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How to Run Giveaways and Sweepstakes for Fun & Profit

Credit: anieto2k

Credit: anieto2k

For a few months, I ran a small site called Giveaway Jungle that featured one giveaway a day worth at least $100. I started it because I wanted to discover how all of these mommy bloggers had extraordinary social media metrics. Blogs that seemed to have modest readership statistics, based entirely on comment counts and Compete metrics (both of which are not accurate measures), had 10,000-15,000 likes on their Facebook page. Some would have enormous Twitter followings and their Pinterest counts would be through the roof.

I was baffled.

How were they doing it?

How were these sites getting tens of thousands of likes on Facebook?

The answer: Giveaways and sweepstakes.

With just one $100 cash giveaway, Giveaway Jungle jumped to a thousand likes on Facebook, seven hundred followers on Twitter, and a thousand subscribers to the email newsletter. (current counts are slightly higher because I ran a second giveaway)

In this post, I discuss everything you need to run an effective giveaway that will boost your social media stats and email subscriber counts, whether you should be doing this, plus everything else I learned in running a handful of my own giveaways.

How to Run a Successful Giveaway

First things first, you are running a sweepstakes or a giveaway. You are not running a contest. You are not running a lottery. Whenever you talk about it, it’s a sweepstakes or giveaway. The reason for this is for legal reasons. A sweepstakes is when the winner is chosen at random. A contest is when the winner is chosen based on something, like having the best comment or the best photo. It’s not random. A lottery, which is a huge no-no word since lotteries are regulated, is a drawing where entrants have to pay for their entries. Be sure to use the right word!

Now, it’s really easy to give stuff away. You collect some names, you draw one out of a hat, and you send them their prize.

Giveaways rely on three things:

  • A valuable prize: Since every giveaway takes approximately the same amount of time to enter, the bigger the prize, the more entrants you’ll get. I think $100 is the minimum (and why Giveaway Jungle used $100 as the minimum value of any promoted giveaway).
  • A good giveaway widget: There are several popular giveaway tools out there but there is one that is better by far, Rafflecopter, and why it’s able to command a $60/mo fee for the premium version.
  • A targeted promotional strategy: No one will enter your giveaway if they don’t know about it and, obviously, it’s not the kind of thing people are likely to share with their friends since it reduces their chances of winning (even if you offer incentives to share).

A Valuable Prize
This probably doesn’t need much explaining but the difference between giving away a pair of movie tickets worth $20 and an iPad worth hundreds is huge. I went with $100 because it’s a round number and everyone thinks a hundred bucks is a lot of money. When you give away movie tickets, you select out folks who don’t go to movies. When you give away cash, it’s unlikely there are people in the world who don’t want cash. ๐Ÿ™‚

How big of a prize do you need to give away? It doesn’t matter. You can’t use the prize to filter out entrants. Someone willing to enter a $10 sweepstakes will enter a $100 sweepstakes. You can’t segment out only those who enter in $100 sweepstakes because the $10 entrants will sign up too. If you’re willing to hold a $100 sweepstakes so you can build a list with $100 entrants, with a lot of $10 entrants mixed in, then it makes sense to go as big as possible.

If you want to get more complicated, there is a way to segment the list but it requires more giveaways and only to the list you’ve created. You start with a $1000 prize, thus getting entrants who would only enter $1000 giveaways along with the $500, $200, $100, and $5 crowd. Then you run a subsequent $500 giveaway just to the people on that list. You can put the subscribers that open the email but don’t enter the giveaway into the “will only enter $501+ giveaway” category (it’s not 100% accurate because people can choose not to enter for a variety of reasons – but it’s the best you can do). For practical purposes, segmenting on this level is often not very useful.

You can, however, target the giveaway by choosing what prize you use. When you use cash, anyone and everyone wants it, right? If you want to promote a personal finance site, you might opt for a collection of personal finance books worth $100. It’s difficult to segment by value as easily this way but you can get better targeting for your lists. If we were to run a giveaway on Microblogger, we might give away copies of Darren Rowse’s Problogger or Bryan Eisenberg, Jeffrey Eisenberg, and Lisa T. Davis’ Call to Action. Those are books that would interest the crowd I’m trying to reach but is likely uninteresting to the average giveaway sleuth.

