Are you looking for a way to dramatically increase and sales this holiday season? If so, you’re not alone. Brands across all industries know that this is the best time of the year to increase profits, with 30% of all annual sales occurring between November and December.
When Black Friday and Cyber Monday rolls around, everyone’s looking for the best deal. You can’t get a much better deal than free, right? With brand giveaways, you can get more people invested in your company, spread awareness, and increase engagement across all platforms.
The result? You’ll see a big boom in sales as more people discover your brand for the first time through this event. There’s a good chance that many of these people will come back to your site to make future purchases, which will drive sales for the coming year.
Building high-quality online contests ensure that you’ll bring in prospects that are more likely to buy your products or services. Now, we are going to show you how exactly to use giveaways to skyrocket holiday sales.
Let’s get started!
Understand Your Audience
Before you can host a successful giveaway, you have to take some time to understand your target audience. If you don’t know who you hope to reach with your event, you’re going to have a hard time securing more leads and sales.
Extensive customer research will help you build a strong foundation around your contest, which typically leads to more engagement across all platforms.
The best way to get to know your audience is by creating buyer personas that define your customer segments. For instance, an online pet store would likely start with two personas, one for cat owners and another for dog owners.
Both customer segments have unique interests, pain points, and needs when choosing a pet supply company. Creating personas that define these individuals will help you make smarter marketing and design choices when hosting your giveaway.
You can create your own user profiles by examining trends on your website, social media, and email marketing campaign.
Use the Right Tools
If you want to ensure a successful giveaway, we suggest getting all of the resources you need to quickly and easily host your event. RafflePress is an excellent WordPress plugin that gives business owners all of the tools they need to create fun, interactive, and highly effective contests.
We like the fact that you can use the software to create a landing page for your giveaway. In other words, when a user sees your promotion on social media and clicks through, they will get the chance to learn more about the product you’re offering and your business as a whole through your giveaway landing page.
There are plenty of other benefits to using RafflePress as your all-in-one giveaway tool. You can select winners, completely customize your contest design, allow for multiple entry methods (more on that later), and much, much more.
When you’re getting everything you need for the big event, it’s also worth looking into social media plugins for your website. Adding your social feed to your contest page can help keep users engaged, and you should regularly track engagement and conversions to get the most value from your giveaway.
Decide on the Giveaway Rules
Now that you understand your target audience and have the software you need, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll run your event. We suggest using a consistent rule set across all contests so you can accurately measure your results.
There are quite a few things you’ll need to consider, such as how people can participate. We suggest adding multiple ways for visitors to enter so you can build up as many platforms as possible while giving users a reason to engage with your brand.
Standard entry methods include:
– Subscribing to an email list
– Sharing the giveaway post
– Following your brand.
It’s possible to grow your email list, help your giveaway go viral, and boost social media followers with this strategy. Focus on creating concise calls to action, so subscribers know exactly what they need to do to enter.
You’ll also need to consider the prize you’re giving away. Depending on your goals, you can choose a popular product from your online store or something more accessible, like an Amazon gift card. If your goal is strictly to grow your following, the Amazon gift card is an excellent choice. However, a prize from your product catalog will ensure that more targeted consumers interact with your brand.
The last rule you should establish is the start and end date. We like running contests for about two weeks because that allows enough time for the post to grow, without consumers forgetting that they entered. Pick a start and end time and promote it throughout your website, email, and social media.
The next step is to start building event awareness. You’re going to have a hard time picking up new entries if you don’t actively tell your audience about the giveaway.
Your first stop should be your social media channels. Over 3.81 billion people use platforms like Facebook and Twitter to buy products and interact with brands. When you promote your contest across these websites with an option to share for a chance to enter, you could experience viral growth overnight.
The key is to promote your contest on your page and in relevant groups. Facebook groups are jam-packed with different people interested in all industries. Look for people that are involved in your niche, and make sure they see your contest. Spreading awareness early will help you achieve the best results when the giveaway ends.
Don’t forget to include a timer on the event, so consumers know exactly how long they have to enter. Studies show that 60% of people make purchases due to fear of missing out, so you can expect comparable results when looking at users that are willing to enter a giveaway.
