small business contests

08.28.2019

marketing  |  9 min read

How to create giveaway contests that drives traffic to your site

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Laura Cabrera

There’s no doubt about it, everyone loves winning. So, why not use that to your business’ advantage? Creating a giveaway contest is a great way to drive more traffic to your website and create a lot of buzz around your business. People online will rush to enter your contest for a chance to win an awesome prize. 

Plus, after entering your giveaway, they'll likely stick around to see what you have to offer. 

With a giveaway you won't only make the day of one lucky winner -- who will probably become a lifelong fan of your business -- but, you’re able to introduce your brand to a whole new audience of captivated people.  

Here’s how to create a giveaway contest that drives traffic to your site. 

1. Choose goals for your giveaway contest

Before you start creating your giveaway, you need to choose the goals for running it. As we mentioned previously, an awesome giveaway can help you drive a ton of traffic to your site. 

But, if you think that’s the only goal you can set for your giveaway, you’d be missing out on a ton of other opportunities to grow your business. 

Check out some of the most popular giveaway campaign goals, besides growing your website traffic: 

  • Get more email subscribers
  • Boost brand awareness
  • Get more social media followers
  • Increase customer engagement
  • Collect more user-generated content
  • Generate more sales from your online store/business
  • Choosing a goal for your giveaway campaign (or a couple of main goals) will let you easily measure the results and determine how successful the campaign was. 

    Plus, you shouldn’t run a giveaway contest just to please your customers and target audience, it should provide benefits for your business as well. 

    For instance, KnivesShipFree.com, an eCommerce store selling premium knives, created a monthly giveaway campaign with the goals of growing their email list and generating more sales.

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    Because the company set clear goals for their campaign, they were easily able to measure their results. 

    And their results were amazing! 

    With their giveaway contests, they were able to collect over 5,000 new email addresses and generate $10,118.20 in sales

    So, select goals that line up with your business and marketing objectives to get the most out of your giveaway campaign. 

    2. Pick an awesome prize

    One of the most important elements of a giveaway is, of course, the prize. The prize is what draws people to your contest initially. But, picking the right prize is key. People won’t make the effort to enter your contest if your prize isn’t worth the trouble. If you want to grab the attention of a lot of people and get a ton of contest entries, you need to choose a prize that wows them. 

    The most popular contest prizes are:

  • Cash
  • Gift Certificates
  • Free Products/Services
  • While all of these contest prize ideas are great, consider choosing a prize that’s relevant to your business and your target audience. So, instead of offering a cash prize of $100, offer $100 worth of free services from your business. For instance, check out this giveaway from Running Room and GoodLife Fitness. The contest prize is a 6-month GoodLife fitness membership and a $200 Running Room gift card.  

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    Choosing a prize that’s relevant to your business and your target audience will help you get more contest entries from your ideal customers. Because the people who entered your contest are interested in what your business has to offer, they’ll be more likely to become satisfied customers in the future.

    3. Determine the giveaway contest rules

    Every contest has rules. So, now you need to decide on the rules for your giveaway campaign.  First, you need to decide what type of contest you’ll run. For example, will you run a classic contest where people can simply enter for a chance to win by providing their name and email address? Or, will you run a contest that requires something from the user to enter? For instance, you could run a photo contest to gather more user-generated content. A famous example of this is Starbucks’ White Cup Contest. To enter the contest, people had to submit a photo of their new design idea. 

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    For your first giveaway, we recommend running a classic contest. A classic contest is a bit easier to manage. Plus, more people will enter your contest because nothing is required of them. 

    Other rules you need to determine include:

  • Start and end dates - How long will people be able to enter your contest?
  • Participants - Is there an age limit? Are there locations limits?
  • Entry methods - How do people enter the giveaway? How many times can they enter?
  • Picking the winner - Will the winner be picked by random draw, a vote, or another method?
  • Remember, think about the goals you set for your contest when deciding the rules. For example, if one of your goals for your giveaway is to get more social media followers, participants should be required to follow you on Twitter.  Once you’ve completed all the planning stages, it’s time to start creating your giveaway contest. 

    4. Use a giveaway plugin to create your contest

    To make your giveaway simple to enter for users you should use a giveaway tool or WordPress plugin to create your contest entry form. Using a WordPress giveaway plugin will also make your contest easier to manage since all of your entries will be in one place. There are a ton of WordPress giveaway plugins on the market. But, one of the best is RafflePress. This giveaway plugin is powerful, easy-to-use, and it won’t slow down your site either. With RafflePress you can build a giveaway campaign widget or giveaway landing page in no time using their drag and drop builder. They also offer pre-built giveaway templates that are completely customizable as well.  Plus, you can add several different entry methods for your campaign giveaway. This includes contest entry actions like Visit us on Facebook, Follow us on Pinterest, Join an Email Newsletter, and more. 

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    When you add these actions to your giveaway campaign, users can get extra contest entries for taking them.  As you can see, this lets you have a better chance of meeting your contest goals and having a more successful giveaway. 

    5. Promote your contest

    When you’ve finished creating your giveaway entry form, it’s time to let it loose into the world and start getting a ton of entries, right? Nope. If you want your contest to get a lot of buzz and entries, you need to promote your contest first. There are many easy (and free) ways to promote your contest online. One of the most effective ways is to share your contest on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. For example, take a look at this Instagram post from nutpods. They promote their giveaway by sharing an eye-catching image of the prize. In the caption, they also include a brief description, instructions for how to enter the contest, and they added #giveaway to widen their reach. 

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    To boost engagement and get your contest in front of even more social media users, ask people to tag a friend in the comments. 

    Some other easy ways you can promote your giveaway contest include: 

  • Creating a blog post to announce your contest
  • Submitting your giveaway to contest and sweepstakes directories
  • Sending an announcement to your email subscribers
  • Sharing your contest in online communities and forums
  • Don’t begin promoting your contest the day it goes live though. Instead, start promoting your contest weeks before. That way, you can create a ton of excitement around your contest and get loads of entries on day one. 

    Wrapping up

    That’s it! When your contest is over, you can pick the winner and make their day! Running an online contest is an awesome way to bring joy to your customers and introduce your business to a whole new audience. Whether your goal is to drive more traffic to your site, get more social media followers, or grow your email list, you can reach it by running a successful online giveaway.  Don’t forget to track the results of your giveaway too. Check your website analytics to see view your website traffic, contest landing page visits, eCommerce sales, and which of your contest promotion strategies was the most effective. By tracking and measuring the results of your contest, you can get even better results next time. 


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