Hosting a Successful Giveaway on your Blog

Believe it or not, there’s an art to hosting a giveaway. No, you don’t have to have a lot of built-in traffic to have a successful giveaway. And yes, hosting a great giveaway can actually help you gain new followers.

Blog giveaways are increasingly popular these days, with some bloggers hosting a giveaway to celebrate blogiversarys, birthdays, hitting x-number of followers, or just because! Here are some blog giveaway tips we love:

Stack of Giveaway Fabric
Flickr/CraftyDame

Choosing giveaway items

The basic rule of thumb with a giveaway item is, give away something that you would like to win. Whether it’s a stack of beautiful fabric, a hand-knit scarf or a gift certificate to a favorite store, make sure it’s something that will attract the type of blog reader that you’d like to gain. This is not the time to destash your most dreaded fabrics, and if you wouldn’t enter, nobody else will either.

Setting the rules

Before posting your giveaway, you’ll need to decide a few things.

When does it end? We suggest 3 to 5 days from the start date, or longer if you are giving away a big-ticket item and want to attract the most attention. State the end date in your giveaway post.

Open to international readers? If so, specify which countries you’ll ship to, whether it’s the U.S. and Canada, or the U.K. only. You don’t want your readers to waste time entering only to find out later that they’re not eligible.

Maximum entries: How will readers enter and how many times can they enter? One entry only? One per day? Let’s say blogger x promotes a giveaway for a $20 gift card to Hobby Lobby. In order to enter, the reader must leave a comment. For another chance to win, she can become a follower of the blog. The prize value matches the effort you are asking people to put in, which is a good thing!

Contact info: If your winner has no e-mail address in his or her profile, will you draw a new winner? This may seem obvious, but best to think about these things before starting your giveaway.

How will you choose a winner? We suggest numbering the comments and using a random number tool like Random.org. But some people prefer to choose a winner based on the best answer to a question, or even writing down names on slips of paper and drawing them out of a hat.

Giveaway Winner Numbers
Flickr/hellojenuine

Working with giveaway sponsors

Oftentimes, a business or individual will choose to sponsor a giveaway on a blog that’s not their own in order to promote traffic to their shop or general interest in their product.

If you are working with a giveaway sponsor, it’s best to set up the giveaway in a way as to direct traffic to the sponsor’s blog, store or newsletter. Ask the participants to go to the site and comment on something they saw there. You’ll be much more likely to get future giveaway sponsors if you treat your sponsors right.

Getting new followers through giveaways

One of the huge benefits to hosting a giveaway is the ability to attract new visitors, and hopefully turn them into followers. While you don’t want to coerce people into following a blog they are not interested in, you do want to make it profitable for people who do decide to become a follower of your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Once you get people to your page through a giveaway link, ask them to follow through Google Friend Connect, an RSS Reader or e-mail subscription. State whether or not following your blog is required to enter. You can always ask the entrant to leave a comment, then leave a second comment if they are a follower (for an extra entry). This is a good way to attract followers who are truly interested in your craft blog.

One way to do this is to choose a product that attracts the type of reader you hope to gain. A $100 gift card to Walmart is going to attract a lot of people who may not care too much about your photo blog. On the other hand, a handmade camera strap will attract the types of people who’d love to read a creative photo blog!

Handmade Camera Strap
Flickr/tjstabb

Promoting your giveaway

“If you host it, they will come.” Well, you hope so, but this is not always the the case. Unless they have a built-in following, most bloggers will need to implement some kind of promotion for their giveaway. This can be as simple as submitting to a few giveaways blogs, or as detailed as contacting individual bloggers and asking if they’ll share about the giveaway on their sites.

Here are some tried and true places to promote your giveaway.

On Twitter, share your giveaway with a link to the short URL, and include the tags #giveaway or #win. Example: If you haven’t liked our great #earrings, get on it quick because you could #win them! http://ow.ly/4P8XN #giveaway

On Facebook, share a link to the giveaway URL, preferably with a photo of the item. Before posting, use the @ symbol to type the name of specific people or pages you’d like to alert. For example, if I’m hosting a scrapbook supplies giveaway, I’m going to post something like: @Paper Crafts Magazine readers: Enter our giveaway! (When you type the @ symbol, a dropdown list of pages you “like” will pop up.)

Getting  entrants to promote your giveaway is one of the best ways to increase your giveaway promotion organically. For people to enter, ask them to link up the giveaway on their blog, Facebook or Twitter to spread the word. If you give them an extra entry for doing so, you’ll generally get a lot of new traffic.

Giveaway blogs like Quilty Giveaways and Blog Giveaways will allow you to submit your crafty giveaway link. When I host a giveaway, I also like to alert One Pretty Thing, Craft Gossip, and Someday Crafts (stop by on Thursday or Friday to link up).

Craft Buds has a continual giveaway linky party where you are always welcome to link up craft supplies and handmade giveaways!

Giveaways Roundup @ Craft Buds

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day

If you get nothing else from this post, I hope you pop over to Sew Mama Sew and consider participating in this year’s May Giveaway Day! You must sign up by this Friday, May 20.

Once you sign up, decided if you want to give away a handmade item or craft supplies. You’ll post a giveaway on your blog next week from Monday, May 23 to Wednesday, May 25. Sew Mama Sew will create a master list of all participants, and you will get to experience the joy of getting lots of new visitors to your blog!

