Friday, December 16, 2011

Giveaway Tips & Tricks!

I love hosting giveaways on my blog now and then, and I *really* love entering them!  I'm on a super limited budget, so in general if I want new clothes or hair products or whatever, winning a free one is the only way for me to get it.  It's so much fun to see an e-mail that I've won something, and getting something fun in the mail makes any day awesome!

I combined my own experiences with the tips from my Twitter followers and some great giveaway bloggers to put together these lists of tips!  If you have other suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

~*~Tips for Entering Giveaways~*~

1. READ the directions!  This sounds basic, but you would be amazed by how many people don't do it.  I was entering a giveaway last week for an EdenFantasys gift card, and the mandatory entry was to comment with your favorite product from the new bath & body section of the site.  Simple, right?  Nope.  The first three or four comments all mentioned items from different categories!  A few others just commented something like "I want to win!" or "Great giveaway!"  Taking a few extra seconds to read and make sure you understand the directions can make a world of difference!

2.  Emily of Emily Reviews suggests "Leave all the info needed for the blogger to verify your entry. If you do a facebook entry, leave your facebook name, if you enter on twitter, leave your twitter ID and the link to your tweet, etc."  If the blogger running the giveaway has a lot of GFC followers, you may also want to leave the name you follow with for that entry for clarity.

3. Check your spam e-mail folder daily!  It is pretty common for e-mails from addresses you don't correspond with regularly to end up there, and I've found quite a few "You won!" e-mails in my spam.  Most giveaways require that you respond to the e-mail within 48 hours, so checking daily will make sure you don't miss out on a prize you won.

4. Stay organized!  If you enter giveaways on a lot of sites, this can get complicated.  I have a notebook where I make little charts for the sites that offer extra entries for each of their giveaways you enter.  It's a little time consuming, but worth it!  Everyone is going to have a different system for this, of course, you may have to try a few different things before you figure out what works for you!

~*~Tips for Hosting Giveaways~*~

1. If you have a mandatory entry, don't make it too complicated.  I've seen giveaways where you are required to follow the blog, like the sponsor on FB AND follow them on Twitter just to be able to enter.  One actually required that you order a sample (which cost like $8) to enter.  Sorry, not happening.  

2. Make sure you are running an ethical giveaway.  This includes following FTC disclosure rules, but also just common sense.  I saw a giveaway a while back where the girl running it required that you "donate" an Amazon gift card to her to enter.  I called her out on the "um, pretty sure that is illegal" factor, and she gave me a snotty answer along the lines of "who cares?"  I unfollowed that blog instantly.  If you don't come across as trustworthy, I'm not going to feel comfortable supporting your blog.  In the bigger picture, sponsors that actually take the time to look over your blog probably won't either.

3. Turn captcha OFF!  Sure, typing a few letters to leave a comment is no big deal, but if I'm doing like 10 bonus entries and have to do a captcha every time, I'm going to get annoyed.  This applies to blogs in general, actually, not just giveaways.

4. Rafflecopter, y'all.  It makes entering and running giveaways SO much easier!

5. Jenna of Momma Told Me suggests making sure you mention which time zone your giveaway's end time is to avoid any confusion, as well as listing who is responsible for the prize distribution (ie will you be sending it to the winner yourself, or is your sponsor taking care of it directly?)

6. Emily also adds to e-mail your winner instead of making them check back at the end of the contest.  I totally agree!  I could never keep up with checking back on every giveaway I enter, I'd go nuts!

7. If you are offering tweeting about the giveaway as an entry, you have a few options.  Emily recommends having a pre-written tweet or a "tweet this" button to make things easy.  I usually give my readers the option to write a tweet however they want to word it as long as it has the link, but having a suggested tweet available makes things easy for those that don't want to come up with their own.

8. Please don't ask stupid questions as entries.  I go nuts when I see "To enter, tell me why you want to win!" I want to win because I like free stuff and whatever you are giving away looks cool, obviously!  Along those lines, if you do ask a question as your mandatory entry, try to pick one that doesn't exclude a lot of your readers.  I see a lot that are something like "What is your child's favorite food?"  I always reply "Shredded turkey Friskies in a can."  

I just came across a great example how to do this well.  Emily Reviews is giving away a men's gift basket, and instead of asking "Which one would your husband like?" as a lot of people would, she worded it as "Tell me which gift basket would be perfect for the man on your holiday gift list."  This works for people of any relationship status or orientation, and is something that men could answer, too!  

9. Be selective about what you post.  Is it worth your  time writing out a thoughtful review post in exchange for a $5 item?  If you have a new blog or a small following, small value giveaways can be totally worth it, since they will bring in new readers and give future sponsors an example of your style.  Still, it's a good idea to be selective.  I'd rather do less frequent giveaways for products I think are really cool than have a ton for mediocre stuff!

Do you have any other tips to add?  I'd love to hear!


Emily Reviews said...

I love the perspective on the mandatory entry question. I feel awkward when a giveaway asks "tell me which doll your daughter would like most." I don't have children, so I don't feel like I can answer the question. Yet, I have nieces who I enter giveaways for, so that I can give them gifts for christmas, their birthday, etc. So I try to remember that just because the item is aimed at little girls doesn't mean everyone entering will have a daughter, or like you said, I try not to assume that someone has a husband or boyfriend. Maybe they're entering the man gift for their own dad or just a male friend, cousin, etc. :)

Ronni said...

You just about hit the nail on the head with these. But also Following a BILLION things. That annoys me. A lot of times, it's just not worth all the hoops for me to jump through.