Among bloggers, it’s very important to gain more readers/followers/email subscribers. Boosting the size of your community usually means traffic, and more traffic usually means conversions when it comes to your affiliate ads. Additionally, a bigger community means you have more influence, and a better of chance of getting more recognition.
Social proof is a big deal when it comes to blogging. The number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans matters. More readers mean that you are more likely to be seen as an “expert” and the mainstream media likes to see that. And, of course, your email subscribers can be mobilized for a number of purposes.
If you are looking to boost the size of your community, a giveaway can be the way to go.
Encourage Readers to Engage in Certain Actions for Entries
One of the most effective ways to increase the number of community members you have is to give something away. A good giveaway gets people excited, and can even increase the buzz surrounding your blog. The most effective things to give away are cash and gift cards. However, books, electronic devices, and other prizes can also attract entrants.
Don’t just tell visitors that they will receive a chance to win for doing one thing, though. You can boost engagement by encouraging several different actions. You can even specify that the more desirable actions will receive more entries. For instance, you might say that Liking your blog’s fan page on Facebook is worth one entry, but that subscribing to your email list is worth three entries.
Think about what actions you want your site visitors to do, and encourage them to take that action. One of the most effective things to do is to offer two entries for those who tweet about your giveaway. Make it possible for entrants to tweet about the giveaway once a day for the duration of the contest in order to rack up the entries, and you can spread the word about your blog far and wide.
Keeping Track of Entries
The old school way of finding winners to these types of giveaways was to track entries in a spread sheet, and assign them numbers. Then, with the help of a random number generator, you could identify winners. Now there are tools to make it much, much easier.
Rafflecopter is a great free option that’s pretty popular with bloggers right now. You can get the code for a basic contest for free. Or, if you want to engage in multiple giveaways on a regular basis, or offer complex giveaways, you can sign up for a monthly subscription.
I chose Contest Domination for my blogs. It’s a premium site but it makes it easy for entrants to engage in the actions you want them to take. And it keeps track of the entrants, and then randomly selects winners when your contest is over. It’s a great tool for making it easy for everyone involved to run giveaways.
If you want to drum up awareness for your blog, or if you want to grow the size of your community, consider a giveaway. You can put up the prizes yourself (tax-deductible), or you can look for sponsors. It’s one of the most effective ways to get attention, since everyone loves free stuff. Focus on the actions you want visitors to take, and soon you will have a sizable community, and more traffic.