How To Create A Giveaway On Your E-Commerce Store

giveaway gift

As you may have noticed, I’m currently giving away one year of Forewards for free. Giveaways are a great way of building your brand, an e-mail list and social media following. They’re popular among blogs but work great for e-commerce stores.

The basic idea is simple. You pick a product that you want to give away for free to people. You’re not giving it away to everyone, just one or two lucky winners.

Obviously the more valuable and higher priced the product, the more interest people will have in your giveaway. Don’t worry about the cost, the returns you will see far outweigh them.

When done right, you’ll have tonnes of people signing up for the giveaway. The best part is that people who sign up are actually interested in owning your product. Your getting qualified leads who you can nurture and market to after the giveaway ends.

In this post we’ll discuss the different types of giveaways, how to set them up, and how to promote them successfully.

Types of Giveaways

Twitter Giveaway

The Twitter giveaway, as the name suggests, is hosted entirely on Twitter. It can help you quickly grow your Twitter following, especially if you’re new to Twitter.

The first part is to find influencer Twitter accounts. These are the accounts that have hundreds of thousands of highly engaged followers and they tweet multiple times each day.

They need to be related to your business so that you reach the right people. For example, if you sell digital cameras, find Twitter accounts that tweet about photography tips. The followers of these accounts will probably be in the market for cameras.

Next, you pick one account, preferably the largest one, and work on building a relationship with them. Follow them, retweet their stuff, tweet at them and mention them in your tweets. Eventually they’ll notice you and follow you back.

Now you can private message them on Twitter. Reach out, tell them about your product and how it’s the perfect fit for their followers, then pitch the giveaway to them. If they accept, they’ll tweet about your giveaway to their followers.

The best way to structure the giveaway is to have participants retweet the tweet and follow both accounts. This way both you and the influencer get new followers and the giveaway gets shared.

The tweet will look something like this – “@Influencer and @Yourstore are giving away <product_link> for FREE! RT and follow both of us to enter!”

A few things will happen once the giveaway begins. You’ll see a lot of traffic coming to your product page from Twitter. These are people who want to check out the product to see if it’s something they want. They may subscribe to your list if you have one, but they won’t buy the product because they have a chance to win it for free.

If they like your product they’ll follow you and retweet. Each retweet means more people will see it and participate in the contest. Run the contest for a week or two and watch your Twitter following grow rapidly.

Website Giveaway

The website giveaway is hosted on your store and will primarily grow your email list. Have a look at the Forewards giveaway to see one in action. As you can see, the only qualification to enter is to subscribe.

For the viral component, get entrants to share your giveaway by giving them additional entries. If you signed up to my giveaway, you’ll see that the next page has options to share it on Facebook and Twitter, as well as a unique referral link for you to email friends with.

I’ve only used Facebook and Twitter but if you have Pinterest and Instagram accounts for your store, which you should, you can add those in. Give extra entries to anyone who shares or follows you on any of these social networks.

Now, technically you don’t need any extra software to run a basic giveaway. All you need is a page with giveaway details and an email address entry field. At the end of the giveaway just randomly pick a winner from the emails that came in.

However, if you want to add the viral component and supercharge your giveaway, you’ll need something that can track referrals and award extra entries to the right people. Here are some options for you –

Kingsumo Giveaways

This is what I’m using right now. It’s only available on WordPress for a flat fee of $199. After installing the plugin you have a new option in your WordPress dashboard to create giveaways, just like you would a page or post. Put in all the details and publish the giveaway, and the plugin will do the rest.


Rafflecopter  allows you to create a giveaway on their platform and then embed it anywhere. After creating the giveaway you get an embed code that you can add to any page in your store. Your customers will see it as a widget on that page.

Rafflecopter is priced at $7.99/month for the basic version and $59.99/month for the full version. You’ll need to get the full version if you want the refer-a-friend option.


Viralsweep is another embeddable giveaway solution but they have more options for how you want it to look. Apart from the widget, you can also create a full landing page for the giveaway, a slider from the lower right corner of your site, and a popup. That way you can also capture regular traffic coming to your site from other sources.

Viralsweep has four pricing option. The free version is very basic and comes with their branding. To remove branding you need to get at least the starter level at $49/month. At $99/month you get more customisation options and their Pinterest app, and at $199/month you get everything.


With Gleam you can host your giveaway on their site, or embed it on any page in your store. Unlike the other apps, which only allow people to enter by subscribing, Gleam lets you create any type of entry qualification. That means you can ask visitors to enter by liking your page on Facebook or following you on Twitter.

