Are you looking to run an online giveaway?
Looking for some inspiration or a strategy guide?
You’re in the right place.
This article will give you 25 giveaway ideas, covering…
- The different types of online giveaways
- Giveaway prize ideas
- Giveaway theme ideas
- Giveaway best practices
And I’ll link to some great example-focused articles as well, so you can see exactly what a successful giveaway looks like.
Let’s get rolling!
Giveaway Type Ideas
A sweepstakes giveaway is the simplest format. Essentially, people submit their contact details and are entered for a chance at a prize. The winner (or winners) is randomly chosen from the list of entrants.
#2. Photo Giveaway
In a photo giveaway, entrants submit a photo by uploading it directly on the giveaway page. They then encourage their friends, family and co-workers to vote on their photo. Whoever gets the most votes on their submission wins the grand prize.
#3. Referral Giveaway
Referral giveaways work for your business by incentivizing sharing. Every entrant gets a discount code (or something similar) to get them to enter. Each entrant also gets a unique “Share URL” which they can share with friends. Every time a friend enters the giveaway using that unique URL, the person who gave it to them gets a bonus entry. The person with the most entries (or a random selection of those who tie) wins the grand prize.
#4. Instagram Giveaway
Instagram giveaway works by prompting Instagram users to use your giveaway hashtag when they upload a photo. That hashtag is crawled by your giveaway software and is automatically added to a photo gallery within your giveaway’s page. From there, it works exactly as the photo contest does with entrants prompting their social networks to vote on their submitted photo. The photo with the most votes wins the grand prize.
Giveaway Prize Ideas
#5. Customized Merch
- USB/Flash Drive
- T-Shirts or Polos
- Power/Charger Pack
#6. Chocolate and Candy
This is just a no-brainer. The challenge is tying something this desirable to your actual business. You need to remember that a prize isn’t just something that people want, but something that your target market wants. Otherwise, how do you make them customers?
Can’t go wrong with this one, but you’ll have to be careful to follow state and federal alcohol laws in your giveaway and with who you allow to enter. My recommendation? Add an entry popup to your giveaway where you require page visitors to put in their birthday or check a “I’m over 21” box.
- Super Bowl party
- Fourth of July BBQ
- A Year’s Supply of [X]
- Brewery Tour/Whiskey Tasting
- White Water Rafting
- Ferry or Boat Tour
- Skiing/Lift Package
#10. Treat Yourself
- Date Night for Mom and Dad
- Online Course
- Free Hour Consultation
- Photography Course
- Adobe Suite Course
- Christmas giveaway
- St Patrick’s Day brewery tour
- Valentine’s Day romantic dinner for two
- Easter egg hunt for the kids
- Spring-Cleaning Package
- Family Photo Session
- Sporting Event
- Back-to-School Prize Pack
- Fill-up-the-cart Shopping Spree
- Movie Premier
* Important Note: When framing your contest, always use “Enter for a Chance to Win” in your headline, never “Enter to win.” For legal reasons you’re safer making it a chance rather than communicating surety.
For more prize inspiration, check out “101 Best Prize Ideas to Give Away in Online Contests & Competitions.”
Giveaway Theme Ideas
#14. Do You Have the Cutest Baby/Pet in Toronto?
Cutest ___ is a winning strategy. People love sharing photos of their children and pets. Tap into that desire and your contest has a good chance of going viral.
#15. Submit your photo for a chance to be featured in our May issue!
People want to be famous. If your magazine, blog, or website has any reasonable level of readership you can give people that fame (even for a second) with a “Featured Photo” giveaway.
#16. Enter for a Chance to Win a Year of Wishpond Pro
Any software or consulting company can give away a year or an hour of their service. Wishpond, for instance, runs semi-regular giveaways like the one below:
A top tip for any SaaS company wanting to run a giveaway is to do so in conjunction with a business like your own, or who has a similar target market. WIth this strategy you can very effectively trade business leads.
For more on that, check out my article “Cost Effective Marketing Strategies.”
#17. Need a break from the kids?
