So you’re running a promotional giveaway…
Is it to capture new leads? Nurture current prospects? Engage your customers? Or something else?
Whatever your reason, sometimes it’s hard to come up with ideas that will help you stand out from the competition. After all, promotional giveaways are hardly a new marketing tactic. Brands have been using giveaways and sweepstakes for as long as marketing has existed, hoping to generate interest and sales for their products or services.
So are you ready set your brand apart? We’ve put together a list of 30 promotional giveaway ideas that will differentiate you from the sea of noise out there on social media.
The list of ideas is broken down into the following sections:
- Delivering Your Giveaway
- Creating Engagement
- Capturing Leads
- Nurturing Leads
- Sparking Virality
- Customer Service
- Ideas for Prizes
Let’s dive in…
Delivering Your Giveaway
We’ll start with the design and delivery of your promotional giveaway. While it may not be the “sexiest” part of the process, it’s a critical component to help you stand out from others.
Idea #1 – Make it professional
The design of your promotional giveaway needs to be professional and aligned with your brand. If people land on a standalone landing page that looks nothing like your website, the form is clunky, your rules and terms are hard to find, or the design looks like a scene out of Back to the Future, then you will immediately lose credibility.
Take inspiration from this vacation giveaway from Adrien Gagnon:
Build your own with ShortStack’s Giveaway template
The hero image is crystal clear and high quality, the text has a modern design edge, and the colors are on brand.
Idea #2 – Leverage templates and builders
There are certain elements of a promotional giveaway landing page that are proven to perform well. So there is no point in recreating the wheel; learn from others and replicate what has been successful before.
One way of doing this is to use a giveaway builder that has a library of proven readymade templates, like ShortStack:
ShortStack contest template library
You can start with a template and customize it to complement your brand.
Idea #3 – Host the giveaway on your own site
When contests and giveaways first hit the digital scene, a number of social media contest solutions entered the market. Most of these solutions were designed to operate like an “app” that hosted your contest on the social platform.
In recent times we have seen a shift away from this type of contest and for good reason. With the regular and unpredictable changes to Facebook’s algorithm, it makes more sense to host your contest on your own real estate – your website – and use social networks to amplify its reach.
This way, the success of your giveaway is not reliant on another platform. You control your own destiny.
A common reason brands choose promotional giveaways over other forms of lead generation is because they naturally drive more engagement from participants. But you can’t just expect your giveaway will entice users to engage with it, you need to be creative. Remember, your prospects are being exposed to all sorts of noise and information when they are online.
Here are some promotional giveaway ideas for increasing engagement:
Idea #4 – Inject fun and gamification into your giveaway
The best promotional giveaways are fun. They use elements of gamification to elicit feelings of intrigue and excitement in participants.
The best promotional giveaways are fun. They use elements of gamification to elicit feelings of intrigue and excitement in participants.”
The concept of “gamification” might sound complex, but it doesn’t need to be. For example, 23 City Blocks Catering decided to give away 23 different prizes, on 23 different days. Contestants could reveal each day’s prize by clicking on the day on the landing page. This is a crafty way to inspire curiosity and create engagement in a giveaway.
Gamification giveaway example. Built with ShortStack’s Multi-Day Giveaway Calendar template
Idea #5 – Use smart interactions
The next promotional giveaway idea to increase engagement is to use interactive marketing techniques.
Quizzes, polls, calculators, and “pick your own journey” videos are some examples of how you can engage participants in your contest. They all create intrigue and have an element of “reveal,” that we are intrinsically tied to.
Below is an example from Grainfather Brewing who have used the concept of a wishlist to entice participants to engage with and enter their giveaway:
Interactive giveaway example. Built with ShortStack’s Win Your Wishlist template.
Idea #6 – Tap into user-generated content
User-generated content is a powerful force on social media and promotional giveaways are a great way to tap into this phenomenon. To think that your giveaway could be shared with other prospects of your business without your intervention is quite amazing. All you need to do is provide participants the tools and encouragement they need to do so.
A popular way of encouraging user-generated content from giveaway contestants is to run a photo contest. The key to a successful photo contest is striking a balance between ease and effort. You don’t want it to be too easy to enter, because participants will feel like they can’t influence the outcome, meaning engagement will be low. On the other hand, you don’t want it to be too hard either, because no one will do enter.
The key to a successful photo contest is to strike a balance between ease and effort. “
The photo contest giveaway from Perky Pet below does a great job of striking this balance by encouraging participants to decorate, take a photo, enter, and share.
User-generated content giveaway example. Built with ShortStack’s Photo Upload Giveaway template.
You’re probably hosting a giveaway to get leads, right?
If that’s the case, then these next few ideas will help you get high-quality leads from your efforts.
Idea #7 – Make the giveaway super-relevant
It’s all well and good to get leads from a giveaway, but if they aren’t prospective customers, then what’s the point?
