Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Are Giveaways and Contests Worth It?

Originally this post was supposed to be a sort of part 3 to my Freebie how to series, but as I hunt down more and more freebies I realize daily that this is a topic that needs to be addressed all on its own.

First of all, I want to say that if you are serious about freebie hunting and it means a lot to you that you are successful, don't start out with giveaways and contests. It will only discourage you and make you feel like the whole thing is not even worth it.

Okay, now for some tips... because once you have gotten the hang of freebie hunting this can be a really fun thing to get into, if you do it right.

-Use your real email address. I know, in my freebie article I made a point to tell you to make a separate account for freebie hunting. Giveaways and contests are different. You want them to be able to contact you if you have won!

-Don't get on their mailing list. A lot of people signing up for contests and giveaways assume that you HAVE to get on the mailing list. This is not the case. If you don't want their junk sent to you, then you don't have to get it. There will be an exception to this tip later that I will mention, but for now... don't click that box!

-Don't expect to win. This may sound like a duh, but it can get really exciting to sign up to win a free ipad and then be let down when you don't get it. If you really want that ipad create a game plan. Decide that is what you are going to focus on and sign up for every contest you can that is giving one away. Does this guarantee success? No, but it does up your odds.

-Now, there are two main types of contests and giveaways you will run into. Commercial ones run by big name companies and blog marketing giveaways. I have had success with both types of contests so one is not better than the other. If you obsessed with winning you will probably have a little more success with blog marketing giveaways if they are a small up-and-coming blog... like mine. But, that isn't meant to be a plug, that is an example of a good way to ensure success.

-Let my focus on blog marketing giveaways for a moment because it is important that you understand how these giveaways work in order to have the best success. These giveaways are hosted for one main reason... to gain more readers. It is commonly understood that people in general like to get something out of their time. Because small time bloggers like myself are still working on content and finding their way in the blogging world, these giveaways offer them a way to get the word out there about their blog without having to stand on the street corner holding a sign or wearing a t-shirt with their blog URL everywhere. The things you have to do to enter these types of giveaways are going to be a little more 'intense' for lack of a better word. They will want you to follow them on just about every social networking site. They will want you to post the giveaway to share with all your friends, they will want you to sign up for their mailing list... and this is the one exception to the no mailing list tip. I recommend that you do sign up for their mailing list. They probably won't send you a lot of junk. Just a digest of what is up on their blog. After the giveaway is over you can determine if you still want to be on the mailing list and unsubscribe pretty easily. Just remember these hoops they ask you to jump through are only because the blog isn't well known and they need to get the word out there. That is how they will be able to get better content, to get paid for their hard work, and get other people interested in what they have to say.

-For the Commercially run giveaways, they are brand name giveaway and are all about getting a new product introduced into the market. They can be for everything from big screen TV's down to a new candy bar. When I mentioned I've had success with these types of giveaways I will mention all I have won are the smaller products. Candy bars, hair care products, and the like. I do spend time entering these types of giveaways for fancy electronic gear, I don't expect much from them... but I do enter them for the sake of trying. For these types of giveaways don't sign up for the mailing list, if you don't have to. Entering your email is not the same as signing up for the mailing list. There will be a opt in/opt out check box near the submit button. Read it carefully before clicking to make sure you are checking what you want to check.

-Don't spend all day signing up. I understand that once you see that the giveaways and contests are for bigger things you will want to spend all your time on those. I mean, why sign up for a free sample of something with the chance of getting a full sized product on the horizon? Trust me on this one, while you will occasionally win free items with contests and giveaways, you will get frustrated if you don't win often enough.

Above all you should have fun. If it isn't fun it will never be worth it.

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