5 Reasons To Use Giveaway Events To Build Your List And 3 Not To

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Growing Your List is Tough

I’ve been trying out the world of Giveaway events lately to build some of my lists.  I’ve had some mixed success and I think it’s time to share a bit of what I’ve learned.  I’ll assume that you have a general idea of what a giveaway event is all about (if you don’t, contact me).

Five Reasons To Use Giveaway Events

1 – They’re Free!

You can join a giveaway event as a contributor for free at most events.  There are some events that require you get a minimum number of points before you can contribute — you will either need to buy points or get contributors to sign up with your referral.  But most allow you to have a gift to contribute just for signing up.  You can upgrade your membership if you like.  This will give you the option to add more gifts to the event and even add OTO’s on the various landing pages.  It also puts your gift higher up in the list when the members start pouring in.

But when your budget is tight, you can simply join at the free level and add your single gift.  You will need to promote the event, both to potential JV partners and to general members once the event opens.  If you don’t do this you’ll run the risk of having your gift removed from the list and you’ll get no sign ups.

2 – They’re Easy … ish

Once you get the hang of them, it is really easy to set your profile up.  There are 2 main scripts that are used to run these and you’ll begin to recognize which one is being used just by the sign up page.  The less common of the two will require you get points (from having referrals sign up) before you can add a gift.  So until you’ve got a list of others who are using giveaways you’ll learn to avoid those ones.

Profile:  You sign up with your email address and create a user name.  NOTE: This will put you on the email list of the event organizer(s).  Then you can update your profile with a few pieces of info.  I always put in a decent profile pic to help build my brand but you might want to use a logo or just leave the image blank.  Not all of the events use the image.

Promote for Contributors:  Get your referral link and start promoting.  You need to make sure that you are promoting to marketers at this point since your goal is to get other JV’s to sign up under you.

Gift: Before the event opens to the general members, you’ll need to add your gift.  An image, a short description and the links to your squeeze page are needed here.  Make your copy compelling and you might try to customize your squeeze page for the event.

Some events require a direct download page so that some upgraded members can get your gift without joining your list.  It seems unfair, but if your free gift is done properly you should have links back to your squeeze page or sales page.  And there usually aren’t that many members who take that option.

Promote for Members: Once the doors are open you’ll need to promote again.  This time, it is a general promotion for anyone who might be interested in the niche.  Once again you’ll get points for referred members and that will bring your gift higher in the list.

3 – You Can Make a Bit of Dough

There is money to be made in a giveaway event.  When someone that you refer joins and purchases an upgraded membership or one of the one time offers, you will receive an affiliate commission.  Some events increase the percentage for upgraded members.

This isn’t a big consideration since the primary focus (at least for me) is to build my lists, but it’s nice to know that you could make a few bucks at the same time.

4 – You’ll Meet Your Competition (and Potential Partners)

At a giveaway event, once the doors open you can go in to see what others have to offer in the event.  You’ll pick up valuable free information that you can use to build your business (although you’ll also end up on lots of email lists — you’ll have to prune them as time goes on).

But there are two things you can get in addition to the free gifts.  First, you can see what types of products are on the market (i.e. your competition).  Secondly, you can make contacts with other marketers who have complementary products.  JV partnerships and affiliate opportunities can be found if you watch for them.

5 – You’ll Build Your List

This is the ultimate benefit.  Provided you’ve got a reasonably compelling free gift and decent copy in your promotional blurb and squeeze page you will add subscribers to your list.  If you’ve managed to get the credits to keep your gift near the top of the list you’ll see more traffic than the end.

But either way, you’ll get some traffic.  And at the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.

Three Reasons Not To Use Giveaway Events

Like all marketing tactics, giveaways are not perfect.  They have some drawbacks that you need to watch out for.

1 – They’re Hard for Beginners

When you don’t have a list to begin with, it is pretty tough to promote an event.  Who do you tell?

I struggled with this and actually got downgraded at one event since I didn’t get anyone to join as a contributor.  Most of the other events let it slide but some are more strict than others.  I promoted the events to my small lists and also hit my Twitter followers (you can imagine how well that worked 8=).

I did manage to grow my lists though.  For this next round I’m planning to focus on building a list in the IM market so that I have a higher possibility of contributors when it’s time to promote.  My other lists are not really interested in getting traffic or building mailing lists.

I’m also looking at other ways to promote such as traffic exchanges and list exchanges.  These are interesting topics that I’ve been leery of up til now, but I’m learning how they work and giving them a try.

2 – They’re Not For All Niches

The most common events are in the fabled Make Money Online niche.  They’re full of SEO, Twitter/Facebook secrets, list building, PLR/MRR, etc.  These are great events if you are building your list in that niche.

But I struggled with building my personal development lists.  In the MMO niche there is some cross over but a large percentage of the crowd just doesn’t care about goal setting or simplifying your life.  It is tougher to find giveaway events in other niches, but it is worth it if you can find a good one.

3 – They Add a Lot of Freebie Seekers

You’ll get a lot of people who just sign up for the free gift.  They may hang on your list or they may unsubscribe right away.  Don’t get discouraged when that happens — it will happen.  But that is the nature of the internet.  Many people are only out to get what they can for free.  Every marketer has to face that.

But this does mean that your list may not be as responsive as you would like.  You may have heard that a list is worth $1/month/member or something along those lines.  Well, a list full of freebie seekers will be worth a lot less than a list of buyers.  So keep that in mind if you decide to use giveaway events.

The Bottom Line

As Hamlet might have asked, “To JV, or not to JV?  That is the question.”

The answer is not cut and dried.  If you don’t have a way to get other marketers to the event and promote it then you run the risk of putting a bit of effort out and having your gift cut from the event.  If your niche isn’t a good match for the event then you’ll get very little return for your effort.

But when you get the right event you’ll see an influx to your list.  I haven’t seen the kind of numbers that they promotional materials promise at any of the events, but I do see enough new subscribers to make it worth while for me.

My plan is to join 1 or 2 events at a time and experiment with different types of offers, copy and promotional techniques.

If you would like to try this as well, you can see what events I’m joining and promoting on the Giveaway Events page.  If one of them interests you then join up and I’ll see you there!

You can also subscribe to the newsletter.  In addition to keeping you up to date with Giveaway Events and other opportunities, it’ll have tips, news and free stuff periodically.

NOTE: This post is the first of the Ramblings Classics. It was originally published at Ramblings on April 15, 2011.

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