When marketing your business, giveaways can either be free promotional products or prizes handed out at a promotional event. These giveaways can increase customer response rate by as much as 17 percent and generally improve their impression of your businesses. However, a successful giveaway depends on the combination of overall strategy and product, so we curated a list of ideas from experts and across the web to help you get started.
Here are 25 of the best giveaway ideas to promote your business for 2018.
1. Let Your Customers Get Their First Design Experience as a Giveaway
Gregory Golinski, Digital Marketing Executive, YourParkingSpace
A creative giveaway idea is to ask participants to draw a design related to what you do and to offer them a miniature 3D printed version of this design. For example, last year, Volkswagen Polo and DDB Copenhagen gave consumers the opportunity to become car designers. They could take control of the Volkswagen 3D printer via a website to create their own car. I think it’s a great publicity stunt and concept for a giveaway.
2. Send a Gift to Local Businesses as a Reward for Their Contribution to the Community
Keri Lindenmuth, Marketing Manager, KDG
In one giveaway campaign, we choose a local business every week and look into what they’re doing for the community — maybe they’re a garden center focused on beautifying the township or a family business that’s just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Then, we send them a surprise box filled with swag like coffee tumblers, engraved stainless-steel wine glasses, pens and so on as well as important resources like guides on keeping technology safe. We want these giveaways to be fun and useful. Afterward, we give the business a shout-out on social media.
3. Prepare a Gift Box That Reflects Your Brand
Sharon Podobnik Peterson, Founder, Go Love Yourself!
Many small businesses have been coming to my small business lately for giveaways. We sell life coaching in a box, and many other coaches will give this away as a one-time gift. Women get a book, workbook and other items in the book that help the book come to life as well as a 30-minute coaching conversation with one of our featured experts. It’s a way to say thanks and provide true value to the women in whatever aspect of their life they’re working on.
4. Hand Out Customized Giveaway Products in Exchange for Donation to Charity
Shelley Grieshop, Creative Writer, Totally Promotional
Customers who spend a minimum amount on a specific day of the week — a traditionally low-traffic day — are given a can cooler that is printed with “Thirst for Action,” the name of a charity you will donate to on their behalf and your name and logo. Customers love free stuff and charitable projects. That can cooler will bring great exposure to you and the charity when it is used later at parties, festivals, and on vacation.
5. Run a Giveaway of Your High-end Product to Improve Your Email List
Mills Menser, President & Owner, Buchroeders
Buchroeder’s recently had an engagement ring giveaway. It’s pretty unique to give away something as valuable as one of our engagement rings. This worked well for our business because it can be hard to find people that are pre-engagement. By running this giveaway, we could compile a list of hundreds of couples that are looking to get engaged but haven’t bought their ring yet.
6. Give Your Customers a Unique Experience That’s Worth Their While
Phil Provost, CEO, PSP Media Inc
Give them more than a promotional knick-knack — give them a unique experience. For example, at a business-oriented conference, do you want to be the people handing out yet another USB drive? Take that money — after all, knick-knacks aren’t cheap — and spend it on something of real value that people will use and is memorable. For example, professional headshots. Everybody needs a good headshot even if it is just for their LinkedIn profile. Always popular, this often results in lots of traffic and a terrific opportunity for data collection.
7. Offer Free Educational Testing and Assessment
Jen Henson, Founder, Goal Digger ACT Prep
As for giveaways, I use a high school student timeline checklist and an ACT/SAT punctuation guide to help families. Then, they have my contact information on a valuable resource they will want to save. I also give away a free test prep talk to small groups like PTO/PTA groups, club sports teams and church groups during which I explain the differences between the two tests. It is not “markety” at all, but I always receive clients from that group after each talk.
8. Look Into Your Customers’ Purchase History to Match a Themed Gift Set
Adam Heath, Operations Manager, Meridian Speciality Packaging
A themed gift bundle is an effective way of giving customers the “wow” factor. So. based on their purchase history, hand-pick an arrangement of gifts, all wrapped up in a customized bag, which they will use and will simultaneously promote your brand.
9. Give Out Free In-depth Therapy Sessions or Consultation
Raffi Bilek, Owner & Director, Baltimore Therapy Center
One giveaway idea I’ve used in the past is a free session — taking away the financial barrier is often a big help to getting people to try out therapy. I think other businesses could do something similar by offering an in-depth consultation — we offer free 20-minute consultations as a permanent offering — where customers could ask all their questions about the product or service and get personalized attention.
