How the Heck Did You Do That?!? #20- Giveaways

September 13th, 2014 kimbacaffeinate Blog Tour 45 Comments

13th Sep

Blogger tips and tricks

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:

Tools for Hosting and Regulating Giveaways

There are several tool available for free on the internet: Random.org, Rafflecopter and Giveaway Tools

Random.Org 

Random.org

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

Rafflecopter

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

Giveaway Tools

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

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.

Photo of kimbacaffeinate
About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. She's a self-professed Whovian, as well as a Supernatural, and Sherlock Holmes junkie, She enjoys sharing books, tips, recipes and hosting the Sunday Post. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat... Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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45 Responses to “How the Heck Did You Do That?!? #20- Giveaways”

  1. Melliane

    Difficult and complicated thing. I don’t really know how it is exactly in France. I tried to look about it but it’s mainly for big marketing giveaways. It’s stressful lol. I just hope that what I’m doing is quite ok. Thank you for the really interesting post.

    Melliane recently posted: Stacking the Shelves #109
  2. Trish

    Thanks for explaining the differences between the different types, I didn’t know that. And good idea about buying Kindle Deals for gifting. I never thought about that. Out of interest though, If you buy the book, how would you then send it on as gift from your amazon library to the winner?

    • kimbacaffeinate

      You email them to yourself as a gift. Create a separate folder for them. I like to buy deals like a first book for 1.99, then save it and use as a gift when it is full price. When you are ready to gift it just forward the email.

  3. Silvia

    Interesting post, Kimberly. I usually run giveaways with Rafflecopter except for a few times when I run a contest with interviews, in which case I select the winner(s) with the Random generator (always verifying the validity of the entries first, of course). I honestly didn’t think the ‘free entry’ was something to pay much attention to, since I never use mandatory tasks I thought that was it. I’ll have to give this some thoughts…

  4. Stormi

    Hmm, guess I need to read up on all this. I didn’t know that you had to give a free entry. I have been doing that but mainly because I see other bloggers do it. I also never would have thought about gifting myself a good deal and then forwarding that gift on to someone..didn’t know it would work that way..cool. 🙂 Great post, I learned a lot about the laws of giveaways that I didn’t really know.

    Stormi recently posted: HO HO HO Read-a-thon (Nov. 6-11th)
  5. Sophia

    *grins* I usually use the free entry as mandatory. 😀

    Though… if you buy a book on Amazon and then save it, you can give it away later? O_O

    I hope you don’t mean the physical version. Apparently I can’t exactly make book swag… (can’t give out address) :p

    On the bright side… maybe I should mention those Terms and Conditions next time. Whoops. *fail*

  6. Emma

    thanks, I also use Giveaway Tools now, though for some things I do some basic Google Forms. I have a question with Giveaway Tools: I asked them my question, but they never answered, so maybe YOU know! I notice a discrepancy between the number of entries it says and the number of rows I see these entries. why is that?? Any idea? do you experience the same thing?

    Emma recently posted: Sunday Post #6 – 9/7/14
    • kimbacaffeinate

      The tool eliminates multiple entries from same IP address and email, or any that haven’t authenticated their share, like, tweet.

    • kimbacaffeinate

      You gift kindle ebook to yourself. Keep them in a folder in your email box. When ready to giveaway forward email to the winner.

  7. Kristin

    Completely awesome and invaluable information here!!! I used Giveaway Tools for the first time last week and I really like it! My favorite part is that they allow you to adjust the time on the giveaway – Rafflecopter doesn’t (unless it’s premium).

    I’m going to try the Kindle gifting, too 🙂 Fantastic!

  8. Rita_h

    Super informative and helpful to probably most or all of us. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m klutzy at figuring out how to do giveaways so I don’t do them often, but I’d like to. I’ll try Giveaway Tools next time.

    Rita_h recently posted: Weekly Wrap-Up: 9/13-9/14/14
  9. Lark

    Great post, Kimba! I always include a free entry, because I know how annoyed I get when someone doesn’t — but I didn’t realize that not including a free entry turns it into a lottery and could get you into legal trouble. As for the tools, I’ve been using Rafflecopter, but I will check out Giveaway Tools; I like the pros you list for it.

    Also, it probably doesn’t need to be said, but some folks might not realize: When purchasing Kindle Deals to give away, make sure to buy them as a gift and have the email sent to you, so you can forward it to the winner, who can then download it. I set up a folder in my inbox for giveaways, where I keep those emails until I need them.

    Lark recently posted: News & Notes - 9/13/14
  10. Braine Talk Supe

    Mandatory follows – my stance on this is I’m putting the work from the post itself to promoting (which takes a lot of time) down to the postage so I think it’s only fair that I ask them to follow me. Plus the way I see it, winning the prize is an incentive for following the blog and suffering through my opinions. LOL

    Great discussion 😉

  11. Jess

    Holy cow! What a helpful post! Definitely need to bookmark this post, as I didn’t realize I was doing some things incorrectly. Your clarifications were very enlightening. Thanks!!!!

    Jess recently posted: The DMS Wants to Know!
  12. Jennifer

    These are all great. I always forget about the sponsored giveaway thing. Although I haven’t done one in awhile…

  13. Lupdilup

    I just tried a new Giveaway tool called PunchTub. I like some of the features, like being able to put the giveaway itself on the widget area and seeing the the picture of all the entries, but unfortunately I’m getting complains that is taking too long to load 🙁 so I don’t think I’ll be using it again. 🙁
    Great post Kimba!

  14. Stephanie

    Thank you so much for this post. It’s just what I need. I have been shying away from giveaways/lotteries/contests because I haven’t really thoroughly researched how to do them. Had NO clue about the free entry requirement, and I’m a lawyer…lol. Going to bookmark this and print it out!