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8 Ways to Use Giveaways & Contests to Acquire Customers

Giveaways are fantastic for branding. A successful giveaway can help you to increase your social media presence, boost engagement metrics and even align you with brands that you want to be seen with. However, at the end of the day if it’s sales you’re looking for, then you need to know how you can use giveaways to gain more customers.

How can you convert those engagement metrics, or floods of UGC into trackable sales that you can attribute to your giveaway efforts and ultimately acquire customers?

We’ve listed 8 tips and tricks on how you can frame or host your giveaways to result in ultimate sales conversions. Whether you’re a seasoned pro in the field or you’re just looking to launch your first giveaway let us know your experience in the comments at the end. 

1. Email Capture

One of the simplest routes to acquire more customers is by collecting the emails of everyone who has entered your giveaway and sending them down a nurture journey. By putting one of the barriers of entry to your giveaway as an email capture you can build your client list and segregate them so you know that this section of your list came from XYZ giveaway. Build a funnel that is specific to them and the giveaway they entered. Tailor their journey and in turn they’ll reward your efforts.

Remember, they entered your giveaway because they were interested in what you had to offer, no matter how cold of a lead you think they may be, a lead they still are and interested in your product they are too. Create content that supports that interest. Don’t overpower them with the content though, be sensitive in your delivery and you’ll start to see new customers emerging from the list.

2. Follower Growth

By tailoring your giveaway around (relevant) follower growth, you can reach a wider audience, gain more eyes on what you have to offer and, in turn, acquire more customers. Make sure the entry rules of your giveaway include a follow on your leading social channel and tagging a friend or two, as well. In doing this you help the virality of your giveaway or contest. Pushing a share wherever possible enables you to reach new audiences and expand into them.

You can also do this with hashtags. Today, many are losing faith in hashtags, however it’s still the easiest way to find content that is relevant to you. We’ve listed the 100 most searched hashtags already, take a look and see if some of the hashtags in there are relevant to your brand. Both tagging and hashtag implementation as a strategy implemented will grant your giveaway a follower growth in return. This giveaway follower growth will eventually convert into sales. Although, like no.1 this is a much softer conversion to sales, you can’t argue with quantity alongside quality.

The team over at @chicadegallo held a social media giveaway in partnership with another brand and ensured that entry to the giveaway was a low lift for their consumers but also a high reward for them.

Follower Growth Instagram Giveaway Example


  1. Like this photo
  2. Follow @chicadegallo + @mininatortilla
  3. Tag a friend in the comments
  4. Tag more friends for more chances to win [one tag per comment]

In asking for a follow you ensure that what is now a potential customer has a better opportunity of converting in the near future once you start delivering content on the same channel, once the giveaway is over. 

3. Bring a Buddy

Giveaways don’t always have to be aimed at potential new customers. If you have a product that is best shared, say an experience, then consider targeting your giveaway to your current customer base. Your customers are already your best brand ambassadors and 39% of social media users say they use social to stay up to date with their friends and family (GlobalWebIndex).

Give your customers not only a reason to reach out to their loved ones but potentially a prize they can enjoy with them as well. By gifting the winner a group prize, say a ticket for alongside tickets for four friends you essentially hand your sales in to the hands of your customers. Let them bring you new, like-minded customers to experience your product with and watch their guests return as customers in the future. 

4. The Sampler Route

There’s often a huge pressure on giveaways to have the grandest, most lucrative prizes. However, if you’re looking to convert your entry list into a sales report then actually going with low cost prizes but a lot of them can be the best way. Gift “samplers.”

If your product is fast moving and relatively low-cost then give away a hundred samples rather than a few main products. In doing this you’ll expand your ability to get your product into as many hands as possible and you’ll expand your potential for sales once those samples run out. 

@Birchbox did this perfect with their Giveaway of a new range of hair products by @livingproofinc. Instead of giving away one prize in an effort to gain new customer interest, they ended up giving away ten smaller prizes. This does two things:

  1. It appeals to a wider audience as the prizes are suddenly more attainable, resulting in more entries to your giveaway.
  2. It gets your product in the hands of ten winners rather than just one. That’s ten new brand ambassadors, ten returning customers and ten new audiences for your product to reach!
Sample Instagram Giveaway Example


5. Aim Within Your Demographic

Capitalizing on customer acquisition with a giveaway is all well and good but you need to set up some parameters. If you’ve clearly defined your buyer personas and target demographic then you need to do two things:

  1. Make sure you advertise your giveaway on channels where your buyers are sitting.
    There’s no point trying to reach males in their late 40s on Pinterest when almost 80% of Pinterest users are female (SproutSocial). Identify where your demographic are sitting, on which channel specifically, and reach them there. 
  2. Make sure the barrier of entry is unique to your buyer.
    By making the barrier of entry to your giveaway so specific that only your demographic can enter you filter through those entries that are unlikely to turn into sales further down the line. 

