The Ultimate Guide to Your First Marketing Giveaway

As a self-professed systems and marketing nerd, when I decided to adventure into my first marketing giveaway I immediately saw all the steps I needed to take. I knew exactly what the system should look like - what needed to happen when and how it should roll out (and then immediately thought of 100 ways to improve said system).

HOWEVER...

Despite having planning cred for days… it very quickly became clear that theory and application are NOT the same.

Now that I’ve been through the process once and learned some lessons that only ACTION can teach - I want to share with you what I did, what worked, and what didn’t.

This post is perfect for you if you don’t have a big audience, have never done a giveaway, and want to make the most of your time and effort for your first giveaway.

What is a marketing giveaway?

A marketing giveaway is where a brand or business gives something of value away for free in exchange for either brand awareness or building their subscriber list (or both). It’s a strategy that’s been around for AGES (since 1789 according to Wikipedia.. yikes!).

In premise, I like the idea of a giveaway - it actually felt really good to give away something of value away that can really help people.

Just last weekend I was in Palm Springs and Dr. Bronner's was giving away soap samples at the Pride parade! Who doesn't love free soap? (Not to mention the foam party with enthusiastic dancers at the back of the float).

So, marketing giveaways can be really good and if you think it might be a good choice for you and your business, then read on my friend.

Choosing the prize

The first step is really figuring out what you want to give away.

Not only can this make or break your giveaway but it can dictate how engaged the subscribers stay AFTER your giveaway wraps up.

The prize needs to be tied to what you do (and, if possible, the first step towards solving a problem that you solve completely with your offerings).

Strategy

For this step, I relied heavily on this post by Bryan Harris at Videofruit. He recommends in that post to choose a prize that is:

Highly Desirable

Shocking

Authority Leaching

One of my main offerings as a Systems Strategist is Asana Consulting and I have an Intro to Asana course where I teach how to get set up and run your day-to-day with Asana. So, incorporating Asana seemed like a no brainer.

So, I decided to give away a year of Asana Premium for up to 5 team members ($375) bundled with an hour of Asana consulting and a custom built template.

Awesome choice for a prize, right?

Uh, not quite.

What went wrong

It was pretty good but a couple of things weren’t ideal:

The prize wasn’t really highly desirable. Asana’s free version is really good and I'm not sure everyone knows how awesome the premium features are. It was up to me to do a good job of educating people on the difference and I didn't do that well enough.

It didn’t end up being authority leaching - it turns out that Asana doesn’t really want their product given away for free and although I did clear it with them before I started, they weren't excited to get behind it.

Because it’s kind of a niche prize (Asana users with 5 or fewer team members) and I have a very small audience - promotion required leaning heavily on others to help and there were a few glitches with that (see Promotion below).

What I would do differently

For my first giveaway, I would have actually started with something smaller. Maybe a few of my favorite / best selling productivity books bundled with productivity coaching and reached out to the author’s ahead of time to see if they’d promote it.

Setting up your giveaway

This was pretty easy actually and I am so grateful to Joshua Earl for putting this step-by-step post together. Assuming you have a Wordpress site (not Wordpress.com though), then it’s simple enough to use a plugin to run your giveaway.

Which plugin to use

I did research quite a few options for hosting the giveaway and Kingsumo Giveaways is by far the best one I came across. It was simple to use and the tech side of the giveaway was basically flawless.

How it works in a nutshell

Once you purchase and install the plugin (it’s a one-time fee for the license and you can get 50% off if you use the link in Joshua Earl’s post), you’ll configure the plugin (also in Joshua's post).

For every person that enters your giveaway, Kingsumo asks them to confirm their entry by email and automatically keeps a record and allots them a certain number of entries based on their participation in promoting the giveaway.

You can set it up so that it automatically sends the participants to your email service provider to add subscribers to your list or you can choose to export the .csv file later.

(I found it easiest to automatically send subscribers to Convertkit for me but I asked that it only send them once they have confirmed their entry).

Once the giveaway is over, you get the plugin to draw a winner and then you can choose to notify the winner to let them know they’ve won.

Promoting your giveaway

This is where you have the opportunity to really make the most of your giveaway. Like I said before, the degree to which you network, leverage your connections, and manually reach out to people will directly impact your results.

Strategy

My plan was to promote the giveaway to my list, on social media, and in any Facebook groups that I’m a part of.

Because I have a small list and small audience on social media, I also wanted to reach out to few key influencers to get their help in promoting the giveaway.

As well, I was encouraged by my Coach over at Videofruit to research and figure out who in the online world is talking about Asana, productivity, time management and reach out to them and ask them to promote the giveaway.

What went wrong

I didn’t give my influencers enough notice or incentive to significantly help with promotion.

I didn’t start researching people to do manual cold outreach to until 5 days into the giveaway.

I post on social media so infrequently that to all of a sudden do a marketing promotion felt, well, icky.

What I would do differently

Next time I would absolutely lay the groundwork for the giveaway.

I would be posting regularly on social media for at least four weeks, I would be active and helpful regularly in multiple facebook groups and I would reach out to my influencers weeks in advance to get their support.

As well, I would have my list of cold manual outreach ready to go before my giveaway even started, follow them on social media as soon as I find them, as well as draft emails and social media outreach well before the giveaways starts.

Despite being a planner, this was something that I decided I would jump in and run with and I’m glad I did but I would do things differently next time.

One thing I did that I think worked well during the giveaway is that I sent an email 72 hours into the giveaway to all participants with a valuable piece of content on Asana. This was just to remind them about me and get to know me a little better. I think did help improve retention rates.

Announcing the winner

Once you draw the winner and click notify, an email is sent to the winner (one that you’ve already configured in the emails settings of Kingsumo Giveaways).

However, I wanted to make sure that every single person that entered walked away with something that was helpful to them.

So, I gave each participant my 90 Day Content Roadmap Asana template that they could load right into their own Asana using Templana as well as my Google Doc template that I use for content creation including an SEO checklist for each post.

One thing I would do differently, though, is that I didn’t have the template ready to go in Templana for sharing and so it took a few extra days.

I think it would have been smoother had I delivered on the same day as the announcement.

Wrap up

As I write this blog post, I’m in the wrap up process.

I mean, the giveaway is done, I’ve announced the winner, and given all the participants a gift.

But, then what?

I’m going to continue to write and share content that will help the participants run and manage their businesses in less time.

I’ll pay attention to engagement rates and any time I have an offer that I think aligns well with Asana users, I’ll offer it to them.

So, what you do think?

Do you think you’ll run a giveaway of your own?