One final note about the prize, if it’s worth more than $600, you’ll need to report that to the IRS. If it’s over $5,000, check with state laws to see if there are certain bond requirements you need to fulfill.

A Good Giveaway Widget
Here’s what I look for in a good widget – easy entry for entrants, easy reporting and easy winner selection for operators, and email newsletter integration (that was my key performance indicator on the giveaway but it requires Rafflecopter Premium, which costs $60/month). I researched a lot of options and Rafflecopter won out because it was the only one that integrated with seamlessly Aweber (it will also work with Constant Contact and MailChimp).

The features that you want to look for in a good widget are:

  • A clean intuitive interface.
  • Easy way to select a winner. I want the widget to select the winner and Rafflecopter uses Random.org to select the winner.
  • The ability to export entries. This will be data that you may want access to later and being able to export it into an Excel spreadsheet will make it much easier to manipulate.
  • Good email integration. Good email integration means they can click a button and subscribe, instead of forcing you to reconcile it later.
  • Covers all your legal bases. Various state and federal laws govern the legal nature of giveaways and it’s important that the widget you use will cover all of this for you with the necessary disclosures and legalese.

You may look for different features in a widget but those are the ones that I feel are most important.

A Targeted Promotional Strategy
You can’t rely on a giveaway to promote itself. Unless you have a good network of other blogs willing to promote it, and you ask them for help, chances are you’ll need to bring in some extra support.

Where do you go for that support? It depends on your goal.

If your goal is to maximize your metrics, then you will want to get exposure to the giveaway crowd. For that, you’ll need to use giveaway promotion sites. Not all giveaway sites are created equal, the sweet spot for a blogger is a site that promotes other blog giveaways. The big names in the giveaway promotion industry are Sweeps Advantage and Online-Sweepstakes.com. I do not recommend them because you end up competing with giveaways run by major corporations and brands. An iPad is considered a tiny prize when you’re competing against Hawaiian vacations, HGTV backyard and kitchen renovations, and new cars.

The two that gave me the best return on investment were Giveaway Promote and Giveaway Scoop. For my giveaway, Giveaway Scoop sent me 15% of total traffic while Giveaway Promote sent 13%. Online-sweepstakes.com sent 2.8%.

Should I pay for a featured listing? If your giveaway prize is worth $100 and you’re paying $60 for a widget, paying a little more for a featured listing made sense. The cost to do so is small relative to the entire giveaway and the pickup is significant. Giveaway Scoop charges $10 per week for a Featured Listing and $25 per week for a Featured Plus Listing. A side benefit of being featured is that other giveaway sites might pick you up also, so there is a domino effect. One listing I posted was picked up by Emperola (3.9%) and other giveaway sites, which sent even more entrants.

Protip: You can always try the free listing for a week and then test it again with a Featured Listing to see if there is extra exposure. Or run the entire giveaway with just free listings, then try it again with Featured Listings to see if the number of unique entrants changes.

If your goal is to maximize readership or loyal followers, you need a different approach. Giveaway sites will get you the giveaway crowd and they don’t care about your site, they only care about the giveaway. You might get a few folks sticking around but the vast majority will be one and done. It’ll boost your metrics so your follow and likes counts will be impressive, but that’s it.

You need to find similar blogs willing to promote your sweepstakes to their readers. It’s not much different than guest posting, except instead of a post you offer a giveaway to their readers. You could also offer the blogger a prize, or cross promotional opportunities, in return for mentioning the giveaway to their audience. The goal is to get exposure to people interested in your subject, not exposure to anyone and everyone with a pulse.

Running a Giveaway with Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter, and most other widgets, make it simple to create a giveaway. You simple have to pick your prize, add the entry options, and come up with the start and end date. Here are a few tips on each:

  • Prizes: Make sure you include a good image that represents the prize, it’ll make your giveaway stand out. When we gave away $100, we used a pile of hundred dollar bills. Also, include the actual retail value of the prize so your readers can see, very quickly, whether it’s worth entering.
  • giveaway-image-vs-no-image

  • Entry options: Use as many as you want. Once someone has decided to enter, it’s near trivial for them to click a few buttons to follow, tweet, pin, etc. I make sure that the required entries are the ones I care about – namely join my mailing list. As for assigning point values, give the most points for things you want them to do (even though they are required) so it feels like a big accomplishment. +10 points for the mailing list, +2 for everything else. Points are all relative anyway.

