Can giveaways help you grow your list? What prize should you choose for your contest and how do you make it go viral? Who do giveaways work best for, and how do you even run them? Ready to find out why giveaways are important for your email list growth and your business?
Then let's hear it from the awesome Derek Videll!
SOME EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS: (0:13) Want to get more sales from your email marketing? Grab our Click Tricks. (3:24) Does Derek really have uncontrollable sneezing fits when he chews mint gum? (5:19) Why are giveaways a good strategy to use for new businesses? (6:40) Should new businesses run paid ads to their offers? (8:44) Why picking the right prize will help you find the right audience. (13:00) Testing your audience and finding your target market. (14:14) Do giveaways work for B2B? (16:22) What are the key ingredients to running a viral giveaway? (21:07) How do you make the giveaway go viral? (23:40) Subject line of the week with Derek Videll.
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Why are giveaways a good strategy to use for new businesses?
Our awesome guest Derek told us that giveaways work better for beginners and new businesses. Why? Because while viral contests can also work for intermediate and advanced businesses, they are a much simpler and more effective way of building your list when you're starting out than other strategies are, such as organic social media posting.
For example, if you're a business owner who's been trying to grow organically on Instagram by posting reels, you might have experienced limited success. Reels can be difficult to do, and not everyone likes to create them. Plus, even if your reels go viral and you gain some followers from them, this strategy still doesn't give you much control over your business. Sure, you may end up with a few thousand followers, but you'll have no consistent sales revenue.
Should new businesses run paid ads for their offers?
Paid social media ads are a more ambitious route than organic content sharing, but a lot of new businesses aren't yet experienced at selling their offer. They might have not narrowed down their target market or fully established their branding and website. Or their email marketing might not be fully set up yet. But all these components are necessary if you want your paid ads to bring in sales.
The truth is that running paid social media ads directly to your offers rarely works. You might make a few sales, gain some followers, or even collect some email addresses, but the cost per acquisition tends to be very high, and in that case, your rates are probably very unprofitable.
And that's fully understandable because a lot of new business owners who have started a passion project don't necessarily have the marketing background or copywriting skills they need to make the sales they want to make. So they end up burning money on paid ads, which isn't ideal.
But there's a better way to do things! And (you guessed it) – it's giveaways!
What prize should you give away in your viral contest?
When you run viral contests, your marketing or copywriting skills don't have to be excellent. You just need to pick a prize that people want to win. So the first thing to consider is what you'll be giving away.
It can't be something untargeted or generic like an Amazon gift card or a MacBook. Because that will only give you random followers who then unfollow you once they've realised they haven't won. If you pick a prize that has nothing to do with your business, people will only enter your contest to win the prize – they won't stay afterwards because they won't want to have anything to do with your content.
And even if you do end up gaining some followers from the process, they'll probably never reply to you, and that ruins your engagement. So the prize you choose needs to pre-qualify your audience's interest in what it is you do.
If you’re a course creator or membership site owner pick a prize or perhaps even create a product that's relevant to what you do so you can attract the right audience for your business. Running paid ads to a contest rather than to an offer means you get to attract your ideal clients while deterring those who aren't the right fit.
Why picking the right prize will help you find the right audience
The reason why giveaways work really well for small businesses is that if you don't have many followers on social media, it’s hard to attract an audience through organic content. But if you share a giveaway instead, people follow you to enter and win the prize – not because of your content. You’re giving them a reason to follow you. This is why giveaways are important – they help you grow that initial following.
And if you've picked the right prize, you'll also attract the right people. So make sure that what you're giving away solves the problem that your paid offer addresses. Why? Because this tells you that the people who are entering your giveaway to win the prize, have the problem you're trying to solve. Then to spice things up, you can also add more prizes (like consolation prizes) or pick multiple winners.
Testing audiences and finding your target market
Once you've selected your prize and you start running your giveaway, test different types of audiences (for example different demographics). Who would want to buy your product?
