Frugal Foodie Mama: 10 Tips To Becoming a Rafflecopter {& Giveaway} Pro

Monday, December 3, 2012

10 Tips To Becoming a Rafflecopter {& Giveaway} Pro

If you ask me, Rafflecopter is the only way to host a giveaway.  I know there are other bloggers out there who may feel differently.  And that is okay.  We all have our preferences.  
But I am pro-Rafflecopter all the way. 
Here are a few reasons why I feel this way...
  •  It makes it easy for the blogger hosting the giveaway- keeps track of all the entries, does the random choosing of a winner for you, and makes it simple to verify winning entries. ;)  
  • I  don't believe in making my readers jump through hoops to win a little something on my blog.  Why would I want to make entering a giveaway a pain in the arse for my loyal followers?  Rafflecopter can make it super easy for the entrants too.
  • It is free to use.  They now have an upgrade option available that you can pay for, but I find the basic Rafflecopter is great for what I need it for.
  • It is easy to install in a blog post or to a Facebook page.
Want to become a Rafflecopter old pro even if you have only used it a few times or maybe never?  Never fear.  I think I have hosted enough Rafflecopter giveaways at this point to have gleaned a little wisdom.  Below are some basic giveaway hosting tips as well as some good pointers that are Rafflecopter specific

1.  Include more than one way to follow your blog.  Not everyone is on Google Friend Connect.  Make sure you have an email option to follow, and then maybe another third party way to follow like Bloglovin.  If you make a mandatory entry to follow your blog via GFC, you are automatically isolating a nice chunk of your {potential} readership.

2.  Let's talk about mandatory entries.  It is my general philosophy to say just don't do them.  I typically do not include them in my giveaways unless the individual or company sponsoring the giveaway I am hosting has specifically requested one.  Mandatory entry=forcing someone to follow your blog or another's in return for an entrance into a giveaway.  You are wanting to build a solid follower base, right?  More than likely, those that you "force" to follow by way of a mandatory entry will drop you as soon as the giveaway ends.  Not always.  But usually.

3.  Include an entry for tweeting in your top 5 entry choices.  And give it a higher entry value than the rest of your entries.  Why, you ask? You want people to tweet out about your giveaway!  9 times out of 10, I hear about a giveaway and go enter it because I saw someone else's tweet about it. :)  Why give it a higher entry value?  Because you want people to tweet it!  Some people may be reluctant to tweet your giveaway because they may not want other people entering to make their own chances better.  Making a tweet worth more encourages them to tweet for the additional entries.  Keep in mind, most people have hundreds of followers. ;)

4.  After your giveaway has gone live, go enter your own Rafflecopter.  I mean, don't really hit Enter on your entries.  But go in and make sure ALL your links work and that none of them are broken.  ESPECIALLY if it is a sponsored giveaway or a group giveaway.  It isn't fair to your sponsors if some of their links are working, and others are not.  Yes, you could say that if people really wanted those entries they would figure it out.  But I don't think it is fair that some of your sponsors' entries will be easier to use than others'.  Right?  
*One further tip on this (thank you to my friend Kim from Singledou[b]t for commenting about this below!)- Make sure you are using the hyperlink option that Rafflecopter provides for you when creating your entries.  What am I talking about? 
See that little globe up there?  You click on that and it will give you a format- [ ]'s for telling the entrant what you would like them to do & ( )'s for including a link to where they can complete that entry. As long as you have the text between the [ ]'s  and the link between ( )'s, you should have clickable text in your Rafflecopter widget that will go directly to your Pinterest page, your sponsor's etsy page, a certain page on your blog, etc.  The key though is to go in after the Rafflecopter is live to make sure all these hyperlinks are working properly and they link to the sites they are supposed to be going to.  

5.  If you are going to offer multiple prize packages, I would create a Rafflecopter for each package.  That ensures that people get to enter to win just the prize packages that most interest them.  You can easily include multiple Rafflecopter widgets in one post. 

6.  Once you have hosted a few Rafflecopter giveaways, take advantage of using the Duplicate option.  By duplicating a past giveaway, you can maintain all your social media link entries without re-doing them all.  You can easily delete or edit options that do not apply to your new giveaway, and then add the additional entries you may need.  No need to reinvent the widget wheel. ;)

7.  Take advantage of the Invent Your Own Option entry on the Rafflecopter.  You can create the entries that Rafflecopter says you need to upgrade for!  You can still have someone follow you on Pinterest or join a mailing list.  You just need to include the wording and link yourself.



8.  Terms and Conditions.  Do them.  Take the time to include the fine print.  There is nothing worse than choosing your winner only to find out they live in Russia, and your sponsor will not ship there.  If it is open only to U.S. residents, include that in the terms and conditions.  If you only give the winner a specified amount of time to reply back to you, put that in your terms and conditions.  


