How to Launch Your Startup with a Giveaway Campaign

You have worked hard and now have your startup ready to roll but how do you get the word out?  Techcrunch ignores your press release. Mashable doesn’t care about Your Crappy, Unknown, Money starving Startup. You don’t have any connections that can get you covered on the large tech blogs. After you have sent your tweets, Facebook status updates and emailed your friends and contacts, you still can’t get enough attention to build momentum for your product. Your website traffic gets back to 20 unique visits a day.

If you are a startup and you can’t get the attention of the mainstream medias and journalists, you should look for new avenues and ideas for your promotion. Why not to try contests and giveaways?

Why contests and giveaways?

First, because they are proven marketing tactics to build a brand and attract customers attention with a minimum budget. Big companies use a lot of giveaways, contests and promotions, because they know from practice that these tactics are not online effective but they work almost all the time.

Second, because giveaways are very powerful engagement tool. Contrary to “pay per click” or “display advertisement”, contests involve your target market group into your marketing process. People will give you permission to ask them to do some tasks: like to answer a survey question, to post a comment, to select their favorite product, to spread your message on social medias, etc.

Third, contests and giveaways are long term investment. You get people contacts, and you can follow up with them, provide them use useful content or further engage them with new contests.

There are few steps to follow to organize a successful giveaway contest: select your prize carefully, promote your contest at the right place, and make sure you introduce some surprise or challenge into your contest to improve participants engagement.

What is a giveaway?

A giveaway is a marketing tactic where something is given away for free. Big Companies often use giveaways to spread the word about their products, to make their brand more memorable in customers’ minds, or to get people to try something new in the hopes that they will continue to buy the product.

Big companies know well how effective giveaways campaigns are, and do thousands of giveaways campaigns a year. Small businesses still have to grasp  the concept and use it to their advantage, like the big guys!

Define your target audience

The first step in your overall effort is to define precisely your target audience, or the very people you want to attract to your giveaway promotion. Don’t write “I want to reach students”, but “I want to reach students who are interested into become entrepreneurs”.

Select your prize

A good definition of our audience will help you know what kind prize to attach to your promotion. Women with a newborn would love to receive a huge discount on pampers diapers, or will fiercely compete to win “1 year Free supply of pampers diapers delivered to their door”. Startup founders will fiercely compete to win a $1000 Facebook ads credits or Google Adwords credits.

Chose your price regarding the intrinsic motivation of your target audience, and keep in mind to select a prize that could be somehow related to your brand.

A caution here. It’ll be inefficient to use your own startup product for a giveaway when no one knows about you, or your brand is not strong enough to entice a lot of people.

Use an online tool to organize your contests

There are many tools online to organize contests. Most of them are similar to Goodbuzz, and can be equally capable in helping you manage your online contests. Here are few of them:

Strutta.com
Wildfireapp.com
Rafflecopter.com
Contestmachine.com
Giveawaytools.com

You can all give them a trial, however if you want to go with the most simple, and the most focused on marketing results, you might give your preference to Goodbuzz. Typically, any user of Goodbuzz widget would get 30% to 50% traffic increase to his/her website in less than 30 days.

The main value of Goodbuzz is that it makes it easier for small business and event organizers to create and run a giveaway. The widget manages everything for the advertiser, from participants registration to the prize claiming. The pages are clean. The advertiser has access to all participants contacts, and also real time statistics about sharing and participation. The advertiser could also customize in advance what people will share on social medias making the impact of their campaign more powerful.

Here are some feedback we have received from Goodbuzz users.

“We have evidenced that GoodBuzz Share to Win solution yields 7 times more Sharing activity compared to traditional Tweet and Like this Buttons.
In addition, a single Share via GoodBuzz yields 11 Visits to our web site. We have found that integrating GoodBuzz campaign as an integral part of web site user experience is the Best way to deploy social media sharing in a fun and intuitive, and most rewarding way.”

Testimonial from Joiku.com – they have ran about 8 promotions with Goodbuzz: http://www.joiku.com/share-to-win

I did see about a 30% increase in page views and visitors, but I didn’t promote it as fiercely as I should have.  I was really just giving Goodbuzz a test run to see if it would be good to use for one of my clients.
Thanks so much!

Testimonial from Christa Wojciechowski – webbella.com
twitter.com/webbella
facebook.com/webbella 

4. Promote your contests

Even if your promotion prize is very attractive, you still need to spend some time and resource to promote it:

  • Post the promotion on your blog
  • Insert a link to the promotion page into your newsletters
  • Advertise the promotion using your current advertising channels: adwords, facebook ads, linkedin ads, banners, sponsorship, PR, twitter, etc.

Remember, don’t post your giveaways contest on contests directories or contests aggregation portals. You’ll get lot of entries but mainly from “professional” freebies seekers. They are not interested in your business. They use automated tools to enter hundreds of contest daily, and they will unsubscribe from your list instantly afterward. They want only your prize, and don’t care about who you are, and what your business is all about.

5. Monitor your progress toward your goals

The goal for a giveaway contest could be branding, list building, community engagement or publicity. Your giveaways tools should be able to help you get an instant idea of how your promotion is doing, eventually contact your best evangelists or supporters who would give you additional feedback about your brand and products.

Here is a typical dashboard we provide for Goodbuzz users:

6. Contact the winner and deliver your prize

You should build trust in your brand by delivering the prize you’ve promised to the winners. Announcing the winner could be the moment you chose to get your news in front of all the participants into your contest. Eventually, you can take a shortcut to give a discount to non-winners, and announce upcoming events or products.

7. Keep in on touch, but don’t spam

Once you have build a mailing list or get followers from your promotion, make sure you keep in touch with your new contacts. Engage them with new contests, and provide them information that might enhance your brand.

If you have any question, or need help to create and run a giveaway contest, you can contact a Play marketing expert at Goodbuzz: mk@goodbuzz.org

Mawuna KOUTONIN

About Mawuna KOUTONIN

Mawuna Koutonin is a world peace activist who relentlessly works to empower people to express their full potential and pursue their dreams, regardless of their background.

He is the Editior of SiliconAfrica.com, Founder of Goodbuzz.net, and Social activist for Africa Renaissance. Koutonin’s ultimate dream is to open a world-class human potential development school in Africa in 2017. If you are interested in learning more about this venture or Koutonin’s other projects, you can reach him directly by emailing at linkcrafter@gmail.com

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