When done right, a promotional giveaway provides business owners with a unique way to increase their mailing list and social following. A giveaway is also a quick and efficient method for boosting brand awareness and sending your logo out into the world. You can host online or trade show giveaways or simply have a giveaway entry jar at a special event.
For best results, know to whom you're marketing, what kind of promotional products or services your target audience would like to win and how to conduct a promotional giveaway legally. Once you've successfully hosted a giveaway or two, you'll become more efficient at the entire process. However, for online giveaways in particular, special promotional widgets can help you track entries and select a winner.
Choosing a Target Market and Prize Package
First, decide whom you're trying to reach with your promotion, as this will influence the kind of prize package you put together. If you want to attract the attention of trade show attendees and collect their contact information for your mailing list, set up prizes that appeal to them. Consider what any trade show professional needs: chargers, earbuds, note pads, stress balls, badge holders, luggage tags, power banks, etc.
On the other hand, if you're setting up a promotion targeting moms, add a few items they'll find useful or that they can share with their kids, such as a personal care set, coloring books, first-aid kits, stickers, sanitizer spray, etc. If your target market is incredibly diverse, you can add promotional items that are universally appealing, such as phone wallets, T-shirts and stainless steel tumblers or drinkware. Alternatively, you can focus more on your own line of products or services rather than knickknacks.
If you choose to give away a service or experience, sweeten the pot with some tangible items. For example, if you want to give away a spot in your cooking class, throw in some high-quality kitchen supplies to help grab people's attention. In addition, consider adding your logo to promotional items, especially if they'll be used in public, like eco-friendly water bottles, T-shirts, tote bags or promotional pens. Be careful to not go overboard with a logo, however, as it could potentially devalue a pricier item.
Reach Out to Sponsors or Partners
If you want to maximize the success of your promotional giveaway without a massive budget, consider teaming up with other businesses. In exchange for its contribution, the other business will have access to the collected contact information for its own marketing efforts. As long as the businesses with which you partner aren't your competitors but still have products or services relevant to the majority of your audience, you can feel confident that a cross-promotional giveaway will be a win-win situation.
Use sponsors or partners to build an enticing prize package, one that's larger or more valuable than what any contributing brand could accomplish on its own. The perceived value of what you give away plays a role in how many people your promotion will attract. Your audience should recognize the incredible deal and participate in droves.
Understanding Legal Requirements for Submissions
Is your giveaway legal? You need to follow not only the applicable state and federal laws but also any guidelines specific to the social media platforms you'll be using. One major rule is that entries must be free, with no minimum order necessary. You cannot hinge a giveaway on someone's ability to pay for his entry; otherwise, you would be running a lottery.
Giveaway winners must also be chosen at random and need to meet minimum eligibility requirements, such as being at least 18 years old, not being affiliated with your company and residing in the U.S. (since international laws add another layer of complexity). You'll need to make a document accessible to all potential entrants informing them of the requirements, rules, prizes and method for selecting and contacting the winner.
A deadline must also be clearly stated and should not be extended. In addition, if your giveaway has any single item valued at over $500 or if the items are valued at $5,000 or more total, you'll need to collect tax information from the winners for filing with the IRS.
If you're not comfortable with the legal aspects of running a promotional giveaway, don't hesitate to consult a lawyer. The feeling that creating a legal giveaway is a hassle prevents too many small-business owners from taking advantage of this marketing technique, but once you've drafted an initial set of rules, it's very easy to adapt them for all future giveaways. Give yourself a competitive advantage by grabbing the bull by the horns and learning how to do giveaways properly.
Making the Most of a Promotional Giveaway
The ultimate goal of a giveaway is to make more money by attracting new customers who, whether they win the prize or not, may explore your site or store and make a purchase. It's important to think about the long haul: You can accomplish a lot more with your marketing efforts if you have the opportunity to email people regularly or appear in their social media feeds consistently. Therefore, you should aim to collect email addresses (as well as consent to send promotional emails) and encourage people to follow you on social media whenever you market your giveaway. Plus, you'll need that contact information in order to reach out to the winner!
If you plan to run your giveaway online, you can also use special widgets to track all of the entries and to verify which ones have liked your page and shared or commented on the giveaway post. This means less hands-on management for you while also giving you some data to help you measure the success of your giveaway. These tools will also close the giveaway at the designated time and choose a random winner.
Keep in mind that an appealing promotion practically advertises itself, so be sure to also have attractive images and/or videos to pair with your entry instructions and giveaway rules. You can even advertise that all entrants will receive a special gift in order to encourage more people to sign up or share your promotion. Then, automatically send out a 10% discount via email to anyone who signs up for your giveaway. Don't wait for their excitement to wear off before you contact them.
Announcing a Winner and Delivering the Prize
Per the legal requirements of giveaways, the winner must be selected at random. For online giveaways, some brands choose to host a live stream of the selection in order to alleviate any concerns about cheating. For example, you can assign each entry a number in your database and then use an online number generator to choose the winner. Record your screen as you complete this process and then share the video when you announce the winner.
Reach out to the winner via her email address or social media profile in order to collect her mailing address. Don't forget to establish a backup plan in case there is no response. Then, promptly send the prize. It's that easy!
Don't forget to send a special prize (like a discount code) to all of your participants to ensure they maintain a positive impression of your brand.
Some popular ideas for cheap promotional give aways include these branded items: hand sanitizer, keychains, drawstring bags, drink koozies, key lights, retractable tape measures, wristbands, stress relievers, writing instruments, lip balm, mouse pads and bottle openers.
Cathy Habas specializes in marketing, customer experiences, and behind-the-scenes management. Cathy has contributed to sites like Business and Finance, Business 2 Community, and Inside Small Business. She served as the managing editor for a small content marketing agency before continuing with her writing career.