Launching a new product or service? Looking for ways to create a buzz and drive traffic to your online store?
Giveaways, contests and sweepstakes can be extremely effective for growing your ecommerce brand, but only if executed well. Run the right promotion and you can attract new customers, grow your email list, increase social followers, and ultimately drive more sales. Run the wrong one and you could just burn through your marketing budget with little to show for it.
So how do you run giveaways that get real results?
In this post, we’ll share 10 tactics and examples to help you create giveaways that hook new customers and ramp up revenue. You’ll find strategies for:
Creative and strategic prizing
Promoting your giveaway
Viral contest formats
Optimizing entry options
With these tips under your belt, you’ll be ready to launch giveaways that maximize exposure, engagement, and bottom-line sales. Let’s dive in!
Creative Giveaway Prize Ideas
First things first - you need prizes enticing enough to get people excited about entering. Gone are the days when a branded t-shirt would suffice. Today’s customers want experiences, exclusivity, and real value.
Here are five creative prizing tactics we recommend:
Trips, classes, tickets, and other experiential prizes create serious buzz. For example, outdoor apparel brand Backcountry gave away a $10,000 dream ski vacation. Entering was as simple as sharing a photo on Instagram, which helped them generate over 17,000 entries.
Brands without deep pockets can get creative on a budget too. For example, you could give away a one-on-one Skype or Zoom mentoring session with your founder. Experiences create lasting memories that deepen the customer relationship.
Rather than offering a single grand prize, consider creating tiers like 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. This increases the number of prizes and makes more people feel like they have a shot.
For example, if you sell eco-friendly bath products, 1st place could be a year's supply of products, 2nd place a 6-month supply, and 3rd place a 3-month supply.
Limited edition and advance access products make enticing prizes that attract influencers and loyal brand fans.
For example, Dagne Dover gave away limited-edition tote bags. Tula Skincare awarded early access to new products months before their wide release. Both of these exclusive offers helped build buzz.
High perceived value
Sometimes it’s more about the perceived value than actual cost. For example, incentives like free shipping for a year or a large gift card create excitement.
Vitamin company Care/of gave away a $500 gift card as a referral bonus. For an ecommerce site, a high dollar gift card feels like a big win for entrants.
Align your giveaway with a charity or cause to increase goodwill. For example, sustainable fashion brand Reformation donated $10 to environmentally-friendly charities for every contest entry.
You can drive more entries (and social shares) when participation means more than just personal gain.
Strategic Giveaway Promotion Ideas
You could have the most exciting prizes in the world, but if no one enters, your giveaway flops. Promotion is critical.
Here are five giveaway promotion strategies we recommend:
Influencers help giveaways gain visibility. Reach out to relevant bloggers, YouTubers and Instagrammers with an audience that overlaps your target market. See if they’re open to promoting your contest in exchange for a free product sample or monetary compensation.
Even micro-influencers with 5,000 - 30,000 engaged followers can be valuable promotion partners. They tend to have higher engagement rates and be more affordable than celeb-level influencers.
User-generated content contest
User-generated content (UGC) contests engage customers by getting them to create images and posts promoting your brand.
For example, have entrants post a photo on Instagram featuring your product. UGC contests help increase brand awareness and expose your giveaway to new audiences organically.
Emailing your subscriber list about the giveaway nets the highest number of entries, since it targets existing fans. Send a dedicated contest announcement email with details.
Make sure to remind subscribers by promoting it in your normal marketing emails as well. Include links to the sign-up form in your email footer or dedicated giveaway section.
Social media ads
Run paid social media promotions to get your contest in front of new audiences outside your current followers. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest ads can expose your brand to relevant audiences and convert them into entrants.
Website & social promotion
Of course, promote the heck out of it on your own website and social channels too. Share blog posts, videos, photos and stories that showcase your prizes and make entering as easy as possible.
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Viral & Creative Giveaway Formats
Beyond prizes and promotion, the giveaway format itself impact whether it takes off or flops. Here are five formats that can help your contest go viral:
As mentioned above, photo contests that require user-generated image submissions tend to take off since they’re highly visual and participatory. Images help showcase your brand creatively.