Then get the widget and paste it into your post while viewing the HTML editor, not the visual editor. For whatever reason, the visual editor will break the widget, so stick with HTML view. When you view the preview of the post, you may need to refresh a few times to get the widget to appear.

Facebook used to be extremely trigger happy (as in they’ll blow up your fan page) when it came to giveaways on Facebook, so always keep an eye on their rules for giveaways.

Determining Key Performance Indicators

In order to assess how successful something is, we have to come up with key performance indicators. We might define a successful giveaway as one in which we can get a lot of Facebook Fan Page likes, Twitter followers, Pinterest pins, and email newsletter subscriptions. After you run one giveaway, you will be able to calculate how much each like/follow/pin/subscription will have cost you. You can use that to decide whether you’re willing to “buy” likes/follows/pins/subscriptions at that price.

Let’s say you pay a total of $200 for the prize, promotion, and widget for your giveaway. You get 500 likes, 500 follows, 500 pins, and 500 subscriptions. If you value them all the same, you paid ten cents per like/follow/pin/subscription. If you only care about email subscriptions, then you paid forty cents per email subscription and got the rest of the social media boost for “free.” If you only care about likes and follows, then you paid twenty cents per like and follow. Make sense?

How do you know if forty cents is a lot or a little? In the beginning, you won’t. Eventually, as you use your list to promote yourself, your products, or third-party products, you will get an understanding of how much a subscriber is “worth” to you. Until then, it’ll be a guess based on your comfort level.

Closing Out a Giveaway

Kicking off a giveaway is just the start, you need to close it out the right way. You need to do all the obvious things, like select a winner, email them, and send them the prize. It’s also recommended that you have the winner take a photo of themselves with the prize itself. This will add credibility to your giveaway should you do it again.

The Giveaway Jungle I linked to in the introduction was actually the second $100 giveaway I ran. In it, you can see a picture of a former winner holding her hundred dollar bill. I was fortunately that it was in the United States so I could send her the cash instead of sending her funds via Paypal. A Benjamin looks sexier than a Paypal screenshot or printout. ๐Ÿ™‚

Should You Run a Giveaway?

It really depends on your site and your goals. For a lot of mommy blogs, they get a lot of advertising from brands because of their impressive social media statistics. Big brands see a mommy blogger with 50,000 Likes on Facebook and they want to have their products reviewed on the site. Their goal is to get a bigger social media metric. More Twitter followers. More Fan Page likes. To a brand, all other things equal, 50,000 likes is better than 500 likes – the blogger with 50k will get the deal.

Your niche may be different. Or you might not want to dilute your site’s fan page followers with a thousand extra names that have a passing interest in your site. Given Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, diluting your following might hurt you. EdgeRank determines what gets displayed on a user’s news feed based on your relationship (between fan page and user), how many likes/comments/tags it gets, and how quickly it accumulates those metrics. If you dilute your fan base, your shares may not get liked quickly enough by people who see it in the news feed, which makes it less likely to appear on other fans’ news feeds.

For example, let’s say you have 1,000 likes of your fan page and of that only 500 are really fans. The other 500 liked your page because you were giving away a prize. When you post an update, 50% of your fan base will have zero interest in your updates. You post an update, it goes out to 100 people. Of the 50 who care, a handful click Like or leave a comment. Instead of seeing 10% engagement, Facebook sees 5%. It becomes a big hurdle to overcome.

Update: EdgeRank was replaced with Story Bump and Last Actor, two algorithms that change how people see stories. Story Bump shows stories a user hasn’t seen before while Last Actor uses past history to show them new stories. More interactions with a page means those updates get seen more frequently. So it appears more followers can’t hurt.

That said, if you run a more targeted giveaway (relevant books instead of straight cash), you can get the best of both worlds. More relevant followers and bigger numbers.

Bottom Line on Giveaways

Giveaways are great to juice up your social media stats and an email list if you want a quick jolt. Whether or not that jolt is a good thing will depend a lot on how you execute your giveaway, to whom you promote it, and how closely you monitor the results. Regardless of how you promote it, chances are the giveaway crowd will find out about it so you might find that your giveaway is flooded with entries from people you aren’t necessarily interested in reaching. That said, maybe more is better.

If you made it this far, I commend you! On Wednesday, I’m going to write about a strategy that can get you all of the social stat boosting benefits of a giveaway without actually giving anything away (here it is!). This is not a scam, it’s a trend that is very real and very effective at increasing your statistics.

