One of the best kept marketing secrets has to be marketing giveaways. It’s a powerful marketing tactic that can help grow your business.
Marketing giveaways are a great way to generate interest in your brand, generate leads, and get people to buy your products. They are also a great way to reach out to new audiences and build your following.
What are Promotional Marketing Giveaways
Marketing giveaways are a very effective promotional tool. The idea behind it is that you offer something of value to the winner of the competition or drawing.
Everybody loves a getting something for nothing. As a matter of fact, “FR*E” is still one of the most potent words you can include in any advertising message… so overused, you have to “mask” it to avoid being labeled as spammy. Fr*e is followed closely in popularity by the word “Win”. Getting something for nothing will always have a timeless appeal.
Benefits of Marketing Giveaways
Contests and sweepstakes can create a lot of buzz for your business. Talk about “marketing magic,” a well structured sweepstakes or contest can generate a lot of word-of-mouth marketing for your business.
Want to learn more about your target audience? Marketing giveaways are a great way to do marketing research. You can collect valuable information such as names, addresses, phone numbers and other contact information that you might have trouble collecting in any other manner. This is also an opportunity to get answers to any of your marketing research questions.
Contests are an incredibly cost effective promotional tool. You get a lot of bang for your buck by putting together a marketing giveaway. Not only is it a great way to create word-of-mouth marketing, but it can also generate free PR as well.
Giveaways, Sweepstakes, Contests and Lotteries – oh my!
Marketing giveaways are so lucrative, there are a lot of laws governing them.
This is really, really important. I AM NOT A LAWYER. This should not be considered legal advice. Be sure to check with a local attorney to make sure that your giveaway, or sweepstakes, or contest is legal in your area.
Before checking in with your legal counsel, let’s define some terms.
There are two types of giveaways. There are sweepstakes and there are contests. A sweepstake is a luck-based promotion with winners chosen at random. A contest is a skill-based promotion with winners chosen on merit.
Sweepstakes, and contests share a lot in common with lotteries. Sweepstakes, and contests are a legal means of promoting your business in most of the US. However, no matter where you are in the US, a lottery is not legal. (Charitable organizations and nonprofits are often allowed to hold “raffles” but again, check with a local attorney before proceeding.)
State governments are the only entities allowed to operate a lottery. So, before you engage in contest marketing, you need to make sure that your sweepstakes, giveaways or contests do not cross into the lottery category.
A lottery has a lot in common sweepstakes, and contests. In all three, something of value is distributed to the winner. In the case of a sweepstakes, the winner is determined by a random drawing.
You can not require people make a purchase to enter. This is where you will get into legal trouble with your marketing giveaway. That’s why you’ll see the disclaimer “no purchase necessary” on sweepstakes and contest materials.
How to Use Marketing Giveaways to Generate Leads & Increase Sales
Contests and sweepstakes are great ways to generate leads and increase sales. However, like every marketing tactic, you need to keep your marketing strategy in mind.
What goal do you want to accomplish with this promotion? Do you want to generate leads? Increase foot traffic? Increase web site traffic?
Once you’ve identified a goal, choose your prize based upon your target audience. Don’t know who your target audience is? Then a marketing giveaway can help you determine that as well.
Real Life Example
Years ago, I worked in sales at a radio station. After being promoted to sales manager, I set up several promotional marketing giveaways. They were a great way to sell ads to advertisers. They were also valuable to advertisers who used the registration information to generate sales leads.
The goals of these marketing giveaways was to generate radio advertising sales. Local businesses could buy sponsorship packages. The sponsor locations are where registrations were collected. We required the entrants provide their name, address and phone number on a slip of paper to enter. The station’s general manager added the required, “No purchase necessary to enter” to the promotional materials. Sponsors knew they couldn’t require a purchase be made to enter. In order to enter, people either had to physically walk into the sponsor’s locations to enter the contest. The other option was to come into the radio station. The station did a heavy rotation of spots to promote the contest, sponsors and the grand prize.
