Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Tips For Sponsoring Etsy Giveaways

   Hey there my Etsians! I just read a post in the Etsy Success forums about sponsoring giveaways - the poster was asking what to focus on (page views, followers, FB likes and so on), what to giveaway and what to expect, and from my own experience, and that of others, I replied.
   I decided that it would be a very good idea to share that info with you all, as well, so here we go:

What to focus on.

   Now, obviously you really don't want to do a giveaway for a blog with 10 readers and 15 page views a day. That's just a waste of time, even if you are just starting out, and if they ask you to sponsor a giveaway with them, they may just be using you to gain more views and followers. When you're just starting out as a blogger, followers seem so very, very important.
   However, you are not a blogger, you are a small business owner, but a business owner nonetheless. You need to be smart about giving stuff away for free.
   Not all blogs with 2,000 followers are a safe bet. Some blogs might only post giveaways, so 90% of those followers and facebook likes could easily just be entries from past giveaways, and who pay no attention any more. Always check the blog out before agreeing to sponsor a giveaway. You might see one of these giveaway-only blogs and think "Great! Then they have lots of people looking at their blog, right?" Right! But they're the wrong kind of people. 80% of the time, these people are only hanging around because they know that they can get free stuff from this blog. They are not interested in buying anything, they're not interested in originality and hard work - they are vultures. Like I said, not every reader of a giveaway blog is like that, but most certainly are.

   Instead of focusing singularly on numbers, have a look at content instead. Do they frequently post giveaways? How often? Do they blog three times a week, and only once a month do a giveaway? If they do, then that's perfect. Do they blog four times a month, and only once a month do a giveaway? That's not perfect.
   What you should look for is content. You want the blogger to post frequently, at least two or three times a week, and you want their content to lend itself to your product somehow. If you make infinity scarves, you want a blogger that talks a lot about fashion - not necessarily ONLY fashion, but you want it to be a big part of their blog. That way, you can rest assured that their readers will be interested in your product.
   Also consider looking at the number of comments their posts have - this isn't necessarily vital, but an active readership might mean they pay more attention to posts, and that your product won't fall on deaf ears.

What to donate

   How many times have you seen one of your favourite shops sponsor or hold a giveaway? Did you go over and get disappointed at the product they were giving away? Was it something small and obscure that doesn't reflect their shop well at all? Did you wonder just why they chose to give that away rather than something better that would get more people into their shop?
   How many times have you seen a giveaway on a blog you enjoy, and not given a second look at the item that's being given away? Or been drawn in by pictures of their wonderful products and found them to be giving away something not worth more than a fiver?

   Don't let yourself fall victim to this. The best thing you can do is choose something that best reflects your shop. If you decide to give away something small because you won't be getting any money from it, you are risking fans and sales, and few people will have a look in your shop except for tick off the entry that says to favourite it or choose a favourite item. Your target audience won't pay any attention to you.
   That's not to say that if you sell a mix of dresses, tshirts and gowns that you have to choose an expensive dress - though that would certainly grab attention - but you m ust choose something that reflects it well. For example, in a jewellery shop, there could be a range of items - rings and necklaces from £10 up to £50 - that doesn't mean to say they have to choose a £30 piece, but what it does mean is that they can't give away a £10 piece, or "make something special" using up old materials that are no good and put in very little effort.
   Choose something that is a best seller, perhaps - simple, but does very well for itself. Not necessarily the most expensive item in your shop, but not the cheapest. There's a reason it's a best seller. If you're not prepared to give something good away, why bother at all? You'll still have to pay postage, and there's a fair chance whoever gets it doesn't really want it, they just wanted to "win" something.
   Don't give away for free something you can't budge, it won't grab attention at all, and it will hinder more than help if people happen to remember your name for that single item.

What to expect

   Don't expect sales. Even if you choose a blog that does giveaways once a month and actively posts about other topics for the rest of the month, that doesn't mean you'll sell anything. For a start, if you choose something wonderful that can get people into your shop, they may well not buy anything, just in case they win - it would be a bit silly to buy something if there's a chance you might win it if you're patient for a week or two. Instead, you'll probably get lots of views, and probably hearts. Sales won't come until the giveaway has finished, unless you have a very wide array of items, and the item you've chosen to give away is specific - eg: blue silk scarf with sea shells. If you give away a gift voucher, you won't sell a thing to the entrants until it's over, if even then.
   All you can hope is that the giveaway will put you on the map. People will see your products, they will see your name, and they may heart your shop and like your facebook. You have to give a great impression so that they remember you. If no one remembers your name or your products, you have just wasted your time, money and product.

You have control

   You may not think it, because the blog is the one getting you the attention, but you are the one in control. Your product is what is giving them the giveaway in the first place, from which they will get follows, views and likes as well. In fact, they may benefit more than you.
   This does NOT mean, however, that you can pull out whenever you want or decide you're not going to send the prize. It will reflect VERY badly on you if you do that, and the blogger can easily publicly announce that the giveaway is over prematurely, with no winners, because the sponsor has pulled out giving no reasoning. Neither does it mean that you can let the giveaway run and have no intention of sending the prize out. The winner may well have a blog of their own, and can easily and publicly announce the scandal - it may only be a giveaway, but sometimes people genuinely do want the prize, and can't afford it themselves. They may also let the giveaway host know, and they may announce the same thing. You have to be careful who you cross, so it's best to be honest and not cross anyone.
   What this DOES mean, is that you have the right to request certain things as entries. You can request that hearting your shop be counted as an entry, liking your facebook, following your twitter and so on - or you can ask them NOT to. What I like to do is only ask for a facebook like and ask them to go into my shop and choose their favourite item, which they either link in the comments of that post, or in a box provided by rafflecopter. No hearts. What this means is the hearts are real. People are forced to come in and look if they want a better chance at winning, but they are not forced heart. They only heart if they truly like the shop, and truly like the products. Sure, some people will come in and grab an item from thevery top row and say it's their favourite for an easy entry, but not all will. Some will actually take the time to look.
   It also means that you have the right to state that you will only ship to a certain country, or you will only do it if the giveaway is international - such things usually always have to be decided by the donating sponsor.
   You also have the right to ask for the giveaway to last a certain amount of time, but not massively. You may be able to ask for a few extra days added or taken off from their usual duration on that particular blog, but that has to be done before it goes live. You cannot ask for it to be lengthened or shortened once it has started.

    If you agree to do a giveaway, you are obligated to send the prize in a timely manner. The winner may not have purchased the item, but if they like the product and your service, they may return as a paying buying one day, and maybe bring some friends. Taking a few weeks to ship the package, or poorly packing it because it's not been payed for, will certainly only damage your reputation and any chance of making sales from this person or their friends. If anyone has anything to add, let me know and I'll write it in.

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