Outdoor brand Rumpl got over 10,000 Instagram photo entries when they ran a context encouraging people to share how they use Rumpl blankets outdoors.
The key to a hashtag giveaway is requiring participants to share a branded hashtag. This exponentially increases visibility as their networks see it.
For example, GoldberghActivewear ran an Instagram giveaway asking people to share workout photos with their hashtag #strongerwithgoldbergh. This helped spread brand awareness well beyond their own followers.
Loop giveaways encourage repeat participation by allowing entrants to gain additional entries for each friend they get to sign up.
Encourage sharing with language like “Tag 3 friends for extra entries!” This exponentially spreads the promotion and makes it competitive.
Similarly, refer-a-friend programs reward entrants when friends enter the contest. You can make it tiered: share on social media for 1 extra entry, get a friend to enter for 5 extra entries, etc.
Referral giveaways are powerful: 77% of online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase when referred by a friend.
Answer a question
Rather than just having people enter email addresses, make it interactive by having them answer a question like “How would you use our product in your life?” This makes entry more engaging.
For example, packaging company noissue grew their email list by 19,000+ subscribers by having people explain their business need for custom mailer boxes.
Optimizing Giveaway Entry Options
In addition to a compelling prize and format, smartly crafted giveaway entry options impact whether people actually take the leap to participate.
Here are three entry optimization tips:
Fewer form fields
Minimize the number of form fields to increase conversion rate. Only ask for the bare minimum information needed for prize fulfillment like email and name. The shorter your form, the more entries you’ll get.
Social entry alternatives
Don’t force entrants to only use cumbersome forms. Give social entry alternatives to lower barriers. Let people enter by following you on Instagram, subscribing on YouTube, pinning an image on Pinterest, etc.
Creative extra entry options
Increase entries (and social engagement) by offering easy extra entry options. Examples include liking your Facebook page, tagging friends on Instagram, signing up for your email list, watching a video, etc.
Make these “one-click” social actions to maximize conversion rate. The more paths you provide to enter, the more entries you’ll get.
Real-World Giveaway Examples
Need more inspiration? Here are some stellar examples of real ecommerce giveaways. Steal these creative strategies:
Example #1: Social giveaway
What they did: Fabletics gave away $500 shopping sprees to 5 lucky winners who liked and commented on an Instagram photo showcasing new workout outfit styles.
Why it worked:
High perceived value prize
Easy social entry mechanic
Drove 8,000+ likes and comments
Example #2: Referral giveaway
What they did: Brooklinen offered 25 chances to win free sheets when customers referred friends to purchase from Brooklinen’s site.
Why it worked:
Encouraged viral shares and referrals
Drove sales along with giveaway entries
Grew their email subscriber list
Example #3: UGC giveaway
What they did: Away luggage had Instagram followers post travel photos with their suitcases in exotic global locales for a chance to win a $5,000 travel voucher.
Why it worked:
Visually engaging user-generated content
Expanded brand and contest reach virally
Showcased their products creatively
Example #4: Video submission giveaway
What they did: ThirdLove had entrants create a video reviewing their perfect-fit bra for a chance to win $1,000 and other prizes.
Why it worked:
Captured entertaining user-generated video content
Increased brand engagement and awareness
Let creativity shine with a flexible contest mechanic
Giveaways That Deliver Real Results
As you can see, well-run giveaways, sweepstakes, and contests present an opportunity to creatively engage your audience and accomplish key marketing goals. With strategic prizes and smart promotion, you can gain loads of new subscribers and social followers.
But don’t forget the end goal: driving revenue. Use giveaways to acquire new customers, convince existing ones to purchase again, and ultimately boost sales.
Now that you’ve got strategies for running creative, viral giveaways across platforms like Instagram, Facebook and email, it’s time to launch your next big promotion. We can’t wait to see the buzz you generate and the new customers you attract.
Just remember - give generously, market smartly, and reap the revenue rewards. Take inspiration from these examples, tailor ideas to fit your brand, and craft the perfect giveaway for converting new fans into lifelong customers.
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