You are a new blogger, and you need more traffic and subscribers. The first thing that comes to your mind is to run a blog giveaway! After all, you’ve seen others do it and think that is what you should do too.
Not so fast.
The truth is that a blog giveaway is not always a good idea. Don’t think about running one until you read why.
I get the appeal of a giveaway. Offer something for free and people will flock to your site. However, after dong nearly 100 giveaways on my blog, I have made my fair share of mistakes.
Now, I don’t recommend using them. And that is because of the mistake bloggers make in believing they are the answer to blog traffic and growth. They aren’t.
Not having a purpose for the giveaway
Before you think about running a blog, ask yourself this, “Why? Why do I want to run a giveaway on my blog?”
You might think you want to run a contest to get more traffic or grow your social media followers. It could be that you want to get more subscribers to join your email list.
But just because you have a goal in mind does not mean running a giveaway is a smart idea.
Attracting people who only want to win a prize
It’s the truth. People don’t know you or what your site is about. When they see a giveaway, they enter only because there is something free.
The majority of people have zero interest in visiting your site, let alone signing up for your list. They don’t.
And what is even worse is that your giveaway may end up on giveaway sites. Yes. Those exist.
What happens is that your link is shared with hundreds, if not thousands, of people. They click and sign up or follow you on social media only for a chance to win.
They don’t care about you.
What you end up with are thousands of fake, unengaged followers or subscribers. You end up with vanity numbers and no increase in your income.
Thinking the contest is smart for email growth
You can indeed use a giveaway to get people to sign up to be on your email list. However, that doesn’t mean it is a good idea.
When people sign up to enter for a chance to win, they sign up and offer up their email address as a submission ticket. They don’t think twice about it. They will hand over their precious email address (or use one they rarely check) only for a chance to get something free.
“But Tracie, I was able to add another 500 subscribers to my list!”
That number may look good, but it isn’t. And, I speak from personal experience.
Several years ago, I participated in different group blogging giveaways (We called them the Grateful Giveaway). Our goal? To get more subscribers, of course!
The entrants would jump from site to enter for a chance to win amazing prizes from everyone. And, since there were 10 blogs with 10 prizes, each person had 10 chances to win each of the 10 prizes.
We all were over the moon when we saw our lists growing 10, 20, and even 30% over the course of a few days. That excitement quickly faded when we realize that those people were not opening our emails.
Engagement rates tanked. Click-through rates sunk even lower. Our brilliant idea resulted in a colossal failure.
What we quickly learned was that the idea was great in theory but failed in practice. Those people had no interest in our blogs, let alone our email lists.
That is still the case today.
When you host a giveaway on your site to get more email subscribers, you will not find success. Yes, you will grow your list. And sure, maybe some people will open the emails.
But the reality is that giveaways only grow an email in number rather than effectiveness.
Offering a prize that is not relevant
You might see an email where a brand or potential client offers you an amazing prize as a giveaway. You want to offer it as you know it is expensive and it is something you know you would love to get.
But what about your readers? Is this a fit for them?
Let’s say you are offered a free phone to give away. A free phone? Sounds awesome, doesn’t it.
If your readers are there to learn about fashion, how does a phone serve their needs? And do they even need one? Maybe. Maybe not.
You may struggle to get entries to help promote the brand. You both end up disappointed and let down.
However, if you had a luxury clothing brand offer a free valuable product, like a handbag, for example, things will be different. Your fashionista followers will want to enter and also share with their friends. You can get more reach and exposure. It will be more successful.
Don’t offer something readers don’t need or want. That is not the least bit helpful for you, the brand, or your readers.
Not running it legally
You own your site and can say what you like. However, you need to make sure your legal policies and mandatory FTC disclosure statements are in place.
The same is true when it comes to blogging giveaways.
The truth is a giveaway can be one of three things: sweepstakes, contest, or lottery. For what bloggers offer, it is a sweepstake.
It is deemed one as they enter for a chance to win a prize. There is no purchase required.
That means you have to ensure that the rules are in place and legally run the giveaway. You must first comply with the laws of your local jurisdiction. You also have to cross borders.
For example, there are laws in Canada when it comes to sweepstakes. That means you may have to exclude those residents from being eligible to enter.
Each state may also have requirements as to your terms, conditions, eligibility, and more. And it is up to you to research to ensure you comply.
*I am not an attorney, and this is not legal advice. Please consult legal counsel to discuss your situation.
Overly promoting it
There is nothing more annoying than those emails in your inbox saying or promoting the same thing again and again. You know the ones.
You get an email announcing the offer. Then, later that day, you get a reminder. The next morning, another email arrives.
This goes on over the 3 or 4-day promotional period. And it ends with that last email where they make you feel your life is over if you don’t take advantage of their discount.
Yeah. Those emails.
You don’t want to do that with your giveaway. It is OK to email a couple of times during the campaign but don’t go crazy. Don’t be annoying. Don’t clutter an inbox.
You’ll see an uptick in your unsubscribe rate. Not because they aren’t your person but rather because you were annoying them.
Not using the proper tools
Long ago, when I first started, giveaways were an administrative nightmare. There were no tools to help you run your contest or select a winner. It was all manual.
Participants would enter by leaving a comment. Once it ended, you would need to use a random number generator to select a winner. Then, you had to contact them to get their personal information to get them the prize. And, if they did not respond, you would have to do it all over again.
Fortunately, that is not the case today. There are tools and applications you can use to set up, run, and select your winner. The one that works will be based on your needs as some work on your blog, and others are best for social media promotions.
Giveaways look great on paper. However, that does not mean they are something you should do on your blog. But, if you decide to proceed, do so with the above in mind.