Free online giveaways – what is the benefit of hosting competitions?
Following my recent posts on the benefits of entering free online giveaways, we now have a guest post from Kim at Eyes on the Dollar.
Kim is a a private practice optometrist and a personal finance blogger, and is doing some great things over at her site.
Today, she discusses the other side of the equation in free online giveaways: what is the value of hosting these on your website? Take it away Kim…
Hosting Giveaways on Your Blog: Is it Worth It?
When I started my blog, it was kind of an experiment. I did it for a number of reasons including giving myself a new challenge and as a way to hold myself accountable while we were trying to get out of debt and build wealth. One thing you can be sure of as a new blogger is that no one is going to automatically start reading what you write. It might be the best, wittiest, most life changing content ever, but unless people find you, they aren’t going to see it. I’ve tried a number of ways to increase my readership and stats. Something I’ve done quite often is participate in giveaways, everything from cash to a huge flat screen TV! Today I’ll share the pros and cons of hosting or co hosting giveaways on your blog.
How do you find giveaways?
You can set up a giveaway on your own. All of the ones I’ve been involved with have used Rafflecopter, which is beyond easy to set up. You can make entry requirements as simple or elaborate as you want. If you want readers to spell the word ophthalmological to enter, you can do that. More commonly, you’d ask people to leave a blog post comment, join one or more of your social media accounts, or share your giveaway on their website.
The other way to host giveaways is to join in with a group of other bloggers. I’ve done this at least ten times, and it’s even easier than hosting one yourself. Whoever sets up the giveaway will send you a code to paste into your post. I’ve been able to find giveaways from networking with other bloggers. Most are more than willing to include you if you interact with them.
Pros of Hosting Giveaways
Increased subscribers – I’ve been able to add a several hundred subscribers through email, RSS, or Bloglovin’ through giveaways. Yes, some will unsubscribe after the giveaway, but many don’t. As moneystepper has shown in the past lots of people will enter and this can provide a good annual wage equivalent, especially if the prize is good enough.
Increased social media followers – Almost all my social media followers who are non-blog owners have come from giveaways. I currently have 1985 Facebook likes, 2615 Twitter followers, and I just started a Pinterest account two weeks ago, which already has 132 followers. Those are all from a current Halloween giveaway I’m co hosting because I honestly don’t even know how to use Pinterest yet!
Increased back links – Other bloggers will often give you a link from their site that mentions your giveaway.
Increased revenue – I can’t say for sure that giveaways have led to an increase in advertising revenue, but growing your stats is one way to generate interest in your blog. I’ve also gotten some freelance work from having a well established site. I’m certainly not the biggest fish in the pond, but it shows credibility if you have a consistent following. Hosting giveaways is a great way to build up your numbers quickly.
Goodwill – I’ve only hosted one solo giveaway for my one year blogiversary. I got to contact the winner and tell her she had won $100. She was thrilled, and it made my day. I can totally see why Ed McMahon was the Publisher’s Clearing House guy for so long. It feels good to give stuff away.
Cons of Hosting Giveaways
The only real con I see is that giveaways cost money. I have co-hosted sponsored giveaways that didn’t cost anything other than a link to the sponsor’s website, but most have been between $10-$30 to join. The current contest I’m involved in has 22 bloggers who are participating. At $30 each, we are able to offer a big cash prize that will generate lots of entries but won’t cost a personal fortune. You have to decide if spending a little money is worth it to generate followers and traffic. I probably wouldn’t host a $100 giveaway every month, but once a year, absolutely. Hopefully someday I’ll be a big enough blogger that companies will give me things to give away. I’d love to share the wealth!