16 Do’s and Don’ts for Executing the Perfect Fall Giveaway

autumn giveaway

Giveaways are marketing powerhouses. The reason being is layered but simple: people love getting things for free so the incentive is high, and you control the message and where customers receive it. That also puts a great deal of pressure on you. If you don’t maximize the opportunity, you could wind up squandering your chance to make the most of your marketing opportunity.

Do Identity you’re why

Before you run a giveaway decide why you are running it. Is it to create brand awareness? Generate a profit for your company? Maybe it’s to increase user engagement. These are but three reasons you could identify. Here are some more:

  • Launch a new product or service
  • Expand your email database
  • Increase traffic on your website
  • Strengthen your social media presence and customer engagement

Don’t: Rush into it

Do you know who rushes in? Fools. That age-old expression never loses its power no matter how many centuries pass. Take your time. Do not, under any circumstances, send out a single line of copy or banner ad until your entire contest has been thought through.

Do: Decide on what type of contest

The two most popular and effective contests are the Contest and the Sweepstakes. In a contest, the participants must do something to win. They have to use a particular skill or put forth effort in some way. For instance, a photo contest wherein the photo with the most votes wins. These tend to generate a great response (depending on the prize – which we’ll get to in a moment). In a Sweepstake, contestants do nothing but enter. The winners are drawn randomly – by chance. 

Don’t: Run a Lottery

There are laws governing these types of contests. The last thing you want to do is run afoul of some ordinances and find yourself on the wrong end of a lawsuit with fines and penalties. It’s just not worth the risk.

Do: Make the prize appealing

prize appealing

No one’s going to follow through to win a canned ham. So make sure your prize isn’t a canned ham, either literally or figuratively. Unless you have a massive budget, it’s not going to be a Ferrari either. Be creative in finding the prize, even going so far as to polling your customers as to what they would like to see as a prize. Talk about free publicity!

Don’t: Pick a prize that fails to reinforce your brand image

If you run a sporting goods store, would tickets to the opera be a fitting prize? Or a free ski weekend at the local lodge? Obviously the latter. Be conscious of how the prize, in the long run, will help you build your business. 

Do: Digital marketing   


Eighty-nine percent of marketing experts said social media increased exposure for their companies. What platform to run your contest on is the question. You can run multiple contests, one per platform, or have platforms driving contestants to a single channel. The key is to not run it on just your website. Website-only promotions tend to perform more poorly as fewer customers – or potential customers – will see your site vs your social presence. 


Don’t: Over-emphasize a poor-performing platform 

You want all of your channels to be working at maximum capacity. That’s something to work on day-to-day. Don’t wait for a big marketing campaign event to try and make everything click all at once. If, however, you have a channel that is consistently on an upward trajectory, project what it could do, and allocate resources accordingly.

Do: Make it shareable with a unique hashtag

Since your followers are also already more brand royal – 53-percent of Americans who follow brands are – making it shareable will more than likely expand your reach and create more impressions. More impressions lead to higher engagement. Higher engagement leads to increased sales. The hashtag will help, particularly if you’re able to come up with one that speaks to both your brand and your contest.

Don’t: Forget print marketing

Outdoor banners should be at your brick and mortar location. They should be uncluttered and make your giveaway the main message – including how to enter both in-store and on your website. Inside, have carefully placed window signs that also help build excitement. You should also have a signup form in-store that, like your online counterparts, requires an email address to enter.

Do: Consider running a giveaway to pique their interest even more

The possibility of winning a great prize but also getting a cool gift just for entering? That’s a win-win. Custom T-shirts and other promotional products can be great, particularly if they are one-of-a-kind items.

Don’t: Sit back and watch

Analyze data daily to see what’s working and what’s not. Cross-reference this with previous campaigns that have worked and always be prepared to adjust. Success doesn’t come by standing pat.

Do: Set a Deadline

Make it crystal clear, in bold font, flashing lights, sirens, and hang gliders. Maybe not. But you get the point. It should be impossible to miss in all of your communications. 

Don’t: Forget to make the rules clear

The easiest thing is to have a section of bullet points on the registration page. Avoid having an entire legal document, but do have the most important rules like start and end dates, how to enter, how the winner is chosen, etc. Include a link to the full legal document.

Do: Notify the winner

Seems pretty self-explanatory but oddly enough, it happens. The rules should require a preferred contact method and a time period in which they are required to respond to your notification. 

Don’t: Forget to tell everyone else that a winner has been chosen

It builds excitement and more brand loyalty if everyone gets to see that, yes, there was in fact a winner who got that amazing prize, and next time it could be you.

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