Have you used giveaways to increase your exposure and readership? Do you have any pro-tips that others could implement to get a bigger bang out of their giveaways? Please share!

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Jim

In 2005, I founded a personal finance blog (Bargaineering.com) that became successful enough that I quit my career as a software developer in the defense industry. It is my goal to share everything I learned so that you can do the same - build an online business that let's you pursue your passion.

82 responses to “How to Run Giveaways and Sweepstakes for Fun & Profit”

  1. Good post Jim! Very timely too as I am running one on my site actually. ๐Ÿ™‚ Great point on the promotion aspect of it. I’ve seen great giveaways go nowhere because they weren’t promoted very well and smaller ones do better because they’ve been done well. I think having a variety is good, so it’s not always cash…though I don’t have a problem winning just cash. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    What’s your thought on group giveaways? Should all like categories (say follow all participants on Twitter) be grouped in one button on Rafflecopter, or should they be all separate? It looks cleaner to have it be grouped, but I think it could be easier on the entrants to have it broken out.

    • Jim says:

      I don’t have an opinion on grouping or separating the participants in group giveaway, I think either way is fine and whatever is easiest for everyone involved is probably best. I don’t think it really matters either way, though grouping might make it easier for the host to manage it?

  2. Thomas says:

    Thanks for the information Jim! I certainly will be looking to run a few giveaways for a new site I am looking to launch and this information is very valuable. Thanks will be bookmarking this page as a resource.

  3. Hermine says:

    Hey Jim,

    Just landed on your blog through BizSugar and really enjoyed this post. I’m not in the market for doing a giveaway (yet) but, this was really interesting.

    I too have wondered how these mommy bloggers have such huge followings and my guess was that they were just really good at networking with each other (which might be part of it too).

    However, I think the one thing I’d be concerned about with this strategy is the quality of the traffic. Even with a targeted offer like an e-course that caters to your niche or a package of books, I wonder how many would simply be freebie seekers?

    After reading through your post on this, it’s clear that giveaways are definitely not hands off – they look like a lot of work and involvement if you really want to make it successful.

    • Jim says:

      They are very good at networking with each other and that helps with getting the most pop for your giveaways too. You need help getting the word out and they do a lot of cross-promoting, which is a good idea in any area really.

      A lot of them are freebie seekers and that’s the risk, you dilute your following with folks who won’t be as engaging. It’s a difficult decision but in the case of mommy bloggers, they want freebie seekers because they often speak to the frugality crowd. They are similar enough that the overlap is good. It may not be great for someone with a luxury brands review site, for example.

      They are work, like anything else, but your ROI (measured in social stats) is pretty good.

  4. I’m a huge fan of giveaways, but I’m trying a new strategy out that so far seems to be working well. I’m interested in seeing what you’re going to offer up on Wednesday.

  5. SH says:

    Lots of great ideas to keep in mind here.

  6. Misty says:

    As a new blogger whose Facebook page is at 500 fans, I am attempting to build up my numbers. My issue is do I run a contest to build up my numbers or do I keep my small number of engaged readers/ talkers on my page?
    I know that my numbers will grow eventually but I would like it to happen sooner than later of course. Not sure which course to take at the moment.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Misty – I think that for mommy/frugal/coupon bloggers, you don’t hurt yourself by running a contest because the population overlaps a lot. You won’t get the same level of engagement from giveaway seekers but so many of those readers are interested in contests that you are more likely to reach your target demographic using a giveaway.

      I have a post today that discusses giveaway events (aka blogger opps) and if you join events thrown by other similar bloggers, you can reach their readers too for the fraction of what a giveaway normally would cost you.

      Also, if you’re worried about diluting your fanbase, you can always run a contest that doesn’t include Facebook. Facebook is the only one where you’d be worried about dilution. You can get email subscribers, Twitter followers, and Pinterest pins without being worried about an EdgeRank type of algorithm. I would give that a try if you want to do a contest.

  7. A very helpful post! So far I’ve been reluctant to do a giveaway as I kind of feel like I would rather have fewer engaged readers than more of those who only want the freebie. I am in favour of quality rather than quantity. But I never say no, so maybe one day I’ll be willing to do it, and your post will be very useful for that.

