How to Do Online Promotional Giveaways in 20 Easy Steps

Let’s face it, getting people to respond to your promotional giveaway is becoming harder and harder.

Since giveaways continue to be extremely popular, every brand is doing it.

So what are you doing to set your brand apart?

The reality is that it takes a lot to beat your competitions in this ‘noisy’ market.

Sadly, there is no quick hack to snowball your brand to the next level.

There is, however, a formula to make your brand cut through the noise.

So, what should you do?

Well, the first thing you need to do is to change the way you think about promotional giveaways.

Typically, you’d think of it as putting it out in front of your prospect customers, hoping they’d remember you later.

Today, it is more than that.

Marketing giveaway is an excellent opportunity for you to shake things up a bit for your customers.

Leverage giveaway marketing to create a unique experience for your consumers.

Make them remember your company the way you want them to through exceptional customer experience.

Here’s the 20-step promotional giveaway strategy you should follow. Also included are some inspiring giveaway ideas.

Step 1: Define your giveaway goal & target audience

What is the primary purpose of your giveaway?

Do you want to generate and capture leads? Is your focus on link building? Or you are interested in increasing social engagement?

Setting SMART Goals

Whatever it is you need to set your campaign goal. An effective goal should answer questions like

  • What type of giveaway
  • How are you creating the campaign
  • Who is the campaign for
  • How are you running the campaign

Your goal must be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Actionable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

An example of a SMART goal should look like this:

Increase the number of qualified leads by 1,000 (starting with one standard giveaway marketing with a budget of $500 per quarter) by December 2019.

Next, define your target audience.

Build a user persona to guide your campaign direction.

It should NEVER be everyone.

If you don’t define a type of audience to focus on, you’ll end up giving wrong gifts to wrong people ended up attracting no one.

Now, let us start with the following few questions:

  • What age group?
  • Gender
  • Where do they stay?
  • What do they do for a living?
  • What industry are they in?
  • What’s their interests/hobby?
  • What type of gifts would they enjoy the most?
  • When do they go online usually?
  • What problems are they facing?
  • How do they consume info?
  • Where do they always hang out (online & offline)?

These questions will help you understand your target market.

Consequently, it helps you frame your campaign planning, ideas, the language to use, where to run the campaign, and more.

Examples of User Personas

Example of User Persona for a Marketing Giveaway

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Step 2: Think about what freebies to offer & establish campaign details and guidelines

Based on the goal you set, your budgets, and target demographic:

  • Select the type of giveaway ideas that will likely help you achieve your goal
  • Choose the best gift and delivery methods your targeted prospect will most likely participate

You can offer your products, but it may not be lucrative enough to attract people to join your promotion.

In this case, you’d want to give something that’s exciting, like a vacation.

There are many options. Here are some giveaway ideas to get you started.

  • clothing & apparels
  • coupons
  • gift cards or vouchers
  • bundles
  • products
  • pick your own prize
  • service trials
  • food and hampers
  • electronics
  • event tickets
  • holidays
  • event-based rewards
  • exposure

Here are some giveaway examples.

Free vacations to attract intended clients

Give out vacations to achieve marketing goals

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Sweepstake to distribute coupons of products suitable for a targeted group

Coupon give out in a contest

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Gift cards for your usual web visitors for your mailing list campaign

Gift Card contest for your loyal customers

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Bundle Giveaway to make your marketing campaign more lucrative

Bundle up your gifts to make your giveaway contest even more lucrative

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Offer suitable apparel

Apparel Giveaway

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Create an exciting pick-your-own prize giveaway

Fun marketing with a pick-your-own-gift campaign

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Do a pick-your-own event tickets

Pick-your-own + event-based marketing giveaway

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Alternatively, you could also host a fun virtual event for your audience. Options like virtual dinner events, family movie/game nights, virtual music fests, etc can be explored.

Free trials products or online tools

Free trial or testers giveaway

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Run an engaging giveaway contest

Enter to win giveaway contest

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Finally, determine how long you want to run the giveaway game. According to Jeff Bullas, 1 month is the optimal length, sufficient to get the most out of a promotional giveaway campaign.

You’d also want to define the rules and regulation and that includes the mechanics.

Quick Tips:

  • Select the type of gifts you know your prospects will not just like but love
  • Always go for something simple yet effective
  • Think of entertainment and engagement when contemplating your ideas
  • Try Google search “[keyword] + [services]”.
  • For example, “organic food services” and “landing page services” depending on your business and target customers.
  • A quick search results in many options. Focus on paid ad listing because they are highly relevant services and products you can give your winners.

Search for gift ideas on Google ads listing

Search for gift ideas on Google ads listing

Step 3: Create a landing page & include viral sharing

Next, it’s time for the assets of your campaign.

Typical marketing campaign assets involved the following.