To summarize, identify where your demographic are and create a competition or giveaway that they are in a unique place to enter. For example, if it’s a UGC competition, make sure the requests for UGC are filtered so that the entrant can enter with ease and those irrelevant to your brand can’t. 

Influencer @justatinabit recently teamed up with @HomeGoods and one of the rules to enter the giveaway was:

Tag 3 friends who live nearby in the comments below. Must complete all 3 to enter. No Purch Nec. Open to greater Seattle, WA area residents, 18+.


It’s okay to get specific with your entry rules, especially if you’re a smaller brand or only applicable to a certain geographical area. By closing these boundaries for this contest, @HomeGoods have ensured they’ll reach people within the area they want to and are therefore more likely to acquire customers from this giveaway rather than just followers. 

Instagram Giveaway Example


If you are looking to host your giveaway solely on Instagram then check out our article on 10 Tips to Run a Successful Instagram Giveaway, plus there’s a few industry secrets in there too!

6. Discounts Are Prizes Too!

Your first place giveaway normally needs to be a real prize, whether that’s your product or an experience that you’ve managed to partner with another brand to acquire and offer. However, what about 2nd and 3rd place? Who’s to say we stop there? What about from 4th – 10th? And then 11th – 20th? By opening the floor up to more winners it’s perfectly acceptable to offer them discounts on your product.

For example, the top twenty entries will all win XX% off their next purchase whilst 3rd, 2nd and 1st place receive a unique prize. By doing this you keep everyone happy and open the door for direct point of sales. 

7. Get Time Sensitive

Build an anticipation around the winners of your giveaway, countdown the days until you announce the results and make sure you deliver them via the channel most relevant to you.

@Expedia did this fantastically with their campaign #ThrowMeBack in which they recreated scenes from #TBT posts and literally took customers back to those exact locations. The anticipation around the reveal went viral, everyone loves a before and after photo but a before and after story, that’s another thing! 

Following Expedia’s example and with converting your giveaway entries into customers in mind you need to not only build anticipation but to get time sensitive with what comes next. “Sorry you didn’t win this time, however…” offer up your season sale or campaign within the same winners’ messaging.

This can be done on social media but is often done best via email with social posts pushing people to check their emails for the announcement of the winners. This way you’re not only delivering your consumers the information that potential customers wanted to hear, but you’re also delivering them with a unique opportunity to buy. 

8. Reward Loyalty 

Giveaways don’t always have to be organized. They can be spontaneous and random acts of kindness can be hugely appreciated by your audience base. It’s often considered that there needs to be an event or special occasion to give a brand an excuse to host a giveaway. That’s not the case! By organizing surprise giveaways to your most “loyal” followers, you’re guaranteed to keep your engagement rates high and keep those visits to page and site ticking over.

Build a community of loyal followers by displaying random acts of kindness. This loyalty that you’re building, in the long run, will convert into sales.

How can you do this? Use Social Media Marketing Tools to track your most engaging followers, identify who those “super fans” are, call them out publicly and reward them publicly as well. Perhaps they’re a customer already, perhaps they’ve been sitting in the consideration phase for a while and merely love what you do online. Either way, by acknowledging your thanks to them via a giveaway, you not only encourage others to do the same but you build a stronger connection with a true fan of the brand.

Now it’s up to you

Hopefully this article has managed to inspire you to host a giveaway that is sales orientated and with a conversion to sales in mind. It’s not impossible to acquire customers from giveaways, just ensure that your giveaway or contest is set up for success and you follow some of the tactics we’ve shared above.

Before you start to set up your own giveaway or contest make sure you’re up to date with Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and Twitter’s rules on how to host a giveaway. You don’t want to put in all that work only for your giveaway to be rejected from the social media platform you’re posting on. 

Lastly, ensure you’re able to track the success of your giveaway. Set up KPI’s that will help you to determine the campaign’s success and will dictate how you run future giveaways. If you really want to acquire new customers via your giveaway then you need to be able to know what a new customer looks like!

Make sure you have all the tracking tools in place before launch so that by the time your giveaway ends you can validate your efforts and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. Good luck out there!

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