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Why you should host Giveaways and Contests on your Online Store

by Zain Imran  October 27, 2015

The central tenet of any ecommerce website’s digital marketing efforts is the production of quality content that draws visitors through organic search channels. However, for both new ecommerce ventures and established online merchants, it is a good idea to occasionally host giveaways.

Doing so helps you stay ahead of the curve, as the search engine algorithms are ever-changing. Giveaways help you to scale your efforts through increased impressions and backlinks.

However, building up a community of loyal buyers around your ecommerce site is not simply a matter of announcing a giveaway and waiting for a flood of leads which will convert to customers. You need to properly plan your giveaway, execute it with persistence and wait patiently for results.

Let’s examine the topic of giveaways in this blog post.

When Should You Host a Giveaway?

Let’s say you just took your ecommerce site live, and you’re wondering how to give your website a push off the ground. Well, a giveaway is the perfect way to create a buzz around your product or service!

Established websites should also host a giveaway when they introduce a new product or service for their customers.

Even if you haven’t got any new items in your inventory, you can host a giveaway during a certain season when people love shopping for gifts for their loved ones. The weeks leading up to religious and cultural holidays are the best time to launch your giveaway marketing campaign.

After the customer performs the required actions to enter the giveaway, most of them will explore your site and check out what you have to offer. It is at this time that the quality of your content might establish your ecommerce site as a potential place to buy from in the visitor’s mind.

After the contest winner is announced, those who entered but did not win are likely to click on your website’s link if your products show up in their search results. They may even return to your store by typing in your store’s URL directly!

What are the real advantages of hosting giveaways for ecommerce ventures?

Improved Marketing

This is a no-brainer. When you run a giveaway, your website gets more visitors, your content gets more impressions on organic search channels, and there is a buzz around social media because of your offer.  

Your business projects an image of success because you’re giving away something of significant value, for free! The visitors get the impression that your store must be making enough sales that you can afford such a giveaway. So, the visitor thinks, “this website must be safe to buy from, because others are buying from this merchant”.

Also, it is imperative that your website is running smoothly at this time, and will be able to deal with the spike in traffic that the giveaway will cause. Your website design should be intuitive and attractive because the visitors will be forming a first impression of your store.

Be sure to attach UTM codes to your social media posts, emails, and banners to ensure that you can track the impact of your giveaway campaign. Be aware, that a giveaway might not cause a significant increase in conversions immediately. But what it will definitely do, is put your ecommerce store on the digital map in your niche market. A giveaway is a strategy for a long-term impact.

Provides Customer Data

This is where you’re getting the best return on investment from the giveaway. You’re asking something in return from the contestants. You’re asking the contestants to opt-in through various methods:

  • Providing their personal or professional email for your newsletter
  • Filling in a small survey form regarding products or service usage
  • Following your ecommerce store account on Twitter or tweeting about your store
  • Posting some sort of response on Facebook, YouTube, or Instagram
  • Commenting on a blog post
  • Refering friends and family to your website

Now that you have this valuable demographic and personal information about your contestants, use it wisely to market your products and services. Don’t spam your new followers, but do send them valuable offers which they’ll seriously consider.

On social media, you can interact with the users taking part in the contest to gain additional insights into the demands of the market.

This will help you form an accurate buyer persona, which will attract more qualified leads into your sales funnel.

Search Engine Optimization

If you’re giving away a prize, always keep a certain amount of the budget for marketing the contest. When your giveaway is running, you can take a variety of measures to boost your ecommerce store’s search engine ranking.

My first suggestion is to use StumbleUpon Ads to drive relevant traffic to your website. The pricing plans are reasonable, and you can select from 500 categories of user interests to target. Traffic will begin arriving on your website immediately. Visitors arriving from many different locations will help with your SEO objectives. You will get ranked on local Google pages, for example google.com.au.

As visitors arrive on your website to enter the giveaway, they will explore different pages of the website, thus reducing your bounce rate. A lower bounce rate means better search engine rankings!

A traditional tactic is to issue a press-release about your giveaway. This method will spread further awareness about your ecommerce store and your current campaign.

Make sure everyone wins

Make sure to get maximum traction out of the winner(s) of your giveaway. Engage with the winner, ask them to blog, tweet, and post about the contest on Facebook. Make a grand announcement on your ecommerce website. Post a picture of the winner(s) with the product or while availing the service you offer.

While there may be only one or a few winners of your giveaway prizes, make sure not to disappoint the rest of the participants. In the announcement email or blog post at the conclusion of the giveaway, make sure to offer the rest of the participants a special coupon code to avail a discount from your ecommerce store for your products or services. This will help convert some of these leads into first time customers and leave a good feeling in them for having taken part in your giveaway, even if they didn’t win the ultimate prize.

One final common sense advice: keep the prize relevant to your ecommerce site niche. You want to attract marketing qualified leads, not low quality freebie hunting visitors to your website. You are running the giveaway for the benefit of your ecommerce venture. Make sure you attract those people who could become customers in the future.

I hope this post was useful in highlighting the importance of giveaways as a strategy for improving leads and sales generation for ecommerce ventures. Did I forget to mention any tactics? Did you host a giveaway on your ecommerce store? Let us know in the comments section below. 

Are you prepared for the upcoming holiday season? Check out this survival checklist for the season.

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About Zain Imran

Zain Imran is a Digital Content Producer at Cloudways. He is an engineer and loves to learn about technologies. He is a sports and fitness freak.

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