9.  Make verifying entries as easy on yourself as possible.  And you should always verify your winning entries.  You will be surprised how shady some people who enter giveaways can be.  Trust me on this.   Use the option to have the entrant leave additional info to verify the entries whenever you can.  For instance, I instruct my entrants to leave the URL for their pin if I have asked them to pin blog posts or items to their Pinterest for entries.  Then I can easily click on the link they provided and instantly verify the that they have indeed pinned something.  No hunting, no searching on my part. :)

10.  goodness sake, notify your winner!  Email them at the very least.  Don't expect them to come back and check your giveaway post vigilantly to see if they have won.  We all have busy lives, right?  We may forget when a giveaway was supposed to end because life happens.  Cut your winner a break and let them know the good news, okay? ;)  I usually email twice and try one other social media outlet before counting them out and picking a new winner. 

How about my other Rafflecopter knowledgeable bloggers out there?  What tips and pointers would you share with a giveaway newbie?  ;)  Please share them in the Comments section below!

16 comments :

  1. I have been meaning to write a similar post for a long time! THanks for doing this. Here is one of my tips.
    - Ad hyper links to all sites you are asking people to follow. Don't make people hunt and search for the site or don't make them cut and paste a link. Hyper link. Rafflecopter makes it easy for you. Highlight the text you want linked then hit the little globe at the top of the entry. It will then set it up for you, you just have to replace the sample link with the correct link.

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    1. Yes! I think that is what I was trying to get at with my tip about checking your links. But I didn't explain how to do a hyperlink correctly in the first place. Kim, I am actually about to go into my post now and edit it to include your tip! Thank you!

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  2. I don't have a suggestion (have only used it once), but YES people can be shady! There's a popular blogger out there with 500+ followers who created a PRIVATE Twitter account to tweet about the giveaway. Yes, she tweets about it, but she deliberately has 0 (ZERO) followers on that Twitter handle, so she's not sharing it with anyone. Also, she uses her private Twitter handle to follow you for additional entries. Sorry, it just made me FUME!

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    1. Oh, whoa... I don't think I have came across anything like that yet, but that is terrible!

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    2. Oh my goodness, that's awful! I'll be sure to keep an eye on that.

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    3. Just remember what goes around comes around. They will get what they deserve and we can hope double! There is always a few that take advantage
      DeDe@DesignedDecor

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  3. Thanks for the info on the Rafflecopter giveaway! I was wondering how to use it to host a giveaway. One of these days....I appreciate your tips!

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    1. You are welcome! I hope it is helpful for you when you do decide to host a giveaway. :)

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  4. Thank you so much for this! It's very helpful! I'm about to host my first giveaway this week on my blog and I am admittedly a little scared...hopefully it'll go okay! :)

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    1. I hope this helps you, dear! There is nothing to be scared of. It is a learning experience. :)

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  5. Thanks so much, this is really helpful! I'm planning a giveaway for January and don't really know what I'm doing!

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  6. Thanks so much for this post! I am about to host my first giveaway (fingers crossed I do this right) lol and I was hoping you could help me with one thing! I want to give people the extra chance to follow my blog but i can not figure how to do this. They can either do it with GFC or by email....please help!!

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    1. Are you using Rafflecopter? I am assuming that you are. :)
      Under Add An Option, go to the last one- Invent Your Own Option!
      Then you can make your own entry. Just title Follow My Blog Via GFC or Email. And then you can direct them where to find your blog follow information in the form. Hope that helps! I was going to send you an email to directly reply to your comment, but you are set as a no reply-comment blogger. :/

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  7. Guess this is a pretty old post but as a learner out here I wanted to mention a couple of things. I definitely prefer rafflecopter. I can understand why you verify but sometimes an accident happens. For instance a long series of FB likes where I only didn't already follow one is just a mouse fart. Also I hate to sound stupid but sometimes I'm almost insulted because I have no idea what it is you want or I'm supposed to fill in. One last thing I don't know if my entries count but occasionally I'll trim hyperbole from a tweet because it's amazing how many are way too long. I leave tags but shrug, ya know. Anyway just curious

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    1. You would be surprised at just how many claim to have done every single entry and have done absolutely none of them. It is sad, and exactly why I have to verify my entries. It isn't fair to other entrants who did all the entries & all the work if I do not.
      But yes, sometimes I notice that I can't verify a winning entry & I always go back in and moderate the entries & check all their other entries. If they all check out, then I usually give them the benefit of the doubt on the one that I was not able to verify because yes, accidents do happen. :)

      And sometimes I have to "trim up" a tweet too from a Rafflecopter entry. There seems to be a disconnect sometimes between what Rafflecopter deems 140 characters & what Twitter thinks is 140. I have noticed that. Just make sure the important info is in the tweet- that it is a giveaway, the blog host's Twitter handle, & most definitely the link to the giveaway post. I always count them as long as they have all the pertinent info in them. :)

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  8. thank YOU for writing this!!! I'm pinning it now. I've been trying to figure out how to get my Pinterest followers up from a giveaway without upgrading my rafflecoptor. Great information!!

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