  • Ads: Whether it’s rich media, display or search ads, you will need to ensure the theme aligns with the rest of the campaign. Rich media ads give you the advantage of gamification that increases engagement.

Here are some examples of engaging rich media ads.

Using rich media ads for your giveaway campaign to generate leads

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  • Landing Page: This is one of the most critical elements in your campaign. At this point, you’ve hooked your target users with your ads or other promotional tactics, and they’ve landed on your page. Don’t turn them off with a dull looking or overwhelming form to fill.

Here are some landing pages that convert.

Campaign landing page optimized for conversion

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Marketing Giveaway contest landing page

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Quick Tips to create a compelling landing page:

  • Make your landing page super easy to use
  • Ensure your page is responsive to mobile, desktop and tablet
  • Clear instructions on how to enter and claim their gifts
  • The best is to break down the instructions into three easy steps
  • Avoid clutter and focus on your goal
  • Include social share to increase campaign awareness
  • Optimize your page for conversion: page loading speed, image size, keep the form simple and sweet, A/B test your page’s components

Step 4: Add widgets to your website & social media

You’d want to attract your usual website or social page visitors. So make use of online tools to announce your giveaway on your site.

Giveaways platforms that provide widgets are like Rafflecopter, Gleam, O2O Platform, and many others.

Here’s an example.

Giveaway widget to attract your usual site visitors

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Quick Tips: Embed your widget code onto a permanent page on your site instead of a popup. This is so that once the campaign is over, all the links and publicity produced to that page stay.

Step 5: Set benchmarks & Put metrics tracking in place

Before you start your giveaway contest, set your parameters and metrics to monitor your campaign success.

Be sure to focus on metrics that lead to achieving your goals (see Step 1).

Here are a few key metrics you can consider:

  • Number of Facebook share
  • Conversion rate
  • Number of inbound links
  • Average number of visitors (weekly/monthly depending on the length of your promotion)
  • Number of new leads
  • How many people watch your giveaway videos
  • Traffic sources

Quick Tips: Work backward, starting from your goal. For example, you want to acquire 100 qualified leads from your giveaway contest, how many participants do you need to hit that number? Then, what are your success rates in turning your entrants into leads? Based on the numbers, how many page visits are needed?

Step 6: Create emails to announce the giveaway

Do you know that it is up to 25x more expensive to get a new customer compared to keeping an existing one (source: Harvard Business Review,

Therefore, continually engaging with your current customers and subscribers with a promotional giveaway is a brilliant idea.

Quick Tips: Go for simple yet compelling content, for example…

Email announcing giveaways to existing clients and subscribers

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Step 7: Distribute & promote your campaign

Now, it’s time to decide where you want to distribute your freebie.

If you want traffics to your marketing campaign, you need to get them on several sites to get the word out.

You will find success in promoting with the following recommended locations.

Furthermore, you can advertise your giveaway on platforms like

  • Facebook’s promoted posts
  • Reddit’s advertising platform
  • Twitter’s promoted posts

Quick Tips:

  • Be sure to make use of free platforms to get the best out of your campaign

Step 8: Engage with your participants

Typically promotional giveaways drive more engagement from entrants. Thus, it is favored over other types of lead generation.

However, you can’t expect your users to engage with a standard giveaway.

You must be creative.

After all, your prospects are drowning in all sorts of noise and info when online.

You need a campaign that pops!

To stand out and be heard, you need to create a sense of intrigue and excitement for your entrants.

For example, a pet food company called Iams handed out promotional Frisbees in the shape of barbell weights. Printed on them were “Strong Dogs” and company name. It was noticeable and loved by both owners and dogs. Brilliantly executed to show their brand is stronger than others.

Iams handout Frisbees in Barbell shape

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You can also make use of digital games like spin-the-wheel, scratch-n-win or the new buzz of shake-the-phone to reveal mystery daily gifts.

Take Lazada’s #ShakeShake campaign, for example. A cash voucher with random amount will be reviewed after you open the Lazada app and shake your phone at the stated hour. Not only did they encourage engagements, but they also created a sense of urgency by making it only available at a specific hour. Thus, making it an interactive thing to do it together and compare with friends.

Lazada #ShakeShake Cash Voucher Giveaway

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Additionally, ensure to tap into the power of social media with user-generated content.

It’s a brilliant idea to let your promotional giveaway be shared with other prospects, all without your intervention.

Contests that encourage users to submit their photos, headlines or artworks are pretty popular.

Just make sure it is easy to participate and requires minimal effort.

Quick Tips:

  • Think gamification, smart interactions and user-generated contents
  • Contests, fun challenges, exciting elements, create urgency, use easy-to-execute mobile technology

Step 9: Capture and turn them into leads

One of the primary purposes of giveaway marketing is to get prospective customers.

You don’t want just to get participants.

They are different from leads.