10. Give Away Something That Complements Your Product
Akshay Bansal, Founder, Heuro
Every out-of-the-box give away idea won’t work for every small business owners because of the nature of the business and type of audience, so to impact your customer truly and amaze them, search online selling platforms like Alibaba for related or complementary products to give away. You can surf this site and even ask the manufacturer for samples and custom manufacturing. For example, if you are a pencil company, you can give a grip-on stylus with your own logo from the manufacturer.
11. Hold a Raffle for a Donation to a Customer’s College Fund
Leonard Hill, Founder, Hill & Associates
Last year, we sat down to brainstorm about this same topic. Although the conversation started with typical ideas like T-shirts, pens, mouse pads, Yeti tumblers and so on, we knew there had to be something that could have a better impact, which ultimately led us to this — a $1,000 college scholarship. In terms of giveaways, this has generated an incredible amount of “buzz” for our firm during the past 10-plus months — something a gift basket or fidget spinner could never do. It’s also something that doesn’t go out of style.
12. Run a Free Giveaway Facebook Ad That Targets Bloggers
Sara Lockertsen, Shop Owner, Treetop Tales
Many small business owners reach out to bloggers with free giveaways in exchange for a feature. However, reaching out to an X number of bloggers can be time-consuming. So why not change it up a little? Instead of approaching bloggers individually, why not run a Facebook ad that targets bloggers specifically? That way, you can choose to target bloggers, writers and journalists and reach them all at once. You can run a free giveaway ad and ask them to feature your products in a blog post. Perhaps even tell them to message you with a draft of their feature article or the link to their blog before giving them the coupon that will result in a free product.
While some small business owners might want to control which blogs they are featured on, other businesses might just want exposure — in which case, an ad that targets bloggers, in general, might be just the thing.
13. Minimize Any Effort Required to Receive the Giveaway
Carissa Flinders, Social Media Community Manager, Jane.com
One thing that doesn’t work well with our audience is requiring too much effort. After all, they’re trying to get something for free. We tried a photo submission contest via hashtag, and we received very few entries. This was also the case with our annual Easter Egg Hunt giveaway. We hid eggs throughout our site with answers corresponding to a numbered question on the Gleam widget. When you enter the answer, you receive the points. Originally, we did not provide direct links to the answers. We left it up to our users to find them on their own, and did not see very many entries. Then, we essentially just linked directly to the answers and we saw many more successful entries.
It is one of our best performing giveaways. I think, due to the fact that it is timely, fun and not too difficult for participants to enter, we saw a great response from our audience.
14. Hand Out a Copy of Your Commissioned Industry Report
Tom Schwab, Founder & Chief Evangelist Officer, Interview Valet
This will work best at a recent conference. Record traffic, meaningful conversation and even recognition from the main stage for your giveaway. The 2017 State of Podcast Interviews Report was a survey of more than 5,000 podcast hosts, guests and marketers. Because so many people had participated in the study, they were interested in what others thought. During the next few months, we were cited in blog articles and other pieces on podcast guesting. This provided backlinks vital for search engine optimization (SEO), increased social media exposure and even new clients. Those that were mentioned in the study were the biggest fans.
15. Play to Your Target Market’s Interest or Hobbies
Hiten Patel, SEO & Digital Communications Manager, Champions
An idea we have recently implemented, which is very current — especially with the blog going up soon — is a FIFA World Cup 2018 sweepstakes kit. We created a sweepstakes calendar that small businesses could use to play internally with their colleagues. We believe this to be a creative, time-sensitive idea that business-to-business (B2B) businesses can utilize when getting brand awareness in other’s offices. This was followed by emailing a creative page to our client base so they could celebrate the World Cup and play the sweepstakes internally.
16. Offer an Opportunity to Name an Upcoming Product After Your Customer
Robin Spanton, Marketing Team Member, Mother Erth
A good giveaway idea is one that allows a small business to build a story around its key selling points while marketing its giveaway. For example, if your key selling point is handmade products, then your company could create an opportunity for a customer to be named after a new and upcoming product or give an exclusive, one-of-a-kind, free customized product. If your business has a large social media presence on various platforms, then you can create an opportunity for your customers to have a chance to be featured on your social media channels. If it’s a unique process of manufacturing, then your business can offer an all-expenses-paid visit to the manufacturer to see how the product is made.
