Giveaways are becoming more important for sellers to help them boost eCommerce sales and grow their business. Increasingly, more than 20% of customers reported that receiving a free giveaway would result to repeat purchases and referrals.

Today, we’ll help you discover how to set up viral giveaways to strengthen your store’s brand presence, generate more leads, keep your customers engaged,  boost eCommerce sales, and ultimately, grow your business.

What are giveaways and why do they work for eCommerce?

In eCommerce, giveaways are often used as a marketing strategy to increase the engagement from existing and potential customers by running a contest that encourages them to enter for a chance to win a prize for free.

Now, the viral factor comes in when you entice people from sharing the giveaway campaign to get more entries to win. The more people sharing your giveaway campaign, the more it gets circulated rapidly on the internet — becoming viral.

But, how do eCommerce stores benefit from giveaways?

Gain brand and product exposure: Reach the new audience by building buzz around your brand and shedding spotlight to your products.

Grow your social network: Running a giveaway campaign can help you attract social media followers.

Cost-effective marketing: A giveaway campaign can be inexpensive because you can fit the prize, process, and promotion according to your budget.

Liven up your community: It gets your customers excited and engaged, increasing more conversations.

Generate more leads: Giveaways act as lead magnets. You can grow your email subscribers which can help you nurture and convert them as leads in the future.

Boost sales conversion: You can tie up your giveaways with every product purchase as an entry.

Encourage repeat purchases: You can set up your giveaways that allow customers to increase their chances of winning by purchasing more entries.

Increase customer loyalty: Giveaways are customer delighters because everybody loves to win. You’re creating a joyous experience for your customers. Happy customers are equated with increased loyalty.

How to create viral giveaways

It might seem to be a painstaking process, but creating giveaways doesn’t have to be too complex. Here’s our simple step-by-step guide to get you started with your own viral giveaways campaign today:

1 – Set a definite goal

Start by asking yourself, “What do I want to achieve after this?” before you even proceed with identifying what kind of prize you will give away and how to promote it. Layout your end goal first.

Establish your key performance indicators or metrics to know what you want to achieve and how you can measure if whether you are successful or not. For example, if you want to capture more email subscribers, then your key performance indicator should be the number of opt-ins.

You have to be specific and realistic about that number. Say, for instance, 100 new email subscribers at the end of 30 days. If you have previous data, you can also benchmark your goal from historical information. If you don’t have that, then look at industry standards as your comparison. For example, you can set your goal as a 10% boost in eCommerce sales from the previous month or 10% more than the industry benchmark.

Don’t complicate things and have too many metrics to hit all at once. Based on experience, a single goal helps you get your efforts and energy focused on that goal, so it’s much easier to track your performance and achieve your goals.

2 – Offer a prize relevant to your target audience

Forget about your giveaway campaign without the right and enticing prize to give away. Think of your prize as the holy grail of your campaign. There’s no point of launching a giveaway if it doesn’t spark joy to your target market.

If you want to achieve your goal, then think of your prize as your investment to reach your objective. The key is to research and get to know your target audience. Pinpoint what they want in common. Know about their needs. Ask what they are interested in recently.

The most common mistake is offering a prize that appeals to a large demographic. While the latest gadget appeals to almost about everybody, what if it doesn’t suit your customers? Generic prizes don’t produce real and long term results. While you can get more people to join your giveaway, they aren’t exactly in your niche or won’t even be interested in your product. Once the giveaway is done, they’ll ignore you and even unsubscribe shortly.

It’s important that you attract the kind of audience similar to your customers’ persona. Here are some ideas for your next giveaway prize:

Present your own products: There’s probably an awesome prize right in your own backyard or a new product to launch. Offering your product as a giveaway is a sure way to attract only the right people for your eCommerce store.

Offer limited edition items: You can update a popular product and turn it into a limited edition item.

How to Boost eCommerce Sales And Grow Your Business with Viral Giveaways

A perfect example of a viral giveaway is OnePlus India’s Star Wars Limited Edition promo. It’s a clever way to hype their new product by targeting Star Wars fans. It generated more than 4,000 likes and 1,331 retweets on Twitter. Plus, 18k+ reactions and 4,688 shares on Facebook. Source: OnePlus India

Give away an experience:  If you can’t give away your own stocks, then why not offer something money can’t buy? Maybe a luncheon, seminar or site visit to see how your products are manufactured?

Purchase a trending item: You can just go with the traditional way of buying something as your prize. Go with the recently most talked about product that appeals to your customers.

Find partners who can supply your prize: Look for other entities that can provide your prize. You can ask your suppliers or maybe partner with a brand that complements your brand. For example, if you are an online sports nutrition store, you can partner with a gym for a free gym membership giveaway.

How to Boost eCommerce Sales And Grow Your Business with Viral Giveaways

For its free trip giveaway, IGLTA reached out to its hotel and airline partners to contribute accommodation and airfare prizes.

3 – Set up your giveaway

Now that you are clear with your goal and know the right prize to lure your audience, it’s time to set up your giveaway campaign. This step is usually the most time-consuming one as you are required to get down to the nitty-gritty details of your viral giveaways but a cohesive plan will help boost eCommerce sales a lot better.

