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Have you ever tried hosting an online giveaway? Are there clear benefits? Should you host a giveaway?
Well, if you are a brand that’s looking to increase website traffic drastically, then yes!
Big brands often use giveaways to boost website traffic. And with those same giveaways, they increase social media followers, engagement, build email lists, get referral sales, and more.
A single giveaway campaign over a short period of time can drastically boost website traffic, social media followers and email subscribers.
In this post, I'll show you how to get started with your own (successful!) giveaway.
What Are Online Giveaways?
Giveaways or contests are promotional campaigns that give the public a chance to win a prize. A brand sponsors the prize, people submit their entries, and a winner is selected at random.
Traditionally, giveaways were hosted at physical stores, on TV shows, and in magazines and newspapers. These days, anyone from a large company to an SMB to a solopreneur can successfully host their giveaways on the Internet, either on a website or on social media – like this one from @mobkitchen:
And this one from @coconutbowls:
Modern companies use social media to build their brand and online presence, and hosting a giveaway on their social channels allows them to gain many more followers and increase engagement on their posts.
With a social media contest, you can easily engage a large audience just by creating a post for your giveaway because users who come across it in their feed will interact with it by commenting, liking or sharing it. Create a stunning image or video that includes your brand name, the giveaway prize and the deadline. Visually appealing social networks like Facebook and Instagram are ideal platforms for hosting a contest.
However, you can also host your giveaway on your own website. You'll just have to promote it on social networks so that more people will know about it. Post something like: “Visit my website to enter the giveaway and you could win big!”
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How Do Giveaways Boost Website Traffic?
The beauty of a giveaway is that it can serve multiple purposes, such as:
- Build email lists
- Grow social media followers
- Increase sign-ups or app downloads
- Boost website traffic
If you want to build an email list, then you can request that users supply their email address in order to gain entry to your giveaway.
To boost website traffic, there are two options:
- Host a giveaway on your website
- Use bonus actions (such as “do [action] for X number of points in the giveaway”)
Hosting a Giveaway on Your Website
If the entry form for your giveaway is on your website, then obviously people will have to visit your site to enter.
You can promote your giveaway on various platforms (social media, email, etc.), which direct people to your site in order to enter. Voila! Instant traffic boost.
Domino’s Pizza announced their giveaway on Facebook in which the prize was a year of free pizza (talk about a compelling prize!) and included a link in the description to the giveaway entry form. Anyone wishing to enter had to go to their website. As an added bonus, Domino’s Pizza also managed to generate a massive amount of engagement on the giveaway announcement post (2.4K likes, 945 comments and 427 shares):
This is how you use a giveaway as leverage to boost website traffic and social media engagement.
You can also create a chatbot on your website that informs incoming visitors about the opportunity and ask them to participate. It’s a great way of engaging newcomers and encouraging them to stay longer on your page and hand over their email address.
This is probably the most straightforward way of setting up a giveaway that will boost website traffic.
An alternate method is the bonus action….
Giveaway Bonus Actions
It's all good and well to use a giveaway just to build your email list or boost website traffic. But what if you want to get more out of it?
With bonus actions, entrants can complete additional tasks (“actions“) to earn points:
Once a person has submitted their giveaway entry, there is nothing left for them to do – unless you give them additional tasks to complete on the “thank you” page.
The thank you page is where users will be redirected once they have successfully completed their giveaway entry. It might look something like this:
Now that the user is “in it to win it”, the thank you page will give them options to perform tasks in order to earn bonus points.
These tasks can be almost anything you define, such as:
- Like us on social media
- Tag your friends
- Share on social media
- Leave a comment
- Visit our website (or read this blog post)
- Watch this video
- Download our app
Then what do people do with the points they earned from completing the tasks?
You can set up additional prizes like store discounts or gift cards. Assign a “points total” for each bonus prize, and when a user collects enough points after taking any of these actions, they unlock the prize. In the image above, the bonus prize is a discount to the brand’s online store. You can unlock this bonus prize with 5,000 points.
To earn 5,000 points, users can:
- Refer more people to enter (500 points)
- Subscribe to two YouTube channels (250 points each)
- Follow two Instagram accounts (250 points each)
- Follow a Twitter account (250 points)
- Engage with a social media post (500 points)
If your bonus prize is something valuable to an entrant, they will play along to earn the points to unlock it.
This is an excellent strategy if you want to use your giveaway as an opportunity to promote other aspects of your business, like your social media channels, blog posts or even an app. People can use these points to submit additional entries to the giveaway. More entries means a better chance of winning.
You could also allow people to use their points earned to acquire discounts or free items from your store. If you have “visit our website” as a bonus action, people will literally go to your website to earn those points.
How to Host an Online Giveaway
Giveaways are straightforward. You sponsor a prize, get people to enter to win that prize, and then you pick a winner at random.
