Making a Giveaway Really Work for Your Retail Business

Big retail brands often turn to Internet based giveaway contests when they have a new product to launch or a big event like a major sale to promote and in many ways it all sounds like a fabulous idea for a smaller retailer as well.

Really, on the face of it, it is a foolproof marketing plan. Host a giveaway because everyone loves free stuff of any kind. Tons and tons of people will sign up because of that fact and as a result you’ll get more likes, shares, retweets and reblogs than you have ever had. The product will sell like hotcakes as a result of your increased social media presence, you’ll make a fortune and then be able to spend the next month cruising around the Caribbean rather than actually working.

If only that were the case. However, giveaways can be a very effective tool if approached in the right way . Otherwise they become a waste of both your time and your money. Thorough preparation is key and that will involve asking yourself some important questions before you really get started. Here are four questions you need to ask and answer before you host a giveaway in order for it to have the best chance of success.

Is the Prize Emotionally Appealing?

That may sound like a very silly question. It’s a prize, it’s cool, it’s free. What else does it need to be? However some prizes really do appeal more than others and it is not always the biggest, shiniest, most expensive ones that produce the best results. The ones that do usually do best are those that take their intended audience specifically into mind and speak directly to their needs, interests, and desires.

For example, one small company offering gardening products, plants and seedlings offered their followers a chance to name their new rose line. Not much of a prize compared to say, an iPad, right? No, wrong actually. The contest attracted hundreds of enthusiastic entries from gardening buffs and the desired mountain of social shares. And the prize really didn’t cost the company a dime, it just hit the perfect emotional chord with their audience.

Am I Asking for Too Much Information?

Even though most people have become far more comfortable with sharing information online there is still plenty of reluctance if people feel they are being asked for too much. Sure they’ll give your their name and email address but may balk at zipcode, cell number and marital status as well (even though such information might be rather useful to you for marketing later). Keep the information you require for entry to a minimum at first, you can work on getting the rest later, when you have had a chance to begin building a proper customer relationship.

Am I Automating the Process as Much as Possible?

It’s easy to imagine when you are planning your giveaway that because it’s rather a big event you’ll be able to give it your top priority once it launches. Except that is rarely ever the case, simply because you still have your business to run and all of the usual day to day obligations that come along with that and rarely give you time for a proper lunch hour anyway. The result is that the giveaway is barely promoted.

To prevent this, automate everything as far as possible. And it is not hard to do that. Schedule social media updates in a utility like Hootsuite that will allow you to set posts for weeks in advance. Set up an auto responder email for entrants that acknowledges their entry and begins to introduce your company. You’ll still have to keep an eye on things but you’ll be saving tons of time.

What’s My Post Giveaway Action Plan?

In order to get the biggest ROI out of any giveaway you need a solid plan for just what you are going to do with all of the data and personal information you collected. Each entrant is in essence a brand new lead, and, if you got the prize emotion thing right they are highly qualified leads at that, a golden and precious commodity.

Whether you chose to send out a personalized and incentivized email drip campaign or simply comment on each piece of user-generated content that was created to enter to win your giveaway, follow-up is a crucial, as without it you’re missing out on the real value of hosting a giveaway in the first place.

Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.

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