According to Robert Cialdini, author of Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion, people feel obliged to return a favor or a gift they receive from someone. He calls this the principle of reciprocity.
That’s why you see Chinese restaurants offering free fortune cookies, bakeries giving out free samples, and dentists providing complimentary toothpaste.
The idea of reciprocity applies to the world of internet marketing too. Giveaways play a key role in convincing people to provide their contact details, and that’s the first step in generating leads.
A giveaway is something offered to website visitors or prospects for free so they’re incentivized to take the action you want them to. Your call to action could be a prompt to subscribe to your email newsletter, make a purchase, visit a landing page, or like your social media page. Giveaways are your lead magnets—the tools that convert cold website visitors to warm leads!
In this article, we’ll go over a few types of giveaways that you can use to incentivize prospects.
Let’s get started!
Types of Giveaways
Giveaways can come in many forms, and the most effective ones are delivered using content types that excel at communicating your message in a compelling way. This section describes just a few of the most commonly used content giveaways.
E-books are great for packaging knowledge and insights in an educational way that engages your audience.
You can create an e-book from blog articles you’ve published on your website or just write one from scratch. Keep it simple and concise, with the ideal length being between 7 and 15 pages. It will be more visually appealing if it has photos and well-designed graphics.
An e-book is most effective as a giveaway when it’s distributed as a content upgrade. Content upgrades should be targeted at prospects that are already consuming your content and would like more detailed information. You can offer them as downloadable pieces of bonus content in exchange for users’ email addresses. You can distribute e-books via email, through a social media display ad, or any marketing channel you choose.
You’ll be able to track the ROI of an e-book easily. Just include unique URLs so you’ll know when traffic is coming from your e-book readers.
For example, Hubspot offers e-books as part of their inbound marketing strategy, offering the content only to people who provide valuable marketing data, including the downloader’s name and email address, and details about their organization. That data helps the company drive quality conversations with their customers, and they collect it by offering e-books that prospects want to read.
Infographics are a visually appealing way to present data. They make a complex data set entertaining and simple to grasp.
You can create an infographic from scratch, producing a mock-up first, and then add cool fonts, colors, and graphics. Or you can design an infographic using a tool like Canva, which has several templates to get you started.
Giveaway infographics generate the most leads when they’re distributed as a content upgrade that people can download only after providing their email address. Alternatively, you can publish one on your blog to attract new readers.
In 2019, 80% of global internet consumption will be video content. Quite clearly, video is growing in popularity as a content type!
It’s possible to create great video content that you can use as a lead magnet or as an educational resource that your audience will find helpful. Video is definitely the most engaging content type you can create in comparison to written content or images.
A great way to build exclusivity around the video content you create is by only allowing access to those who opt in with their email address. If you make your videos accessible to everyone, it may not give your prospects a compelling reason to share their contact information. By limiting access to the video, you have what’s called gated content—the video is gated so that only those who have taken your desired action will be able to view it.
The camera on most mobile phones can be used to create high-quality videos, and you can incorporate screen recordings with tools like Camtasia. You can also use a marketplace like Videohive that provides stock footage and video templates, allowing you to create customized videos to suit your purpose.
You should use video as a way to explain your value proposition, educate your prospects, or provide more detailed information about your product.
One important thing to consider when creating a giveaway video is where to include your call to action (CTA). You can include URLs in the video description or you can add a CTA within the video itself. Ensuring that your CTA is crystal clear to your audience will make more people take the desired action.
An email course is a great way to break up long content into chunks of digestible information. The email sequence can be an effective part of a drip campaign. That’s when you send marketing information to prospects over an extended period of time as a way to nurture leads.
Let’s say you run a cooking school and want to attract new students by offering some free cooking tips. A great way to do that would be to create an online course on how to make five different types of pasta and then send the information out slowly, in a series of five emails.
A good example of this is Highbrow, which offers over 3000 lessons delivered via short email courses, enabling users to learn about a variety of topics.
Creating an effective email drip campaign is an art. It usually involves creating a few different types of emails, including those with your core content and others that contain follow-ups or reminders. You have to work out the whole email sequence in advance and then constantly test its effectiveness to find ways to improve it.
The types of giveaways we’ve discussed are all nonmonetary incentives. They can increase the number of leads you generate but so can monetary giveaways.
One example of a monetary giveaway is the first-purchase discount on your products or services. After all, it only takes one transaction to get a prospect into your customer database.
Another example is offering free products or samples. Most companies do this as a way to build trust. If you’re selling a digital product like a music album, for example, you could offer the first track for free so people can preview what they’re about to buy.
Tailor Your Giveaways to Match Prospects’ Interest Level
While you could use any combination of the content types we’ve covered to generate leads, timing your giveaways properly is critical for success. That’s why it’s so important to understand the different stages of a buyer’s journey.
The first stage is awareness. In that stage, a prospect is only curious about your value proposition. At this point, blog articles are great to stimulate interest and satisfy the prospects’ curiosity.
The next stage is interest, in which prospects are looking for more detailed information about your offering and its value. E-books, slide decks, videos, and whitepapers are great at this level, since they act as a catalyst to increase your audience’s interest and get people close to making a purchase.
When prospects are interested, they proceed to the consideration stage. This is when you can further build the trust of your audience by providing even more detailed information in the form of e-books, tutorials and guides, product demos, and walkthroughs. That should be the final step in getting prospects to pull the trigger on a purchase.
No matter what giveaway you use, everyone who accepts your offer should receive a polite follow-up from you. Don’t be pushy, and, more importantly, don’t contact them too soon or too late. Ideally, you should send a follow-up email about 48 hours after the prospect accepted your giveaway.
Giveaways: an Effective Lead-Generation Tool
An attractive giveaway can be that little push that people need to go from just being curious about your business to being actively interested in learning more about it.
Track the ROI from your giveaways by monitoring click-through rates, the number of purchases that resulted, or by using other performance indicators. That can help you know which giveaways to stick with and which ones to eliminate.
If you build a sense of urgency around your giveaways, it will make people want them more. Presenting your giveaways as precious assets will increase their value in the minds of recipients and compel them to take the next step in becoming customers instead of just prospects!
What kind of giveaways are you using to attract leads?