Everyone loves a bargain – or better, free stuff! Small business owners can use this to their advantage with creative promotions and giveaways. The right giveaways can increase sales to your current customers and attract new shoppers.
The first step is to nail down the “why”. Do you want to engage with your loyal followers, attract new customers or increase brand awareness? Once you’ve determined your goal, consider the following giveaways and strategies.
1. Traditional Coupons
A simple coupon may sound boring, but you can jazz it up to get a strong ROI. An effective coupon is visually appealing, easy-to-read, and has a strong call to action. Use a freelancer marketplace like Fiverr or Upwork and find a professional artist to design your ad. In addition to placing a coupon in a local paper or magazine, you can also partner with another small business and ask them to display a stack of coupons or include one along with their customer’s purchase.
2. Digital Coupons
If you’ve built a customer email list, you can simply email a well-designed digital coupon. Posting a digital coupon on your social networks is another fast and easy way to get your coupon out there. Make sure your post is sharable so your followers can share your coupon post with their friends or family.
3. Themed Gift Bundle
Take a look at our annual promotions calendar to see what holidays or observances are coming up. Create a bundle of items to giveaway around a central theme. For example, a Valentine’s Day themed basket giveaway could include champagne, chocolates and a coupon for a romantic dinner or couple’s massage. A back-to-school bundle might consist of school supplies, a flash drive and school-friendly snacks in a new backpack.
4. Gift Cards
Giveaway gift cards that you’d like to receive yourself and have broad appeal. Starbucks, Amazon, Fandango, Target or popular restaurant gift cards are always good bets.
5. Limited Edition Products
One strategy used by big businesses is to create ‘limited edition’ items. Product scarcity can increase demand and create a sense of value. A limited-edition product is a unique, branded item created and sold for a certain time period in a specific market. You’ve probably seen limited edition products across many industries.
For example, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream created a limited edition Bernie’s Yearnings flavor for presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. They then built a giveaway around the flavor.
6. Branded Products
This approach is a win-win. The customer gets a prize and you get your name out there. There are an endless number of high-quality products – beyond office supplies – that you can brand with your name or logo. Glassware, outer wear, stylish beanies, computer tote bags, headphones and more can all be branded for a giveaway.
Check out this article from the SmartBiz blog with things to think about before you order promotional products: Promotional Items for Your Small Business.
7. A Year’s Worth of Products or Services
At SmartBiz Loans, we recently held a contest for our newsletter subscribers. The prize was a year’s supply of coffee from SmartBiz customer Denim Coffee. The winner is receiving 1 bag of coffee beans a month for 12 months. You can do something similar with your own products or services.
Of course, this won’t work well if your business sells big, expensive items. But, like we did with the coffee, you can give away a year’s worth of products from another company. Choose a small business in your community to show support for other entrepreneurs.
8. An Experience
Think about your target audience and design an experience that they’ll appreciate. For example, if your shoppers are parents, consider giving away tickets to a local theme park. Do you target women? How about a spa day or wine tasting with friends? If you have millennials as customers, tickets to a local concert or an evening at an escape room would be appreciated.
9. Pay a Bill
What’s better than having a monthly bill taken care of? Offer to make a car payment, pay an electric bill, take care of a tuition cost or something else that appeals to your customers. (Of course, you’ll need to set a monetary limit).
Don’t Forget About the Rules
If you’ve launched a giveaway contest, you’ll need official terms and conditions. There are a number of online templates you can use. The rules will need to be available – either written and displayed or posted on your website. If you’re running your giveaway via social media, review this article to keep it legal: Social Media Contests and the Law.