here is to really have your launch dialed before you go live. Know when you’re posting, communicate with anyone necessary, have your caption written out and hashtags prepared… those kinds of things. You want people to start entering as soon as the giveaway goes live so posting at time that makes sense for your channel aka when your audience is online is always a good idea. The smoother launch goes, the more people that enter right away and serve as social proof which then encourages more people to enter, and the cycle continues.


✔ Well thought out content: your ability to come up with a creative concept to package your giveaway in, and either curate or create content specific for the campaign is imperative. The better the content, the better it will perform, the more people that will see it, the more people that will enter… and so forth. Also, think about what content you’ll need for the launch post, for the posts to reinforce the giveaway during the campaign, and the posts that can be used on the Instagram feed and story, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and social ads. If you’re partnering with influencers or media networks to host or promote the giveaway, what content do you want them using? Thinking about all of this ahead of schedule and allowing yourself enough time to produce and organize these assets will come in handy!


✔ A clear and smooth opt-in process: the better you can communicate and facilitate the process to enter the contest, the less friction you create when someone decides to enter or not. This is done through your copy on the launch post, the ease of access to a landing page if there is one, the speed of that landing page and it’s overall design, and how many steps you make the audience go through to enter. Depending on the prize and type of relationship you have with your audience, people will follow 4, 5, 6 or even more steps IF it’s well presented so don’t think that you need to keep things easy, just make sure it’s clear and efficient. If you are going with a landing page setup by the way, make sure you give some thought towards what platform you’ll use to host whether that’s your company blog or and Unbounce splash page for example, this takes some time and skill to setup so make sure you’re ready for that. Another thing to consider when having people opt-in by email, is the terms and conditions that are legally required in your province or state. Make sure those are available and properly filled out so you’re covered legally speaking, and so that you’re able to follow up on those emails for marketing purposes afterwards. Be sure to do your research here or contact a local legal expert to ensure you are in 100-percent compliance with all laws applicable to you.


✔ Promote your giveaway: I’ve talked about promoting your giveaway in a few different area’s of this blog already, but I wanted to have a separate bullet just for this. We talk about considering a creative or strategic partner in the next point, but what are the other ways you could promote your giveaway? Well, first and foremost use all your social media channels to drive awareness for the campaign. Depending on what social channel you decide to host your giveaway on, or if you run the campaign on multiple channels and encourage entries on each channel for extra entries, be sure to engage your audience wherever possible (including your email newsletter if you have one, and website). Next thing, leverage ads to drive more people to your campaign. This could be on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest, Google… etc! Lots of options, give some thought on what ones make most sense for you. Another option to consider is using directories. Depending on what you’re giving away and where, there’s many sites, blogs, forums… etc, that you can submit your contest to and have link back to your campaign. The last thing I’ll mention here is, if you have physical storefront then put up some signage or make it known somehow to customers that you have a giveaway going on.


✔ Creative & strategic partnering: This is the arguably the most fun part. When you think about your product that you’ll be offering up as a prize, start envisioning who would make a great host or promoter of your giveaway. If you want to host your own giveaway and keep the engagement on your page, think about who out there in the your local community or online network would be happy to help promote by driving their audience to your giveaway. This could be influencers, media networks, or bloggers, and it can be as simple as them mentioning your giveaway to their audience or being more deeply involved throughout the campaign. On the other side, as a brand you could have a product that you want to give away and instead of hosting a campaign yourself, have it live on a collaborater’s channel. Again, this could be influencer, media network, or blogger, and they can frame it as “Hey fam! I teamed up with @xbrand to giveaway a new bathing suit to 5 lucky people! These bathing suits are from the brand new 2018 summer collection at @xbrand, and to enter simply follow the instructions below…” for example. This influencer should have a large and established audience so that they can more easily drum up big interest for your product, more so than you’d be able to do by hosting the contest yourself. What I’m describing here is what we do on our Vancity Feature network quite often. As I mentioned, a large part of the 25+ giveaways we’ve run over the past few years have been through that community and further down in this article I share some examples to give you a better idea on what that looks like, and how it might make sense for your brand to consider a creative and strategic partner for your campaign.


Examples to get you thinking

Below are five examples from past giveaway’s we’ve run on our Vancity Feature network and one from our client, Cinetics. Things to pay attention to on these examples would be content we used for launch posts, captions to support that content, format on how people enter, the types of brands we collaborated with as Vancity Feature, and for the Cinetics giveaway have a look at those comments that came in. That’s what I mean when I say “giveaways get your audience engaged, beyond just tagging someone in the comments.”


Vancity Feature x The Vancouver Lookout


Vancity Feature x Baro Drywear


Vancity Feature x Taste of Yaletown


Vancity Feature x Original Joe’s


Cinetics Gear Giveaway


Let’s wrap up

Alright this post is getting long so I’ll leave it at that for now. Hopefully some of this has been helpful though, and if you have any additional questions, ideas, or tips that have worked well for you in the past, please leave a comment below and let’s continue the conversation! Thanks for reading, and good luck on your next giveaway campaign! ????