People love free stuff. People also love winning. Just look how excited audience members get when they are chosen to “Come on down!” on the Price is Right. Whether you are a startup, a well-established brand or a blogger, online giveaways are a way for you to bring this fun and excitement to your customers and fans. Plus, it’s one of the best ways to grow your social following and spread the word about your product or service.
Today we’d like to show you a tool that makes the process of creating and managing an online giveaway unbelievably simple: Rafflecopter. We’ll go over how to run a Rafflecopter giveaway, plus a few tips and best practices thrown in for good measure.
How Rafflecopter Works
Basically, the way Rafflecopter works is that it asks you for basic information about your giveaway, such as timeframe, prizes and entry options. Then, it instantly generates a giveaway widget like the one below, which you can embed right into your website or blog.
Rafflecopter operates on a freemium model, with three versions available:
- Free – The free version allows you to run unlimited giveaways, although the available entry options are limited.
- Blogger – For $7.99 per month, you can add a prize image to the giveaway widget and use “Follow us on Pinterest” as an entry method. You also get access to the Terms and Conditions template.
- Business – For $59.99 per month, you gain the features of the Blogger level subscription, as well as real-time analytics and additional entry methods such as “Subscribe to our mailing list.”
How to Run a Giveaway on Rafflecopter
Setting up your giveaway could not be simpler. Once you’ve created your Rafflecopter account, click “New Giveaway” and follow the prompts to enter your prize information, entry options and the start and end date of your giveaway. Below is a list of all the entry options that Rafflecopter offers (keep in mind that some of these, such as “Follow on Pinterest” and “Subscribe to Mailing List”, are only available to premium accounts).
To decide which entry options to use, think about the objectives of your giveaway and what you want to accomplish. You can offer multiple entry options, but you want to avoid having too many – we’ll discuss that more in the “Best Practices” section below.
If you have a Blogger or Business level account, you can also use Rafflecopter’s “E-Z Generate Terms and Conditions” feature. Fill in information like sponsor details, eligibility requirements and prize value, and it will create a full set of Terms and Conditions that will appear as a link at the bottom of the widget.
Once you’ve entered all your giveaway information, click the “Preview and Install” button. This will generate the HTML code so you can embed the giveaway widget on your website. Note that you can continue to make changes to your giveaway information up until the start of the giveaway. The HTML code will stay the same and the widget should update automatically.
As people enter your giveaway, Rafflecopter will collect the entries for you within your account. When the giveaway ends, they provide tools to help you randomly select a winner (or multiple winners), and you can announce the winner right within the widget.
Giveaway Tips and Best Practices
Rafflecopter makes it super easy to create and manage a giveaway, but running a successful promotion still requires careful planning and strategy. Use the tips below to ensure your giveaway is as effective as possible.
Contest vs. Sweepstakes? – A contest is based on skill (not chance), where entrants are judged on their submissions. A sweepstakes (the correct legal term for what is commonly called a giveaway) is a random drawing, with no purchase necessary to enter. Make sure you call your giveaway by the right name and follow the laws governing your type of promotion. (Rafflecopter is just for sweepstakes.)
Plan Ahead and Set Goals – What are you hoping to achieve by running this promotion? It’s important to identify your objectives up front and create a detailed strategy for implementation, promotion and logistics. Even relatively small giveaways can require a lot of planning and preparation, so be sure to begin well in advance of the giveaway launch. Here’s a helpful planning guide for running a successful social media sweepstakes.
Rules & Regs – You must provide clearly understandable rules to your giveaway participants, including timeframe of the giveaway, eligibility requirements (age and geography), prize descriptions, how the winner(s) will be selected and other disclosures. While Rafflecopter’s Terms and Conditions template (premium feature) is certainly handy, it’s still a good idea to have your giveaway rules reviewed by an attorney. Laws vary based on the type of giveaway as well as by state, so it’s crucial to ensure you are in compliance with all applicable laws and regulations. Here is a helpful resource for making sure your giveaway is legal.
Don’t Use Too Many Entry Options – Rafflecopter conducted a survey to see how many entry options participants prefer. Based on the results, they recommend offering between 3-6 entry options. The bottom line is to keep it simple – if you present too many choices, some people will not bother entering at all.
And the Winner Is …
We hope this tutorial and list of tips are helpful to you, whether you are planning your first giveaway or your hundredth. What other tips would you add to the ones we’ve shared? Are there other contest and giveaway management tools you would recommend? Let us know in the comments below or stop by our Facebook page.