Leads and participants are very different things. If you want to get a ton of participants for your contest then give away a holiday or a car. But if you want to generate leads, you need to make the whole experience relevant to your ideal prospects. Everything from the way you market the giveaway to the prizes you offer, should all align with the goals and interests of your target customers.
Holiday Parks New Zealand does a great job of qualifying prospects in the example below by using a quiz to narrow potential participants.
Relevant giveaway example. Built with ShortStack’s Trivia Quiz template.
Idea #8 – Create a sense of urgency
Urgency makes us act now, instead of later. It’s a prominent psychological factor in marketing because it gets people to do something rather than waiting and procrastinating on a decision that never ends up happening.
When it comes to promotional giveaways, you can create urgency with participants by limiting the amount of time the promotion is running. Visual triggers such as countdown timers or expiring prizes on your landing page persuade people to enter the competition.
Urgency giveaway example. Built with ShortStack’s Multi-Day Giveaway Calendar template.
Idea #9 – Provide a compelling offer
Urgency is useless if your offer isn’t something people want. Which is why the offer you present to giveaway participants is a vital part of lead generation. I’ll discuss some ideas for giveaway prizes later in this article, but for now, it’s important just to appreciate the importance of making a compelling offer. Your offer needs to have a high perceived value with your ideal customers in order for them to want to enter the contest.
Your offer needs to have a high perceived value with your ideal customers in order for them to want to enter the contest. “
Giveaways aren’t just about engagement and lead generation. If you want to make the most of the leads you capture from your contest then you need to also think about nurturing those leads and guiding them through the buying process. Here are some tips for doing so.
Idea #10 – Go multi-channel
The best lead-nurturing campaigns are multi-channel. On top of social media, your giveaways and follow-up process should make the most of pay-per-click campaigns, remarketing ads, blog posts, email campaigns, and any other channel that makes sense for your target audience.
The goal is to generate visibility for your brand before the giveaway, during the giveaway, and then after the giveaway when you are trying to close sales.
Idea #11 – Develop consistency
Creating a multi-channel experience for your prospects is one thing, but it needs to be consistent for it to have the biggest impact. Your offer, branding, timing and messaging all need to align across every channel you use.
Consistency is what instills brand recognition and recall. By the time you have a conversation with a prospect, they should already recognize your business. This creates a sense of familiarity and trust, which accelerates the sales process.
Idea #12 – Track and optimize your performance
It’s unlikely your lead-nurturing efforts will be perfect from day one. That’s why you should have a way to track your results and optimize their performance over time.
For example, you may test conversion elements at each stage of the campaign.
- How many people who visit your giveaway landing page enter the contest?
- Of the people who enter your contest, how many begin a sales conversation?
- From your sales conversations, how many become customers?
Of course, this is a very basic look at the metrics you may choose to track but it’s a good starting point. With this information, you can improve the performance of your promotional giveaway next time.
As I mentioned in the “user-generated content” section of this article, promotional giveaways provide a unique playing ground for promotion that doesn’t require your investment or time. Your giveaway could all of a sudden catch fire and go viral and you don’t even know why!
Even though the virality of your contest is somewhat left to luck, there are a couple of things you can do to increase the chance of this happening. Here are some ideas…
Idea #13 – Research to find opportunities
Before launching your giveaway, take a moment to conduct some research and identify a topic or idea that has a proven track record.
For example, you could use a keyword research tool to determine if your giveaway topic has a lot of Google search volume. If it does, optimize your giveaway landing page for SEO and try to rank in search. This not only attracts more participants but reinforces that your topic is one of interest to people.
Keyword research for giveaway ideas
Another way you can determine if your topic has a chance of going viral is to look at other promotional giveaways on the same topic to see how they performed on social media. BuzzSumo is a great tool for researching specific key phrases and seeing the highest performing content on social media:
Social media research for giveaway ideas
If your contest topic doesn’t have examples of virality in the past, it is unlikely to go viral in the future. It’s possible but unlikely.
Idea #14 – Incentivize sharing
Promotional giveaways almost always have an element of virality already built in. For example, you can give entrants additional entries for every other person they get to sign up. All they need to do is share it on social media with a unique link! Like this example:
Incentivised sharing giveaway example. Built with ShortStack’s Refer-a-Friend Giveaway template
View and Create Your Own
Idea #15 – Piggyback influencers
The final idea for making your giveaway viral is to tap into the world of social media influencers.
The sweet spot for influencer marketing is the “micro” level, where the influencers have a growing and engaged following, but they aren’t already so popular that you blow your whole budget on one Instagram post.
The sweet spot for influencer marketing is the “micro” level, where the influencers have a growing and engaged following, but they aren’t already so popular that you blow your whole budget on one Instagram post. “
If you can find a group of micro-influencers who have an audience closely aligned with your target customer, they can significantly increase the reach of your giveaway. Some influencers like to arrange a flat-fee payment for promotions, or you can negotiate a per-registration commission, it’s up to you.