Consider the pain points of your target market, then offer them something which addresses that pain. In the case of new parents (or old parents, for that matter) delivering “a break from the kids” is one of the most desirable things ever.
Team up with a nannying company in your area and buy a gift card for a local restaurant. Date night!
#18. Winter’s just around the corner! Enter for a chance to win a complete winterizing car package
Almost every business has a product or service which will work for a giveaway (financial is a bit tough)
* Important Note: You might notice that, with all of these, we’re exclusively targeting a business’ target market:
- The Cutest Baby photo giveaway exclusively gets people who have babies.
- The “submit a photo” giveaway gets photographers.
- The SaaS giveaway gets people interested in that software
- The “need a break” giveaway exclusively gets parents.
This is essential for your business to turn these people into customers.
There’s no point in spending a minute of your time marketing your gluten-free diapers (or whatever) to someone who doesn’t have a baby. So don’t target them!
Giveaway Best Practices
#20. Make Sure your Prize Brings in your Target Market
I’ve mentioned this a bit above, but it’s worth reiterating: There’s no real point in generating a contact from your next giveaway unless you can turn that entrant into a customer.
Sure, you can use a social media giveaway to boost your Following, and that’s great. But what’s the dollar value of that? Can you go to your boss and say “We ran a giveaway. We spent $50 on the third-party software and gave away a prize worth $500. The return on investment was 350%.”
If you’re able to track your giveaway entrants all the way to a paid sale, and convert them effectively, you’ll be running giveaways back to back to back all the time…
#20. Go with a Holiday Theme
As much as you can, tap into what people are already thinking about. If someone’s wondering what they’re doing for an upcoming holiday, answer their unspoken concerns with your giveaway!
Holiday or themed contests (like the Super Bowl) outperform generic or random giveaways every time. It’s a no-brainer.
#21. Go With a Prize Pack
If you’re an ecommerce or retailer, you’ll get far more out of multiple prizes than you will a single product. A lot of your target market may be interested in one of your products, but all of your target market is interested in at least one of five products.
#22. Use Bonus Entries and Share Incentives
These are somewhat new in the online giveaway world, but they’re super powerful.
Right when someone clicks “enter” on your giveaway, you should add a “Bonus Entries” popup like this one:
You’re incentivizing people to share your promotion as well a Like and Follow you on social media. And you’re doing so right at the point where they’re most “sold” on entering your contest.
#23. Advertise on Social Media
Think about it: How are you going to drive new prospective customers to your giveaway. Yes, you should definitely send your giveaway page out to your email list. And yes, you should definitely promote your giveaway on your social media accounts. But the people who enter from those places are either already customers, or already leads.
With advertising, you can reach a whole new audience and effectively (and affordably) drive them to enter your giveaway and become prospective customers.
This ad, for instance, was shown on Instagram and drove 323 entrants from the platform at a cost of $.72 each. The average purchase value for this client is about $40, so if even 10% of those entrants buy something the client will have almost tripled their investment.
By the way, Wishpond’s account managers can handle your entire advertising, design, promotion and follow-up strategy for you. If you’re interested in hearing a demo, you can do so by clicking here.
#24. Put Time and Resources into the Photo
It’s what grabs the eye. It’s what differentiates your professional online giveaway from one just thrown out there from a competitor.
A good photo can turn a normal online giveaway template into something far more interesting. Here’s an example:
If you don’t have the in-house resources to create great photos or graphics, either go with a fully-managed giveaway, a freelancer, or a platform like Fiverr or Upwork.
#25. Have a Strategy to Turn Giveaway Entrants into Customers
Your giveaway isn’t just about generating excitement or a few Likes on your Facebook Page. It’s also about driving sales. You need to convert your contest entrants to become paying customers.
The simplest and most reliable way to do that is through a follow-up email. Either automatic or manual, your business would send contest entrants a limited-time promotion of a product related to the prize they wanted to win.
The example below is from a gym who gave away a six-month fitness plan and then followed up with a free 2-week trial coupon via email:
Hopefully these 25 ideas will help you find success with your next online giveaway. Focus on the best practices I gave above and, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out in the comment section!
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