How I Run Giveaways to 2x Traffic & Conversions (Case Study)

When WPBeginner turned 14 years old in 2023, we threw a giveaway to celebrate, which is a long-standing tradition we’ve been following for over a decade now.

One of the questions I often get asked is why we run giveaways on WPBeginner.

With the giveaway, I wanted to say thanks to everyone who supports WPBeginner and use the opportunity to supercharge our growth.

The birthday giveaway was a huge success. You may be wondering exactly what I did so you can use the same method to grow your own email list and conversions.

In this article, I will share how I planned and ran a giveaway on WPBeginner that grew our email subscribers while boosting our social media followers and more.

Note: This article is part of our WPBeginner Insider series, where we explain things we do at WPBeginner.

Why I Run Giveaways to Grow Our Email List

Before I get into the nitty-gritty details of a viral giveaway, you might be wondering why I decided to run a giveaway.

Running the birthday giveaway in the first week of July is a long-standing tradition I’ve been following for over a decade at WPBeginner.

It is, indeed, one of the ways I choose to give back to the WPBeginner community.

Over the years, we’ve gifted several giveaway prizes like laptops, premium WordPress plugins, 1-hour mentoring calls with me, and even an all-expense paid trip to Florida, where I live, so I can offer a 1-1 mentorship.

viral giveaway winner

It’s also the time of the year when I look back on things I did in the previous years, communicate with our audience, and plan a year ahead.

To celebrate the birthday to the fullest with our audience, I wanted to ensure maximum reach for our giveaway.

I use viral sharing (refer-a-friend) to spread the word, which in turn helps us supercharge our user growth in terms of email subscribers, social media users, website engagement, and more.

Here are the lessons I learned by running annual birthday giveaways at WPBeginner.

1. Select the Right Prize That Connects with the Audience

The first thing you need to do is choose an attractive prize that will generate excitement and encourage your visitors to participate in the giveaway.

At WPBeginner, I often give away free licenses of WordPress plugins and themes to our winners. As you might already know, I run giveaways on several of my other brands. For example, WPForms runs monthly giveaways of cool gadgets such as MacBooks.

Because our 14th birthday was a big celebration, we offered a big prize: premium plugins worth $50,000.

I also decided to have multiple winners to encourage our readers and offer them a bigger chance to win.

Giveaway Preview

A big lesson I learned is that giveaways don’t always have to be expensive, but they should be exciting enough. So, choose a prize that connects with your business and target audience. For example, many online stores award free products, free shipping, or gift cards.

2. Choose the Right Giveaway Tool

To create our birthday giveaway, I used RafflePress, one of my portfolio products, which is a WordPress giveaway plugin that lets you create all kinds of contests using a simple drag-and-drop editor.

RafflePress is designed to entice users to engage with giveaways while also growing our email list, site traffic, and social media followers.

No matter which giveaway plugin you use, make sure it encourages your site visitors to make multiple entries to stand a chance to win.

While I used the premium version, there is also a free version of RafflePress that you can use to get started. You can see our complete RafflePress review for more details.

I quickly created a new giveaway using the Classic Giveaway template. Instead of listing all of the prizes on the entry form, I just entered a simple and descriptive title. Then described the prizes in more detail in our birthday blog post.

RafflePress Setup Details

On the plugin’s Setup page, I entered the start date as July 4th, WPBeginner’s birthday, and an end date 9 days later. That gave our readers plenty of time to enter the contest while still being short enough to create a sense of urgency.

At the top of the entry form, I displayed the user’s number of entries, the total number of entries across all users, and the time remaining before the competition closed.

3. Choose a Goal for Your Giveaway

It’s important to keep your giveaway campaign focused by setting a goal. If you aim at nothing, then you’ll probably hit it.

Online brands often use giveaways to encourage their customers to post reviews on review websites like Solution Center, TrustPilot, and G2.com. This helps brands foster trust among potential customers when they compare products online.

Another popular goal website owners often set is growing email subscribers. Your email list is crucial because it gives you direct access to our users’ inboxes and allows you to send them personalized content, offers, news, and more.

Fact: According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing, on average, sees a 4300% return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the USA.

Similarly, you can incentivize users to join you on social media, leave a blog comment, and more.

Here is a screenshot from last year’s giveaway:

Ways to Enter the Giveaway

4. Use Viral Sharing to Supercharge Your Growth

Whenever I run a birthday giveaway at WPBeginner, I ensure it’s easy for our readers to spread the word about the giveaway with viral sharing. This is a method of incentivizing users to supercharge your growth.

