What Prize Should I Offer

One question we're frequently asked is "what's the best prize to giveaway"? In the past the the answer would usually have been "an expensive one" but with social media that's not always the case now! That said deciding the prize you offer can have an effect on the type and volume of entries! For example if you have a brand new car to giveaway, then it makes sense that you're probably going to get more interest in your prize draw than if you're giving away a picnic hamper.

Popular Prizes: 1. Car 2. Vouchers 3. Cash 4. Holidays 5. Electricals/Gadgets

Before deciding on your prize recall just why are you running the competition?

To attract a lot of interest in your competition we suggest that you offer a prize that will appeal to a wide audience. Cash and vouchers are king as winners can then select a prize that they want. A more specialist prize should help you target different demographics. For example, if you run a social media channel about food then offering hampers are ideal, beauty products won't appeal to too many guys, and localised prizes - such as those that need collecting or tickets - can really help narrow your audience further. But where do you source prizes to giveaway?

Getting Prizes From Sponsors

Many companies are prepared to offer promotional goods as prizes - you run the competition, they provide the prize in exchange for promotion on your website. Similarly, if you're involved in affiliate marketing, some merchants will happily donate prizes in return for added promotion! There are also some PR agencies who handle competition prizes, e.g. movie goody bags. The main thing is don't be afraid to contact people and ask if they can help you. In the modern social media world the term 'influencer' is often bandied around so when seeking sponsors for giveaways don't forget to tell them what you can offer in terms of interest.

Supply Your Own Prizes

Alternatively you could get some promotional items made up - for example mugs, mousemats, pens, keyrings, or t-shirts with your logo and url can provide you with advertising after they've been won! These can be quite good prizes for loyal users of your site. Finally, you could simply buy the prize yourself - one of our most successful competitions was for boxes of chocolates from Hotel Chocolat! By buying online you don't even have to worry about sending the prize yourself.

Vouchers & Discounts

Some sites believe giving money off vouchers or discounts is a prize - for example 100 off a holiday, buy one get one free style offers, or 10% off selected CDs. In our opinion these really aren't prizes. A prize is something the winner should receive for free, i.e. they shouldn't have to part with any money to enjoy their success. If you want to offer discounts, then offer them to all users don't make your site look second rate by fobbing such giveaways off as competition prizes.

The Best Prizes for Competitions & Prize Draws

Choosing the right prize to giveaway can be a bit of a challenge. We've compiled a list of some of the popular prizes we see, and reveal some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. A simple rule for this section is "the bigger the prize, the more entries you'll get". As well as considering the prize you're offering, make sure you think about what you're asking an entrant to do to win it! If you have a 5 DVD to giveaway don't expect many people to send in "1000 word reviews of UK campsites" for the chance to win it!

Type Advantages Disadvantages
Car One of the most popular prizes around Expensive and often only limited to very big sites!
Holidays Everyone likes the chance to get away, especially to far off places. Can be expensive. Destination, fixed travel times, flights and family friendliness can influence entries.
Cash Easy to send as a prize and winner's can buy what they like. Too little and no one will be interested. Vouchers are often preferred to cash too.
Vouchers Can be very popular and again are an easy prize to send out! Make sure the vouchers appeal to a wide audience (e.g. Amazon) and don't quickly expire.
Flights Rising costs should make flights more popular. Consider travel to the airport. Not everyone is near Heathrow or Gatwick!
Electricals Plasma TVs, Consoles and Kitchen Stuff are all popular. Not everyone can fit a 74in Widescreen TV into their home.
Gadgets The latest mobiles, tablets and consoles can be popular Latest gadgets only! If you're giving away a mobile consider contract costs as well!
Sports Tickets VIP and hospitality tickets can be attractive. Consider offering travel/hotel as well - can limit your audience!
Concert Tickets Festival tickets, especially Glastonbury, are very popular prizes. Avoid short notice tickets as they get lost in the post.
Books/CDs/DVDs Cheap and cheerful prizes that are popular if they're new releases Not as popular as they once were and often overlooked if not the latest.
Experience Days Can be a fun prize that's different to the norm. Not everyone wants to bungee or drive a Ferrari - give people an option!
Promotional Goods Unique prizes that can help create a buzz on your website and extra promotions! Can be expensive and you may end up with an attic full of tshirts!

Social Media & Prizes

When we first wrote this guide social media didn't exist. However it has changed the way promoters look at prizes. Whilst the mantra of big prizes attract big audiences is mostly true, on social media it's less so. In fact we've seen a number of social media contests - often spread across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook - which have attracted a lot of entrants whilst offering small prizes. The key here is to try different prizes and see what kind of engagement you get. Some promoters see that they'll get the same level of likes/shares for a 20 prize versus a 100 prize. That makes it a no-brainer when coming to choose what to offer. Why run 1 x 100 draw when 5 x 20 draws will generate more interest.

However you also have to consider that social media attracts a lot of compers (people who love competitions) to your channel. Whilst some promoters love this because it can boost engagement and therefore reach on social media platforms, others are less enthused. This often stems from the promoter not understanding compers and not understanding how to run a giveaway effectively. In our view social media does make targetting leads/visitors/entrants much more difficult so we suggest that for bigger prizes or prizes that you want to target at specific groups then a website mechanic is much more favourable.

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