Another way to dramatically improve engagement is to send out a blast email to your subscribers to let them know that the contest is starting. Even if these folks are subscribed to your email list, the other actions to enter can significantly impact the visibility and interactions on your post.
Announce the Winner and Follow Up
After your holiday giveaway has run its course, it’s time to announce the winner, or winners, depending on how many prizes you’re giving away. Announce the winners on social media and thank everyone for participating.
But the contest benefits don’t end there. You can offer a discount to everyone who took part in the giveaway to use on your website. If you line up the end of your contest with a seasonal deal and give everyone a discount for more savings, you can expect a substantial bump in sales.
The key is to make sure you get the discounts out as soon as the event ends and put a time limit on how long the code is valid. This step will incentivize users to click through and take advantage of your seasonal offers before their deal expires.
Giveaways are an excellent way to grow your business all year long, but many marketing teams find more success with this strategy during the holiday season. People are looking for gifts for others and festive discounts that are bound to pop up during the last 2 months of the year.
If you’re getting off to a late start, don’t worry. You can quickly set up a contest in less than an hour if you have all of the right tools. Similarly, if you’re reading this after the holidays, don’t let that discourage you from adding this highly effective strategy to your marketing toolbelt.
Whether you care to admit it or not, the decisions you make today will be driven by your emotions. In emotional marketing, we talk a lot about using psychological triggers to get customers to click, convert, engage, etc.
“By leveraging common psychological triggers all people have,” you might hear, “you can drive more sales.”
While it may feel like we make decisions with our minds, using logic and reasoning, the “mental triggers” we hear about are tied more to emotion than anything else.
Case in point, Antonio Damasio spent time studying individuals with damage to the area of the brain where emotions were generated and processed.
While these subjects functioned just like anyone else, they couldn’t feel emotion.
The other thing they had in common was they all had trouble with making decisions.
Even simple decisions about what to eat proved difficult.
While they could describe what they should be doing using logic and reason, most decisions couldn’t be settled with simple rationale.
Without emotion, they weren’t able to make a choice.
This is supported by data from Gerard Zaltman, author of “How Customers Think: Essential Insights into the Mind of the Market.”
Zaltman found that95% of cognition happens beyond our conscious brain, instead of coming from our subconscious, emotional brain.
Emotions are an X factor you can’t control, but you can’t afford to ignore them in your content marketing.
Why is Emotion Marketing so Effective?
When you make an emotional connection with your audience, it’s incredibly easy to steer them to the desired outcome.
You’ve formed an emotional bond, however brief and fleeting, that makes them open to ideas and suggestions. It creates a certain level of trust that’s virtually impossible to artificially manifest.
Rob Walker and Joshua Glen found firsthand what an emotional connection can do.
In one experiment, they bought hundreds of items from thrift stores and similar locations — all cheaply priced.
The duo wanted to see if they could sell the products using an emotional connection through the power of stories alone.
With 200 writers on board, they generated fictional stories for the products and used those stories to sell the thrift store items at auction on eBay.
How do you feel when you look at this major brand comparison?
Here’s another common one that has people divided, sometimes within the same family:
And then there’s this brand rivalry we know all too well.
In each of these, you likely have an opinion almost instantly about which you prefer, but it’s not because you have a logical reason.
It’s typically tied to emotion and/or experience; how you feel using their products, or how the brands left you feeling after an experience or reading a news article.
The brain then tries to rationalize that emotional response.
For example, your emotional response goes straight to Coke and then your brain works to rationalize the decision by deciding that it tastes better in a can, it’s fizzier, has a stronger bite than Pepsi, etc.
So, while you might feel like you’re making a rational choice about your beverage, it’s really just an emotional one.
The most successful marketers know how to lean on the emotional over logic in order to make their content draw in the audience.
That’s whynearly a third of marketers report significant profit gains when running emotional campaigns, but the number of successful campaigns dips if you introduce logic into the marketing.
And those results get sliced in half when marketers switch to logic over emotion.
The videos profile a person around the world who uses Intel’s technology to create new experiences and build new technology that makes a difference in the world.
Like 13-year-old Shubham Banerrjee, who used Intel’s technology to build an affordable Braille printer.
