To show some gratitude to your loyal customers, give them something that will keep them coming back. Let’s say your new marketing campaign aims to build some hype around your website or your blog; why not also introduce a giveaway for your customers through online contests? In addition to your existing marketing strategy to increase brand recognition and customer communication this will reinforce your customer engagement levels and increase sales. Businesses, blog owners and digital marketers use blog or website giveaways as a form of engaging with both loyal and potential customers.

Blog Giveaways: An Effective Tool For Engagement

If you’re a business, a marketer or the average internet user, you will notice that there are many companies or brand websites running free contests aimed at their existing customers and marketed to a wider audience. These contests could offer something to the best comment on an article, the wackiest picture shared on the company’s Facebook page, the most shares, etc. The possibilities for holding a contest are endless and should be tailored to particular company goals, the type of offer and the target audience. Prizes could include a free coupon for a service or product that you carry, prize money, gift certificates on a popular affiliate’s products or services or any knick knacks that will surely entice and excite your customers and visitors.

A blog contest giveaway is one of the surest ways to drive traffic to your site. All you have to do is provide the right product or service to give away and utilise the right marketing strategy for your contest. The benefits of running a blog giveaway include free backlinks, free advertising, effective brand recognition and good feedback from subscribers. This marketing strategy is an effective tool and is very beneficial to both blog and website owners. Let’s further explore the basic ideas behind blog giveaways:

  • Free Backlinks. If you run an exciting blog contest with valuable giveaways, it has the ability to attract other bloggers. There’s also a big chance that these bloggers will write about your contest on their site which can help spread the word. This can be mutually beneficial to you and the other blogger because you will both be able to take advantage of free backlinks and increase brand awareness for both of your brands. Customers and readers will of course benefit from the free giveaways you run. If you encounter a legitimate and legal blog contest, write about it. It can help increase your credibility and your value to your readers and customers.
  • Creating Free Traffic. If you are successful in building up hype around your contest and blog giveaway, new customers will be drawn to your company. Post details about your contest on your social media sites, add links to your comments and develop posters showcasing the prizes that you’re giving away. If these strategies are executed correctly, expect a huge spike in traffic on your website. The more comments, likes and shares you get on these posts, the more customers are likely to participate in your contest.
  • Free Advertising. Your blog or website will be open to many new visitors and advertisers. If advertisers see that your contest is creating hype and generating big traffic, there is a big chance that they will show an interest in sponsoring your next contest.

8 Mistakes To Avoid When Running A Blog Contest

The execution of your contest can make or break a giveaway strategy. Promote and execute it properly and you will surely get the traffic and conversion that you need. Do it wrong and it will just be a waste of time and effort, leaving your customers with nothing to interest them. To be successful you need to avoid these eight giveaway mistakes.

1. Not Including Or Showing A Picture Of Your Prize

Your customers will want to know what the prize looks like if they are entering a contest. People want to know exactly what they are in the running to win. If there’s no picture that shows the contest prize, people may think that your promotion is a hoax, illegal or not legitimate. More often than not, visitors will not waste time on your site and just leave. Blurred pictures or very small images which don’t showcase the prize will look unprofessional and may scare away possible participants.

2. Giveaways For Everyone

Free giveaways are like sugar to ants. People will find it irresistible if they enter a free contest and have a chance to win a free prize. These offers will get visitors hooked on your company, however, your prizes should vary depending on your target audience. Your prizes should cater directly to your target niche. To ensure success in this aspect of your giveaway strategy the offered prize should be useful and valuable to your target.

3. Difficult Sign Up

If you develop a very long or complex sign up process asking visitors for too much information they will surely lose interest in your contest. A simple email address or contact number will do. Asking for too much information is a promotion killer. People are reluctant to give away too much of their information online. If, however, they are required to provide more information, be sure to ask for it in smaller steps or an alternative to sign up. If a visitor wins and you require a shipping address, contact them via email or phone to move to the next step.

4. Not Providing The Contest End Date

Not disclosing the contest end date is another disaster that you need to avoid. Contest participants should be able to trust you and your brand to provide all the necessary details of the contest. Contest participants will feel played or cheated if there’s no exact contest end date. This is especially bad practice if your contest is attracting new visitors to your brand. Not providing important details like the end date will make these visitors wary of your company and will give a bad first impression.

5. Sending The Wrong Prize

Shipping the wrong prize to the wrong winner (if you have multiple prizes) is a real bummer for your customers. Although this can be an honest mistake, following up on the winners and explaining everything will erase any doubts they might develop about your company. Apologise and send the correct prize. This will also show that you care about and value your customers. If they know you value them and did everything in your power to clear up an honest mistake they are more likely to be your brand ambassadors and loyal customers, providing you with valuable word-of-mouth marketing.

6. Not Enough Contest Promotion

Marketing your promotion is as important as marketing your whole brand. Releasing one online poster with details about the contest on your social media site will usually not develop enough momentum. Targeting your niche market is the best option; post about the contest regularly on your social media sites and provide countdown reminders to the competition end date.

7. Bad Timing

Timing is everything. Your contest should not conflict with popular holidays or any major sporting events. Check your calendar and avoid days when people are likely not to be at their computer (Christmas, New Years or the World Cup). Or if you want to promote a contest during these times, your contest strategy and prizes should be directly related to the occasion.

8. Purchase To Enter Contest

This is a big do-not-do. Requiring customers to make a purchase from your company to be entered into a contest is unlikely to get any positive attention. Some states and countries don’t allow this type of marketing ploy. Stay well away from this strategy and focus on reliable and fair marketing practices. Remember your reasons for creating the free giveaway: to gain new followers, build brand recognition and develop customer relationships.

What You Should Give Your Customers?

Running giveaways is an effective marketing strategy to enforce good brand recognition and customer retention. Your giveaways should depend on what your site is all about and what your goals are. Some effective ideas for giveaways include:

  • Your own products or servicesThis is the obvious choice when deciding what to give away to winners and a great way to enhance brand recognition or awareness. This is also a good way to introduce your products and services to new customers.
  •  Affiliate products or services. Affiliate products and services can be good giveaway items. If a big business or a company advertises on your website, you can ask for sample products and use them in your giveaways. If you sell and promote their products you will be encouraging a strong affiliate relationship that you can rely on for future marketing campaigns.
  • Anything useful, valuable, fun and interestingIf your site is not directly connected or affiliated with any brand, service, business or product, you can still give away anything that might appeal to your followers. Anything useful, simple and fun like makeup, gift cards or a percentage off their next purchase at a certain store are all good options. The possibilities are endless; have a conversation with your company marketing team and develop some ideas.

Focus on creating a detailed and well-thought-out giveaway campaign so that in the end, everybody wins!

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.