How to Run a Successful Book Giveaway Campaign
Updated March 14, 2019
A successful book giveaway campaign takes a bit of foresight and planning.
In an an earlier post, we wrote about the value of book giveaways as a promotional feature.
We highlighted benefits such as:
- Generating buzz & collecting pre-order sales
- Capturing leads
- Increasing audience engagement
You can read more about the value of a free book giveaways here.
In this post, we’ll be covering how to get started with a book giveaway campaign, so you can be successful and hit on all those potential benefits.
Getting Started with a Book Giveaway
Giveaways, freebies, and contests, in all shapes and sizes, are excellent book promotion ideas, but can backfire if not executed properly. You would think, just by the merits of giving something away, it would be a sure win, but a successful book giveaway campaign can take foresight and planning.
Have a Goal & Pick the Right Product to Giveaway
Your desired book promotion goals are fundamentally tied to what type of item you are giving away. For instance, if you are an established publisher promoting a new book in a popular series, you may not want to give away a full copy of the new book—maybe just the first chapter.
Consider these scenarios for publisher and author book giveaways:
- Goal: A new author, trying to garner more readers & increase their brand presence.
Giveaway: A special edition of your first book.
- Goal: A publisher wanting to promote an upcoming new release in a popular series.
Giveaway: A sample chapter of the new release.
- Goal: A publisher or author with an established readership, but looking to increase engagement.
Giveaway: A new supplement to a popular book.
Know Thy Audience
Like any other book promotion idea or campaign, a contest or free giveaway is no different; you need to know where your audience lives and how they interact. Just because it is a giveaway doesn’t mean you throw all the rules of target marketing out the window. Here are a few audience items to consider.
- Where can you best reach your readers?
Which of your platforms has the most engagement? Do you have a large social media following? Do you drive a good amount of traffic to certain pages on your website? Or do you have a large email list?
Discovering where you see the most engagement with your readers is the best place to begin any book promotion campaign, including a book giveaway.
- Be strategic and have a plan.
Don’t just plaster your giveaway all over your website, social media, or blog. You don’t necessarily need to constantly push a book giveaway through every channel, doing that can create information overload.
Be tactful and direct in how and where you talk about your giveaway. Consider your goals and which channel can best achieve them.
- Treat your audience like fans, not customers.
Happily engage with your audience and create a dialogue. Answer questions about the giveaway. Ask questions to gauge their interests and needs. Keep them involved and it is likely they will share with others.
Craft Your Messaging
Now that you know your goals and how to reach your audience, you need to carefully cultivate the messaging in a logical, but natural way. Your message needs to:
- Spark their interest—“Win a FREE copy! The first in a NEW sci-fi series…”
- Pull them in with some kind of benefit—“Be first to own the latest book from . . .”
- Provide a desired call-to-action—“Sign-up for our Newsletter and be entered to win…” or “Click here to provide your email address and download the free book…”
You also need to make sure each book giveaway parameter is clearly stated. Tell people exactly what needs to happen to be entered into the contest or giveaway and what they can expect after that. Example:
“Sign-up for our Newsletter and be entered to win the latest book release from Author X. We will randomly draw the winner next Monday, who will be notified via email, as well as featured in our next Newsletter.”
When you ask customers to take action, you are given the best opportunity to capture a lead. Apart from creating buzz about your books and brand, this is one of the biggest benefits of a book giveaway campaign. Customers get to feel special by qualifying and you get to build and engage your audience. A few common examples include:
- Newsletter subscriptions
- Follows on your blog
- Email capture from book sample downloads
- Email capture from full ebook downloads
Use the information gathered in other book promotion and marketing campaigns.
Follow-up and Praise
If you run a contest, plaster the winner on your social media channels (if they are OK with that). Thank people for signing up for your newsletter or downloading an ebook sample.
Being grateful and giving props is a simple way to encourage further engagement after the fact, which can increase the viral potential of your book promotion, and win customers for life.
There are plenty of ways you can use a book giveaway campaign to achieve specific brand or promotional goals. Determine your giveaway. Choose how to best reach your audience. Execute with energy and gratitude. After all the freebies are collected, eventually, the paid conversions will follow.