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Introducing Three Online Giveaway Tools: Gleam, KingSumo, and Rafflecopter

Introducing Three Online Giveaway Tools: Gleam, KingSumo, & Rafflecopter

We’re still talking online giveaways. So far, I’ve covered:

I also briefly discussed online giveaway tools. There are many, including GiveawayTab, Giveaway Tools, PromoSimple, Punctab, RandomPicker, Wildfire, and Woobox.

Today I’m discussing the three online giveaway tools I see authors using most often:

  • Gleam
  • KingSumo
  • Rafflecopter

These tools are used when running a giveaway that selects one (or more) winners from the eligible entrants, and where entrants have do do more than simply comment on a blog post. The other kind of online giveaway is where everyone receives a free ebook in exchange for signing up for an email list. I’ll discuss that next week.

There are several advantages to using a good tool:

  • The winner is picked at random.
  • The tool probably complies with general giveaway laws (although laws are so different that no tool will comply with all state and international laws) e.g. disclosing the prize and the value of the prize.
  • A range of entry options to fit your individual strategy.
  • Integration into the organisers social media profiles and/or email list, which reduces administration time.
  • The email integration probably complies with the CAN-SPAM Act and the EU GDP Regulations.
  • The giveaway is more likely to look professional.

The main disadvantage of using a giveaway tool is cost: while there are free options, the premium features such as viral sharing and email list integration will come at a cost.

Gleam

Gleam integrates with a wide range of social media platforms, including Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and more. It provides options for entrants to undertake a variety of actions, but the entrant doesn’t have to prove they have completed that action (e.g. a Tweet or Facebook share). This means the organiser has to confirm the entrant did undertake the required action before declaring a winner.

Gleam is available via a website, or as a WordPress plugin.

There is a free plan with limited functionality (i.e. you only get the email addresses of the winners). Paid plans start at USD 10 per month, which includes a downloadable email list but not full email integration. Gleam offers email integration and viral sharing options on the Pro Plan and better (from USD 49 per month). That makes it an expensive option for most authors who are just starting out.

One of the advantages of Gleam is it offers incentives for viral sharing.

Viral sharing is when the entrant earns additional entries for sharing the contest, and having other people enter through their unique contest link. This means instead of having one chance to win, a contestant could have dozens or even hundreds.

KingSumo

The objective of a KingSumo giveaway is to increase the number of subscribers on your email list. KingSumo does this by encouraging viral sharing. As with Gleam, KingSumo adds each entrant to your email list, sends them a unique code, and encourages them to share it on Facebook, Twitter and other social media.

As an entrant, the more people enter the giveaway using your unique code, the more entries you get and the more likely you are to win. KingSumo picks the winner using some secret random algorithm.

KingSumo have recently announced a new web-based version anyone can use.

The basic app is free, and there is a premium version available for USD 8 per month (billled annually). The free version integrates with MailChimp and Zapier. Future upgrades will include limiting the location of contestants, adding multiple prizes, and editing the giveaway rules (all of which you can do in the plugin version).

The older WordPress plugin is still available, for USD 195 for a single website and USD 595 for a multi-site developer licence (they may offer a Black Friday or Cyber Monday discount in November. Their 2017 offer was a 75% discount). You do need a self-hosted WordPress site to host the giveaway, but once you’ve created the giveaway it can be embedded in non-WordPress sites—just add the relevant html code.

The KingSumo plugin links with more email providers than the free web version, incuding:

  • Aweber
  • Campaign Monitor
  • GetResponse
  • MailChimp
  • ConvertKit
  • ActiveCampaign

If you use another email service provider (e.g. MailerLite), then I’d recommend adding the giveaway entrants to a MailChimp list with an autoresponder, then moving them to MailerLite once the automation sequence is complete and the winner has been announced.

Rafflecopter

Rafflecopter is a free giveaway tool that’s integrated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and various email providers. Giveaway organisers can set a variety of tasks for entrants to complete, such as commenting on the blog post, following the author on Twitter, liking their page on Facebook, sharing the giveaway on social media, or signing up for an email list. I’ve never run a Rafflecopter giveaway, but I understand email addresses can be downloaded at the conclusion of the giveaway.

Basic Rafflecopter giveaways are free, but you’ll have to pay for premium features like Pinterest entries (USD 13 per month), email list integration (USD 43 per month) or viral giveaway links (USD 84 per month). Rafflecopter does offer a free 7-day trial, but it’s limited to 50 entries. Contests can also be run through Facebook.

I’m not a fan of Rafflecopter.

Although that’s not necessarily the fault of the tool.