If you want to generate leads, you need to ensure your campaign experience is highly relevant to your target prospects.

Align your goals and interests of your target customers. That includes the way you promote your giveaway, where you market the campaign to the prizes you offer and how they can win it.

Quick Tips:

  • Make not just your gift but also the entire campaign relevant to your prospects with a compelling offer.
  • Adding a quiz to your campaign entry is a great way to qualify leads.
  • Use a poll in a fun way to engage with users.

Step 10: Reach out to giveaway partners

Partner #1: Contest, Giveaway and Sweepstakes Marketing Platform

There are many tools available today to help you get your campaign out quickly without all the hassles of self-production.

Easily set up and run your giveaways campaigns by leveraging templates and ready-to-use widgets from platforms like Rafflecopter, Shortstack, O2O Platform, and more.

Partner #2: Bloggers

Look for blogs to promote your giveaways. They are typically mommy bloggers or stay at home entrepreneurs.

Being clear what type of bloggers to engage with is important.

Here are the possible three types:

  • Only promote a giveaway they host
  • Promote a giveaway on another site
  • Accept products for review and run a giveaway for the product

Use LinkResearchTools.comOpenSiteExplorer, and Ahrefs to check and validate the websites of those who accepted your giveaway to promote.

Quick Tips:

  • Choose the most powerful sites to partner with.
  • Be clear of what you want and can offer them in return.

Step 11: Determine promotions budget & track your outreach

You will be overwhemled with so many emails and sites to manage and results to monitor.

Therefore, you’d want to use tools like Podio, Wrike, Asana or Basecamp to keep track of your potential giveaway partners.

Things to include in your tracker are

  • Contact info
  • Site statistics
  • Alexa ranking
  • Pagerank
  • Inbound links
  • AC Rank
  • Notes
  • Marketing budget
  • Cost

Here’s an example of a tracker.

Track the sites and blogs of your campaign partners with app

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Quick Tips:

  • Document everything. You’ll appreciate being organized with so many things to look after.

Step 12: Deliver unprecedented customer service

Be prepared to handle new leads, customer service requests, inquiries, emails and more with utmost professionalism and speed.

So you’ll come to find when you’re overwhelmed with requests, your best friend is technology.

Make the most of simple yet effective tools like auto email sequences, chatbots, live chat or live video.

These tools are a great way to connect with your audience, have multiple engagements concurrently and improve your conversion rates.

Quick Tips:

  • Automate responses with auto email sequences and chatbots
  • Engage with your prospects directly via live chat or live video

Step 13: Promote your giveaway every day

If you think you’re done and going to sit back and wait for results, stop!

To ensure your giveaway achieve the goal you’ve set in Step #1, you will need to promote it every day with daily subgoals to attain.

For example, let’s say you want to achieve 100 qualified leads; you’ll probably need 1000 entrants a month. That makes at least 250 per week or more than 33 per day.

So how are going to promote your giveaway?

Well, for one, as mentioned above, you can encourage virality with easy to click the social share button. So, you get your users to help you promote your campaign.

Now, where to promote? Your best options are social platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Step 14: Encourage giveaway entrants to share your campaign

We’ve talked about getting your entrants to share your marketing campaign on social media.

However, why would they do that?

So you have to incentivize those who share—perhaps a higher chance of winning.

You can email your entrants midway of your contest to encourage them to increase their chance of winning by sharing the campaign with friends and colleagues.

Doing so will generate more exposure to your online giveaway.

Quick Tips:

  • Encourage social sharing to gain more awareness and better results for your campaign with more incentive

Step 15: Select the winner!

Now, this may seem simple, but it can be somewhat tricky.

By the end of your campaign period, you should have at many entries and can be difficult to manage manually. Use tools to randomize the picking.

If you’ve incentivized some entrants who shared your giveaway contest, then you must ensure these entrants are considered first.

Notify your winners immediately. Get their permissions to use their name (and photo) in an email and on social media platform announcing the winners.

Example of a brief email to the winner:

Subject Line: Congrats! You’ve won the Sweepstakes from O2O Platform!

Email Message:

Hi John,

Congratulations, you’ve won a pair of concert tickets to see Arianna Grande Live at Perth in our ‘Winter Is Coming Giveaway Contest’!

To claim the prize, please follow these steps:

  • Confirm you meet all the entry requirements
  • Send an email to [email protected] within 6 days to claim your prize
  • In the email, confirm that you give us the permission for us to publish your name in our winner announcement email and on our social channels
  • Optional: If you’re thrilled about winning this exciting gift, take a selfie and share it with us on our social page.

If you have any questions, email me. I’m happy to help 🙂



Step 16: Upload entrant emails to your mailing list

Requesting emails from entrants in giveaway campaigns is common today.

Just make sure you’ve included in the disclosure, and they are aware that you’ll be adding their emails to your mailing list.

