Offering free things to your audience is a great way to build excitement, generate leads and inspire sales.
I mean after all, who doesn’t love receiving things for free?
When you offer items for free, whether it is a free download, a free e-course or even a free hat, research has shown that it can have a profound impact on your marketing campaign.
One study found that leads were increased by 34 percent on average when something was offered for free compared to when no free item was offered.
In fact, there are multiple benefits to offering your audience something for free, but there is a catch.
Sometimes offering a freebie doesn’t work and can actually cause detriment to your business and your brand.
Even if you may have the best of intentions when offering a free item, it may not always be received that way or work out the way you had planned.
Also, there are many free giveaways that happen over the internet and unfortunately, majority of these are a scam.
Online goers are very cautious about the word “free” and sometimes this can dampen even the best giveaways and prizes.
Having strings attached to your freebie can also cause your customers to loose trust for your brand and can even earn you a negative reputation online.
Sometimes offering free gifts can also fail miserably, causing your business to loose out on a lot of money and time.
As you can see while there are many benefits, there are also many pitfalls too.
If you want to experience the benefits of offering a freebie, but don’t want to fall in the trap of making a loss or costing your business its reputation, here is how to go about it-
1.) Create a Specific Goal (and stick with it)
The most important thing to determine before you offer anything for free is your goal.
You have to get super clear about what it is that you are trying to accomplish. This is going to help you to craft a solid campaign and will help you to keep your overall goal in mind-
Here are some examples of goals you might have to get you started-
- To increase your email list
- To increase social media followers
- To increase social media engagement
- To increase blog engagement
- To increase the number of backlinks
When you have specific goal it will help you to formulate your freebie and will help to ensure it is aligned with what your brand is hoping to achieve.
2.) Choose an Appropriate Freebie
Of course, one of the most important steps is to choose an appropriate freebie to offer your audience.
This is where a lot of brands get into trouble and loose sight of their original goal.
The best freebies to offer are ones that are relevant to your industry, but we see brands time and time again, offering freebies that have no relevance whatsoever, or choosing generic giveaways that are not really aligned with their brand.
The best freebies to offer are ones that represent your brand and what it stands for.
A good example of this comes from AirBnb. The company offered a free stay in an awesome location as one of their giveaways.
This is the perfect opportunity for Airbnb to showcase how unique they are and what they have to offer.
When you offer freebies that are aligned with your brand, your customers, leads and readers are also more likely to respond and are more likely to stick around.
When you offer a relevant freebie, the customers that join your email list or sign up to your social media channel are also more likely to have a genuine interest in your brand and are more likely to become customers down the track.
If you offer a generic gift that has nothing to do with your brand, the leads that you collect are likely to have no real interest in your products or services and in the long run, this can cost you.
3.) Make the Prize Equivalent to the Entry
Many brands also fail to consider this- offer a freebie valued at the amount of effort required to enter your competition.
If you are simply getting people to join your email list, you can get away with offering a free e-book or template for example. But, if you are asking people to buy a book, or a piece of expensive software, you may have to offer something more substantial.
Just the same, if the entry process is long and going to take up quite a bit of their time, you also need to consider offering a more substantial gift.
If you use the amount of effort it takes to enter the competition or qualify for the free gift into account, it will help you to choose the best and most appropriate gift.
After all, you can’t expect people to fill out a long survey or share your link with all their friends on social media, if you are not going to offer some type of substantial incentive.
4.) Consider Offering a Package Rather than a Single Item
To increase the conversion rates on your free giveaway, consider offering a package deal of freebies instead of just one single item.
Even if you only spend the same amount of money on the package deal as the single item, offering multiple freebies can drastically increase the perceived value.
When people see that multiple free gifts are on offer, they are more likely to engage and are more likely to follow through.
Experiment with offering a package deal that includes two or three complimentary free items.
For example, if you are offering a free “grow your business” package you could include a free e-book, a free e-course and a free business journal or planner.
5.) Offer Runners Up Prizes Too
Another way to increase the action behind your free give away is to offer runners up prizes.
Offering one grand prize is all very well, but your audience may not even consider entering if they don’t feel that they stand a chance to win.
When you offer multiple prizes it can make your audience feel more hopeful, which then incentivises them to enter.
For the runners up prizes, consider offering something of less value but that generates just as much excitement. This will definitely help to drastically increase entries.
6.) Choose the Perfect Duration
After you have chosen your prize or prizes, the next step is to choose the perfect duration that you are going to run your contest for.
According to research the best duration for a free giveaway is either 25 days or 60 days.
As a general rule of thumb, choosing a shorter time frame may be best for smaller prizes. For larger prizes such as free airline tickets and expensive electronics, you may want to consider trying a longer time frame.
This is something your brand will have to experiment with, but start with either 25 or 60 days and see which ones works best for your audience.
7.) Create a Landing Page
One of the most important steps to running an effective giveaway campaign is having an awesome landing page.
Your landing page needs to clearly communicate what they stand to win and what they need to do to qualify to win.
The idea is to make it as simple as possible so your audience knows exactly how to proceed and enter. One helpful suggestion would be to list the instructions in easy to follow steps that they can check off.
