Giveaway Tools and Making Giveaways Work For You
Today I thought we would talk about Giveaways, making them work for you, the publisher, author and great tools to make it simpler to track entries and verify them. Giveaways can be a lot of fun, generate traffic to your blog, get a book/author noticed and build your presence in the blogging community. Before running them though it is important to follow state and federal guidelines.
The first thing we need to do is understand the terms associated with giving away things on our blogs:
- Sweepstakes *Giveaways* -are prize giveaways. The winners are chosen by the luck of the draw. No purchase/consideration is required.
- Contests– choose a winner based on some merit. The winner is chosen based on some criteria.
- Lottery– is a prize drawing where people must pay money/give something of value in return (like a follow) to buy a chance to win. I do not recommend EVER doing this on your blog as there are many mandatory state and federal guidelines to follow.
Many of you host Giveaways (Sweepstakes) but aren’t always compliant with FCC regulations. You must always include a free entry in your giveaway (no purchase necessary) or you are in essence hosting a Lottery. While no money changes had, you are requiring likes and follows. For a blogger they are worth their weight in Gold. Now don’t panic you can still ask for all of those, but you must have a free entry.
When hosting a Sweepstake “Giveaway”
Be sure to Include Terms & Conditions:
- Who can enter (residence and age)
- No Purchase Necessary
- Dates of Giveaway Start and End dates
- Value of Prize & Its description
- The Sponsor
- How and when winners are selected. You must include a date by that winner will be selected and how long they have to claim prize
- What you will do with winner’s address. (mail package, won’t be sold, not kept on file)
- Liability. (not responsible for lost or stolen packages)
- State/Country where Blog is hosted
- Void where prohibited by law
- If your prize is valued at more than 600.00 US dollars who is responsible for taxes.
Remember if the prize is provided by anyone other than yourself it is a sponsored giveaway and FCC Disclosure rules apply when sharing. Be sure to disclose that in your post and any entry requirements like Tweet this giveaway.
Example tweet: Caffeinated Blogoversary Giveaway #sponsored #win prizes
There are numerous guidelines provided by the FCC and some are vague, so I encourage you to read through them, understand the laws of your state/country and proceed from there. Here are some helpful links:
- Social Media Promotions and the Law: What You Need to Know
- Blogger Confession: FTC *New* Rules and Review Books UPDATED 5-12-13
Tools for Hosting and Regulating Giveaways
There are several tool available for free on the internet: Random.org, Rafflecopter and Giveaway Tools
Random.org -I used this when I first began, but no longer recommend it. For regulation purposes the other tools I mention better protect you the blogger. You need to manually assign #’s to entries and then fill out tool. You will need to manual post the terms and conditions.
Rafflecopter is a great tool and has a free version. Unless you are a tour host there is really no reason to add the premium version. This is by far the most popular tool on the market and it allows you to inspect individual entries, search IP addresses, and manually verify entries. Terms and Conditions link right in giveaway.
Giveaway Tools offers both free and premium services and is my preferred method for giveaways. I utilize the free version and love that it verifies emails, follows, likes and IP addresses for me. It takes longer to set up, but allows for greater control of the giveaway from start times to questions. For example I can do follow and likes for more social media. I also like that it keeps the participant on my blog. When they tweet, it is just the click of a button and no hunting down the tweet and copying the URL is needed. It also does a two step verification. Terms and Conditions are linked right in giveaway tool. When someone follows or likes it verifies and then at the end it verifies that hasn’t changed. I also notice that blogs using Rafflecopter bounce as the pages loads and I don’t experience that with Giveaway Tools. Once you have set up a few giveaways it saves things like terms, and entries so you can use established format and tweak it. Since I have a lot of entries, I feel this most meets my needs, but ultimately it is up to you to decide your preferred tool.
Tips for a Successful Giveaway
- Limit the entries to just a few. Unless I am doing a huge giveaway, I like to limit entries to 4 or 5. Don’t forget that free entry.
- Verify each link for follow, like and share are working correctly.
- Have more than one follow option (if you only request follows for email you will limit entries)
- Avoid mandatory follows
- Include a share this giveaway another way (get the word out and let those entering help spread the love)
- Utilize the tweet this entry..use #win or #giveaway and highlight key points such as prize or event. (allow for daily tweets)
- We cannot always do International giveaways, but try to mix in few to reward and recognize those followers.
Prizes for giveaways can be costly and revenue from ads and links don’t always cover them. Here are some prize ideas
- Love a book you are reviewing? Reach out to publisher/author about hosting a giveaway for it.
- Did you receive books for review consideration and time doesn’t allow for a review? Spotlight them and host a giveaway
- Get crafty. Make swag like book covers and book marks.
- Clean out your bookshelf.
- Buy kindle deals for gifting. Save them and use as prizes when they are no longer a deal. Gift them to your email address, set up a folder in your email and then when you host giveaway forward the gift email to winner.
Giveaways are a fun way to spread the love, gain new followers, promote your site, authors, and novels. I hope these guidelines and tips help you run a successful giveaway. Remember I am not a legal expert and I recommend you read the laws in your state./country.