Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Day 19 - Running Giveaway Contests

Let your smile change the world.... 
But don't let the world change your smile.

Over the years, I've run quite a few giveaway contests. These contests either involve me giving away a free piece of jewelry or gift certificate to my shop. There are many reasons why I hold contests from time to time, here are my main reasons:
  1. Since people get more chances to win with each entry option they select, it's a great opportunity to gain followers for:
    • Facebook
    • Twitter
    • Pinterest
    • Newsletter
  2. Sends people to my blog. I'm always looking to increase viewership of my blog and it's a perfect site to host my giveaway.
  3. Gets my name out there. Let's face it, there are a lot of jewelry designers selling on Etsy. This is just one more way to get people to see my products and learn about me.
  4. Brand loyalty. I like giving my customers a way to win jewelry. I advertise my giveaways on my Facebook page, newsletter, and Twitter. This way people who already follow me are aware of the contests and have a chance to enter.
  5. Additional advertising. There are many giveaway blog sites out there and they like to link to current giveaways. This is a great way to get free advertising.
I've been using Rafflecopter for my entry form tool. I'm currently using the free version, but may upgrade to the 'blogger' version for $7.99 at a later date if I continue hosting giveaways. With the free version, you can:
  • Embed the entry form in your blog or Facebook using a code snippet that Rafflecopter provides.
  • Determine the start and end date for your contest. When you reach the ending date, Rafflecopter will halt the contest and allow you to randomly select a winner.
  • Specify different ways to enter your contest with assigned point values. Rafflecopter will automatically include the point values when it randomly selects the winner from all the available entries. Here are the entry options I'm creating for my current giveaway: 

As you can see, there are many options for entering this contest, none are mandatory. Rafflecopter handles all the entries automatically, so I don't have to.

The $7.99 version has the additional features:
  • Add prize photos
  • Change start/end times on the fly
  • Email reminders
  • More entry options- Pinterest and Surveys (I had to add the Pinterest option myself above - I'm not sure how it will work since there's no way for Rafflecopter to verify)
  • Mobile-friendly Facebook app

One point about Rafflecopter, however. With the free version, there is no way to tell if someone has 'faked' the system and hasn't followed through on some of these entry options. Once the contest is over, I will need to manually validate the entry myself. If it's not valid, I'll just ask Rafflecopter to select another random entry (you can do this as often as needed). Since I'm still a small company, this won't be a big burden. But, as I grow my business I will need to find a way to bypass this manual checking. I'm not sure if Rafflecopter even has a way to handle this situation with their upgraded versions. 

I will be  publicizing my contest within the next day or so. I'm looking forward to seeing how it works to gain more followers, especially for Facebook, Pinterest, and my new e-mail newsletter!