How to Grow Your Business With Giveaways and Viral Contests

How to Grow Your Business With Giveaways and Viral Contests
feature

Growing a business can feel like a bit of a marathon. In some cases, it takes months to bring a business up to speed.

But does it have to take that long? Maybe not. 

A well executed, but simple giveaway can help you grow your business quickly and for relatively low cost.

In this post, we’ll take a look at how to use giveaways and contests to help achieve rapid growth for your business.

The Proof Is in the Numbers

At Shopify, we’ve run a few giveaways in the past. Every time, we’ve seen tremendous growth in not only traffic to the Shopify Blog, but to our social media accounts as well.

And we’re not the only ones who’ve had success with giveaways.

A quick Google search shows that there are plenty of different examples of businesses that have been able to grow their e-mail list, social media accounts, and sales with a quick giveaway. Here are some convincing examples:

There are many more businesses that have achieved the same success with a giveaway. But what’s in the secret sauce that makes them so tremendously successful? How do they really do it?

Let’s take a closer look at how to run a successful giveaway and viral contest.

Note: There are specific legalities surrounding giveaways and contests. It’s important to speak to a professional that can help you determine what type of rules and regulations are in place with your local and state laws.


3 Foundational Must Haves for a Successful Giveaway

3 Foundational Must Haves for a Successful Giveaway

Before running your giveaway, it’s important to organize yourself and begin to put together some goals for the giveaway. Are you looking to generate excitement about a new product, or are you looking to win more sales? Are you trying to grow your e-mail marketing list, or your social accounts? What about both?

Here’s a formula that we’ve put together that will help you get started.

1. Have well defined goals

Figure out what key performance indicator you’re going to focus on, and do everything to achieve that goal.

For instance, if you know that you already have a large and engaged Instagram following, why not try and use that to leverage the growth of your email list? Or, try and expand your Instagram following to your other social media accounts?

2. Have an exciting prize

Are you going to be giving away a new product? An entire collection? Money? It’s important to determine what the actual prize will be well before you begin.

Need some creative inspiration for what to give away? Here are some good examples to get you started:

  • A limited edition product
  • An entire product collection
  • Product(s) from influencers in your market
  • Gift cards
  • Travel
  • A once in a lifetime opportunity

One of my favourite examples of this is how The Fifth Watches launches exclusive timepieces the 5th of every month. In addition to that, they promote it by also giving away watches on social media, and in order to be entered to win you have to tag a friend!

3. Use partnerships with celebrities and influencers

Chances are in building your business, you’ve come across some influencers in your market. These influencers can be individuals, or businesses that have a large clout when it comes to traffic and engagement.

Consider working with an influencer in your space to help give your giveaway some extra “oomph” when it needs it. When we gave away a t-shirt business, we teamed up with some of our favorite influencers, and it helped take the giveaway to the next level!

Putting the Pieces Together and Launching Your Giveaway

Putting the Pieces Together and Launching Your Giveaway

Now that we’ve defined the goals of your giveaway and have the basic understandings of how they work, it’s time to start putting it all together and launching it.

Use a Tool to Create the Giveaway

There are plenty of ways to actually create a giveaway. You can simply throw together a landing page and have people share it, and pick a winner at random. But, that can be quite a bit of a headache if you have no coding experience.

That’s why I suggest using a tool to create the giveaway. There are plenty available depending on the type of giveaway you’re looking to run, but I’ve found the most powerful to be a tool called Gleam

Here's an example of what it looks like:

Use a Tool to Create the Giveaway

Alternatively, try something like Rafflecopter or Promosimple that also have been shown to be incredibly powerful. It’s entirely up to you which you end up using!

Notify All Parties Involved

While this may seem like a no-brainer, it’s often forgotten when everything begins to come together. If your prize consists of another product from an influencer, be sure to let them know when you plan on launching the giveaway to ensure that they help promote it too.

Here's an example of an actual email I sent reminding a partner of ours that a contest went live:

Notify All Parties Involved

Don’t forget to actually email them, text them, tweet at them, or whatever means of communication you need to use in order to actually let them know when the giveaway is live!

Let Your Current Customers Know

If you already have a few customers, let them know about the giveaway and contest too! Chances are, if they've purchased a product from you in the past – they'll be thrilled to hear about getting a new product for free!

Use your favourite email marketing tool to send an email to your existing customers to inform them about the giveaway.

Encourage Virality

Adding a viral loop baked right into the giveaway can be essential toward the success of your giveaway. If you’re able to make an entry method include sharing the giveaway with friends and family to earn entries, you’re golden.

Most tools (including the ones we covered above) do have this functionality built into them, so take advantage of that!

Give Updates Throughout

While your giveaway is in full swing, be sure to update contestants throughout the length of the contest and remind them to complete certain actions to earn additional entries.

Depending on your giveaway, you might be giving away products throughout the duration of the contest too – so be sure to keep anyone updated on those prizes as well!

Here's an example of Beardbrand doing that using Gleam:

Give Updates Throughout

Shine a Spotlight on the Winner

When your giveaway is finally over, be sure to shine a spotlight on the winner! You spent a lot of time working on this, and the winner (most likely) spent a lot of time promoting the giveaway for you.

Depending on what product is is that you're giving away, you can even have the winner share a picture of them with the prize.

A company called Dream Giveaway does this incredibly well, by having a dedicated page to show off past winners!

Shine a Spotlight on the WinnerThis can help create social proof for your business, as well as be an enticing way to get more entries into your future giveaways.

Conclusion

Now that we've taken a look at how to grow your business with giveaways and viral contests, what are you waiting for? Try running a giveaway now!

Have any other ideas on how to run a giveaway or contest? Let us know in the comments below.


shopify-author Tucker Schreiber

About the Author

Tucker Schreiber is an entrepreneur and content crafter at Shopify. He writes to inspire and educate readers on all things commerce.

Start your free 14-day trial of Shopify