It's a tactic that's been used since the dawn of time - giveaways are one of the best ways to stimulate interest in your product, because people like to tell other people about free things. And if you can get people talking about your brand as a result, you're essentially turning your audience into marketers on your behalf.
Here are five ways you can use giveaways to promote interest in your brand, from typical social media venues to blog advertising.
1. The Lucky Winner
The human brain is naturally drawn to the word "win". Look at the lottery system - regardless of the odds, folks spend millions on an "investment" they know isn't likely to pay off. Why? Because every once in a while, someone wins and ignites hope. When you do a giveaway, let someone win right away. Advertise the lucky winner on your Facebook page, your Twitter account, your newsletter - and, this is important - keep the game going to keep hope alive for your audience. Another perk: the winner will be eager to share his or her success (thus encouraging his or her friends to enter). Recurring giveaway events (such as "one lucky winner every month") are a great way to maintain interest.
2. Everybody Wins
Friends help friends. If a potential customer sees an offer for a free $5 Starbucks card with every purchase of your product, they'll not only be inclined to take advantage of the offer, but to share it with their coffee-loving friends. People have a desire to help others, which you can tap into - and it works. Setting a limit encourages the customer to act immediately (for example, the first 100 yoga mat purchases from your website include a free exercise DVD.)
3. Recruit current customers
Use giveaways to turn your current customers into a valuable marketing resource - offer a free item for each new customer they recruit or a free item for an honest review of your brand on Amazon. You can talk about your product until you're blue in the face, but people trust "regular" people's experiences and opinions over someone who (in their eyes) will say anything to take their money. As a bonus, this method promotes brand loyalty among your current customers.
4. Engage the Philanthropist
"The lucky winner will have $100 donated to the charity of his/her choice", "10% of every sale is donated to The Human Fund". Most people are passionate about a cause - animal rescue, helping the homeless, food for starving children in Africa, etc. If the sale of your product benefits both the customer and those in need, you're meeting a basic human desire to do good things. If you can get the charity itself to advertise the offer, even better. Bonus? You're promoting something worthwhile.
5. Target Your Niche Audience
You can find blogs, websites, and message boards on virtually any topic. Imagine a well-known pet health blogger who posts that your pet medical insurance company is giving away free catnip mice or chew toys to all new customers. You've just reached an audience that's already interested in the topic, and combined the offer of your already fantastic product with a bonus.
Here's another option: Some blogs exist solely for the purpose of promoting giveaway events. One advertisement will reach a group of people whose sole reason for reading the blog is to do anything it takes for a chance at your giveaway.
Here are a few popular sites that list sweepstakes and giveaways:
- Contest Girl not only lists thousands of contests, but lists the recent contest winners (see the tips for item #1 on this list, "The Lucky Winner")
- Contest For Moms is a site in blog format that lists freebies, sweepstakes, and contests. This format is ideal because the viewer's screen is filled with a whole post, rather than a small blurb that can be lost in a list of other contests.
- Sweeties Sweeps takes requests for giveaways to be posted (or, for a fee, your giveaway will be ensured a spot on the site). They send the listings to their huge database of Twitter, Facebook, and email subscribers.
Whether you hold a drawing for a vacation to Bermuda or give away a petunia seed packet with every purchase, you'll generate interest in your brand. People will talk, and you'll gain exposure through multiple venues.
People love to "win". People love "free." And we've only covered a few of the possible methods for taking advantage of this inherent human trait.
Maybe it's time to start planning your giveaway and generating social buzz to promote your brand.
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