Organisers often set up a huge list of ways to enter. This can seem overwhelming to a potential giveaway entrant. In addition, there are often a lot of hoops to jump through e.g. find the tweet URL and paste it into your entry to prove you’ve tweeted about the giveaway. As an entrant, it feels like more hassle than it’s worth—especially if the prize is a cheap ebook.

It’s also a question of whether these activities provide any ongoing return for the author. Given the recent changes in the Facebook algorithm, it’s possible your new followers might never even see posts from your author Page, let alone Like, Comment, or Share those posts.

From a reader-entrant point of view, the best Rafflecopter giveaways are those that only require one action to enter e.g. a blog comment. But as I discussed last week, this is the action that has the least ongoing benefit for the author.

Which Tool Is Best?

Which tool you use will depend on the reason you’re running a giveaway. If you’re trying to build brand awareness, then Facebook integration is probably more important than email integration. If you’re trying to build an email list, then email integration is going to be a major deciding factor.

Cost is also a factor—can you afford the one-off cost for a more expensive tool like King Sumo, or do you prefer the monthly subscription model? Paying up-front is probably cheaper in the long term, but it does depend on what you are looking for in a giveaway tool.

What giveaway tools have you used as an organiser, or as a participant? Which would you recommend for cost, ease of use, and functionality?

How To Conduct An Online Giveaway

How To Conduct An Online Giveaway

Two weeks ago, I introduced six ways to build your email list. One was offering giveaways. This week, I’m going into more detail on the “how” of giveaways, and touch on some of the legal issues.

There are several ways to conduct an online giveaway, but first you need to:

  • Consider Your Giveaway Objectives
  • Keep Your Giveaway Legal

You then need to consider what kind of giveaway you want to participate in:

  • Run Your Own Giveaway
  • Join a Group Giveaway
  • Join A Paid Giveaway

Consider Your Objectives

What are your objectives in conducting or participating in an online giveaway? Your objectives will determine which is the best approach for you. Do you want to:

  • Build overall awareness?
  • Increase blog engagement?
  • Build your social media following?
  • Build your emai list?
  • Do you want one winner, or will you give every entrant a book?

Your objectives will help determine your priorities in choosing how to organise your online giveaway.

Keep Your Giveaway Legal

There are laws governing how people run giveaways, contests, and raffles. If you are running any kind of giveaway, you need to ensure you comply with these laws … which is difficult, because the laws are different in every state and country. No giveaway can comply with all international laws (or even all the different state laws in the USA).

All online giveaways are illegal somewhere, which is why many giveaways restrict entrants to their own state or country.

Here are some principles for running an online giveaway:

Limit Participation by Geography

For example, limit entrants to USA only, or Australia only. At the very least, say “void where prohibited” (although this means you need to know where your giveaway is prohibited).

Be Fair

If you say one random commenter will win the prize, the prize has to go to a random commenter. Not the person you like most.

Don’t Require a Purchase

I’ve just received an email offering me the chance to win something if I buy the author’s new book. All I have to do is forward the Amazon email purchase receipt, and I’m in the draw to win. But this is an illegal giveaway, in that it’s not actually a giveaway. It’s a raffle, and that’s a whole different set of laws.  For example, many states and countries require you to provide a way for people to enter without purchasing.

(If you want to give readers an incentive to purchase, offer a limited-time sale, or offer bonus content to purchasers.)

Make Your Giveaway Easy to Enter

Don’t require entrants to jump through hoops or answer hard questions, especially not questions they could only answer by having already bought and read your book (because that again turns your giveaway into a raffle).

State the Prize

State the exact prize up front, and the value of that prize. I’d also suggest you keep the value of your prize relatively small. A $4.99 ebook or $50 Amazon gift card is unlikely to attract attention. A Tesla will.

Provide the Odds of Winning

This can be as simple as “the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants”.

Note: This is not legal advice. I am not lawyer and am not qualified or licenced to give legal advice in New Zealand or anywhere else. If you want legal advice, you pay a qualified lawyer who is licenced to practice law in your location. You don’t get legal advice from websites or from anyone who isn’t a qualified and licenced lawyer.

Following these guidelines means you’re unlikely to run into trouble.

Unlikely, because the people who care have more important things to do than prosecute authors giving away a book or even a dozen books on their website. But that doesn’t make your giveaway legal. It just means you’re not likely to be caught, just like you’re not likely to be caught going 53 kph in a 50 kph zone on your way to church on Sunday morning.

If you want to better understand the laws surrounding online giveaways, click here to read How to Run A Website Contest (without going to jail) by lawyer and author Courtney Milan.