At this point, your marketing doesn’t have to be so good that you're able to close sales straight from ads. It just needs to be good enough to get people's email addresses so you can test your target market. And then you run very simple ads to your contest. You don't even need lots of different angles with your ads – you just need the one. And that's to enter your giveaway.
Do giveaways work for B2B?
Derek told us that doing viral giveaways for B2B is a lot harder because selling coaching or consulting to a cold audience is difficult. When you’re giving away a product, people don’t look too much into where it comes from. But when it comes to coaching or similar services, people want to know who the person is. So giveaways can work for B2B but only if you already have a warm audience.
For example, Derek ran a giveaway for his coaching programme to celebrate his 200th podcast episode. He gave away some of his courses and personal mentoring to one lucky person. But everyone who entered also received a free guide, so they were all automatic winners. But when he ran the giveaway to a cold audience, while he admits he could have done more, he didn't have great success. He definitely found that viral contests only seem to work well for him if people already know him and want his products.
What are the key ingredients to running a viral giveaway?
The first component that needs to be in place is the reason why you're running the giveaway. You can't just say it's because you want people's email addresses! It's important you position your giveaway as something you’re doing to show your appreciation.
Then you need to present the prize as something simple and straightforward that people will want just by looking at it. If you have a more complicated product that needs explaining, don't spend more than a few bullet points on the extra details.
Once that's decided, you need an opt-in form where people can give you their email addresses to enter the giveaway. Don't ask people to share or tag friends, as these strategies don't work. And on the next page, simply state they have now entered the giveaway and let them know when they'll hear from you to find out if they won.
This is also your chance to ask something from your audience. For example, you could tell people that to improve their chance to win they could follow you on Instagram or Facebook for an extra entry. Or they could review your podcast on Spotify or subscribe to your YouTube channel. Get creative with this and pick whatever your company needs.
Picking your giveaway winner
On the last day, Derek will send an email out with a subject line along the lines of “The results are in”, which has a great open rate (for Derek, that's around 60-80%) because everyone wants to know if they won. And in that same email, while he has people's attention, Derek will also let everyone know about a deal they can get or any consolation prizes they might have won.
In terms of picking the winner, Derek used to do that manually. But there are plenty of giveaway software programmes designed to do this that will also take into account when people have multiple entries. He now uses a piece of software called Kickoff Labs. And that also helps with making your screen look great as it's important your content looks trustworthy because people might have the preconceived notion that a giveaway is gimmicky.
How do you make the giveaway go viral?
In order to make your giveaway go viral, ask people to share the contest with a friend (via a custom referral link you send them) to gain an additional entry. The more friends sign up, the more entries that person gains.
So while the initial entries come from running paid ads to the giveaway, you have additional ones that are gained via the share factor. And this reduces your cost per acquisition. Plus, even if they didn't win, most people will still follow you because (if you picked the right prize), they're interested in what you do.
So in a nutshell, this is why giveaways are important and work particularly well for new businesses. They allow you to test your audiences and find your ideal target market when your offering, pricing, or email marketing aren't refined yet. They also give you a faster and more efficient way to grow your list and make sales than posting organically on social media (potentially to the wrong audience) for years. Running giveaways gives you not only better results but also more conclusive data.
You'll also find that because you have people's email addresses at the back of running a contest, you can adjust your offer and try and resell to them. Whereas if you simply run paid ads to your offer to a cold audience, you're left with nothing if it doesn't work. But with a viral giveaway, you still have people's attention and can market them later.
So… are you ready to try them out?
Subject line of the week with Derek Videll
Derek’s subject line is “As promised…” It's one that worked well for Derek because it triggers curiosity. People want to see what they received that they were promised. Try it out!
Useful Episode Resources
If you want to find out more about Derek you can find him on Instagram or his website. Derek is giving away a FREE mini-course (all detailed with illustrations too) where he shares the social media giveaway strategy he talked to us about today.
FREE list of the top 10 books to improve your email marketing
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