Giveaways: Awesome Prizes and How to Find Them

Giveaways are a great way to grow your blog readership or your e-mail list (or even your social networking presence). After all, who doesn’t like getting free stuff? The more of it you offer, the more attention you are likely to get for your blog.

However, all giveaways are not created equal. No one is going to beat down your door for the chance to win a packet of notebook paper, and announcements for a free t-shirt bearing your logo are likely to be met by virtual tumbleweeds.

To make the most out of your contests and giveaways, you need to offer some truly exciting prizes. Stumped for ideas? Don’t have the cash to buy all the fabulous prizes you’d like to offer? Here’s a list of some great giveaway ideas, as well as some suggestions for how to offer prizes without breaking the bank.

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Giveaways: Ideas

Finding prize ideas for your contest or giveaway is as simple as thinking about the things you might like to win yourself. What’s more exciting to you: A photo frame or a copy of the latest version of Photoshop (Affiliate link)? A jeweled hand band or a gift certificate to a designer jewelry shop

Look for your giveaway prizes like you are shopping for gifts for a new girlfriend or boyfriend – because, in a sense, you are. Your prizes are like gifts to woo new readers to spend more time on your site and get to know you better.

What is going to tempt them to stick around?

Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when choosing giveaways:

  • Make sure it’s related to the content of your blog. Don’t give away designer doggie bags if your blog is about smart phones.
  • The bigger the better. A $10 gift card to Amazon might rouse a little interest, but a $200 gift card to Apple will spark a lot of excitement.
  • The quality of the prizes should reflect the quality of the blog. If you blog about the latest technology, then offering a generic brand analog radio as a prize is going to reflect poorly on your blog. If that’s the quality of your prize, what will readers think about the quality of your content?

If you still aren’t sure what kind of prizes to choose for your giveaways, here are a few ideas:

  • Books related to your niche. Instructional books and new best sellers are the best options. If you have an e-book, this would also make a nice giveaway (assuming it’s not already free).
  • Advertising on your blog. If you have a lot of traffic, this can really generate a lot of excitement. If you’re just starting out, you may want to save this prize for later so you can get the most benefit from it.
  • Personalized consultation. Whatever your blog is about – marketing, painting, running – chances are you can offer your readers a one-on-one consultation in which you help them with their specific problems and offer tailored solutions.
  • Electronics. The bigger the better. A new iPad obviously trumps a new Shuffle, but readers will be happy to win either.
  • Tickets. A new Broadway show, a sold-out concert, a hot convention – tickets to any of these will be coveted prizes.
  • Personal services. There are numerous options, including massages, facials, housekeeping, car washes, and much more.
  • Unique, handmade items. If you make and sell products on your blog, give away one of your top sellers. If you don’t, look for items related to your blog’s niche. Custom and personalized items make a bigger impact.
  • Gift certificates. Just be sure the venue is related to your niche and is one that people will love. A gift certificate to Tiffany’s >; a gift certificate to a mall outlet.

Be creative! The more unique your giveaway is, the more attention it is likely to get.

Giveaways: How to Find Prizes

It’s a no-brainer that offering up an iPad 3 is going to get a lot of people interested in your contest and tripping over themselves to sign up for your Twitter feed, follow you on Facebook, subscribe to your feed, and do anything else they need to do to win.

But what if you don’t have the $500 to shell out for a new iPad for someone else?

There are a lot of ways to get prizes for your giveaways without having to spend a lot of money. Here are a few ideas:

  • Contact companies directly. Many companies are willing to sponsor prizes for giveaways as a way to promote their products. Just ask, and you might be surprised to find out what some companies will give you.
  • Contact other bloggers. Have you been admiring a Web designer’s work, or do you think your readers would benefit from the expert advice of a certain marketing expert that you follow? Ask if they would be willing to donate their services for your giveaway, which will also help promote their own work and site.
  • Re-gift. We’ve all received a gift that we didn’t really like at some point. Maybe you even won a prize or got some promotional swag that you don’t really want. Use these items for your giveaways! Just make sure they related to your niche and don’t have other company logos.
  • Make them. If you sell products on your blog, just offer one of those. Make sure it’s a top seller or a new offering to make it special.

If you do have to purchase a prize – let’s face it, Apple is unlikely to give you an iPad for your giveaway – remember that you can include the cost as a tax deduction at the end of the year. Any money you spend on prizes would be considered a business expense, and it can be deducted from your income come tax time.

Even if you have to purchase your prizes, the investment is well worth it. Consider any costs you spend on prizes to be costs associated with marketing. The right giveaway can help you add hundreds or even thousands of e-mail subscribers and social media followers.

Plan to stagger your giveaways so that you can get the most leverage for them – particularly if you offer really big and exciting prizes.

Have your say…

What prizes have you offered on your blog that got the most notice? How have you been able to secure prizes for your giveaways? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

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1. 31 Days to Finding your Blogging Mojo

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