I’m excited that a local book author wants me to host a giveaway for her book on my blog. Cool. I’ve seen other people do it. But how? Is there a good tool or utility that’ll make it easy for me to collect entries and even maybe get a few new people to like my fan page on Facebook?
There are a lot of different ways you can accomplish a giveaway on your blog, including a number of interesting WordPress plugins you can find in the plugin directory. My favorite, hands down, however, is Rafflecopter because it’s super easy to work with and lets you tie specific actions to the raffle, giving people points for specific behaviors. Want them to Like your Facebook page? That could be a “5 point” entry, whereas leaving a comment might only be worth “2 points”. At the end, it even helps you pick a winner based on total points earned across all entrants, not simply based on number of entrants.
Since you’re working with an author, you might want to even have some of the potential points be based on them following her on Twitter or even leaving an answer to a question about her books or similar. A win:win in that way.
And in exactly this spirit, I’ve worked with Rafflecopter to have this tutorial page include an actual giveaway, six months of a Rafflecopter business premium account (that’s over $350 in value). If you’re the lucky winner, you can go giveaway mad on your own site! 🙂
Actually, even the free account gives you plenty of flexibility, as you’ll see: that’s all I used for the raffle at the end of this.
But let’s start at the beginning. Go to their home page and sign up for a free account by clicking on this:
Easy enough, right? Now you’ll see the pricing options and various plans, but even if you just proceed for free — as I’ve done for this giveaway — you’ll find that there are plenty of useful capabilities in the mix:
If you’re guessing that you proceed by clicking on “SIGN UP FREE” you’re correct.
Click on it and you’ll be given the world’s easiest sign-up form:
Maybe it’s slightly longer than ten seconds, but not by much, I wager!
Once you’ve “opened the sesame”, Aladdin, here’s what you’ll find:
I like the humor on the screens, hopefully you do too!
Let’s get started. Click on the green “Go! Make it do!” button.
Now you’re ready to start creating your first Rafflecopter giveaway. First step is to come up with a name, as you can see:
The name’s useful but won’t actually be shown. Just makes it easier if you’re running more than one at a time.
The prizes, on the other hand. That’s the heart of this enterprise and where you’ll want to spend time thinking about optimal phrasing. Notice that the default is a $25 American Expedient Gift Card. What’s American Expedient? Seriously? It’s a placeholder.
Fortunately, it’s easy to axe it: just move the cursor onto the prize listing and:
I can change the prize but it’s easier to just delete it by clicking on the black “x” on the right side. Now it’s empty. To add a new prize click on… wait for it… wait for it… the “Add a Prize” button, then specify whatever it is you’re going to give away, like a copy of the author’s new book.
Now move down just a bit to the next section, the one that’s the most fun part of the process, how people can get entry points.
By default, Rafflecopter invites you to, well, help them gain followers and visibility:
Notice that some of these entry options are “+1” and others are “+2”. Since the point value is in your control, you can use these point values to incentivize people to take specific actions. Really want more Twitter followers? Make following you on Twitter worth +5 or more.
You can delete entry options you don’t want with the rollover / black “x” routine we’ve already seen. You can also leave some of these or even edit them with a single click.
A click on “Like Rafflecopter on Facebook” and here’s what you see:
Notice a couple of things about this: First, you can assign a point value from 1-5 or even 10 for this specific action. You can also make it mandatory, meaning that everyone who wants to enter and win must do this. Generally I recommend not having mandatory things because people will figure it out anyway if it’s worth more points, but that’s your call.
Edit, tweak, click “Save This Option” and you can go to the next entry choice. Click on “Add An Option” and you’ll see the range of choices that are available:
Not all of these are available for free accounts, so don’t be surprised if your desire to gain Pinterest followers requires an upgrade to your Rafflecopter account. Remember, worst case, the upgrade need only be during the duration of the giveaway.
After some tweaking and fiddling of my own, here’s what I ended up with as my entry options:
Seems reasonable and note how I’m seeking to influence people’s choices of what they do by having some entry options be worth more points than others. You can test it, but you can also just use this technique. You’d be surprised how well it’ll work.
Now just specify a start and end date (and time, if you have an upgraded account):
Okay, I lied. One more step: check out the terms and conditions that’ll be displayed to people and ensure it’s good and approved by your legal department if needed:
Looks good? You bet it does!
Click on “Get the Widget” and it’ll show you the easy embed code, ready to add to your blog:
You can click on “Copy the Code” and paste it into the raw HTML or source view of your new WordPress blog entry, or if you want to just drop the giveaway widget onto a Facebook page, click on the “Install to a Facebook Page” button instead.
What’s the result? Here’s the code for this giveaway:
That’s it. I hope you’ve gotten here in time to enter for the raffle, and best of luck, but either way, check out Rafflecopter, it’s a very nice, simple service.