In the world of independent retail, finding new customers can be a challenge. Between limited marketing budgets, increased online shopping and competition from the big-box stores, even getting noticed can be an uphill battle.
But one way to level the playing field is with giveaways. In addition to being a whole lot of fun, retail giveaways can increase brand awareness, bring people into your store, and, ultimately, boost sales. When executed properly, a giveaway will also create a buzz about your business that money can’t buy.
Pulling off the perfect promotion, however, takes planning. Here is a five-step process to creating the ultimate retail giveaway.
Define your purpose. A giveaway for the sake of a giveaway will get you nowhere. Before launching your contest, be sure to establish at least one concrete goal. Whether it’s collecting customer data (such as email addresses or shopping preferences), promoting a new product or increasing Facebook followers, always begin with a clear objective. The more specific your purpose is, the easier it will be to plan and implement a successful campaign.
Pick a prize. But not just any prize. Deciding on the bait for your giveaway is arguably the most important aspect of your promotion. When choosing your prize, it’s important to balance budget, customer appeal and relevance. While giveaways can be fun, they are also an essential marketing tool; be sure to stay on brand while offering something that relates to your industry and will be of value to your target audience. Gift cards for your store are always a great way to gain new customers, as they will bring people into your store and provide an opportunity to win them over.
Pick a format. Now that you’ve picked a prize, it’s time to pick a type of giveaway. From simple sweepstakes to user-generated content (UGC) contests, the possibilities are endless. When deciding on a format, it’s important to revisit your initial goals. If you want to collect email addresses from existing customers, you may want to consider an in-store contest; if the goal is to increase your Facebook audience, you may ask users to like and share a specific post. This is also the time to lay out the contest rules, such as barriers to entry, deadlines, etc.
Make some noise. With a prize and a format picked out, you’re well on your way to a successful retail giveaway! The next step is to spread the word and get as many people involved as possible. Again, your end goals will determine exactly which audiences to target, but a good place to start is with in-store promotion, existing email lists, your company’s blog (yes, your business should have a blog) and your social media channels. You could also reach out to other bloggers within your industry, who may be willing to share the news in a post. If you can also find a way for entrants to draw attention to your brand, all the better.
Wrap it up. After you’ve done all you can to promote your giveaway and the contest has run its course, it’s time to pick – and announce – the winner. After all the buildup and anticipation, it’s important to keep the momentum going by publicly awarding the lucky entrant and thanking all who participated. This is also the time to evaluate the success of the campaign and determine whether or not you reached your goals. Either way, you are now equipped with data, ideas and strategies to make your next retail giveaway even better!