    • Jim says:

      It’s a tradeoff for sure, but if you tailored your giveaway to one that only someone interested in your site might want, you might be able to get both.

  8. Hi Jim – Excellent post along with great information. I have been toying with the idea of a giveaway for quite awhile now and did not know really how to go about it. So thanks for that.

    Looking forward to Wednesdays post.

    Donald

  9. Daisy BBN says:

    A great article! We have given away PDFs for business advice (anyone can get it for free) and that performed well, it grew membership…Would be interesting to try a sweepstake, I am wondering whether this will give more options for promotion e.g. Competition sites and also people love a competition so it would be a good thing to experiment with.

  10. Tristan says:

    I’m curious – do you think a blog can bring an income without participating in social media like FB? I’m a mommy blogger and haven’t pursued making an income with my blog yet, but have considered it to help the family budget as we have eight children and my husband is the sole income. I have done giveaways and actually work with a few companies reviewing their products, but nothing on a large scale. However I do it all without any social media accounts. I just don’t have time to waste online and have to remain very focused in the limited time I have to blog.

    • Jim says:

      I think a blog can bring an income without participating in social media but why would you try? Social media is such an important tool for getting the word out and showing others, especially brands, that you have a large following. Brands want to reach a large audience and if you have good social media numbers then it entices them to advertise.

      If you want to pick and choose what to focus on, in your niche, I’d go with Pinterest followed by Facebook and then maybe Twitter. To be 100% honest, I’d pick the brains of other bloggers you know and see what works best for them. Each niche is different.

      • Tristan says:

        Why would I try? Because I don’t use any social media, not even for personal use. I get sucked in too easily and waste time. Others must be more disciplined than I am in that area. Thank you for the idea to talk to bloggers in my niche about it!

        • Jim says:

          Whoops, I meant why woudln’t you give it a try? As in why not just give it a shot and see what happens?

          But my message got through – I get it, we only have so much time and it’s really really easy to get sucked into social media.

  11. Dara says:

    This was a very informative article. I have participated in a lot of group giveaways run by other bloggers where we all donate a bit to the pot to increase the prize, then all share the giveaway on our sites to increase the entrants. I have had some luck gaining social media followers / blog followers in that way, but certainly not real readers as you pointed out! Thanks for sharing and I’m going to check out the other post you mentioned as well.

    ~ Dara

  12. All this time, I had no clue how that algorithm worked. NOW it makes sense…

    • Jim says:

      Ah you mean Facebook’s EdgeRank? Like any other algorithm, we don’t know how much each factor matters but those are the major pieces.

  13. Great tips! Wish I had known all of that when I first started doing giveaways. Another thing from bloggers to know about when doing giveaways is social media rules. I’m so tired of seeing other bloggers use google + on their giveaways as an entry option. G+ does not allow ANY sort of sharing or liking on giveawaysโ€ฆand yet those bloggers are raking in the likes because they don’t know or follow the rulesโ€ฆwhile those of us who do, do not have those numbers climbing as fast. It’s not fair and with how G+ is integrating into page rank and all that jazz, it’s probably going to mean that those who break the rules will get better ranking (at least until Google finds out they broke the rules).

    • Jim says:

      For a long while Facebook was doing the same thing and the punishment was losing your Facebook page. G+ is going to do the same and it’s only a matter of time.

      At the moment, Google isn’t integrating those signals into their search rankings but that doesn’t mean it won’t become a factor in the future. One potential benefit I see is when they include G+ posts in personalized search results. You see G+ posts of your friends in results when it’s relevant.

  14. Dona B says:

    Fascinating read! I have been avoiding doing a giveaway thus far because I’m interested in growing a highly engaged audience and don’t want to dilute that with folks looking for a freebie. Your post helped me see how I might tailor a giveaway to meet my needs. I’m off to read your linked post next..

    PS – Be careful lumping mommy bloggers into a stereotype! There are a lot of us and we aren’t all courting big-name brands via inflated social media numbers or writing about frugality and coupons.

    • Jim says:

      Hi Dona – There certainly are a lot of bloggers who are mommies and I wasn’t trying to lump all of them together, I think I was looking at the ones who were most efficient and effective at social media and monetization and seeing that this was the link. That said, it’s still stereotyping in a way though.