Gleam also sends automatic email notifications to people who enter the giveaway to remind them of how many entries they have and encourage them to get more entries by sharing. The basic plan is free but you don’t get the email entry option. For that, you’ll need the pro plan at $39/month or the business plan at $149/month which also gives you full customisability.

Now, if you don’t want to invest in any of these softwares, you can do a small variation of this. It won’t have the viral factor, but it’s very effective as a means to engage your existing reader base.

You basically write a post announcing your product giveaway. For people to qualify, all they have to do is comment on that post. No sharing, no subscribing. They can simply type ‘Hi’ in the comment section and they’ll be in. It’s that simple.

To make it even more effective, make the giveaway a regular event. That way, people who don’t win will subscribe to your newsletter so that they can get notified of the next giveaway. Check out this example from Chris Guillebeau, where he gives away a product every Friday.

Facebook Giveaway

If you’ve got a fan following on Facebook, running a giveaway is a great way to engage them and grow your following even more. If you don’t have any followers at all, you may want to get a few hundred first before you can run a successful giveaway on Facebook.

Facebook giveaways are the easiest to run and don’t need any software or influencer connections. Just write a post on your page that says you’re giving away one of your products, and tell your fans that if they want to enter they need to do one or a combination of the following – like the post, share the post and comment on it.

Make the post really attractive because when your fans share it you want their friends to see it as well. Use a really nice image of your product and add a link to the product page to make it enticing. The in-built viral nature of Facebook will draw in more people to your giveaway who will then like your page and interact with your post, and so on.

Giveaway Promotion Strategies

As you can see, a well constructed giveaway has a viral factor built in. However, that will only help if you have a decent sized audience to promote the giveaway to in the first place. An established social following or email list. If you don’t, you’ll need to supplement it with some extra promotion.


If you already have traffic coming into your store you should promote your giveaway to them. A free product is always more interesting than asking them to subscribe to your newsletter for a coupon (or worse, nothing) in return.

Create a banner on your homepage and sidebar images on your other pages that redirect to your giveaway. You can see examples on my homepage and sidebar.

You can also use your ‘Thank you’ page after someone purchases something as a place to advertise your giveaway.

Facebook Ads

To jumpstart your giveaway, especially if you don’t already have a following, you can promote it on Facebook with ads. I’ve already written about promoting posts and creating ads on Facebook (they are two different things) and you can do both to drive more traffic to your giveaways.

If you’re running a Facebook giveaway all you need to do is boost the giveaway post. If you have a website giveaway you can create an ad, or post the giveaway to your fan page and then boost it, or both.

Twitter Ads

The promoted tweet feature is Twitter’s version of advertising. You can use it to get more visibility on your Twitter giveaway. More people will see the tweet and they too can join in by retweeting and following you.

You can also tweet a link to your website giveaway and promote that on Twitter. In this scenario, you want people to click on the link and come to your store to participate.


Posting on forums like Reddit, Stumbleupon and others related to your industry can draw in people who are already participating in conversations related to your product.

Just search for “[your industry] + forum” on Google and you should find a few. Reddit will most likely have a sub-reddit related to your products. You can also use their advertising system to maximise visibility.


Contact influential bloggers in your industry. They’ll have large email lists that they can promote your giveaway too. Of course, you first need to build relationships with them and they’ll need to get something in return for promoting it.

Some bloggers do paid promotions where they charge a fee for writing a post or emailing subscribers about your giveaway. They may also have space for a banner ad on their site. The more popular the blogger is, the greater the reach.

Get Started!

That’s pretty much it. It’s not too hard to run a giveaway on your store. In fact, you should start right now with a website giveaway. Just pick a product, pick a software and create the contest.

Don’t run your giveaways for too long. In general 2-3 weeks is a good time period. It’s long enough to collect lots of entries, but not too long that people get bored of it.

When the giveaway ends, you need to pick a winner. If you’re running a website giveaway and you’re using one of the above softwares, they’ll automatically pick the winner. If you’re running it on Twitter or Facebook you’ll need to do it manually.

Don’t forget to actually send the winner their prize.  To make it even more interesting, ask the winner to send you an image of them with the prize and then post it to your social networks for everyone else to see. It’s a great way of drumming up interest for your next giveaway.

After you have created your first giveaway, come back here and post the link in the comments with a small note on what you’re giving away.

Did you enjoy this article?
Get FREE Updates!
Actionable content and product reviews to boost your store's traffic and earnings. Straight to your inbox!

Leave A Response

* Denotes Required Field