Contests are still a viable marketing tactic. They inspire competitiveness, a sense of scarcity, and give off urgency because they have a set deadline, according to MarketingProfs.
Many people like to giveaway external products or packages (like a vacation or gift card), but promoting your own products and services through giveaways takes a little bit of a different tact. The wording needs to be different so it doesn’t come across as too self-promotional or salesy.
Giving away your own products or services doesn’t have to be your “last resort” — there are several benefits to using what you already have. This post will cover the benefits, how to choose enticing prizes, and what language to use throughout the contest page and promotion posts through social media and other online platforms.
Benefits of Giving Away Your Own Products
Many companies find that it’s easier to give away their own products for a lot of reasons: they are usually more readily available; there is sometimes less red tape or legal guidelines because they’ve already been written; you don’t have to deal with going through a third party for a prize redemption; it can often be cheaper because you already have what you’re giving away. This isn’t the case when you have to buy a gift card to a site like Amazon or something more costly for a bigger prize, like an all-expenses-paid trip to Thailand.
Giving away your own product is also beneficial if there are follow-up questions or issues that arise after the prize has been redeemed. For instance, if you gave away a piece of software that you developed and the customer was unable to log in, it’s highly likely that the support team would be able to help him or her.
Conversely, if you gave away a cell phone your company hasn’t developed and the customer had issues, there’d be no way you could really help them, which could be a frustrating experience. You definitely don’t want a negative giveaway experience by entrants or the winner, as this could result in bad publicity or negative reviews online.
Offering your own products or services in giveaways also presents the opportunity to put them in the spotlight: users might see the product and end up buying it even if they don’t win the giveaway. The virality of giveaways can help grow your brand’s reach, increasing brand awareness, engagement, and sales.
Cons of Using Your Own Products
While there aren’t a lot of cons to using your own product, the biggest one is that you may be offering something that nobody actually wants. It stands to reason that if you’re promoting a giveaway to your target audience, they should want it, but that’s why it’s so important to make sure you are choosing to give away prizes that people actually want to win.
What Products Should You Choose?
Choosing the best products to give away is an important decision, as you want to make sure it’s something valuable enough that people will take the time to actually enter the giveaway. Don’t offer clearance products or products that are continuously never purchased by your customers, as this will look like you only care about saving money by giving away the lowest possible prize package, since it’s free.
Think about if a grocery store promoted an exciting giveaway each month but it was always products that were about to expire or were going to be discontinued because no one bought them. It’s still a useful prize, but it’s not something that the company should be promoting as an additional benefit to customers. Just as stores don’t usually promote their clearance section, you shouldn’t offer low-selling products as a prize worth trading their email address or other contact information.
Other things to keep in mind when choosing prizes are to make sure the prize can be used on its own (e.g. it doesn’t require another component) and doesn’t cost money for upkeep (unless that is clearly stated). For instance, if your software has a monthly subscription fee to use it, that should be included in the prize package. Otherwise, the winner may feel like they didn’t really win anything at all.
How to Make The Prize Appealing, Not a Sales Pitch
If a company is always giving away their own products, the wording used on the giveaways landing page and promotions needs to be worded carefully so customers don’t begin to ignore it. There’s a fine balance between explaining why a prize is desirable and going over the top to try to sell them the product they want to receive for free. It’s usually best in most cases to simply focus on the benefits of the product and its value. Value, in this case, can be perceived social value and actual monetary value.
For instance, saying that a piece of software retails for $1,000 but they can win it for free can be a lot more enticing than saying that “this software is used around the world.” Using actual numbers is always more appealing. Saying something more like “Win a copy of our prize-winning software valued at $1,000 and used by over 20,000 companies around the world” makes it seem like your software is expensive and in demand, which drives people to enter so they can get it without monetary cost.
It’s important to keep in mind that any prize entry is still requiring the user to pay something. In this case, it is their information or engagement with your company on social media, such as following your Twitter account. This is important to think about as anyone is considering entering your contest is making a decision whether or not to trade their time and online information for what you’re offering as a prize.
How to Promote Your Product Giveaways
Besides the landing page, any promotional post about your product giveaway on social media, your website/blog, and email marketing messages should also be worded carefully. You can still focus on the value numbers as mentioned above, but you don’t want to be too repetitive.
Constantly sharing reminders about the giveaway may cause your audience to start ignoring them, especially if reminders are being sent out multiple times per week for the same prize they’ve likely already entered to win. It’s usually best to start off with one announcement post across all your channels, and then remind people to enter every week or every other week depending on the prize value and how long the contest is running for.
The longer the contest is running, the more you want to space out the reminders. You can do an extra reminder the week the contest will close for everyone who procrastinated entering.
Instead of always repeating the facts and content from the landing page, for promotional posts, consider switching up the content and calls-to-action on social media and through email with testimonials, prize demonstrations, or what the prize actually looks like in use. For the software example, you could share the information about the contest and then also include a YouTube video link to a walkthrough of the product. This is educating possible customers about their product while also showing them the benefits of what they would get if they won.
Giveaways on social media using your own product have a lot of benefits, such as user engagement, the ability to capture emails for your mailing list, and a greater audience due to other users sharing the contest online. No matter which of your products you decide to give away, be sure that they are useful and not something you just want to get rid of. When your product prizes are useful, it is easier to write your content pages and posts promoting the giveaway.