And of course, some companies try to leverage emotion and create viral campaigns that just don’t take off.
CIO reported a number of failed viral marketing campaigns, such as “Walmarting Across America.”
In this blog, two average Americans travel across the country visiting Walmart locations, reporting their interactions on a blog along the way.
After countless upbeat entries about how people loved working for the company, it was discovered that the trip was paid for by Walmart and the entire thing was a campaign created and managed by the company’s PR firm.
That didn’t receive a warm reception from the blogosphere, which deemed the content to be a “flog” or fake blog.
Which Emotions Attract the Most Marketing Engagement in Content?
Many emotions fuel our behaviors and our decisions, especially our purchase decisions.
Some more than others — especially when they’re authentic.
A study wasdone by Buzzsumo analyzing the top 10,000 most-shared articles on the web. Those articles were then mapped to emotions to see which emotions had the greatest influence on content.
The most popular:
Conversely, the least popular were sadness and anger, totaling just 7% of the content that was most shared.
Two researchers at Wharton also wanted to dig deeper into virally shared content to find commonalities and better understand what makes that content spread.
What they found was the emotional element, and some very specific results tied to emotions.
Content is far more likely to be shared when it makes people feel good or it creates positive feelings such as leaving them entertained.
Facts or data that shock people or leave them in awe were more likely to be shared.
Instilling fear or anxiety pushes engagement higher, from comments being posted to content being shared.
People most commonly shared content that incited anger, leaving comments as well.
While some emotions are more likely to engage than others, every audience is different. What drives one to action may do very little for another.
This modern adaptation of Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotion,illustrated by CopyPress, shows the range under eight primary emotions: joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, disgust, anger, and anticipation.
For content to be widely shared and have an impact on your audience, it needs to leverage one or more of these emotions.
The proof is on the web, not only in the statistics I shared above, but also in the popularity of user communities that regularly share content.
Just look at Reddit and some ofthe most popular subreddits by subscriber count. Each can be tied back to emotions (some more obviously than others) like anticipation, awe, joy, and more.
Here’s how some of those emotions can play into the engagement with your audience:
Anxiety May Cause Uncertainty For Customers
You don’t want your audience to make bad decisions. Bad decisions can lead to buyer’s remorse, which can paint your brand and the overall experience in a negative light.
But it can be helpful if you leave the audience a bit more open to influence.
A Berkeley study revealed that anxiety can be linked to difficulty in using information around us to make decisions. When we experience uncertainty, it becomes harder to make decisions and our judgment is clouded.
Still, anxiety can also spur people to act as a result of that uncertainty.
Take a two-year study by Wharton Ph.D. student Alison Wood Brooks and a Harvard Business School professor.
They found that upon increasing the anxiety of certain subjects with video footage, 90% of the “anxious” participants opted to seek advice and were more likely to take it.
Only 72% of the participants in a neutral state, who viewed a different video, sought advice.
Capture the Focus of Your Emotional Marketing Audience With Awe
Awe is comparable to wonder, but it doesn’t always fall under the umbrella of joy or humor.
It’s intended to captivate the audience and keep them riveted.
You often see this kind of hook in headlines that seem so earth-shatteringly significant that no one in their right mind would want to miss it.
In fact, Berger’s study of the New York Times content found that content which incites feelings of frustration or anger is34% more likely to be featured on the Time’s most emailed list than the average article.
Now, I’m not suggesting that you deliberately create controversy by taking shots at readers or picking fights.
The key with using anger in content is to frame an issue that incites anger or frustration in a way that’s constructive.
By changing the words you use, however, you can make content appeal more to the emotions of the audience and prospective customer.
The simplest approach to finding the right high-emotion words takes only three steps:
Think about the action you want your audience to take when they read your content.
Decide what kind of emotional state will drive that action. What would make them do what you want them to do?
Choose emotionally persuasive words appropriate to the action and the emotion.
What you’ll find in researching the right words is that emotionally persuasive and impactful words tend to be abrupt. It’s the short, concise, basic words that appeal most to our emotions over our intellect.
From there, make the decision about whether you need to influence and exploit emotions that are already present, or if you want to create or give rise to emotions the audience wasn’t initially expecting or experiencing.
