Offering customers and prospects free giveaways can be a powerful strategy to increase brand visibility, drive engagement and increase sales, especially during the holiday season. Although giving away free products may seem counterintuitive, well-executed giveaways and contests can help you achieve rapid growth.
According to Shopify, giveaways have been widely successful in driving growing traffic to the platform’s blog and social media accounts, while many organizations reported an increase in revenue by employing the same strategy.
We asked 13 entrepreneurs from YEC to share their best ideas for driving customer engagement and increasing sales through the use of free giveaways this holiday season.
1. Let Your Customers Give Back
This year, we will be giving our customers the opportunity to donate a percentage of their purchases to the charity of their choice. This is the gift of giving back that really resonates with our clients.
2. Make It Specific to Your Audience’s Needs
When running a giveaway, your no. 1 goal should be to build your email list with targeted leads. To accomplish this, your giveaway needs to be a product that only your target customer would use. For example, don’t give away an iPad; everyone in the world wants one. Instead, if your audience consists of, say, online marketers, give away a yearly subscription to a marketing software you love.
3. Retarget With Free Trials
As a service provider, we’ve found retargeting coupled with free trials to be an effective strategy. Retargeting allows us to create promotions relevant to the user’s browsing history. If they show an interest in a particular type of server hosting, we can retarget them with advertising containing promotions related to that product.
4. Partner With a Publisher
In your category or niche, there are at least a handful of publishers who partner with brands for giveaways. This allows you to leverage the relationship they have with their already large audience to get more active participation so you can ensure thousands of highly qualified consumers will be clamoring to win your giveaway.
5. Utilize Social Media Influencers
Giveaways are a great opportunity to directly engage with current and potential customers. We have hosted a few subscription giveaways, and have even gone outside of our current customer base to host a giveaway with an Instagram influencer. In this instance, we were able to engage with potential customers who may have never seen our brand before, and it expanded our own following.
6. Barter for Reviews
We recently launched a new line and wanted to generate reviews on Amazon so potential customers could see what real users were saying. As such, we gave away hundreds of samples with a stipulation: You’re accepting this free giveaway if, in return, you agree to post an honest (good or bad), constructive review on Amazon within a week. This really helped get the ball rolling.
7. Exchange for Email Addresses
Online giveaways are a great opportunity to collect email addresses for highly targeted email marketing campaigns. Ask your visitors a few questions to best target future email marketing campaigns, such as their names and what they are interested in hearing from you in the future. Then, take this information and segment your email lists to deliver only what they want from you.
8. Bundle Offers Together
This is an effective strategy commonly used in smartphone apps and online games. Giving away an amount of store credit big enough to purchase one smaller item, with a bit extra left over, will encourage customers to spend more of their own money to get the most out of the remainder. They’ll end up spending more money than they originally would’ve, but will still feel like they got a good deal.
9. Offer Branded Merchandise
If you don’t want to give away the farm, branded merchandise is the perfect free giveaway for customers who make a purchase with you this season. This could be a T-shirt, hat or something smaller. People love branded merchandise, and it also boosts your word-of-mouth advertising. The more loyal people are to your brand, the more likely they’ll be to bite.
10. Organize Sweepstakes and Contests
We are offering a holiday giveaway for all new customer sign-ups within the month of December. This allows us to drive sales through our people, on our website and via social. This is a good incentive and great for driving sales during that critical last month of the year.
11. Use a Countdown
Countdowns in e-commerce are great. They create a lot of excitement and buzz around the sale. It can get your customers to know what’s coming up and can be used to leverage sharing and more discount offers.
12. Reward Social Media Followers
Making it exclusive to a certain part of your audience that is more loyal is a great approach. It creates the idea that only certain people can get it because they have gone the extra step to be loyal. That’s why those that take the time to like us on Facebook or follow us on Instagram get holiday giveaway access, hopefully encouraging others to sign up.
13. Play on the Excitement of a Good Deal
It’s so easy to run a promotion during the holiday season because most people are out actively looking for a good deal. If you can play on this excitement, your online giveaways can gain a lot of traction. In turn, you can add the new sign-ups to a unique nurturing funnel and create a paid upsell offer for them to take advantage of, turning them into paying customers.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Holiday Promotions
While the holidays and fourth quarter might seem like the best time to run a contest or giveaway promotion, year-round promotions are happening all the time. Get creative with your ad campaigns and engage with new audiences through social sharing and refer-a-friend promotions. Sometimes the best contests and giveaways are for simple prizes or promotions, that paid ad campaigns could never duplicate!