To make your life much easier, you just need to plan for the following:

Basic Giveaway Information: Giveaway title, brief description, prize, duration of submission of entries, number of winners, selection process, the announcement of winners date, etc.

Timeline: This is the whole duration of the campaign itself which includes the planning, execution, winner’s announcement, and evaluation. Typical giveaways run from 20 to 30 days on an average. Below is what an average giveaway timeline looks like:

How to Boost eCommerce Sales And Grow Your Business with Viral Giveaways

Establish your giveaway contest rules: Lay some ground rules to avoid any future issues and avoid any confusions from your participants. Make it detailed but simple enough to understand and follow.

Manage and measure your giveaways with a tool: Don’t ever launch a giveaway campaign if you don’t have a way to track and measure your ROI. While you can do things manually, it’s advisable that you use a giveaway platform like Wishpond to help you set up, manage, implement, and measure your giveaways.

4 – Promote your giveaway to make it viral

This is the part to help you get your giveaway the attention it deserves. There are many organic and cost-effective ways that you can promote your giveaways without resorting to a paid advertisement.

Here are some ideas to generate buzz around your next giveaways:

Email your existing customers: It’s great to start with your email subscribers. Your current customers are most likely to be interested in your giveaway so make them feel special and give them the heads up.

Use promotional pop-ups: Leverage your eCommerce website to promote your giveaways with promotional pop-ups. For example, you can use SiteKit’s free Popup feature to display beautifully designed getaway popups. So, whenever visitors arrive at your site, you can promote your giveaway promo and at the same time capture them as leads.

How to Boost eCommerce Sales And Grow Your Business with Viral Giveaways

SiteKit also allows you to create a gamified popup of your giveaway promo to engage visitors into a fun spin-to-win game. It has an email opt-in feature, so you can capture your visitors as leads and convert them in the future to boost eCommerce sales.

Collaborate with influencers and bloggers: Reach out to influencers and bloggers who have a good reputation and strong influence within your niche to promote your giveaway. They can be individuals or businesses that have large clout of following and engagement.

How to Boost eCommerce Sales And Grow Your Business with Viral Giveaways

Remember the OnePlus limited edition giveaway example earlier? OnePlus India partnered with WebIT Man to promote the giveaway with a blog post.

Add a viral loop: You have to encourage a viral effect into your giveaways by making it easy for people to share your giveaway promo like including social media sharing buttons into your campaigns. But aside from that, you can even make it a requirement by adding a viral loop into your giveaway mechanics. You can require participants to email or tag on social media your giveaway promo to their friends and families.

How to Boost eCommerce Sales And Grow Your Business with Viral Giveaways

For instance, Soap & Glory USA hosted a viral giveaway by asking their Instagram users to like their post, follow their account and tag 3 friends. This tactic mimics a referral strategy to get more people talking about your giveaway contest.

Always follow up: Ensure that you have put follow-up strategies in place to remind people about your giveaways. Don’t just send out a one-time promotional campaign and then expect people to join immediately.

How to Boost eCommerce Sales And Grow Your Business with Viral Giveaways

For instance, Issuu sends out a final call email to remind customers about their on-going giveaway campaign.

5 – Spotlight your giveaway winners

Of course, you want to celebrate your giveaway winners so make sure you spotlight them at the end of your giveaway campaign. It’s not enough that you just notify them, give them their winnings, and then leave them after that.

Your giveaway winners are elated with joy and delight which makes it a perfect moment to connect with them. They are most likely to give you a positive comment because of their winning. You can politely ask your winners to share a picture of them with the giveaway prize on their social media accounts.

You can also post a picture of them with the prize on your social media accounts. If you’re planning to create several giveaways in the future, you can create a dedicated page to celebrate and show off your past giveaway winners. This is useful to generate more social proofs for your eCommerce business and entice more giveaway participants in the future.

How to Boost eCommerce Sales And Grow Your Business with Viral Giveaways

For Example, Diesel Power Gear goes all out in announcing its giveaway winners by producing a video for each winner and then showcasing them on a dedicated landing page.

6 – Ensure post-giveaway strategies

Once everything is over, don’t end what you’ve already started. Not every participant will win your giveaway so make sure that you also keep the relationship alive. Your participants took time and effort to join your giveaways, so think of ways on how to still delight them after the contest has ended.

Aside from the typical announcement of winners, send out a thank you email for all your participants. For example, all the participants of Healthy Hair Plus Giveaway were emailed with complimentary lifetime discount coupons even if they failed to snatch the giveaway prize.

How to Boost eCommerce Sales And Grow Your Business with Viral Giveaways

Source: Healthy Hair Plus

Creating a post-giveaway strategy like offering free discounts to non-winners will help you boost eCommerce sales even after the giveaway has concluded.

Let’s make it viral!

Giveaways are instant customer delighters, engaging your current customers in a fun and rewarding way. Hence, adding a viral factor into your giveaways can also be an effective strategy to reach a new audience, expand your brand, and boost eCommerce sales.

To plan and execute your next viral giveaways, follow our simple giveaway guide — from designing a well-defined goal, picking a relevant prize, setting up mechanics, up to the right promotions — you’ll achieve a successful giveaway in no time.

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