If you’re a social animal online, you must have seen giveaways being hosted on various platforms across the internet.
One peculiar type that I’ve often seen on Linkedin seems to perform quite well. Inspired by its success, I ended up doing one for Inc42.
Results – 3000+ subscribers in 3 days and nearly 15% of them explicitly shared about the giveaway on their social media. Not a bad outcome for a day’s work.
I’ll take you through the anatomy of the Linkedin giveaway but before that, if you aren’t familiar with Linkedin Giveaways, check these posts:
To begin with, let’s lay out the basic truth in case it eludes you – the most important aspect of the Giveaway contest is for people to use the comment box so the post automatically spreads in their network which in turn increases the virality of the post, exposing it to new people who further perpetuates the cycle.
However, what fascinates me the most is the part where we ask readers to do something in the comment box because it directly impacts the virality. And mind you, it’s not easy because you have to be convincing enough to the reader on why they should comment when it’s not even benefiting them.
These are some of the approaches used in the giveaway posts I showed you above:
To me, these are not the most ideal approach because frankly, you can get a reader to comment only if:
- You make it mandatory to comment without which the reader won’t get the giveaway (you need to have a strong reason to make commenting mandatory and a way to cross-reference if someone commented or not), or
- You persuade readers by showing “what’s in it for them?” (there’s usually no real incentive for a reader to comment) or
- Play an emotional card of being a small business, charity, startup, or any other type of organisation that seems to be a minority, and ask for help. (Doesn’t ensure that everyone will fall for the emotional trap)
Either way asking readers to use the comments box is a tricky business. So how should we go about it?
Here’s what I did…
This giveaway got us nearly 10x new subscribers in three days as compared to our daily average. Not a bad ROI for a marketing campaign that just needed a mere repackaging of our existing content and setting up an automated email system.
Without losing track, here’s the full story of how we ran a decently successful Linkedin giveaway with just a day’s work…
The Linkedin Giveaway
Our giveaway was a free ebook that contained the list of 43 most active angel investors for startups, taken from an article that was published on Inc42 in 2015. We updated it in 2018 and converted this amazing content into a lead magnet in the form of an ebook.
In the meantime, we created the simplest landing page on our website to collect the name and email address of the visitors and linked it from the giveaway post.
Since our Editor-in-chief has over 400,000 followers on her Linkedin profile, it served as the perfect platform to host the giveaway.
Let’s look at how the giveaway post was structured…
If you observe carefully, I’ve used a modified version of Simon Sinek’s golden circle in this post. Why?
Because presenting the “How” before explaining “What” would look a bit weird in this case. If I tell you how to get something without telling you what is it that you’re getting, you’d call me a fool. And of course, there’s no doubt that we should always start with “Why”.
If you’re wondering why the first sentence of the post was written that way, the answer is simple…
Most people would see a collapsed version of this post in their Linkedin feed where only the first sentence is visible.
This makes the first sentence critical in conveying what the post is about while creating intrigue among the readers.
Now let’s move to the most important part, convincing your readers to comment.
You’ll notice that my approach in this giveaway was to make commenting mandatory and I reinforced that in multiple ways:
- Strong Reasoning: Instead of playing an emotional card or showing ‘what’s in it for them?’, my reasoning was to eliminate spam. This is why I clearly stated the reasoning in the first point – “so I can verify it’s you who is requesting for an ebook in the next step”.
- Reinforcing verification: in the second step, I reiterated that “I’ll quickly verify and send you the download link asap” which indicates that there is a verification system in place and unless you comment you won’t get the ebook. I further solidified it at the end by reiterating yet again – “Make sure that you complete both the steps above…”
- Landing Page: On the landing page the readers were asked to fill out their name and email which makes it possible for my team to verify if the reader left a comment. Whether we verify or not is a secondary question but making your readers believe that there is a mechanism in place for verification would make them more likely to comment.
Sending Out The Ebook
This was done by connecting the form on the landing page with our email marketing system and setting up an autoresponder email which was triggered one hour after the form was filled by the reader.
This one hour delay was added on purpose to give the feeling that the ebook was sent after manual verification. Sending out the ebook immediately would be a dead giveaway that this system was automated.
Looking at the content of this email, if I only send out the download link to the ebook, my engagement with the reader will end with this email. The reader would simply download the ebook and move on, which isn’t enough for me.
The autoresponder email is the perfect time for an upsell because your reader just got what they wanted and is now in a happy zone. This is an ideal opportunity to offer another valuable resource in exchange for a small action. This is why invoice emails are also a great place to upsell (will expand more on this in another post).
To further engage the readers I used P.S. to offer them another valuable resource, very similar to the one they already opted for. But with a caveat…
Readers interested in the ‘Top 58 Venture Capital Firms’ ebook would need to share the ebook page to unlock the download link which adds more virality to the process. This was done by hiding the link behind a content locker, created using the Social Locker plugin.
But this isn’t the end. There’s one more element that can’t be overlooked…
Marketing The Giveaway Contest
If you want the maximum ROI, like every marketing campaign you’ll need to seed the giveaway contest too. We did this in three ways:
- Hosting the giveaway contest using our Editor-in-chief’s Linkedin profile with over 400,000 followers.
- Spreading the word about the giveaway among our readers using all the marketing channels of Inc42.
- Unlocking the ‘Top 58 Venture Capital Firms’ ebook also increased our organic reach as readers shared the giveaway page through their social profiles.
In the end, our objective was to bring maximum people on the Linkedin Giveaway post which was achieved using all the official and personal channels of the company and our team members.
So far so good. But once the giveaway is done, you still need to convert your new subscribers to regular readers…
Converting New Subscribers To Regular Readers
This part is important because facilitating a smooth transition at this stage will directly impact the retention of new subscribers.
There are three major steps to ensure you have a higher retention:
Step 1 – Providing a WOW experience to the new subscribers
Since 85% of our giveaway subscribers did not click on the ‘Top 58 Venture Capital Firms’ ebook in the first email, we knew this was a missed opportunity.
We turned this missed opportunity in our favour by sending another email to our giveaway subscribers (four days later), giving them the direct download link to the ‘Top 58 Venture Capital Firms’ ebook. This worked really well because nobody expected a second free ebook which became a pleasant surprise for most people.
This was evident from the numerous responses, thanking us for sending them the second ebook. Our new subscribers loved the unexpected gift.
Step 2 – Welcoming and educating your new subscribers to make them feel at home
To fulfill the second step, we started a series of email autoresponders with the goal to give our new subscribers a warm welcome and to educate them about what we do, while giving them more valuable resources.
Curious to read the autoresponder sequence used for these new subscribers? You can get them by downloading this free ebook.
Step 3 – Prominently give them the choice to opt out
You’ll notice that in both the emails sent to our giveaway subscribers, we clearly mentioned that they would receive regular newsletters from us and prominently gave them the choice to unsubscribe. Surprisingly, the unsubscribe rate from these emails was negligible – 0.2%.
The giveaway turned out to be fairly successful and reached half a million people organically, which would otherwise have costed us.
Also, the last step of converting the new subscribers to regular readers was a big win because out of all the people who requested for an ebook, less than 1% unsubscribed.
Most of the elements of this giveaway worked well but moving forward as I host more giveaways, I would test ‘The Ask’ to further increase the virality. If you have any ideas in mind, feel free to share them in the comments.