Run Your Own Giveaway

There are two main ways to run your own giveaway. Giving a prize to a blog commenter is probably the easiest, most common, and most enduring.

The newer method—and the method that will better help build your online platform—is to use an online giveaway tool that encourages social sharing and/or email list signups. Lets look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Blog Comments

Comments on a blog post encourage interaction. But it’s not always positive interaction, especially if the comments are of the “I’d love to win this book!” variety, rather than true engagement with the post.

The problem is this: encouraging people to comment on your blog post doesn’t contribute to your larger goals.
  1. Blog comments don’t help more people find out about you because they don’t encourage entrants to share your giveaway.
  2. Blog comments don’t encourage entrants to sign up to your email list.

Think about it: if I find a giveaway or contest that has only one entrant and I also enter, I have a 50% chance of winning that giveaway.

If I share the giveaway and more people enter, I’ve reduced my own chances of winning. Who is going to share if sharing goes against their own self-interest?

If you’ve organised a giveaway and you’re the only person who is sharing it, that’s probably what will happen: you’ll only have a small handful of entrants, and the giveaway won’t be shared beyond your faithful readers. That might work for you if your objective in running the giveaway is to reward your faithful readers. But if your objective was to extend your platform, a simple blog comment giveaway is unlikely to work.

The answer to this dilemma is to incentivise participants to share the giveaway, which is where giveaway tools are useful.

Giveaway Tools

There are a variety of giveaway tools available online. Giveaway tools enable you to

Popular tools include:

  • Giveaway Tools
  • Giveaway Tab
  • Gleam
  • KingSumo
  • PromoSimple
  • Punctab
  • Rafflecopter
  • RandomPicker
  • Wildfire
  • Woobox

These tools are used for contest-type giveaways, where there are many entrants but only a few winners (maybe only one). Most group and paid giveaways use some kind of giveaway tool.

Join a Group Giveaway

Author networks often coordinate and promote group giveaways, usually based on genre or some specific theme (e.g. in January 2018, I coordinated an Australia Day Giveaway for members of Australasian Christian Writers. The winner received a $50 Amazon gift voucher, and twelve books set in Australia or by Australian authors).

Participants are expected to share the giveaway within their own networks via a blog post, email newsletter, and social media sharing. In my experience, the more authors in the group and the more committed they are to social sharing, the better the results.

Group giveaways can use an online giveaway tool such as those listed above. The Australia Day Giveaway was run using KingSumo, which I’ll discuss more next week. We offered one prize, but KingSumo does allow for multiple winners. The giveaway had over 450 confirmed entries (and many more who didn’t confirm, so weren’t added to our email lists).

Authors can also use tools like BookCave, BookFunnel, and Instafreebie for giveaway promotions where everyone who enters receives a free ebook. I’l discuss these in a future post.

Join A Paid Giveaway

There are many marketing organisations offering paid group giveaways. For example, RyanZee’s Booksweeps offers two genre-specific multi-author giveaways each week. All entrants are added to the RyanZee mailing list, and these people are contacted the next time that genre giveaway is offered.

Some paid giveaways (including RyanZee) allow entrants to choose which (if any) mailing lists they want to sign up for. In theory, this means participating authors should be collecting interested people who won’t unsubscribe.

Other giveaways sign all entrants up to the email lists of all participating authors. This can mean a large number unsubscribe once they start receiving emails (or, worse, report the emails as spam). There are ways authors can minimise this, as I discussed in 5 Lessons Learned from Signing Up to 20+ Author Newsletters.

I discussed strategy in more detail in Six Factors to Consider in Planning an Online Giveaway. And I’ll be back next week to discuss three online giveaway tools in more detail: Gleam, KingSumo, and Rafflecopter.

Have you ever entered or organised an online giveaway? What did you learn from the experience?

Six Factors to Consider in Planning an Online Giveaway

Six Factors to Consider in Planning an Online Giveaway via Christian Editing ServicesHave you ever wondered what’s involved in planning an online giveaway? Or how to run a giveaway?

Over the last three weeks, I’ve published a series of blog posts at Australasian Christian Writers. The subject has been email lists and author cross-promotions:

Today I’m going to share six factors to consider in planning an online giveaway.

 

1. Consider Your Strategy

Just because I’ve been extolling the benefits of online giveaways and multi-author cross-promotions doesn’t make it the right tool for you.

The best cross-promotion opportunity for you might depend on your overall marketing strategy. A multi-author cross-promotion to encourage newsletter signups is going to be of little use if you don’t have an email list (although it might be the prompt you need to start one).