Even the most (seemingly) rational decisions are influenced by emotion — and that applies to everyone.
Especially during 2020, Q4 is a great time for publishers to use gift guides to increase affiliate commissions.
Last year on Awin and ShareASale, we tracked over $8.4 million publisher commissions across Cyber Weekend, with a 22% increase YoY. With lots of changes due to the global pandemic, consumers will be turning online for their holiday shopping needs more than ever before. This reinforces the importance of preparing ahead and finding new ways to provide value to your readers, making the holiday shopping and gift giving process as smooth for them as possible. The easier you make the process, the more your affiliate efforts will succeed throughout the entire quarter.
A great way to do this is by creating a gift guide. Essentially a gift guide removes the need to scour the internet to find the perfect gift for someone’s mom, dad, grandparent, friend, child’s teacher, new coworker…. because you’ve already done that and rounded up the best of the best for your readers to choose from.
Unsure of where to start? We’ve outlined creating a gift guide in five easy steps.
Step 1: Choose the recipient
Before hunting for products, first you’ll have to know what type of consumer or theme you’re going to focus on. From there, you’ll be able to determine the type of gift guide you’re looking to create. Is budget fashion your readers’ passion? Try ‘Gift Guide for the Fashion Forward Under $50.’ Are you a lifestyle blogger? Consider ‘Gift Guide for the Ultimate Host.’
Step 2: Select the relevant products
Once you have determined who your gift guide is for, you can start selecting the products and retailers to include. We recommend featuring six to 12 products in your gift guide, each picked specifically for the recipient. For example, ‘Gift Guide for the Ultimate Host‘ could showcase candles, serving platters, napkin holders, a cheeseboard, wine glasses, and a fun board game for the perfect night in with family.
While finding products can sometimes be a challenge, don’t let that stop you. One easy way to identify the latest and greatest for the holidays is by browsing our 2020 Gift Guide or by looking at emails from various advertisers. If the highlighted products in the email newsletter aren’t exactly what you were looking for, you may discover inspiration to search for other ideas. Odds are most of the types of products and brands you want to feature have an affiliate program on Awin or ShareASale, if not both.
Another great tip is to reach out to any merchants already converting on your site and ask for recommendations about popular seasonal products, anything that seems to be a popular gifting item, and upcoming new launches for the holidays. It is important to note that some retailers won’t reveal any pertinent information until very close to Black Friday, so prepare for potential last-minute additions and edits.
Step 3: Build your blog post
After finalizing your theme and products and brands to be featured, it’s time to write your gift guide. When building your post, make sure to tell your audience a little bit about the brands and products and why you chose them. Share the honest pros and cons of each and summarize your experience and opinion. It’s okay if you don’t have personal experience for each item or retailer – these gift guides are suggestions, not necessarily recommendations.
Lastly, it’s no secret that high-quality images and videos can make a big difference in a post’s engagement and boost SEO, so ensure you’re including a visual aid for each item, whether that be a product shot, lifestyle image, or video tutorial – just confirm you have permission from the retailer to include.
Step 4: Add in affiliate tracking links
You’ve put in a lot of time and effort to build your gift guide, make certain your hard work is rewarded and you receive a commission for every sale you drive by adding in affiliate tracking links. As with any affiliate post on your blog, confirm you’re following the disclosure guidelines outlined by the FTC.
Once you’ve completed the above steps, you can be confident you’re putting your best gift guide foot forward for Q4 success. Don’t stop at just one! We recommend creating multiple guides, catered to your audience – perhaps one for your friends, one for kids, one for co-workers, one for pets… you get the idea.
Step 5: Schedule an ongoing social campaign
To maximize your efforts, leverage your social platforms to continuously bring attention to your gift guides throughout the shopping season. Create an ongoing schedule of posts to go out on your social accounts, directing your followers to these posts. Use a variety of imagery and specific merchant callouts to vary your feed and increase traffic to those pages in the hopes of ultimately increasing your affiliate income.
Continue to visit the Awin and ShareASale blogs for additional resources to support your affiliate efforts during the holidays, including Q4 checklists, trend forecasts, seasonal newsletters, webinars and more.