The most important thing to remember is to make entering your contest as easy as possible. If you make it hard to enter, or hard to understand, it is going to negatively impact on your conversions.
Here is a quick checklist for reference when it comes to your landing page-
- Make it simple and easy to follow
- Use clean colours and fonts that are easy to read
- Explain what the prize is
- Explain how they can enter
- Explain the terms and conditions
- Use high quality images
- Make sure entry to the contest is quick and easy
- List the steps they need to take in dot points
- Get them excited about the prize- make them feel as if they have a fair chance of winning
- Include social proof to help validate or get people interested e.g. “1000 entries received so far!”
8.) Collect Data
Another important thing to keep in mind when running a contest is the type of information you are going to collect.
On one hand you don’t want to turn entrants away by asking for all of their personal information, but at the same time you want to collect enough information to make the contest worthwhile for your brand.
When it comes to determining what information you should ask, the best rule of thumb is to only ask for the information that you need.
This will help you to ensure that you are not detracting entrants but that you are also receiving the data you need.
As a guide, here is the percentage of internet users willing to offer over certain personal information-
- 100 percent of internet goers were happy offer their email address
- 93 percent of internet goers were happy to offer their first name
- 92 percent of internet goers were happy to offer their last name
- 64 percent of internet goers were happy to offer their age or age range
- 52 percent of internet goers were happy to offer their country of residence
- 30 percent of internet goers were happy to offer their address
As you can see, not many people have a problem with sharing their email, but many will not offer their postal address.
Using these statistics as a guide will help you to know what you should ask and what is best left alone.
9.) Make a Big Announcement of the Winner
Another great way to get your audience excited is to make the announcement of the winner a grand affair. Perhaps set up a Facebook Live or dedicate a social media post to the winner.
Whatever you do, try to create some fanfare in order to get people interested. People are more likely to share and watch this type of content, so use this to your advantage.
When you make a big deal of the announcement, it also helps others to see that there really is a winner and that the contest was not a scam. It also makes people more likely to sign up the next time you choose to offer a similar contest.
Building buzz around your giveaway is important, but don’t let it fizzle out towards the end. Go out with a bang instead and see how that also helps to peak interest and curiosity.
10.) Choose the Right Platform
When you run a contest, we highly recommend running it across platforms. This will help you to get the most exposure and the most sign ups, however this is not always possible.
Different platforms may require a different set of rules and this may make it tricky to keep your contest the same for every platform.
If you can’t run your contest across multiple platforms, it is very important to choose the platform that is going to showcase your giveaway the best and speak to your audience the best.
No matter what platform you choose to run your giveaway, you also need to ensure that the way you market it is aligned with the platform itself.
For example, on Instagram you may include a great image, whereas on Facebook you may share your landing page and more written information.
Even if you are only running your competition on Instagram for example, you can also promote it on other social networks or through your email list as well.
It is also important to note that competitions and giveaways that are mobile friendly help to increase conversions by as much as eight times.
Mobile devices are increasingly becoming more and more popular for internet browsing, so making your contest mobile friendly is definitely going to help.
The bottom line is that you want to promote your competition across as many channels as possible, even if it is just directly targeted to one social network.
When done correctly, online giveaways can help to boost your marketing efforts and score you more leads and more sales.
The trick is to offer a freebie that really relates to your brand and audience and to ensure that you keep all your promotional efforts aligned with your bigger goal in mind.
Here are the main points of this article summarised in bullet form for quick reference-
- Running a free give away campaign can help to boost leads by 34 percent
- Before offering any freebie, consider your goal- make it as specific as possible
- Choose an appropriate prize that your audience will find value in
- The more specific to your brand your prize is, the more likely you are to collect valuable leads that are interested in your products and services for the long term
- Make the prize value equivalent to the time and effort it takes to enter your competition
- Consider offering a package deal of freebies rather than just one item, even if the cost is not greater, it helps to increase the perceived value of your free item and what you are offering
- Offer multiple prizes in order to increase entry rates and get people excited about your competition- make them feel like there is more than one chance to win
- Make your contest last for 25 days or 60 days, these timeframes were studied as being the best for conversion rates and for engagement across all platforms
- Create an awesome landing page that clearly highlights the prize and how to win
- Make sure your landing page is easy to read and has step by step instructions that users can easily follow
- Ask for the right information when running your contest- don’t ask for invasive personal information but don’t hold back on collecting the data that you need to fulfil your goal
- Studies have shown that people have no problem offering their email address for a competition, however people are less likely to offer up their postal address
- When it comes to announcing the winner, make it a big deal; get people excited as this will help to generate interest and will make people more likely to join in next time
- Choose the right platform to promote and run your contest- be sure to include mobile devices
- Even if your contest is only run one platform, discover a way to promote it as much as possible across all platforms that you have
- Running your contest on a mobile platform has shown to increase conversions by nearly 8 times
So there you have it. These 10 steps will show you the right way to go about offering a free giveaway so you can be certain that your brand doesn’t loose out on money or time.
When you set a specific goal in mind and make that the intention behind everything you do, it will help your free giveaway to be successful every single time.