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day
It’s recommended that you keep your giveaway requirements short, because people will be entering tons of giveaways in addition to yours. One strategy is to ask readers to leave a comment of some sort, and follow your blog for an extra entry. Or you can ask them to follow you on Twitter, Like you on Facebook, or subscribe to your newsletter. (Just make sure that the prize value matches what you are asking participants to do.)

Have you hosted a great giveaway? Ever been part of a not-so-good- one? Please share your own giveaways tips in the comments! And if you know of any giveaways right now, link them up on our weekly giveaways roundup! We’ll be giving away some great stuff, too.

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  29 comments for “Hosting a Successful Giveaway on your Blog

  1. May 19, 2011 at 8:12 am

    Thank you for hosting the link up! I’m a new follower and facebook fan and am very happy to have found you! LOVE the “tidiness” of your blog! Makes it easy to read and navigate!

  2. May 19, 2011 at 8:49 am

    thanks for the tips! I’m hosting a giveaway right now so this is perfect timing :)

  3. May 19, 2011 at 9:00 am

    Great tips! I’m joining the giveaway on the 23rd! I’ve decided to do two giveaways…one for the crafty person and then a handmade gift…for people who don’t sew. I’m just doing it because I’ve been so blessed by giveaways, it’s time to PIF! =) I’ve chosen to have a random comment and then an additional entry for anyone who is interested in following. I hope it’s fun! =)

  4. May 19, 2011 at 10:21 am

    What a timely and perfect post, just getting started with blogging and was wondering about how to do a giveaway and promotion, thanks!

  5. May 19, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    This was a great post. Thanks Lindsay and Mary!

  6. May 20, 2011 at 12:19 am

    I am participating in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day too :) The first one I joined in on gained me a lot of readers. It was amazing. I have hosted other giveaways, but the thing that got the most subscribers was that first giveaway. The key is that the visitors were mostly people already interested in crafting. I have found that letting people in Flickr groups you belong to know about your giveaway can get you more meaningful traffic as well. There are often Giveaway threads in the Discussion section of these groups.

    • May 20, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Yes, great tips–I forgot to mention Flickr as another place to promote giveaways, but that’s a great one!

  7. May 20, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Thank you so much for these great tips. I’ve hosted several giveaways in the past and have always been rather frustrated at the low-turnout, even when I’ve given away relatively high-ticket items. I definitely look forward to putting your good advice to practice!

    So glad I saw your link-up over at 504 Main!

    You guys are great!
    Jenn/Rook No. 17

    • May 20, 2011 at 4:19 pm

      Yeay! So glad this post was helpful! :) Thank you for stopping by and saying hello.

  8. Michelle
    May 22, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    One thing I wish people hosting a giveaway would do is contact me to let me know instead of just posting the winners on their site. I don’t always get to check my favorite blogs each day, but I do check my email.

  9. May 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    Thanks for the tips… I am approaching my 5-year blogiversary and am planning on doing a giveaway so I am going to be taking your advice (now I need to pick the items). I stopped by from The Sundae Scoop, I’ve posted a project there too!
    Hugs, antonella :-)
    http://quilling.blogspot.com/2011/05/wacky-wednesday-hug-card.html

    • May 26, 2011 at 12:41 am

      Congrats on 5 years! Thanks for stopping by and checking us out, too!

  10. May 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Great tips, Lindsay. Thank you.

  11. May 30, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Such good timing! I am having my first giveaway so I am happy to find that I have followed most of the tips in this article!

  12. May 30, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    The details of this article are excellent. There is actually a lot to think about when putting a give away together.

    • May 30, 2011 at 4:45 pm

      Thanks for stopping by, Tammy!

  13. June 14, 2011 at 10:13 am

    This is such a great resource. I’ve bookmarked it for my future give-aways. Thanks for sharing!

  14. July 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks for the tips!! Greatly appreciated!

  15. July 10, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Thank so much for sharing the tips! Planning my first giveaway to celebrate a year of blogging!

    • July 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm

      Congrats on one year!

  16. July 25, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Came by way of C. W. Frosting and I love the way you explained it :) Btw, I also have a blog party called Market Your Biz and Giveaways where those who have family-friendly online businesses and giveaways can freely join for promotion.

  17. October 22, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Thanks for your inspirational post, we are following your advice for our next big giveaway!

  18. January 21, 2012 at 5:21 am

    thank you so much for all the tips :)

  19. March 28, 2012 at 10:35 am

    This is such a detailed post! I came upon this one while researching on how to conduct giveaways on blogs. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m hoping to conduct my first giveaway soon.

  20. Stacey
    April 8, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    I’m getting ready to launch my new website & have a giveaway but my biggest concern is cheaters. How do you keep people from cheating?

    • April 9, 2012 at 11:10 am

      Hi Stacey! I haven’t run into this too much–I think it’s more typical that someone would not read the giveaway instructions clearly, and would enter wrong because of that. I mean, technically someone could get 10 e-mail addresses and enter a giveaway ten times, but I think most people wouldn’t go to all that trouble. I hope this is the case with your new blog–Feel free to let us know how the giveaway goes!

  21. April 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Hi Lindsay, first time visitor to your blog.
    Great tips here. Thanks for sharing!

  22. November 5, 2012 at 11:42 am

    Thank you for sharing Lindsay, I am planning to start my first giveaway before the holiday shopping season. Your information are so helpful. Thank you very much :-)

  23. January 16, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    Thanks for this info, will start my new giveaway soon.

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