How to Use a Giveaway Contest to Grow Your Ecommerce Traffic

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You’ve spent a lot of time and energy building your ecommerce business. The website looks phenomenal. You addressed all the best demographics and tailored your message to your target audience. Through all that, you hear is crickets.

So what’s wrong?

For starters, you might not be using all your channels to drive important traffic through to your site. And one area we’ll address today is with an ecommerce giveaway contest.

Why don’t people visit your site? If you’re new to creating an effective ecommerce marketing strategy, you might have trouble getting your products or website known by the audience who wants to see it.

Consumers don’t trust what they don’t know. Largely, shoppers don’t trust what they do know, either. But if they are familiar with a business, shoppers have the feeling they can get the best deals when doing business with you.

How a Giveaway Contest Increases Business

Giveaway contests help grow businesses by enticing shoppers to try something new or get to know your brand in the first place. And for many ecommerce companies, it’s not as easy as owning a store front and gaining awareness through foot traffic.

Instead, brands have to gain that foot traffic online and get users coming into your site, whether it’s from SEO best practices, paid ads, social media marketing or giveaway contests.

How Does a Giveaway Contest Work?

Giveaway contests work when consumers feel as if they get something of value without any monetary ties associated to the exchange. For marketers, you want shoppers to think they’re getting something for free by entering a giveaway or contest.

In reality, getting consumers to share their contest entry via social, email or to friends and family is simply a tried-and-true word-of-mouth marketing strategy. What might seem free to a consumer, might be a lot of the legwork for an ecommerce brand.

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You’ve surely seen them. It comes in an email from a brand saying something like, Click here once a day to enter our contest. You can enter your email and wait to hear if you won, while the brand now has a way to contact you.

This is the simplest method of doing an ecommerce contest giveaway.

Sometimes, the contest will feature another radio button saying, Share with your friends for extra entries. People want to win the prize inherent in the contest, so they share with their friends.

You see how quickly such a contest blossoms and creates hundreds, if not thousands, of new leads for your company. But as you guessed, it’s just not that simple. There’s plenty of strategy behind an effective giveaway contest.

Start by doing some analysis on your own customer needs to see their preferences, challenges and ultimately what makes them tick. You can’t just throw out an email that says Join this contest! and hope to see the leads pour in.

Instead, you have to send contest emails only to those folks who show an interest in the product or service that forms the prize. Only then will you start to see a whole slew of opportunities to grow your business.

Empower Your Employees to Start the Buzz

For most businesses, you have a team of people who not only love to share and talk about you, but they’ll do it for free. Your employees are a great asset to leverage and enlist to get the word out about a new or upcoming contest to generate more buzz.

Have your employees spread the word about it to their friends and families. Try incentivizing the process by rewarding your own employees who reach the most people through their social networks.

In the end, this method will be much cheaper than some traditional paid marketing strategies.

Use Social Media to Your Advantage

Social connections are just one of the many ways brands build relationships with customers. Social media is a community and more companies are seeing the benefits of Instagram and other social networks to keep customers happy.

There’s an old Faberge shampoo ad where the gal in the ad says, “I told two friends, and then they told two friends…and so on, and so on…” Sharing major events on social media is a great way to turn a standard contest into a truly popular event. That’s a lot of possibilities for leads and sales.

Here’s an example of some of the social numbers you could expect from an ecommerce contest that taps into the power of social media:

  • Each employee has 500 social connections
  • 1 in 10 of  your employees will share the contest
  • A standard online conversion rate is typically around 5%
  • The product you’re giving away costs $10 at wholesale
  • Your profit margin is 40%
  • You have 50 employees

Off the top, in this example, the brand would have roughly 25,000 people seeing the contest giveaway. And if 10% of those 25,000 people shared it with their 500-strong friend lists, you have the potential reach of 1.25 million people.

Additionally, if 10% of consumers who see your giveaway and visit your website, and of that 10%, you convert 5% of those visitors, then 6,250 people could buy your product for $10. Again in our example, let’s say you make $4 off each conversion, you’d be looking at $25,000 just from having each employee share the news of a contest.

4 Ways to Keep Your Contest Giveaways on Track

It’s easy to get excited when you’re giving away things for free, but it’s so important to get your ducks in a row first. Contests need to be measured, tracked and benchmarked for the future so during your next go-around, you have a much better idea of what to expect.

Here’s four quick tips to keep your contest on track:

  1. Decide your goals right away: While giveaways are a great tool to boost your growth, they are not the be-all and end-all. Keep all goals realistic but not asininely easy to reach. Things that are too hard or too easy won’t help your business in the long term. Change your processes and goals based upon real-world results, never guesses or projections.
  2. Pick appropriate prizes for your contest: The prizes must be relevant to your target demographic and something they actually want! Generic prizes are not effective. Winning a $100 gift card to the Playstation Store might not be something those over the age of 45 would want. But you also don’t want to give away a Visa or Amazon gift card because the flood of participants won’t be as effective as a prize related to your brand that every entrant wants.
  3. Don’t spend too much on the prize: If this is your first giveaway contest, start on the smaller side. You want to be sure that your gift-giving ways go noticed and have an impact on your site’s traffic. Your goal should be to increase your brand’s fans, not just get people in the door. Start with more simple gifts before spending a ton on a giveaway. Also, cheaper giveaway items feel more realistic to win.
  4. Find co-marketing partners: Having a co-marketing partner could help you double your pool of entrants. By teaming up with another brand, you can create better and more exciting giveaway packages at a lower cost and increase the audience with two teams spreading the word. At the same time, this is a great opportunity to create back links from each other’s sites to increase your SEO for ecommerce efforts.

The Final Word

These strategies are to help bolster your growth rate through giveaway contests and are just the tip of a very creative iceberg. Use your imagination to craft new and untried ideas.

Assess their effectiveness honestly, and if they’re crackerjack, share them with your partners to build goodwill and further networking and partnership possibilities.

Jen McKenzie

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Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer @jenmcknzie

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