Why You Should NEVER Use FREE Giveaways to Promote Your Digital Goods Online?

24 replies
I recently ran a promotion on a leading platform to run contests, sweepstakes, and giveaways. The short version of this post is; it was a total waste of time, effort, and thank goodness it only cost $40.

I quickly built a small list of roughly 1,000 subs and none of them bought anything. In fact, I had to cancel the giveaway due to folks spamming entries. It's amazing the effort folks will put into trying to get something for free.

I learned the hard way that when you run free giveaways you're attracting folks who want something for free and buying anything is totally out of the question.

My products average $148 and I smoke tested a $10 product for FINAL validation to the list of roughly 1,000 subs. Not a single person was willing to plunk down 10 bucks, whereas over 300 have paid an average of $148. So, that was all the validation I needed that the list was garbage.

In the process I did pick up many social media followers, particularly on Twitter and their retweets have helped me to attract serious buyers...

So, if you're looking to pay for a service that will give you the ability to run free giveaways, and you expect to make money from the subs you gain - think again. If you're determined to run a free giveaway, run it yourself vs. paying any SaaS company for poor results.

Again, it can be a great tool to grow your social media following. That's the only application I see it being useful for honestly.

If you're starting out with zero social media followers for instance, these giveaway apps may help you to quickly gain followers so that FUTURE, real prospective customers come to your page and can say; "he or she is not just some person with 4 followers."

I would NOT recommend that you use it to get views or YouTube subscribers because there's no short cutting your way to lots of views and subs on YouTube. I'm seeing channels with millions of subs struggling to get 20,000 views because they went about getting those millions of subs the wrong way.

What do you guys think? Have free giveaways been worth the time, effort, and money for you?
#digital #free #giveaways #goods #online #promote
  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    Sounds like something is waaaay off in how you're doing things... there are too many variables to think about to know for sure without looking at it in depth.

    Originally Posted by TheBigBee View Post

    What do you guys think? Have free giveaways been worth the time, effort, and money for you?
    Absolutely.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
      I did a poor job of creating context for this. I was offering an item that could be sold for $750 for free vs. "free ebook on some thing"
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    • Profile picture of the author kevin2018
      I guess you subs might not be targeted enough, especially if you run it through an agency or third party, because what they care about is the amount of subs, not how targeted those subs are.
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  • Profile picture of the author yukon
    Banned
    This isn't true. Free is a great traffic lure for selling.

    Matter of fact there's a name for it, freemium. It works on any scale and multi-million dollar businesses are built on the concept.
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    • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
      I guess I should have contextualized it more. The standard IM playbook is "offer free thing (info)" + get sub + send offers. But, offering something of tangible value (worth $750 in actual cash value) turned out to be a disaster for me. Offering free info on my YT channel is my way of "hooking them."
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
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        Originally Posted by TheBigBee View Post

        I guess I should have contextualized it more. The standard IM playbook is "offer free thing (info)" + get sub + send offers. But, offering something of tangible value (worth $750 in actual cash value) turned out to be a disaster for me. Offering free info on my YT channel is my way of "hooking them."


        Well you're obviously not going to get everyone to convert into a sale, that's not the entire point of a free lure.

        Even traffic that doesn't buy is useful assuming what you offer is wanted. I have freebie seekers that build organic backlinks to my sites. That's valuable and spares me the expense of driving even more traffic back to the sites. There's still buyers mixed in with that traffic that would have never found my site If it wasn't for the organic link builders.

        My sites are downloadable niche files.
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        • Profile picture of the author TheBigBee
          I guess it's dependent on biz model. In my case, there would have been a raffle, and one winner selected to receive a tangible good in the mail. The item was marketed to the EXACT same audience that buys stuff via YT. I totally did not expect everyone to convert to a sale, that's silly. However, I expected there to be enough sales to at MINIMUM break even on oppty costs. I could sell the item for $750, so I needed at least 6 sales for my stuff which averages $150 to break even. I was totally flabbergasted at not being able to get a single sale out of 1,000 users whereas, the list I grew without offering free stuff would have generated 50 sales at an average of $150 per 1,000 opt ins.

          I'm not much into the SEO stuff - again, my offer is best suited to being marketed on YT because I can make really engaging videos that tell the story about the value I propose to deliver. But, I see how offering free content (downloadable) can work as I used free eBooks to build a consulting practice years ago.
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          • Profile picture of the author quadagon
            Originally Posted by TheBigBee View Post

            I guess it's dependent on biz model. In my case, there would have been a raffle, and one winner selected to receive a tangible good in the mail. The item was marketed to the EXACT same audience that buys stuff via YT. I totally did not expect everyone to convert to a sale, that's silly. However, I expected there to be enough sales to at MINIMUM break even on oppty costs. I could sell the item for $750, so I needed at least 6 sales for my stuff which averages $150 to break even. I was totally flabbergasted at not being able to get a single sale out of 1,000 users whereas, the list I grew without offering free stuff would have generated 50 sales at an average of $150 per 1,000 opt ins.
            As mentioned earlier there are two many variables.

            One thing I did notice is that you ran a competition not a giveaway. The psychology of the user is different.

