Thank you so much for your participation in our recent giveaway experiment using Rafflecopter. I read every one of your comments and appreciate your thoughtful feedback. Some of the things that were said made me feel like I should clarify our giveaway philosophy and also make a decision about how we would use a tool like Rafflecopter. Giveaways are a huge part of the online craft community, but I haven’t see a lot of disclosure or discourse about what bloggers and businesses are thinking when they do one, so here goes.
Giveaways are Cool but Content is our Priority
Great prizes have always been part of our blog model. We work closely with lots of different companies to run amazing product giveaways we think you’d love to win. Sometimes a giveaway makes the difference between someone looking at the excerpt in their feed reader and making the jump over to the blog, which is one of our goals. But mostly we work on developing unique, well-written sewing content. We don’t want to cram promotions down your throat all the time so we try to find a good balance. For the most part, we usually include a giveaway as part of more meaty content rather than have it stand alone. Our philosophy is this–readers should take something away from their visit to our blog even if they don’t win the prize.
Jumping Through Hoops is Lame
We completely understand that you don’t want to jump through a million hoops in order to enter a giveaway. As we mentioned at the start of our last Giveaway Day, we know it is annoying when you have to go to Facebook, then Twitter, sign up for a newsletter, come back to the blog and then do 10 pushups. For that reason, we will probably stick with a model of one entry per person, but with choices so you can either Like, Tweet, comment, etc.
Participation is Valuable
Let’s say we have a new tutorial written by a guest contributor. The contributor put a lot of effort into it and it is the best tutorial EVER. We get 20,000 unique visitors that day but because there is no giveaway at the end, you know how many comments it gets? About 15. If, however, we have a giveaway and ask people to comment, here is what happens:
- The hard-working author gets some props.
- We get feedback about what you like, what you don’t like, what questions you have, etc. Market research.
- Potential advertisers who aren’t looking at our analytics have a better idea of who is stopping by and what is happening here. 300 comments is more appealing to them than 15 even if it is the same number of eyes looking at the site.
- Now this is just the educator in me talking, but I believe that if you have to act on something, it sets it in your brain better. If you look at a great tutorial for a handbag, I believe you will be more likely to remember it and where you saw it if you have to construct a sentence about it. (But I admit I could completely off base on that one.)
Social Media has its Place
We have always been proud of the genuine community of sewists that we’ve been a part of. We love to facilitate interactions among people, the sharing of ideas, the advancement of skills and authentic dialog about the sewing industry. We can do that here, on the blog, but we also find that social media can be very useful for communicating small bits of information, tracking trends and talking to people. We’d love to have you join us on some of these other sites, but we completely understand if you don’t want to do that. Unless there is a good, relevant reason, we won’t force involvement in social media in order to participate in blog giveaways. (Although we may conduct giveaways or other promotions on the other sites as well as the blog.)
Rafflecopter is a Winner!
I’d say the majority of feedback about Rafflecopter was positive. We won’t use it all the time, but we’ll definitely put it in our toolbox. Thanks for your honest opinions, both positive and negative.
What are your thoughts about giveaways? If you use them, do you have guiding principles to help you decide when or how?
PS–The Too Muchery giveaway is still open through today.
PPS–The team at Rafflecopter also appreciates your feedback and want you to know that some of the concerns you had will be addressed in the next release, which is coming out in a few weeks. Since Rafflecopter is still in it’s early stages and you have to wait for an invitation, they’ve offered our readers a pass to the front of the line. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/+me/sewmamasew/
PPPs–I have to clarify that nearly all the giveaways and contests we’ve ever hosted have been open to international entries. We ship scores of Free Fabric Friday winners as well as dozens of books and other prizes to international winners every year.