      That said, it wasn’t done out of ignorance, more out of awe. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Dona B says:

        I agree, the level of social media visibility that segment of bloggers are commanding is very impressing. I so much appreciate your insight into how they are doing it!

  15. Great article. Will be very useful for me.

    Now, if I can find a way to take this idea and get the giveaway item to be free it will truly be the best of both worlds. I think Pat from smartpassiveincome has done this multiple times with give aways and actually made a ton of money.

    He’ll give away one copy of a product and earns affiliate income from all the other people that went to the site to check it out but didn’t win. They end up buying the product and he makes the commission. Definitely a cool strategy!

  16. Tammy says:

    This post is exactly what I have been wanting to read to figure out giveaways for my blog. Thank you so much and I have subscribed. Very informative

  17. Maura says:

    I just book marked giveaway promote and giveaway scoop – thanks for the tip!

  18. Good post, but the big question is this: how as a small blog did you get your first $100 item to give away? That’s the big question I think.

    • Jim says:

      I had to come up with it out of pocket. You can always join other giveaways (which should cost you only a few dollars) to start and then, as you get bigger, hope for corporate sponsors.

  19. Elizabeth L says:

    Great tips! I actually prefer Giveaway Tools over Rafflecopter for many reasons but I think it comes down to personal preference as to which is better. I just couldn’t bite the $60 charge for the pro version when they were down so often with issues in the months before it was revealed. I get the same capabilities with GT for only $10 a month plus automatic listings which saves me from hours of work. It’s more like paying a Virtual Assistant $10 a month!

    • Jim says:

      The only thing Giveaway Tools doesn’t have is integration with email subscriptions like Aweber or Mailchimp, everything else it has. It has a close substitute, Feedburner email subscription, but I wanted people subscribed to the list so that’s why I chose Rafflecopter.

      I wasn’t aware of the issues they had early on, that might have swayed me, and $60 is a pretty hefty price to pay per month for a widget like that.

      • Elizabeth L says:

        That is true. I use the Feedburner subscription for my rss e-mail list, and I just made my own entry for my Mad Mimi Newsletter Subscription. Of course it doesn’t verify it being done like it does with Feedburner, but it’s not a big deal.

        • Jim says:

          Ah, that’s a good approach. Verifying isn’t really 100% necessary, more often than not these entrants are looking to scam wins. If they are, you don’t want them subscribed to your newsletter anyway!

  20. Thank you Jim for this great post! You provided some great information. I will definitely think about doing something like this to get my audience pumped up ๐Ÿ˜‰

  21. andi says:

    this is good information, written in an easy-to-understand language…. ๐Ÿ˜€

  22. Great tips! I have been doing giveaways because they give greater exposure of my blog, and reminds people to “like” my Facebook pages, etc. if they want to continue following. I use Raffelcopter and have had zero problems with it, and it’s free!

  23. Jessica T says:

    There are a lot of really great useful tips here. I’ve run a lot of giveaways before, but haven’t always gotten the type of traffic I would want unless its been a collaborative giveaway. I’m definitely looking into those giveaway promotion sites.

  24. Kate says:

    Thanks for the info. I have been interested to do a giveaway, but were unsure of where to begin. Thanks for that. I’ll be bookmarking this page.

  25. Stacey says:

    I seriously needed to read this today. I have mostly done “buy ins” for giveaways put together by others, but I haven’t really done my own because I was a bit clueless in a way. Love this resource and putting it in my favorites for future reference. Thank you so much!

  26. jackie says:

    thanks for the info – i can use it for my next giveaway

  27. Pamela says:

    Thanks for this outline! I’ve been wondering how to so an effective give away on my blog but had not a single clue. I’m just learning now of how important it is to gather e mail addresses! So much to learn! Thanks for this post, I’ll be following it step by step sometime soon, I’m quite sure it will be most helpful.

  28. athena says:

    This is so helpful. When I was starting out these were exactly all the questions I had and could not find one single place to get the answers. I love this post. Thank you so much.

  29. Cher says:

    Great tips! I run giveaways daily on my blog but there is always room to grow!

  30. Angi says:

    This is a great comprehensive guide. I’m adding it to my blogging resource list to share with new bloggers. Thanks for taking the time to write this all down!

  31. Shauna says:

    These are helpful tips. I like rafflecopter too. Easy to enter or run giveaways.

  32. tiffany says:

    Great info! I will have to bookmark this so I can reference it for giveaways in the future!

