How to Launch Large Giveaways with SMS

September 29, 2022

Written By

Chaz Gonzales


Running your eCommerce store can be hard sometimes, especially when initiating activities to increase engagement with your current customers. One way of motivating your customers to increase their purchases is by running a giveaway. We interviewed Van Oakes in our monthly Webinar series on how he ran giveaways for Diesel Power Gear when he was CMO. Van built their business model in a way that enabled them to give away an entire truck to one lucky customer per month. By the end of this article you will be equipped with everything you need to launch a larger giveaway and increase engagement and monthly revenue. This is how he did it.

Know Your Niche

When it comes to launching Giveaways, the first thing you’re going to need to know is when, where, who, what, and why about your customers.

  • When do they buy? Is it typically mornings, afternoons, or evenings?
  • What are they buying most? What are hot items?
  • Who is your target buyer? 
  • Why are they buying?

Knowing what motivates your audience to buy informs your giveaway decisions. For Diesel Power Gear, they had a 91% male demographic, so DPG decided that the most enticing item to give away every month was an entire truck. 

Bake the Giveaway costs into Your margins

If you’re selling $10 t-shirts for $10, you won’t have the margins to do giveaways. DPG sells $35 t-shirts. Do they cost $35 to make? Perhaps not, but with so many incentives to buy them, it makes the price worth it. While Van Oakes was CMO at DPG, he baked in $5 for every single product to accommodate for their monthly giveaways.

Registering Your Giveaway

Any giveaway valued over $5,000 should be registered in every state in the United States. Anything less and it’s not necessary to register. You can hire a 3rd party law firm to register your giveaway for you in all 50 states so you don’t have to spend too much time on it. Hiring a law firm to register your giveaway for you will cost between $2,000 to $3,000. 

Have a Clear Start and End Date

People will not enter a giveaway if they’re unsure when it started, and especially when it ended. Set a clear date when it begins. Send out segmented emails, leverage SMS with Via, post about it on your social channels, change your main landing page so it’s clear the giveaway has started. Then clearly communicate when the giveaway will end. Send out marketing material with a clear end date. Those who opt into your text messages will be automatically segmented as an audience, and you can send messages saying how many days are left in the giveaway.

Diesel Power Gear got their Giveaways down to a system where they were wrapping up their giveaways, delivering the reward to the winners and gearing up for the next one within a single month. They are able to run Giveaways effectively every single month. 

K.I.S.S. (Keep It Super Simple)

Too often Van would see brands on social media running giveaways that were too complicated. To enter their giveaways, a consumer would have to like the post, add themselves as a follower, tag 5 friends, share the post on their personal stories, etc. etc. That was simply too much work for anyone to enter a giveaway.

Rather than putting customers through so many hoops, have one clear call to action, and build a system so that you do all the work, and they do the least amount. That enables them to want to buy more, and make the entry experience incredibly easy. For Diesel Power Gear, they designed the system so that for every $5 a customer spends on their store, they would get 1 entry to win the giveaway. That meant all a customer would have to do is spend money on products, and wrack up the entries and increase their odds of winning their very own truck.

Keep Your Giveaway Front and Center on Your Website

In Van’s experience, if you send out promotions for your giveaway, and the customer then clicks into your website and there is nothing about the giveaway on any part of your site, it will greatly discourage people from actually continuing on their journey to buy and gain entries for the giveaway. Keep the giveaway prize front and center on your website so people know it is still currently happening, and they have incentive to buy more.

Q&A with Van Oakes

Van was gracious enough to stay after and answer questions. The following questions and answers were fielded and answered by Van.

How Many Followers Are Enough to Start Larger Giveaways?

You can get started as soon as you feel that you will be able to break even on the amount of revenue you make. I personally like to spend no more than 10% of monthly revenue on a giveaway. Because the thing about a larger giveaway is that even if you get to the end date of a giveaway and haven’t made back in revenue the amount you invested, you have to follow through with that giveaway. It’s legally binding that you have to finish, and you can’t extend the giveaway. I would suggest you start small, and work your way up to a larger one.

What Giveaway Entry Requirements Should I Follow so I Still Follow Facebook and Instagram Community Guidelines?

The short answer is that somebody without money should be able to enter your giveaway. In a nutshell, that’s the law. The way we ensure that is at Diesel Power Gear we enable mail-in entries. If you don’t have money and you see a giveaway going on and it’s registered, you can send in a postcard as an entry. You don’t have to have that on your home page as you’re advertising the giveaway, you just have to have it on your official rules. Facebook doesn’t allow lotteries. So when you include a mail-in option for someone who doesn’t have money that makes it a sweepstakes - not a lottery - and it’s legal.

How Much Should You Pay Your Influencers for a Large Giveaway?

I would make sure you know your influencers well if you’re going to go into a $100,000 giveaway. You should know which ones convert before you try that out. Focus on engagement rate, do not focus just on follower count. 

You can pay them on a pay per post, or I have found what works best for me is a revenue split. Set it up so that any sales that they specifically bring in, you give them a portion of the sale. If that works well, then the final step I would suggest would be equity. If they are working on a regular basis, maybe you can make a deal with them where they can get a portion of the pie so they can come over and do it with you regularly.

Connect with your customers today.

Try using Via with our free demo today!
Request a Demo