No matter what your goals are with your giveaway, you can add them as an action and encourage users to take that action. On top of that, by adding social sharing action, you can bring in more users to your giveaway as well.

RafflePress actions are the things that people need to do to enter your giveaway. They are the key to maximizing your giveaway’s conversions.

RafflePress comes with lots of different actions, so you just need to choose the ones that help you achieve your goals.

RafflePress Actions to Get More Subscribers

Actions are grouped into ones that let you get more subscribers, get more social engagement, and get more traffic.

For example, some of the actions that can help you get more subscribers include joining an email newsletter, visiting a YouTube channel, and visiting us on Facebook. These all align with the goals we set for our giveaway.

You can add as many actions as you like. Offering multiple entry methods encourages more participants to enter and can grow your following across multiple social media platforms.

RafflePress will track how many people use these actions individually so you can see how many new subscribers have been added to your email list and social channels from the giveaway.

I added 11 entry methods in total and dragged the most important ones to the top of the list, starting with ‘Join the WPBeginner Email Newsletter’.

Ways to enter WPBeginner giveaway

After that, I customized each of these actions.

I gave the email newsletter action a value of ‘+3’. This gives the user 3 entries into the competition instead of 1. The extra value will encourage users to complete this action because it gives them a bigger chance to win.

Increasing the Value of a RafflePress Action

I also gave higher values to joining our Facebook group (+5) and visiting our YouTube channel (+4) because they align with our goals. I gave ‘Refer a Friend’ the value of +4 per referral to encourage users to share the giveaway with their friends.

Besides that, I enabled the ‘Trigger on Sign Up’ option. This will automatically add users to our email list when they sign up for the giveaway.

The best thing is that RafflePress comes with integrations for the best email marketing services, such as Drip. This saved us a ton of time and effort.

I set up the ‘Join an Email Newsletter’ action to automatically add users to our email list.

RafflePress Integrations

Note: During this giveaway, we were using Mailchimp for our email list, but we’ve since moved to Drip. You can check out our WPBeginner Insider post to see why we switched from MailChimp to Drip.

5. Spread the Word

I created a new post on WPBeginner talking about what we achieved in our 14th year and introducing the competition.

RafflePress lets you easily add your giveaway to your WordPress website using a WordPress block, shortcode, or dedicated landing page.

All we had to do was drag the RafflePress block into our post and select the correct giveaway from the dropdown menu.

This allowed our visitors to enter the competition during the dates that it was active. Once the competition was closed, it automatically displayed a notification that ‘This giveaway has ended’ and didn’t allow further entries.

Next, we promoted the competition on our social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. We explained the giveaway and linked back to our 14th birthday blog post.

Promoting Our Giveaway on Facebook

It’s always a good idea to make it clear who is eligible to participate. RafflePress lets you generate rules and terms and links to them at the bottom of the entry form.

6. Pick Giveaway Winners

If a lot of people enter your giveaway or competition, then choosing a winner can be difficult and time-consuming. Luckily, RafflePress makes it easy.

Once the competition is closed, a ‘Pick Winner’ button will appear at the top of the campaign.

Choosing a winner for an online giveaway

When you click this button, you will be asked how many winners you want to pick and whether to only consider users who verified their email.

Upon clicking the ‘Choose Winners Now’ button, RafflePress quickly chose the winners for us, taking into account how many entries each user had.

Once the winners were selected, we contacted each one by email. If you only have a few winners, then you simply click the ‘Email Winner’ link under each winning user.

However, if you have hundreds of winners like we did, then you can save time by exporting the users and importing them into your favorite email marketing service.

Finally, we updated our blog post to state that the competition was closed and all winners had been contacted.

Final Thoughts

RafflePress works well for giveaways of all sizes, even those with tens of thousands of entries. I used it for our 14th birthday giveaway celebration, and RafflePress’ advanced features and usable interface made the whole process effortless despite the 20,000+ participants.

The free RafflePress plugin comes with a customizable Classic Giveaway template and is perfect for blogs, non-profits, and new businesses looking to grow their social media engagement.

The RafflePress Pro plan also connects to the best email service providers, making it the best choice if you want to grow your email list.

Overall, we recommend RafflePress for online businesses and eCommerce stores that wish to use giveaways and competitions to get more subscribers, improve their social engagement, and increase their website traffic.

Expert Guides on Using Giveaways in WordPress

Now that you know how powerful giveaways can be, you can follow these guides to do the same on your own WordPress website:

We hope you found this article helpful in finding out how to run a successful viral giveaway. You may also want to see our guide on proven ways to make money online blogging with WordPress or our expert pick of the best social media plugins for WordPress.

If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our YouTube Channel for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.

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