Behind the Scenes: How to create, promote, and grow your email list with a Giveaway Promotion
Earlier this year, I launched my first collection, Bespoke Bamboo. I'm a full-time mom who squeezes in time in the early morning to check email, correspond with customers, promote my collections, sketch, and blog. Oh yeah, and to actually make, package and ship the wall plaques and ornaments that I'm selling!
Needless to say, there aren't enough hours in the day. It's just me, so the growth of my business has been modest. And right now, I like it that way. Sure, I have ideas and plans for the years down the road when my daughter is of school-age, but right now, this is the pace and growth that I can manage while still doing the job that I want to be doing most—parenting.
I'm sharing all of this before I jump into today's post, because I want to be as transparent as possible when I say that the marketing strategy I'm about to explain has given me a nice boost in exposure, but it is hardly a get-rich-quick scheme. For those of you just starting out, with modest marketing budgets and an interest in testing the pay-to-promote waters, I think that running a giveaway promotion is absolutely worth a go. Here's the details on how I did it:
I ran a contest for a free custom family crest as a "giveaway" promotion. Anyone could enter the contest by signing up for my newsletter with their email address. The entrants received a chance to win a free family crest. And I grew my email list with new fans and potential customers.
Why a Giveaway?
I see them everywhere these days and I was wondering if all the buzz was really worth it, from the business side of things. (I also wanted to play around with Facebook Ads Manager and MailChimp.)
Why Collect Emails?
It seems to be universally accepted marketing knowledge these days that the email list is THE thing to focus on. Social media likes and followers are awesome, and frequent posting to all of our usual places is a really effective way of reaching people and spreading the word. But, here's the bottom line: the social media platform you're using owns your "list" of followers. They can shut down, turn you off, or change their rules for playing. You, on the other hand, own your email list. Also, there's so much noise and so many voices in the stream or feed of Twitter, Facebook, etc. that you are MUCH more likely to get the attention of a potential customer on their terms, within their inbox.
What the Giveaway Looked Like
Giveaway page. I created a new page for my site to collect the email addresses of the entrants of the giveaway. All of my promotions on social media linked back to this page. This is where I wanted people to "convert"—that is, enter the promotion by signing up with their email address. Up until this point, I hadn't even had an email newsletter sign-up page on my website, which I quickly added once the promotion ended.
Home page. I wanted visitors to my website to know right away that I was holding a special promotion, so I updated the very top portion of my home page, just below my logo banner with an image that linked to the special page I set up for the promotion, the Giveaway page.
Where I Promoted
I promoted on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and my blog. Everything linked back to my giveaway page on my website. I also created several copies of my giveaway ad in multiple sizes so the images would present well on all of the sites. There are lots of great info-graphics on sizing your images for various platforms.
- Days the promotion ran: 5-ish days
- Emails gathered: 30
- # of people ad was served to on Facebook: 5303
- # of new Facebook fan page likes: 43
- Cost of conversions: 79 Conversions for $26.87 (I paid to promote this giveaway on Facebook Ads only)
This is a very brief overview on the tricks and tools used to make this happen:
- Photoshop. Really useful when you're sizing images to work on different platforms or webpages.
- Squarespace. I use squarespace to create and maintain my website (including my blog, and e-commerce pages). I pay a monthly fee for web hosting.
- MailChimp. I manage my email list with MailChimp. It's free, up to a certain number of emails. You don't need to use MailChimp, but I think it helps because it automates confirmation, opt-in, and opt-out emails for people who subscribe to your list.
- Facebook Ads Manager. I used this Facebook pages tool to promote my ad. There are SO many options for customizing your ad. Amy Porterfield provides a lot of free resources on how to create Facebook ads that work.
- Google Docs. I also exported my email list to Google Docs as a back-up. Probably not necessary, since I'm sure you can export your mailing list from MailChimp too.
- Random Name Selector tool. This was really fun to play with. After the give-away ended, I copied my mailing list from Google Docs into this handy tool and pressed a button that randomly selects one address. Sort of like drawing a name from a hat. (Yay, Hannah from Tennessee!)
YES. That said, I have yet to determine if the cost I spent on this campaign ($25, which happens to be half of the entire marketing budget I have spent since I've opened my shop) will convert into enough sales (and more importantly, fans for the long haul) to make it worth my while to continue these types of promotions. That said, I learned a tremendous amount about the ins-and-outs of Facebook advertising, Photoshop finagling, ad content creation, and MailChimp email automation. All good stuff to know for any small business owner! I really found this to be an absolutely invaluable exercise.
Hope this helps some of you who are thinking about running a give-away. I would love to hear if any of you have had success with similar types of promotions. The best way to reach me is to reply to my letters—join here to stay in touch.
Looking for More Help?
- Pat Flynn has talked extensively about the power of growing your email list.
- Amy Porterfield offers lots of free tutorials on how to create and design a Facebook promotion.
- Your Mailing List: Why You Need It and What to Do with It from the folks at Aeolidia is worth a read.
This article was last updated on May 6, 2016. Photo via Unsplash.