However, it's easy for a lot of things to go wrong with a giveaway, such as:
- If not properly planned, your giveaway can produce low-quality leads. For instance, you select a prize that generates a lot of leads that are interested in the prize, but not in your brand.
- People can cheat the system. If you don’t have a proper system in place, like a giveaway management tool, then people can submit more than one entry.
- Your new audience might get upset because of the winner you choose. The point of your giveaway is to acquire new leads, so if your giveaway seems unfair to them, they might not want to deal with your brand at a later stage.
These problems are always a possibility. However, they can be avoided. If you want your giveaway to run smoothly and bring in the best results, then you must be mindful of:
- The goal of your giveaway
- Choosing a prize
- Launching and promoting your giveaway
Now let's go through these crucial points in more detail.
1) Choose a Goal
First, you need to select a primary goal for your giveaway, then you set up the giveaway to achieve this goal.
For the sake of this article, let's say our main goal is to boost website traffic. You can achieve this by setting up the giveaway on your website or with bonus actions (as explained in the above section).
If your goal is to grow your email subscribers, then you can request that users submit their email address in order to enter. Similarly, if your goal is to acquire social media followers, then users must follow you to gain entry to your giveaway.
The great thing about using bonus actions is that it allows you to achieve multiple goals. Website or blog traffic might be your main goal, but you could also do with more email subscribers or social media followers. In this case, you would use bonus actions to get people to subscribe to your email list or follow you on social media.
@doggielawn's goal was to build their brand on Instagram, so they used this giveaway to increase their followers and engagement on this post:
Now, if they wanted to direct Instagram traffic to their website, they could host the giveaway on their site and include a link to that page in the post or even in their Instagram bio.
2) Offer a Great Prize
People enter contests for one reason only: the prize! This is the most crucial part of your giveaway.
So, the better your prize is, the more entries your giveaway will receive. This means more leads and more website traffic. Choosing a prize that is desirable to a broad audience can land you tons of new leads. However, you can potentially end up with a large number of poor-quality leads, too.
For example, an iPhone or an Xbox One will bring in a massive number of leads. But a large majority of those leads will only be interested in the prize, and not your brand or its products. This means that you will have to spend a lot of time removing poor leads from your newly acquired list.
To attract the best-quality leads, you will have to select a prize that your specific target audience, and not just anyone who happens to see your giveaway, will desire.
Topaz Labs, an image editing software firm, successfully grew their social media followers and email subscribers with a social media giveaway. Their giveaway also helped them boost their website traffic during the campaign. The increase in targeted traffic resulted in them acquiring 3,973 new trial account users:
So, what was Topaz Labs’ strategy? How did they achieve such good results?
They selected a prize that was relevant to their business. They wanted to target photographers with their giveaway, so they put together a giveaway prize that included their own software, a DJI Drone, and a Photographers Backpack.
Then they leveraged that prize to get users to visit their website, create new trial accounts, and engage with their posts on social media.
People who are interested in iPhones or gaming will probably pass on your photography giveaway. This is good because your intention is to attract the best leads.
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3) Launch and Promote Your Giveaway
Once you have determined your goal and prize, you will have an idea of your giveaway’s entry method. You will also have an understanding of which platform is best to host the giveaway.
The actual launch is the most crucial time for your giveaway. Typically, these kinds of contests are hosted over a period of one to two weeks. This doesn't give you much time to promote your giveaway, so making a good impression early on to a massive audience is essential!
Forever Fleurs promoted their Mother’s Day Giveaway on Instagram, a platform where they are already established. Creating the giveaway post was the first thing they did, and it ran for ten days:
It’s best to use your already established marketing channels to promote your contest. Let your audience know about it ahead of time and get them to interact with your giveaway post on social media.
It’s also essential to allow entrants to refer people to your giveaway. You can set this up with bonus actions. By doing this, your current audience can earn points for bringing in more people.
The most common platforms to host a giveaway include:
- Social media: Create a post for your giveaway on social networks like Facebook or Instagram. Ask users to like, comment, tag and share that post to help increase the virality of the post.
- Email: Send out an email to your current email list to announce the start of your giveaway. Make sure to insert links to your website to get that boost in traffic.
- Blog posts: Create a blog post on your website (or another blog) that has all the information that’s relevant to the giveaway.
- Other media: Podcasts, newspapers, magazines, flyers, etc.
Last Words on Boosting Website Traffic with a Giveaway
Giveaways have proven to be an effective tool for boosting website traffic in a short period of time. The more traffic you drive to your site, the better your chances of gaining new customers. This makes investing in giveaways worth the effort.
You can also use your giveaway to achieve multiple goals. Apart from boosting website traffic, you can use your giveaway to grow social media followers and email subscribers. This will help you in the long term with your remarketing strategy.