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Business giveaways are a great way to engage with your existing customer base and attract new business at the same time. This is especially true if you have a strong social media following, or are looking to grow the one you have.
Executing on the right business giveaway ideas gives you the chance to expand your brand reach in a fun way. And it doesn’t come off as an overt marketing pitch, like some traditional advertising options can. Giveaways don't seem quite as transactional, even if you are looking to acquire, say, an email address or a social follow in exchange for an entry.
Plus, running a company giveaway can help you reach a variety of marketing goals: to promote products and services, reach new customers, increase the size of your mailing list, engage with social media followers or connect with other local businesses.
Business giveaway ideas
The sweepstakes premise is simple: Each customer has one chance to enter by taking some action with your business — such as giving an email address or following your social media accounts — and then you choose a winner at the end of a predetermined timeframe. The prize should be something related to your company, like a free product or service with your business. Your sweepstakes can be an in-person transaction, where people come into your physical storefront and drop their name into a bowl, or online through your social media accounts.
An in-store raffle may give a customer an entry to win a prize each time they take a specific action during a certain time period. The action could be making a purchase, bringing their own reusable bag, opting for paperless receipts, following your social channels, subscribing to your email list or referring a new customer. Allowing for multiple entries can encourage more transactions with your business. What you give away is up to you: maybe it's a discount off their next purchase or a free product of their choice up to a certain price point.
For this digital giveaway idea, ask your customers to take photos of or with your products and share them to social media. Then either choose someone randomly or your favorite post as the winner. Make sure that when they share their pictures they're tagging your business and following your business page so that you can keep track of the entries — and so your business gets a boost in engagement.
Offer customers a surprise coupon either in person when they come to your store or via email to incentivize them to make a purchase. You can also provide customers with a coupon for a discount off their next purchase to encourage them to return.
Emailing a quiz or questionnaire to your customers is a great way to find out what your patrons like or dislike about your business, what you could be doing better, as well as suggestions for future products or offerings. As a thank you for their participation, you can give a discount off their next purchase, a free service or another incentive.
Need help coming up with a name for a new product, company mascot or brand campaign? Have customers throw their ideas into the mix, either in person or on social media. You can get new ideas for your business, and in return, you can offer a free product or a gift card to the customer with the winning idea.
Free product with purchase
Offering a freebie when customers make a purchase can help drive more sales to your business. Branded company swag, such as a tote bag or water bottle, is a great way to reward customers for shopping while also helping to spread the word about your business.
Spin the wheel of offers
If you're feeling creative and want to encourage people to visit and interact with your business, consider creating a wheel with various rewards that customers can spin to reveal their prize. You can give away some of the goods or services your business offers or a gift card or coupon for them to use on a purchase. Small branded items are also an option.
Tips to run a successful business giveaway
Decide on a platform
Whether you run your giveaway in person or using digital means will largely depend on your resources, goals and customer behavior. For instance, if you're trying to increase your Instagram followers and engagement, you'll want your giveaway to be on that platform. When you're first growing your brand, it may help to partner with another small business on a joint giveaway. The cross-promotion will expose your brand to a new audience and help you gain additional followers.
You can also consider using a third-party giveaway site to help you facilitate online giveaways if you don't want to use social media channels, or if you don't have a brick-and-mortar location. These websites can host your giveaway for you or help you partner with other brands.
If you're trying to increase foot traffic to your storefront, then an in-person giveaway will make the most sense. Another upside is you won't have to pay to ship any prizes or promotional items to the winners — they can walk out of your store with them.
Choose your entry parameters
Decide what action you want customers to take with your business, and then form your giveaway around it. If you're trying to increase sales, for instance, you might consider a free gift with purchase. Other actions include:
Referring a friend to your business.
Subscribing to your marketing emails.
Following your brand's social media channels.
Tagging friends in the comments of your post.
Posting a picture of a product or interaction with your business and tagging your business.
Reposting your brand's content to their stories.
Liking your business's post.
Don't forget the rules
Your business giveaway, especially if it's online, will need terms and conditions for entrants. Most can be generated from templates available online, but you’ll have to make sure that they’re available for entrants to read. If your company has a business website, consider hosting the terms and conditions there, and direct people to the link via your social media page.
A version of this article originally appeared on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet. Katie Campbell contributed to this article.