Watching your list grow little by little is fun, but what if you could gain hundreds or even over a thousand new email subscribers in just ONE week? Sounds like a total sales-y pile of crap right?
Well, it’s not.
The best way to grow your list, of course, is by hosting free webinars, but since I know lots of you are SO not into live video yet, there’s another way.
Over the past year, hosting giveaways has added over 5,000 subscribers to my email list.
And it’s not because I’ve gone all Oprah and gave away a car – it’s because I’ve been strategic with what I’m giving away, how I’m positioning it, and how I’m promoting it. And yes, you can totally do it too.
But hosting giveaways isn’t just about growing your list. Here are three more benefits . . .
1 | Generate an interest list for your book or course
If you’re planning to launch an ebook or course in the near future, hosting a giveaway that gives readers a leg up is a fast way to build an interest list. You don’t even have to include your product – just pull together a few related items. For example: If you were creating a guide on apartment organizing, you might pick out your favorite shoe organizer, those super slim hangers, and a set of cute boxes or bins. People that are interested in that prize are already in the organizing mood and would probably be into hearing about your course once it’s ready.
2 | Reach people outside your regular circles
Free stuff always gets people’s attention. If your audience is still small, this is a great way to connect with people who may not have found you otherwise. We’ll talk about exactly how to expand into new circles when we cover social media below.
3 | You can have it up and running in like 20 minutes
You don’t have to spend a week creating slides or a month writing lessons or shooting videos. You don’t have to plan super far in advance or wait for your audience to grow. You can literally put this together TODAY and launch it TOMORROW.
Here’s how . . .
Create a prize pack
Instead of giving away one thing, put together a set of products that help your audience reach a goal. What products, apps, or services do people in your niche need when they’re first starting out?
As you can see from my past giveaways, a free pass to a course is good, a free pass + access to an app is better, but creating a whole toolkit knocked it outta the park. The Blogging Toolkit included entry to my Badass Babes e-course, plus free access to Buffer, TailWind and ConvertKit, and $100 to Creative Market.
Make entering simple
Don’t ask people to follow you or answer questions or do 50 push-ups. Just have them enter their email address – because that’s the whole point, right? Adding more fields to anything (giveaways, webinar registration, landing pages) will kill your conversion rate. You don’t want them to stop and think – you want them to get excited and hand over their email address and do it in 2 seconds flat.
Use a giveaway app that includes social sharing
My go-to for running a giveaway is KingSumo Giveaways because of the social sharing ability. It allows users to share their own lucky URL, which nets them three extra entries for every one of their friends that enters through their link. THIS is how you get people outside of your own network to enter your giveaway, share your giveaway, and join your email list.
Create a promotional graphic
Along with the social sharing, it’s important to have all the promotional assets in place so it’s a one-click action for users. I like to create a square graphic with short text and an eye-catching image that users can quickly share on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure to include the goal for your audience – what will the prize pack help them do?
Add a welcome gate
You want to catch every single person that comes to your website, so one blog post about your giveaway isn’t going to cut it. Adding a welcome gate helps to make sure people don’t have to stumble upon the information, it’s right in their face the second they enter your site. My conversion rate generally goes up from about 3% for my general email opt-in to 7% when my welcome gate promotes a giveaway. I use Sumo (affiliate link) for mine with the ‘call to action’ template, which allows me to add a button + a link instead of the email opt-in fields.
Schedule social media coverage
Your social media followers might not always find their way to your blog so scheduling pins and tweets and Instagrams and Facebook posts is important too. I generally post once/day on Pinterest and Twitter and a couple of times during the week on Facebook and Instagram. And when I post to Instagram, I go back and delete the previous promotional post so my feed isn’t covered in giveaway ads.
Create a tag in your email system
In order to email entrants and those that have shown interest I create a link trigger (under Automations) within ConvertKit (affiliate link). (One of the many reasons I loooove that platform) This allows me to send emails to just those that have shown interest.
This also allows me to send emails about related products. If people enter a giveaway to win a pass to Pinterest Powerhouse I can automatically move them into an email sequence related to that course or contact them in the future if I were to make any additions or add bonuses.
Send multiple emails
For giveaways I send the initial info either with my Monday email or in its own email (if it’s not starting on a Monday) as well as an email in the middle of the giveaway, and then one more on the day the giveaway is ending. Yes, you’ll be sending the email to people who have already entered so make sure to use the opportunity to remind them to share their link for extra entries. (General email rule: If you’re showing up in someone’s inbox often, you best be letting them know what’s in it for them.)
Give the losers a little something
Once the giveaway has ended, you can send one final email to all the entrants giving them a discount for your course or ebook or a limited-time bonus to encourage them to buy. Or if a blogger / biz owner / company has provided a prize, you can offer to send a discount to the entrants. I did this recently with TailWind (affiliate link) and offered a free month of service using my affiliate link. Win for my readers, win for the company, and a win for me.
When I first tried this I thought it might be too sales-y and annoying, but I got quite a few responses thanking me for the discount. Don’t ever worry about sending extra emails if you’re providing value. Yes, some people will unsubscribe, but it’s likely because they didn’t intend to stay on your email list in the first place.
If you’ve got a small audience, collaborate!
If you’ve got like 10 people showing up to your blog each day, then get together with another blogger (in your niche) to come up with something you can share with both of your audiences. Or ask other bloggers/biz owners to donate an ebook or something small. This makes your giveaway larger and they might even help you promote. If I donate an ebook and the giveaway host tweets about it and tags me, I’ll almost always give them a re-tweet.
Keep those subscribers on your list
And lastly, the best way to keep people on your list is by sending them more email. WHAT?? I’m serious. Create an automated email sequence that sends email every 3-5 days for about a month. This will allow you to provide TONS of value and get new subscribers used to hearing from you. You can make this easy on yourself by grabbing a handful of your most popular posts on a subject related to your giveaway.
* This post is NOT sponsored by Sumo or TailWind, they just happen to make products that make my life easier. Affiliate links within <3