Keeping the goal in mind
I always made sure that the grand prize was an expensive product from a local business that would appeal to a broad market.
I chose a prize with widespread appeal to provide valuable foot traffic to the sponsors. Sponsors were thrilled to see new faces coming in, even if it was just to enter the contest.
Your audience should determine the prize you offer. The goal of your promotion also plays a role in the prize you offer. However, the most important factor is to choose a prize that is valuable.
In the example above, we chose a desirable high ticket item as the grand prize.
Determining the prize you’ll offer plays an important role in the success (or failure) of your contest.
In exchange for the value of the grand prize, the station included radio ads plus they gave the registration forms to the owner of the business. I suggested to one owner that he send each entrant a letter/ The letter shared who won the prize and thanked them for entering the contest. As a “consolation prize” he offered 20% off their next purchase at his store.
Determining the Prize
The goal of the radio station’s promotional giveaway was to sell advertising. However, if you’re not a media outlet, you’ll need to find different prizes for your contest.
Below you’ll see examples of the prizes offered in three different March Madness promotions. I’m going to rip one site pretty hard, so they will all remain nameless. Each site was offering their own version of a March Madness giveaway. The prizes were as follows:
- Bahamas Cruise + $500 cash
- 20,000 free accounts for your readers
- a $500 cash prize thanks to the blog’s author’s tax refund.
Let’s take a look at each of these promotional giveaways.
Bahamas Cruise + $500 cash
This giveaway was part of an affiliate sales contest. The prize itself doesn’t need to target a niche audience. Why? Because the way to enter the contest was by making affiliate sales.
It was a great promotion because everyone who lives north of Florida is sick of winter by March. Promoting this contest with images of palm trees and blue seas made this a positively INSPIRED prize! Even though I live south of Orlando, a cruise in March still sounds MIGHTY appealing!
20,000 free accounts for your readers
This giveaway targeted online influencers. By offering 20,000 free accounts with their site means there are a lot of winners. It was a great way to get an influx of new users. If you weren’t an influencer, then you probably wouldn’t sign up because the site had little value for you.
This is an example of an IDEAL promotional marketing giveaway. The prize itself was only valuable to the target audience and the sheer number of prizes offered got it a lot of attention.
A $500 cash prize thanks to the blog’s author’s tax refund.
Cringe! This marketing giveaway was the brainchild of a “marketing expert.” The optics on this are just so bad in so many ways. First, he doesn’t have a specific goal in mind. Obviously when he first set it up, the goal was to get you to subscribe to his newsletter. However, as time went on, scope creep set in. He obviously rounded up about a dozen “sponsors” who are also giving away their products and services as ancillary contests on his site. By the time I got there, in order to enter, one had to follow a 4 steps to a complex linking schedule to two other sites in addition to the links to his site.
Creative packaging of your contest is essential to success.
If I were “packaging” the final contest, I would have:
- Created the initial blog post title to include the word “contest” or “give away”. (Let readers know up front what’s going on.)
- Advertise the prize as a cumulative figure. For example, “Cash and prizes valued at $1500. Why hype a $500 cash prize when you could be promoting the entire prize package valued at $1500?
- Don’t make it difficult to enter the contest. Part of the charm of “winning” a “free” prize is you don’t have to work for it!
As for telling readers that you got a cash refund and that’s how you’re funding your grand prize – ewww!
Conclusion: Using Marketing Giveaways to Promote Your Business
Marketing Giveaways can be the most effective marketing you do for your business. However, you need to establish a goal for the promotion before you begin. Do you want to generate leads? Increase foot traffic or web site traffic? Increase sign ups for your newsletter?
Pick your prize with your target audience in mind. Also, take note that when I was putting together a promotional giveaway for the radio station, I choose a prize with broad appeal. Unless you’re trying to discover your target audience, pick something that will appeal to your target audience.
This post was updated on 9/08/2022 for content.