Now, at the end of your contest, download the emails from the giveaway platform and upload the list into your email sequencing platforms like MailChimp or

Then, send out an email to your list to announce the winner. Also, important is to thank them for participating.

Step 17: Prep and send the prize

Many would probably send out the gift as it is.

However, this is your chance to continue to exert your name as an influential one in the market.

Therefore, don’t send out the product in a boring box. Surprise the winner with a beautiful box in your company color.

Throw in a personalized card while at it.

Make the winner feel special.

Consequently, you’re encouraging the winner to take a selfie and share their victory on social platforms.

Therefore, an opportunity to build your brand reputation.

Quick Tips:

  • Make your winner feel special, so they feel good about your brand and share about it with their social circles
  • Word of mouth marketing and brand reputation are compelling factors to getting more users and sales

Step 18: Remove the widget; announce closure & thank you

Why is this important?

Announcing the closure make your entrants feel good subconsciously.

This is because continual communication with your target audience makes them feel important.

A simple thing like thanking your participants at the end of a campaign showed them you value their time.

This opens up the door to get them to participate the next time you run another campaign too.

What’s more, you can distribute a simple free giveaway in return for their participation. Who doesn’t love freebies?

For example, Go Green gave out a discount code to entrants who didn’t make. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

Giveaway complimentary gift for non-winners to make them feel good

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Step 19: Review your campaign data and analytics

Check and analyze your data. It is crucial for identifying strength and weaknesses in your online giveaway campaign.

This is particularly useful for on-going giveaway marketing campaigns.

If you DIY your campaign, these are a few tools and data collection points to note.

Google Analytics

  • Set conversion goals
  • Unique page visits vs signed ups (conversion rate)
  • Bounce rate (You don’t want it to be high. Generally, a high could mean your page is not relevant to the visitors. You need to find out why people come and leave your landing page without completing the actions like register by filling in the entry form.)

Facebook Analytics

  • Post engagements vs clickthroughs (conversion rate)
  • Page views vs post engagements
  • Facebook clickthroughs vs landing page visits from source: social

Facebook analytics for your giveaway contest

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Questions to note:

  • Which source attributed to a specific signup entry?
  • Which promotion attributed to a spike in landing page visits?

These are some attributions important to know so you can replicate the same in your next campaign.

In Google Analytics, you’ll have to set up the Assisted Conversion to get the ‘true attribution’ other than the last click.

Doing it yourself seem troublesome, isn’t it?

That is why many people opt for giveaway platforms. That way, you’d get a proper report of the entire campaign with metrics that matter.

Quick Tips:

  • Consider giveaway platforms to ease not just a campaign execution but also your long-term continual campaign efforts.

Step 20: Segmentize your mailing list, nurture & qualify leads

Now, with your mailing list built, it’s time to segmentize them. Segmentization is a process of nurturing the leads you’ve collected through your online giveaways.

Then subsequently, guiding them through the buying process and placing them in different segments of the process.

Different segments of users will have a specific set of activities and engagements required to move them to the next segment.

Eventually, at least until they become your customers. Then, you’ll need a retention strategy to convert them into loyal customers.

Quick Tips:

  • Use multi-channel to run your lead-nurturing campaigns.
  • On top of the giveaway competition, consider social media engagements, pay-per-click campaigns, blog posts, email marketing, remarketing ads, and other channels that work for your target clients.
  • Be consistent with your message and branding because it provides a familiarity that builds trusts and improves brand recall.
  • As mentioned in Step 19, optimize your performance through tracking and fine-tune your campaigns over time.


Remember! It is never just about the gift in a giveaway contest.

To stay above and be heard, you need to instill the best feeling your prospects have regarding your brand.

To achieve that, you have to focus on your consumers.

Of course, that includes user experience.

The formula to create an exceptional experience using promotional giveaway is to manage the campaign from end-to-end providing a smooth storyline.

Here’s the summary of the 20 easy steps we’ve covered.

  1. Define your audience & decide on the goal of the giveaway
  2. Think about what freebies to offer & establish campaign details and guidelines
  3. Create a landing page & include viral sharing
  4. Add widgets to your website & social media
  5. Set benchmarks & Put metrics tracking in place
  6. Create an email to announce the giveaway
  7. Distribute & promote your giveaway
  8. Engage with your participants
  9. Capture and turn them into leads
  10. Reach out to giveaway partners
  11. Determine promotions budget & track your outreach
  12. Deliver unprecedented customer service
  13. Promote your giveaway every day
  14. Encourage giveaway entrants to share your campaign
  15. Select the winner!
  16. Upload entrant emails to your mailing list
  17. Prep and send the prize
  18. Remove the widget, announce closure & thank you
  19. Review your campaign data and analytics
  20. Segmentize your mailing list, nurture & qualify leads


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