Ask yourself: Is this opportunity consistent with my overall marketing strategy?

 

2. Consider Your Brand

With a one-on-one cross promotion with another author, you are effectively endorsing that other author by recommending him or her to your readers. You need to make sure the author is one you want to endorse, in order to protect your own brand—otherwise, you might find yourself in the awkward situation of losing readers if they have an issue with the author you endorsed.

You might need to consider:

  • Genre
  • Content (language, violence, sexual content)
  • Quality of the writing and editing
  • Size of audience—you want the other author to have a similar-sized audience to yours

This is less of an issue with a multi-author cross-promotions, as most allow readers to choose which specific author lists they sign up for.

Ask yourself: Is this promotion opportunity consistent with my author brand?

 

3. Plan Your Giveaway

You’ll need to promote the giveaway to your existing email list, and via your social media channels. You’ll also need to meet any group expectations and requirements in a multi-author cross-promotion. How are you going to do that? Can you schedule a series of social media posts in advance?

Ask yourself: How will I promote this giveaway?

 

4. Plan Your Follow Up

Will your new subscribers be automatically added to your email list, or will you have to add them manually? How are you going to do that? What are you going to do with your new subscribers? Are you going to let them languish on some forgotten list … or are you going to follow up with them right away? Do you have a free download for them, to encourage them to stay on your email list? How are you going to send that to them? Do you have time to individually follow up every email?

This may mean setting up an auto-responder sequence to automatically send a short series of emails to every new subscriber. This needs to written and actioned before the giveaway begins. Note that auto-responder emails aren’t a free feature of most email providers. I’m told they are free with MailerLite, but that tool doesn’t automatically integrate with Instafreebie–so you’ll have to send the emails manually, or pay for a provider like MailChimp.

But the beauty of a pre-prepared auto-responder sequence is once you set it up, it’s there for any future promotions.

Ask yourself: Can I easily set up the appropriate follow-up emails?

 

5. Consider During the Giveaway

The reason I recommend setting up the social media schedule and auto-responder sequence in advance of the giveaway is that you’re likely to get a lot of emails during the period of the giveaway (unless you’ve paid someone else to organise the giveaway for you).

The host of the multi-author Instafreebie giveaway I participated in reported receiving a lot of emails from people who didn’t know how to transfer the file Instafreebie emailed them to their ereader device. Fortunately, she had a relevant YouTube video, so she was able to respond to enquiries by sending the link.

I ask several open-ended questions in my auto-responder email sequence, and several people emailed me with answers … and more questions. Each question was unique, so each response took time (although I will later repurpose several of my answers as blog posts!).

Ask yourself: Will I have time to follow up on individual emails and requests?

 

6. Consider After the Giveaway

Once you’ve run your giveaway (or participated in a multi-author giveaway), you’ll need to find some way of delivering your books to the winners—if this doesn’t happen automatically (e.g. via Instafreebie).

You can:

  • Email the book directly to the winner e.g. epub, mobi or pdf file. Some authors are hesitant about this, because an unscrupulous winner could email the file to their 5,000 closest friends.
  • Gift them the ebook via Amazon, Smashwords or some other online retailer. This is safer, but does cost you money. And you might be unable to gift via Amazon—or the winner might be unable to accept the gift if they’re not on Amazon US.
  • Use a third party such as BookFunnel, Instafreebie or NetGalley.

BookFunnel

BookFunnel is a way of distributing ebooks to bloggers, influencers, reviewers, and street team members. It can also be used to distribute ebooks to your email list. You load up your book in ePub and mobi formats, and BookFunnel creates a link to that book. This can be a unique link for each reader (e.g. for a review team), or a general link.

Prices start at USD 20 per year for the Basic plan. This allows authors to upload up to five books with one pen name, and delivery of up to 500 books per month. This does not include giveaways or MailChimp integration. The Mid-List Author plan is USD 100 per year, and includes giveaways, unlimited books, and up to 5,000 downloads per month. MailChimp integration costs an additional USD 50 per year.

BookFunnel is similar to InstaFreebie, but will provide readers with assistance to get their book delivered to their device.

However, it doesn’t promote giveaways in the same way as InstaFreebie does—it relies on you promoting your book in order to get people to sign up to your email list.

NetGalley

I’ve blogged previously about NetGalley. One of its features is the ability to email a widget that allows the recipient to download the ebook in epub or mobi format. However, NetGalley is expensive, so this is probably only an option if you or your publisher are already paid-up members.

Ask yourself: Do I need to invest in any tools to manage this giveaway?

 

What else might you need to consider in planning a giveaway?