If your promotion is a success it can be both a blessing and a burden. On the one hand, you have lots of new leads. But on the other hand, you have a lot of customer service requests coming in and need to be prepared to handle these with professionalism and speed. Here are some tips for doing so…
Idea #16 – Automate with Chatbots
Make the most of new technology such as Chatbots to automate some of the customer service process. This may be hard to do if this is the first time you are running a giveaway, but over time you will become familiar with the types of questions asked at every stage of the campaign. By automating low-risk parts of your customer service interactions you create space for your team to handle the more important requests.
Idea #17 – Connect with Live Chat
Make an effort to connect with your giveaway participants using Live Chat on your website and contest landing page. This is another “channel” that is important in the communication of your offer and key sales message.
Live Chat not only provides a quick and easy way for potential customers to ask questions, but it also helps you engage with users and improve your conversion rates.
Idea #18 – Get personal with Live Video
Live Video is a great way to create a personal connection with your audience without physically meeting them. Whether it’s Facebook Live or via a webinar, you can use Live Video during a promotional giveaway campaign to engage with your prospects, encourage more sign ups, answer important questions, and overcome objections.
Ideas for Prizes
Ok, now to the fun part – the prizes! As I mentioned earlier, the offer or prize you provide to giveaway contestants is a crucial ingredient in your campaign’s success or failure. Your prize needs to have a high perceived value. It needs to excite your prospects, and persuade them to engage with your contest.
All of these prizes won’t be relevant to everyone, but I’m sure there are some gems in there, regardless of what your company does or sells. Let’s have a look…
Idea #19 – Clothing and apparel
If you sell clothes, then this is an obvious one. But even if you don’t, you may like to give away some branded apparel as a prize, just like Jack Stack Barbecue has below!
Clothing giveaway example. Built with ShortStack’s Giveaway template.
Idea #20 – Coupons, Gift Cards, or Vouchers
You can’t go wrong with a coupon, gift card, or voucher for your product or service. You may even give away a gift card for another business, like Amazon for example. It’s simple and effective, as long as it aligns with your primary business offer!
Coupon giveaway example
Idea #21 – Bundles
Can’t think of a single prize to give away? Bundle a few high-value items together! Just make sure the bundle components complement each other, like this Halloween movie-deal example:
Halloween giveaway example
Idea #22 – Products
There is no better way to ensure that giveaway participants have an interest in your product or service than to offer it as a prize. KitchenAid followed this simple formula below:
Product giveaway example
Idea #23 – Pick a prize
One way to increase the chance of a participant liking your prize is to give them a choice. This approach not only makes sure they get something they want, but it also creates a fun experience and tells you vital information about your customers’ product preferences.
Pick a prize giveaway example. Built with ShortStack’s Pick Your Prize template
Idea #24 – Service trials
This giveaway prize idea is especially good if you run a service business. Instead of giving away a physical product, you could offer a free trial or bundle a package of the service you offer. Anatomy 201 did this with personal training sessions:
Service trial giveaway example
Idea #25 – Food and Hampers
Food and hampers have been given away as prizes in raffles or sweepstakes for as long as any of us can remember, so why not now? Well, it depends on your business, but for this office catering company, it made perfect sense!
Food and Hamper giveaway example
Idea #26 – Electronics
If you can avoid the generic “iPad giveaway” (unless you’re Apple), electronics can actually make for a thoughtful prize. Here is an Apple Watch prize example that is aligned with the company’s messaging around staying active:
Electronics giveaway example
Idea #27 – Event tickets
For event companies or entertainment venues, giving away tickets is the perfect prize that complements your business offering.
Event tickets giveaway example
Idea #28 – Holiday
You might be thinking “holidays are overdone.” And for the most part, they are… because usually they are used as generic prizes that have no correlation to the business running the giveaway. But if you are in the travel industry like Topdeck, Busabout, and Etihad Airways, then they make perfect sense:
Holiday giveaway example
Idea #29 – Event-based prizes
Annual events are a topical reason to run a promotional giveaway and engage your audience. They are newsworthy which piques people’s interest and persuades them to participate.
If you are running a giveaway for a specific event, then make sure you tailor the prize to align with the event!
Valentine’s Day giveaway example
Idea #30 – Exposure
The final promotional giveaway idea on the list is to offer a prize that gives participants exposure. This tactic is very common with photo contests when you have a big social following. Or, when you produce a collated output at the end of the giveaway which provides people with additional exposure.
See the example below from a pet company that featured photo contest participants in a yearly calendar:
Exposure giveaway example
Promotional giveaways are a great way to engage with your prospective customers, generate leads, and nurture those leads into paying customers. But with the ever-growing amount of content and information being distributed online every single day, it’s harder than ever to stand out and persuade people to take notice.
We hope these 30 promotional giveaway ideas will give you a leg up on your competition!
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