How To Do a Giveaway


A giveaway can be a great way to reward your followers and to bring new interest to what you’re doing. Just please, for fuck’s sake, don’t give away an iPad.

I can see why ten years ago the iPad giveaway became fashionable. Tablets were new and exciting, (plus expensive!) The first few people to give one away saw massive results with an influx of new followers. Back then, iPads were the cool thing and it was unheard of for such an expensive piece of kit to be given away if it wasn’t a prize on a TV game show or via a mainstream media platform. All of a sudden these prizes started popping up on social media and it felt like we had a much bigger chance of winning. Now; if we want one, we probably already own one and the thrill has gone.

Choose Carefully

A give away is the perfect chance to tell people about you or what you do. An iPad, or any other piece of unrelated tech, can’t do that. To me these schemes are the same as buying social media followers; it’s cheap, empty and won’t get you any traction in the long run. As a professional creative there are so many things you can give away that will help you actually develop a relationship with your audience. There are the obvious prizes; if you sell a product you already have something readymade, you can give copies of your book away if you’ve written one or a painting/ print if you’re an artist. Those can all work but we would suggest that it’s worthwhile to be as creative as possible with your prizes in order to generate more of a buzz.

Give away something that will build your audience, not people looking for a freebie. A perfect way to do this is to give away the most valuable thing you have; your time. If you are an expert in your niche the prize of learning directly from you, for 15 minutes, a few hours or even a day, is super valuable to people that respect you as an influential figure.

Boxart at Boxpark

Collaborate to Boost Your Reach

When we first started our business we thought up a little stunt to create some interest and grow our email list. Seeing that a retail space called ‘Boxpark’ was opening in our home base of Shoreditch, East London we got in contact with them and suggested a collaboration. Boxpark agreed to work together, both parties realising that co-promotion gave us access to each other’s audiences. We came up with ‘Box Art at Boxpark’, we created original art onto 100 boxes and gave them all away via an online raffle, collecting email addresses. We spent close to two weeks preparing the boxes, taking a big gamble that our efforts would garner new attention. Fortunately, the idea resonated and we received several hundreds of entries, boosting our audience, growing our email list and massively helping the momentum of our business.

Are You Going To Benefit?

We entered into the box-art project as an equal partner with Boxpark, making sure that all promotion benefitted both parties. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. I’ve noticed some brands that will give something away and grab all of the glory from the creator. This happens a lot on instagram, where some big pages will mention a creator’s name in the post but not tag them… What’s that about? A famous example of a giveaway gone wrong happened on the Oprah show. A car company thought it’d be a great PR move to give away a car to every member of the Oprah studio audience. The cost of the free cars totalled $7.7million. Unfortunately, no one remembers who the car company was. The only lasting impression was Orpah running around shouting “You get a car! You get a car!” at the studio audience, a moment that has become famous. All the glory was transferred to the ‘altruism’ of Oprah, and the car company, Pontiac (thanks Google) footed the bill.

Don’t Break the Bank

You don’t have to spend millions to have a successful give away. In the UK every barrister at ‘Pret’ is allowed to give away one cup of coffee per day. The free coffee scheme has never been announced by the company, it’s a ‘secret’. Obviously the news has spread like wildfire and as a result, the majority of customers in Pret are REALLY NICE, in the hope of bagging a freebie. Nice customers means happy staff. Happy staff means a great atmosphere. A great atmosphere means more customers. It’s absolute bloody genius.

The goal of a giveaway is to grow your audience; it’s good marketing, but it’s unlikely to directly drive sales, unless people are entered into a draw after buying one of your products. So it’s important not to spend too much unless you’re certain you have a monster hit on your hands. There is a huge amount of luck involved, your contest might explode if a big account shares it, but if that doesn’t happen it could flop, so make sure you weigh the risk against the reward.

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