There are several ways to promote your blog. Twitter, Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon. The list goes on. Blog giveaways are designed to do two main things:

1. Promote the companies product or service: Usually giveaways are coupled with reviews, or at least a blurb about the product (advertisement). As readers come to the post to enter the giveaway, they read about the product, visit the company’s website and hopefully even if they do not win, that product is on their radar for later.

2. Bring traffic to the blogger’s site: Everyone likes free stuff right? And usually the only requirement for entering the contest is leaving a comment. There is no commitment, shipping is free, and it’s probably a good useful product, again FOR FREE. So, why wouldn’t you enter?

This is what prompted me to write this post. I have done a few giveaways now, with mixed results. If you look at the latest one, Giveaway: Nintendo DSi + 2 Games! ($210 value!), you will see great turnout in the number of comments (entries). Currently that is 669 comments. That is the most comments I have ever gotten on anything. Why? Well, I had some help. I was lucky and got my giveaway shared by someone with massive followers. Not only did this greatly increase my comments, but it brought up my usual traffic in a large way.  But, should this traffic be counted as genuine? Well maybe. And here’s why. This is also why a good giveaway may work. I gained over 200 Facebook LIKES from yesterday’s activity. This now means that my blog is on those readers radars, and from now on when I post a new post, or say anything on FB, it will show up in their stream. Hopefully they will see something else of interest and return to the site. But a great number of those people may never lay an eye on my site again, because after all… they only visited to try to win the DSi.

In the past, I have relied on self-promotion via Twitter (currently over 4600 followers), Facebook (over 700 friends), and a few Ning sites like Mom Bloggers Club, etc. And I have never gotten massive traffic from them, even when I give away good stuff! Here are a few examples:

  • The first giveaway that I ever did was for a $25 iTunes gift card courtesy of Kijiji (now eBay Classifieds). Now TONS of people use iTunes. iPhone’s were at the height of their popularity (yes, they still are), and the gift card could be used to buy music, apps, or whatever on iTunes. The only requirement was that they leave a comment telling me their favorite kids app. I only got 11 comments to that post.
  • Little Debbie Cupcake Giveaway: 32 yummy delicious cupcakes. I had to force my friends to enter to win at gun point. LOL!! Well not really, but I did force a few to enter. I only got 5 comments to that post.
  • Jawbone Icon Bluetooth Giveaway: This is a $100 earpiece. Only 4 people entered!!! 4!!! I just knew that people would be all over that. But nope.
  • Print Giveaways: These never draw a lot of traffic on this blog. However, I have seen the same giveaways get hundreds and hundreds of entries on other blogs.
  • Ti-Nspire Calculator Giveaway: This package was worth around $200. I re-tweeted the hell out of this one, shared it on FB numerous times, told people about it, etc, etc, and still got under 40 comments. But I was very happy with 40, because it was actually the most comments I had gotten on a giveaway to date.

So, what is the key? Obviously, it is ALL in the promotion. Even though I have a decent amount of followers on various social sites, just promoting on my own does not seem to get the word out. It is all about the hype.  I get ok traffic from day to day, but I am not a popular blog by any means, so the posts just were not getting in front of enough eyes.

Now of course I won’t know for a few days or more whether the latest boost from the  DSi giveaway will work to bring visitors back to my site. We will see if my new followers visit again. I sure hope that they will. Now mind you, I have had my site go viral a few other times totally unexpectedly, but I was not prepared for it, so it did not last. It’s hard to keep that up day after day unless you are quick and ready with fresh, useful content.

But for now, my questions to you are…

1. How do you promote your giveaways?

2. Have giveaways worked to bring more traffic to your site?

3. Have you been able to maintain at least some of the traffic boost after the giveaway has passed?

4. When you visit a site just for the purpose of entering a giveaway are you likely to visit again?

5. When entering a giveaway for a product are you likely to still look up and possibly purchase that product at a later date?

Thanks for your input and Happy Thursday! 🙂