Frugal Foodie Mama: 9 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Hosted My First Group Giveaway

Monday, March 11, 2013

9 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Hosted My First Group Giveaway

I am at a point in my blogging "career" where I have happened to host a few group giveaways.  While I am certainly not a pro (I hosted my first one just 7 months ago), I have learned quite a few lessons along the way.  Now I feel like I have a handle on this whole group giveaway deal, and as long as I get my giveaway sponsors' info in a timely manner I can organize and put together one with somewhat ease.
But lets face it.  If you have never hosted a group giveaway on your blog before, it can be pretty intimidating.  
In today's post, I am trying to reduce that intimidation factor a little by providing you all with 9 simple tips for hosting a group giveaway of your own.  A group giveaway game plan, if you will...

Tip #1- Start small with your very first group giveaway.  I would say limit it to no more than 5 sponsors.  Get your feet wet, but don't overwhelm yourself with some huge extravaganza.  The worst thing to do with your first ever group giveaway is to get in over your head, miss some details, lag on promoting, & then completely turn off your current giveaway sponsors.  
Note: It will be difficult to get them to return for an encore group giveaway somewhere down the line if you are not very organized and on it the first time around.

Tip #2- Decide what type of group giveaway you would like to host.  Will this be themed for a certain milestone or holiday or personal event in your life?  Are you wanting it to be mommy centered, foodie focused, green themed?  This will help you determine which bloggers & sponsors you would like to reach out to.  You will not want to waste your time reaching out to a food blogger, if you plan to have a fashion accessory themed giveaway, right?

Tip #3- Make extra time in your blogging schedule the week you are scheduling it to go live.  In other words, don't schedule yourself to also co-host a blog hop or linky party or start a new blog series that week too.  Make this first group giveaway your priority that week on your blog.  I am in no way saying you cannot post anything else to your blog that week. I am just saying to understand and know your commitment limits.  Make sure you allot yourself enough time to promote the giveaway on your social media channels.

Tip #4- Communicate with your giveaway sponsors before, during, and after the giveaway goes live.  Make sure you have gathered all necessary information from your sponsors at least 3-5 days out from when your giveaway is scheduled to go live.  This will give you plenty of time to get your Rafflecopter situated, your photos & sponsor blurbs together for your post, etc.  I suggest allowing two social media links per sponsor as entries- let them choose.  If you are make all the entries Twitter & G+, then you will automatically be turning away potential sponsors who may be looking to grow their blog or shop on different social media outlets.  Also, let your sponsors know when the giveaway has gone live & email them all a link to make it very easy for all of them to help promote the giveaway on their end.

Tip #5- Stay organized.  This will help you keep on top of everything.  Two ways to do this?  Use a blog planner page that is made just for group giveaways.  You can create one for yourself or search the internet for a few free printable ones.
Also as emails start to roll in with your sponsors' giveaway info, create a separate folder in your email for all of those emails to be moved to.  For instance, when I held a group giveaway for my birthday in September, I simply titled the email folder "Birthday Giveaway".  When I started working on the links and photos and post for the giveaway, I just went straight to that folder and pulled up all the information I needed.  Also if you use a group giveaway planner page, make a mark or check off each sponsor as you add their links to the Rafflecopter.  You wouldn't want to accidentally leave off a sponsor!  
I know some bloggers swear by Google docs for organizing their group giveaway information.  If you are comfortable & familiar with Google docs, then that is also a great medium to use.

Tip #4- Use Rafflecopter.  Trust me on this.  It will make your giveaway life tons easier.  
New to Rafflecopter or unsure of how to use it?  Then make sure you check out my 10 Tips to Becoming a Rafflecopter Pro post.

Tip #5- After your giveaway has gone live, make sure you log into your Rafflecopter widget on your post as if you are going to enter and check all your entry links.  You owe it to your giveaway sponsors to make sure their entry links are working properly and are easily accessible.  I always feel sorry when I enter a group giveaway and one or two of the links for a few sponsors' entries are not working correctly.  Because if I am short on time, then I am not going to hunt for their links in the giveaway post & will probably just skip over their entries.  That isn't fair to your sponsors.   Take 10 minutes the day the giveaway goes live and check those links!

Tip #6- Include links to your own social media outlets, but make sure it isn't all about YOU.  Make sure your sponsors know and feel that you appreciate their support, and that all entries all getting somewhat equal priority.  Yes, I include 2 of my own links near the top of the Rafflecopter, but then the rest get blended in with the sponsors' links.  And on that note, I do prefer when a giveaway host lumps like links together.  For instance, all Facebook likes together, all Twitter follows together, etc.  It makes entering the giveaway flow more easily & more user friendly for your entrants.  

Tip #7- I try to steer clear from prize value minimums.  There are a few reasons for that.  One is that some sponsors to tend to overvalue their goods, and some tend to undervalue them.  Also, you want to encourage smaller shops & blogs to feel comfortable sponsoring your giveaway.  We all have to start somewhere, right?  So why not be that blogger that gives a little exposure to an up and coming blogger or shop owner that maybe can't afford the $20 buy-in or maybe has a great little product but they have decided to only sell them for $10?  Now this can be different if you are perhaps doing a huge gift card for your giveaway and then you may need to set a $5-10 buy-in minimum.  

Tip #8- Follow up after the giveaway has ended and the winner has been chosen and contacted.  First you want to make sure that the winner is communicating with the giveaway sponsors about where to send prizes, etc.  If the giveaway winner isn't returning emails, then you need to know so that you can choose a new winner.  Also you want to follow up with your giveaway winner and make sure that the sponsors have been in contact with them.  You don't want to be that blogger who hosts giveaways in which no prizes ever reach the winner.  Plus, it is important to know which sponsors never contact the winner or never send a prize- you may want to make a mental note to not work with them again in the future.  Hopefully all goes smoothly, everyone holds up their part, & this isn't very time consuming for you. But it is still an important step to take.  I know sometimes I lag on this one myself.  But make the time.  

Tip #9- Thank your sponsors.  :) After the giveaway has ended, send them a thank you email, tweet, or post to their Facebook page.  Leave the door open for future collaborations.  Unless of course, the sponsor wasn't so awesome to work with.  Then send a thank you and quietly close that door. 

Bloggers, have you hosted a group giveaway before?  What are some further tips you would share with a blogger who is new to hosting group giveaways?

If you are a blogger who has considered hosting a group giveaway but has hesitated on hosting one, what are your reasons or concerns?