I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of bloggers hosting giveaways. Some of them good, some of them pretty terrible. You can give away pretty much anything and get some entries. But if you do it right, you can instantly end up with an epic number of new subscribers who are not only willing to put their email addresses into a form, but are actually interested in you, your blog, and your products.
A guest post by Becca Klein
I’ll be honest with you, it’s actually not that hard to host a viral giveaway. I’m doing one right now to grow my list before the launch of my new beginner blogger class, Break Into Blogging. And it got over 200 subscribers in the first 24 hours. People like free stuff, and they’ll give you their email to get it. But, here’s the thing:
You don’t actually want that many people to sign up for your giveaway.
This may go against every fiber of your blogging being.
You’ve probably trained yourself to seek out every possible new subscriber (and believe me, I have too). So your first instinct may be to brainstorm a prize that everybody will want. An iPad, an Amazon gift card, something like that. But my advice–don’t do it. Yes, tons and tons of people will enter to win a free iPad. And they’ll even enter to win a free $50 Amazon gift card. But think about it…
Are those really the people that you want on your list?
Odds are, the dude who just wants a free iPad is not that interested (or at all interested) in whatever you’re blogging about. He just wants that iPad. So, yes, he’s now on your list. And he’s a number and he counts (assuming he doesn’t immediately unsubscribe, which he might). But, is he ever going to come back, read your blog entries, follow you on Instagram, open your emails, or buy your course? Unlikely. Here’s the better idea.
Think of a giveaway prize that most people don’t want.
Give away something that only someone who is interested in your blog topic would care about. This will almost certainly result in a lower amount of entries. Probably significantly lower. But, they’re going to be higher quality entries. They’re going to be people that will come back, read your blog, follow you on social, and maybe even buy what you’re selling. Those are the people that you want.
I’d rather have 500 of those people than 5000 of the first kind.
Remember, you’re growing an email list for a reason. It’s not just for the sake of being able to say “I have 100/1000/10000 people on my list.” You can use that list to get people to read your blog and engage with your products. The random giveaway people? Not so much.
And believe me, I’m not just making up this theory.
The first giveaway I ever ran was to “Win a Free $50 Amazon Gift card!” And, I got several hundred entries. But almost none of them open my emails, and I did not see any significant increase in traffic outside of people clicking on the giveaway itself. But then I wised up.
The second giveaway I ran was ”Win the Organized Blogger Bundle!” The prize was a package of blogging and business planners (along with a few other fun things like cool gel pens). This was not meant to appeal to everyone. And it was only worth about $86. But it appealed to my readers–beginner bloggers. My total number of entries was about a third of the Amazon gift card giveaway. But quite a few of them have turned into quality subscribers who read my emails, visit my site, and engage with what I’ve got going on.
Whether you’re just doing the normal blog stuff, or you’re launching a new product like Break Into Blogging, you want people on your list who actually care about what you’re saying. Not people who just care about a free iPad.
Now, this method isn’t perfect. There are some people who literally enter giveaways for a living, and they’ll enter to win anything. So you could give away the most targeted prize in the world, you’re still going to end up with some people who are entering just because they want to win something. But, the targeted method is going to focus your list MUCH better than the broad method.
And the good news? Even though it’s targeted, you’re still going to get a ton of subscribers. No method gets me as many subscribers as a giveaway. Including the super-targeted ones.
If you’re now thinking that it might be time to host your own viral (but targeted) giveaway, read on, and download the free How to Host a Viral Giveaway Checklist to make sure you don’t miss a step.
There are tons of plugins and services that you can use to host a giveaway. Some free, some paid. But, if you want a viral giveaway (while still having that targeted prize), you want a platform that encourages people to share your giveaway on social media. Just saying “Please share!” is not going to do it.
Enter: King Sumo. Here’s how King Sumo makes it go viral: after someone enters your giveaway, instead of just being told “thanks for entering!”, they are going to be given a unique link to the giveaway. And they’ll be told that if they share that link on social, for every friend that enters through that unique link, they will get an additional five entries into the giveaway (or three or ten…whatever number you want to set). It’s a huge incentive, and it seriously gets people to share.
I’ll even give you a sneak peek at my numbers to prove it. These are my numbers after about two weeks of the “Win the Video Blogger Bundle!” giveaway (a $200+ giveaway with a Blue Yeti microphone, a Logitech C920 webcam, and some other good stuff for bloggers looking to get into video blogging, webinars, or whatever else).
721 people have entered. And it’s resulted in 4086 entries. That 4086 number means that tons of people have shared my giveaway on social media (usually Twitter) and gotten more entries for themselves and more publicity for me. Win win.
Tldr: Viral giveaways are an awesome way to grow your list. Targeted prizes are the best way to ensure that the right people are getting on your list. And King Sumo is the best way to run that targeted, viral giveaway.
If you want to know exactly how I run my giveaways and the steps you need to go through to make yours successful, grab a copy of the How to Run a Viral Giveaway Checklist right here.
Becca Klein runs Blogs by Becca, a blog dedicated to turning beginner bloggers into total bosses. If you’ve got a good idea, Becca can help turn it into a great blog. Becca lives in Chicago with her perfect dog, Emma, and her imperfect cat, Murray.