Online Marketing Symposium

Welcome to the Online Marketing Symposium, hosted by the amazing Arlee BirdYolanda ReneeJeremy Hawkins, and
Alex J. Cavanaugh. We're talking marketing---what works and what doesn't.

I've yet to strike sustainable sales nirvana, so today I plan to mostly keep my mouth shut and listen. But I'd like to share with you a few observations I've made in the last year about using giveaways as a marketing tool.

#1 Giveaways don't translate into a noticeable increase in sales. BUT they are great for increasing followers on Facebook, Twitter, etc., which could lead to future sales if I ever figure out how to effectively use those social networks.

#2 Giveaways work better when I keep it simple. The tasks to earn entries must be straight forward and instantly complete-able. I ran a giveaway that required entrants to leave a review in order to enter, and that was too weighty of a requirement. By the time I figured that out and made the requirements simpler, I'd already confused everyone too much, and that giveaway never really picked up any steam.

#3 Don't limit yourself to the usual  "Like" my Facebook page and Tweet this. I've used giveaways to drive my books up Goodreads lists and soon I plan to use one to get YouTube views on a book trailer.

#4 Gift cards get more entries than book giveaways. Even if it's just $5. Lately I've offered a gift card plus a choice of one of my books, and that combo seems to have worked pretty well.

#5 Giveaways work better when it's a team effort. Whether it's one big giveaway that a bunch of authors/bloggers are in on or a hop in which participants post their individual giveaways, I get way more entries than if I'm running a giveaway all on my own---simply because there are many more people out there talking it up.

Click on any of the host links above or the image for more symposiumers.


Stephen Tremp said…
I totally agree about the $5.00 gift cards. I can get a good download for that. This way I can select the book I want to read.
Always keep it simple. And people do like the gift cards better.
Thanks for participating in the symposium!
Unknown said…
Good advice about the gift card- I know that always draws my attention.
Jeremy [Retro] said…
Great ideas on the giveaways... i had a book tour and gave away stuff i thought was cool, sadly it didn't generate a audience.

Jeremy H.

There's no earthly way of knowing.
Which direction we are going!
I totally agree with you on the complicated giveaways, Nicki. If stuff is too hard to figure out, I just walk away. Thanks for the gift card idea! Will try it!
Good points! Thanks for sharing!
Unknown said…
I'm a huge fan of the giveaways. I participate in monthly giveaway hops just for the fun of it! (helps that my publishers allow me ecopies of their releases to give away as prizes!)

My last blog tour I added in $ prizes rather than just books & swag. You're right - I gained a lot more using $ than not.

Thanks for the insight!

Terri @ Scribbler's Sojourn
Carrie-Anne said…
Promotion, giveaways, etc., definitely seem to go better if it's a big team effort, not just one person doing it all on one's own. I also think it's best to keep giveaways simple, without a huge, complicated amount of possible entries.
Crystal Collier said…
What an interesting idea: a giveaway to promote a youtube video. I love it!

(And I totally agree about cash to book mixes and multiple authors. All good stuff.)
I agree with the Amazon Gift cards and keeping it simple. I'm running a Giveaway now and it's going well, but as far as sales, who knows.
I agree with the gift card thing and doing the group giveaways. Great post.
Chrys Fey said…
I haven't done many giveaways, but I plan to int he future, so thank you very much for the useful tips!
Christine Rains said…
Great tips! I'm learning that gift cards do generate more attention. And I need to get involved in more group giveaways! Thanks for sharing with us.
Tara Tyler said…
love the "views on book trailer" idea! using it!

soon, i'll be doing giveaways for my next book! and i'll be hitting you up for a blog tour stop! (i'm always available for you too!)

no one really knows how to use those confounded social sites - they're just one more thing youngsters do to baffle us! (and then they go hide out on instagram! ha ha)

tweet tweet!
Honestly, that is the one gift card I really, really treasure - great advice. Thanks for participating!
Arlee Bird said…
Your observations are gems that contributed greatly to What Works.... I've won several books and other things and it's a cool way to generate interest. I almost always review the books that I win--it's the best I can do in return.

Thanks for adding your knowledge to What Works....

Tossing It Out
SittieCates said…
Group giveaways? Cool! Haven't tried that yet.

I've won books through giveaways and also did some of my own. It's fun and really helps get the word out.

The Musings of a Hopeful and Pecunious Wordsmith
Anonymous said…
Giveaways + gift cards does seem to be the magic potion. Thanks for sharing your tips! And Happy New Year to you!
Anonymous said…
I like the idea of a team effort for the giveaway best. Also, the cash vs. free book offer - perhaps this can be an option, in the giveaway, so the participant can decide what he wants more.
Sherry Ellis said…
I agree that gift card giveaways work best. Then people can get whatever they want.
Kittie Howard said…
I agree that some of the contests/giveaways tend to be too complicated. I like gift cards and am thinking about offering a couple. My hesitation revolves around those who work the gift card route and quickly move on.
Tammy Theriault said…
I have to admit...if I am going to win something, I'm more likely to participate. so yes to that!!
Liz Blocker said…
I don't know, Nicki, this seems like pretty great advice to me - I think you might be underselling yourself! I'm gonna bookmark this one and come back to it when it's giveaway time :)
It's always interesting to me to learn how different results come with giveaways. Some people rave about them others are disillusioned. Thanks for sharing your insights, Nicki!
Good ideas. I think most everyone likes a gift card and combined with your book makes it a great deal. Thanks.
Thanks! Someday this advice will come in handy! Christy
Trisha said…
This is all great advice! Thanks for sharing :)

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