            Did the 1000 people who entered receive anything or just the 1 winner.
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  • Profile picture of the author xeniux
    I think every one love free stuff and it is a great traffic source.

    If you dont get the result that you want, then it might not the right audience that you are targeting.

    You might need to target the audience that had interest on your business niche.

    Best,

    Xen
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  • Profile picture of the author newbieleoling
    There are a lot factors to this question about giving free gift or info. Is really depend on your target audience and market.

    However, I still believe the more you give, the more it will come back to you. And we can't disagree that people love free, discount, offer and promotion which will make the sales process easier. And the main task of the free gift is to let them know who are you and build your rapport with them.

    Leo
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  • Profile picture of the author ryanbiddulph
    For me, giving content away for free was the quickest, most painful and most agonizing way for me to detach from money outcomes - sales profits money etc etc - which of course, was the quickest and clearest way for me to make money and boost my sales.

    Most marketers do things 100% from a conditional place. I am doing this to get something, solely. Or I give away this product just to get something out of it, a subscriber, or a sale down the road. Not the way to go. Because conditional giving creates a sort of torture that will drive you batty. You forget the concept of generosity, close your heart and make things harder on yourself.

    I found that giving freely helped me make more money. Because I was less concerned with getting and more with giving, so when I did begin to monetize, the free content I offered had inspired my audience to trust me, so the gobbled up my premium content - eBooks services courses etc - and the profits increased.
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    • Profile picture of the author Susan Melin
      I agree with you, Ryan, on giving out as much free quality info as you can, with no conditions attached. After people sign up for three or four lists with excellent, compelling content, they will naturally want to find out more about you.
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  • Profile picture of the author Profit Traveler
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    Good topic for discussion TheBigBee that is so great about this forum we can all add our experiences and insights and keep these in mind for future projects or as we make recommendations to others.
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  • Profile picture of the author Dewsteel
    It looks like you targeted freebie seekers. I wouldn't expect contest/sweepstake/giveaway participants to be buyers.
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  • Profile picture of the author dee4d
    When you establish yourself as an expert in your area, it will be easy to sell. This will work for all, including those that you describe as looking for something free. What has worked for me is first endearing them with high quality content to meet their needs, then offering them the highly needed product/service.
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  • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
    Most people here are going to advocate freebie funnel and single optin. I find that approach to just be a waste of my time.

    I use double optins only, and build list of buyers, not freebie seekers. That means that instead of free, I will offer something very cheap, perhaps typical $19.97 product (my own or from JV partners, and something that slowed down in sales already so it is not a big loss, with upsell) for $0.97.

    Key difference is that it eliminates all the worthless waste of time freebie seekers who will never give you a single dollar. If individual is willing to give you even 1 penny, you KNOW they CAN make future purchase. But giving away freebie just to be pushed into higher bracket with your list host, spending extra hundred bucks per month so you can brag how you got list of 2 million, with less than 0.2% CTR, I see no point in that. I'd rather keep my 250k list with over 20% buying something at least once every 3 months.
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  • Profile picture of the author ChrisBa
    I think it really depends on the audience. I've run giveaways in some niches and it's done well. I tried a giveaway and coupon site and those were busts.
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  • Profile picture of the author Reed Floren
    What giveaway service did you use? There may be a few other ways to make money with that list versus selling products. (solo ads, CPA, etc)
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  • Profile picture of the author missmystery
    Give people value, give them something cool that other people can't offer. You can monetize any decent traffic if done the right way.
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  • Profile picture of the author jamie3000
    Think it all depends of what you're giving away. Because that will determine the type of person on your list. E.g I give away free internet marketing software but then I know exactly what problem they're trying to solve by what products they download. So it's much easier to turn that freebie into a buyer.
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  • Profile picture of the author dugap3
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    • Profile picture of the author Vex Vane
      "This course you sold me where it says I can grow from 5' 8" to 6' 3" in just 7 days is awesome. Now I will get my raise, all the women will find me attractive, and my confidence will shoot through the roof! The days of me being too short to succeed in life are over! I put you in my will. I put you in my grandmothers will. I'll hook you up with my hot model sister. You are like brother to me now. If I had to choose between Jesus and you, I'd pick you every time!"

      However, I NEVER sold anyone "How to grow taller" product as I believe them to be a scam. So, it was either a troll, or he sent testimonial to a wrong person, either way it is the nicest testimonial I ever got.
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  • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
    If you build a list of people who want to win a free iPad, don't be surprised if they don't buy some other product. They don't want to BUY stuff, they want a free iPad.

    So what good are they?

    Usually, buried in the TOS for the giveaway, there's a clause saying they agree to receive emails from the person running the giveaway "and selected partners".

    By "selected partners", they usually mean anyone who will pony up for a solo ad sent to the list. These mailers make their money when they click Send, not when the recipients take action.
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  • Profile picture of the author Marketing4life
    I don`t really think the traffic you would get with methods like these would really stick. The only way to build up good organic traffic that is consistent, is through excellent content and also, time.
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  • Interesting read, clients of mine have inquired about giveaway sweepstakes for their products and generally had some pretty good traction. May I ask where your 1000 subs came from?
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