17. Give Away Something You’d Want to Receive Yourself
Colin McIntosh, CEO, Sheets & Giggles
We give away free pizza every single week to at least two customers, and we also give away coffee gift cards, free months of Netflix and Amazon gift cards. We love engaging our community in this way, and it’s super-affordable. It costs about $50 per week worth of giveaways for strong engagement and social sharing. It’s on brand — we do it just for sheets and giggles — and it increases brand loyalty and conversion rates. We also just wanted to do it because we’ve always wanted another company to do it for us.
18. Sponsor Well-being Holidays for Your Customers
Manjul Rathee, CEO & Founder, Soulscape
As a unique experience giveaway, why not offer travel experiences to destinations off the beaten track that have elements of deep cultural immersion, creative activities, and wellness. As the trend in well being holidays continues to grow in 2018, offering giveaways that benefit customers in a much deeper and transformative way will seem much more attractive than another iPhone giveaway.
19. Offer Up a Good Cup of Coffee in the Morning
Genia Castro, Co-owner, Marketing & Project Coordinator, Graphic Finesse
We’ve seen success for our small business giveaways through a local coffee break. We load a gift card to our favorite local coffee shop with around $20, and create a compelling and fun graphic that features the gift card number. We typically post these on Mondays — because everyone needs more coffee on Mondays — with a caption similar to: “Coffee Break, Grab a coffee on us today! Present gift card number when purchasing your coffee or tea. Valid until the gift card runs out. Please — just one drink per person.”
20. Have a Giveaway that Appeals to Your Target Market’s Health and Wellness
Kristin Sullivan, Senior Public Relations Strategist, Haberman
As a marketer for an agency focused on telling the stories of pioneers, Haberman gave away organic tomato plants on the streets of Minneapolis a few years back to great acclaim. Everyone was thrilled to go home and plant their tomato plants. Many shared photos on their social networks and sent us thank you emails. It was a huge hit and something that our agency still talks about years later. We also send company gift baskets with organic produce from our company garden. I think that everyone loves food and, in our health-conscious age, organic food vs. junk food is something people truly appreciate and respond to. Also, it is authentic and relevant to Haberman, so it gives it that personal touch.
21. Keep it Practical
Bijan Abdi, Founder & CEO, Freedom National Insurance
In auto insurance, it’s about standing out among the competition and building a brand that’s known to be reliable. Promotional ideas need to not only fit your industry but also appear somewhere daily, so it serves as a reminder. A circle multicharger has worked well for our company because almost everyone uses one in their car, and it provides a great place to feature your logo, which they can see while sitting at the wheel while they’re heading on their way to work or the store.
22. Hire a Food Truck to Promote Your Business
Whatever industry your business is in, hiring food trucks is a fun and effective way to promote your product or service. Food will always be popular and, depending on your brand, you can choose the type of food truck theme that matches your company message. Announce a schedule of free lunch on your website and be as creative as possible. This article will give you some ideas on how to hire a food truck to give away food to your target customers.
23. Get Familiar with Online Tools That Help Run Social Media Giveaways
For solopreneurs and other small businesses, a social media contest can be overwhelming without tools that can launch and monitor the campaign. These tools make contest management easier so you can focus more on engaging with your audience to help the event along. Featured in this article is a list of tools with examples that you can try out for yourself.
24. Work with Influencers to Increase the Visibility of Your Giveaway
One way to give your giveaway campaign more visibility is by working with influencers. However, for small businesses, the budget can become an issue. This article, however, lets you in on the number of possibilities that small businesses can use to collaborate with influencers to give your giveaway the boost it needs to reach more people.
25. Follow Best Practices in Running an Online Sweepstakes
It’s one thing to run a contest online, but running a raffle or sweepstakes as a giveaway strategy can be tricky. Because this type of campaign involves more luck than skill to win, it’s important to have the event well-planned to avoid getting negative feedback from the less lucky participants. Follow this guide to running an effective and legal sweepstakes campaign online.
Over to You
Giveaway campaigns are everywhere nowadays, so your strategy needs to be more than run-of-the-mill if you want your business to get noticed. This list of ideas from the pros can help you add more to your customers’ lives and develop a more personal relationship that they wouldn’t have otherwise been able to experience.
Did we miss out on your favorite giveaway ideas? Share them with us in the comments!