  33. Emily says:

    great tips! I have been a part of a few big joint blogger giveaways and they were great for my numbers… not sure if they actually bring up the pageviews or actual readers though… Emily

    • Jim says:

      It’s hard to say and a little tricky to track, since you can have them grow your follower numbers but you can’t actually check to see if they are reading.

  34. Cat @ TOTS says:

    Very good tips. I agree that promoting on giveaway sites may increase your entries, but if you are looking for readers, it might not be the best place to focus your time. If you are ever looking to guest post, we’d love to have you at totsbusiness.com, this post is awesome!

  35. Wish I had read this before I did my first giveaway on my personal blog. Still learned a few things. Yay for learning. Muchas gracias.

  36. Katrina says:

    I love your point about giveaways will gain you followers but not necessarily engaged readers. There is nothing wrong with that as long as you know what you are getting into.

  37. I agree that giveaways can be great in growing social media followings. However, many followers, especially on Twitter, tend to unfollow once the giveaway is over if they don’t stay engaged which bugs me. I stay following everyone I follow unless they become spammy. I find it difficult, though, to keep giveaway followers engaged enough to stay. They unfortunately are just joining for one reason only – extra entries!

  38. Marissa says:

    Great tips, especially for those getting into giveaways for the first time! I appreciate that you mention that FB can be touchy about getting too many followers at once. You really have to be careful with them! Their rules change every few months it seems…

    • Jim says:

      Yes, I was going to write something specific about the Facebook issue but realized that it’s better to link… by the time someone reads it the rules might have changed!

  39. Nikki says:

    Very interesting tips! I used to do a ton of giveaways and got a lot of traffic from them. I cut back quite a bit, but I do still enjoy doing them. Thanks for the tips on where to promote! I used all but Giveaway Scoop, adding that one to my list.

  40. Kemi Quinn says:

    That’s an excellent post. I run giveaways sometimes and I’m always learning something new. So true about getting entrants but not necessarily followers.

  41. c. lee reed says:

    I was just saying that I wanted to learn how to amp up my giveaways and voila…your post hit me! Great information and easily understandable. thank you for sharing your knowledge.

  42. Very good post. The concepts ring true for smaller giveaways too. I don’t think I’ll be at the investment level you describe, but I’ve seen some of the lack of fan engagement after giveaways with another business.

  43. Rochelle says:

    This is an awesome post that I’m going to be referencing quite a bit! This has brought up a ton of questions for me though. I don’t understand how you get things to give away. Do you just buy an ipad and give it away? How does getting email subscribers or likes on FB earn you more money? I haven’t actually done any monetizing of my blog, and while I probably should, my head spins with thinking about researching it all. When I go to giveaways I’m totally turned off when you have the chance to earn 200 entries and you have to like every FB page and pinterest board under the sun. I think it’s more harmful than helpful to those bloggers. If I did one I’d just give a few entries chances and be done with it. It doesn’t matter how much I want an item from a giveaway, I generally won’t do all the likes and such unless I really like them.

    • Jim says:

      In the beginning, when you don’t have a lot of traffic, you have to pay for it out of pocket. I am always amazed when people give away a $500 iPad because you can get a similar result with just giving away $100 (in my opinion, I have no statistics to back it up). It takes just as much time to enter a $100 giveaway as a $500 one, so a lot of folks are willing to do it.

      With anything else online, it’s a numbers game. The more subscribers you have, the more people you can reach. The more Facebook likes/follows, the more people you can reach. When you go to promote something, whether it’s your product, a third-party product, or just a new project you’re working on, being able to reach more people gives you an advantage.

      Giveaways can be annoying, all the likes and tweets and stuff, but it’s all in the name of marketing and promotion. ๐Ÿ™‚

  44. Brittany says:

    These are great tips. Thanks!

  45. Mai says:

    Jim, awesome content. I just started my blog. I thought about doing a sweepstakes for the very same reason you mentioned but was unable to find anything as detailed as you’ve listed. I was bummed when we search results came up with nothing more than what I already knew. This post was delivered to my inbox at the perfect time! You gave some good pointers in which I’ll use to promote my blog. Thanks!

  46. Elizabeth says:

    Great tips! People loves free stuff, giving out giveaways are such an excellent strategy to attract new customers. I use Woorise to run my giveaways. Thank you for sharing!

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