As you know, I'm always looking for easy and effective methods for growing my audience of awesome and enthusiastic readers. I also feel very passionate about sharing what I learn along the way so I can help other authors save time and create success for themselves.
I think many of us are aware that giveaways can be a fun and effective way to add new readers to our audience, but one tool for giveaways I'd like to discuss is the KingSumo Giveaway plug-in for Wordpress.
I first discovered KingSumo through Nick Stephenson in his online course and decided to take his advice, grab the plug-in for myself, and get to work on building my own list through these types of giveaways. I've done three so far and couldn't be happier with the results. I've also learned some new ninja skill to go with it every time I use it. So I'd love to share those tips and tricks with you today.
Something that is incredibly advantageous about KingSumo is their sharing widget that encourages people to share the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest once they've entered. One might wonder why anyone would want to share a giveaway they're actually entering. Seems like the more people who enter, the less likely they are to win. Which is why everyone receives a certain amount of entries for every person they refer. It gives them an incentive to share and still ups their chances of winning.
If you already have a Wordpress website then you can easily get the plug-in by going to this link here. If you don't have one you'll need to get that set-up first.
Once you get the plug-in and fill out all of the settings, then you can create the actual giveaway. When you're considering the kind of prize you want to give, make sure that it is the kind of prize that will entice the right kind of entrants. In other words, if you're selling custom designed jewelry and you want to build and audience of avid jewelry fans, then the big prize should have something to do with jewelry. Maybe a one-of-a-kind necklace or a gift card to a particularly popular jewelry store.
In our case, we're looking for voracious readers who love our genre of books. A great way to attract readers to your giveaway is by giving away an ereader like a Kindle Fire HD or a Nook. I always do Kindle Fires. It's been my experience that more people will enter for a chance to win that particular ereader.
Nick Stephenson suggested that authors throw in a bonus gift just for entering the contest. I've found this method to be very effective because it gives every entrant a chance to win something even if they don't win the Kindle Fire in the end. So I offer each contestant a free ebook copy of one of my books. I've offered The Healer and My Fair Assassin in previous giveaways.
The most recent KingSumo giveaway I did was for Valentine's Day. I decided to stick with the romance theme and used a free ecopy of my romance novel Marry Your Billionaire as the bonus gift.
Here is what one of those giveaways looked like once it was all set up.
As you can see, I offer every entrant a free ebook. This method helps you determine which entrants to keep on your list once the giveaway is over. Not everyone who wants a Kindle Fire is going to love YA romantic fantasy, but by offering something of great value that targets readers (Kindle Fire) and then offering a genre specific item (ebook), you can certainly narrow those leads down to people who are going to want to be a part of your audience.
I also let people know that they will receive the free book in an email once I announce the winner of the giveaway so they know to expect it. Once a person enters the giveaway they see a sharing widget that looks like this.
As you can see, the widget allows people to earn more entries by sharing, and the more they share the more entries they receive.
Let's talk about actual numbers, though. In my first giveaway that ran for two months I had 5,409 entries. The two month giveaway was way too long. Most people who entered didn't remember the giveaway and were a little suspicious until they saw the free ebook download link.
I did a joint giveaway with some other authors for three weeks and we had a total of 1803 entries. A little low considering how many people were involved, but I think it was because it was a bit last minute and we weren't able to advertise it like I wanted to.
This last one with just me running it got me 2,057 entries. That was also a three week giveaway and advertised a little better.
By this last one I realized that an incredibly smart thing to do when advertising these giveaways is to actually hit up blog tour companies who have tons of bloggers on their email lists. These bloggers generally have a large following of people. so when a blog tour organizer sends out an email about your giveaway you'll have lots of bloggers interested in posting about your giveaway on their blogs.
The key is making sure you find the right blog tour websites and the right bloggers to fit your genre. The people who set-up the blog tours can help you with that. I used Parajunkee.com when I did my giveaway with The Healer as a free incentive.
For the Valentine's Day giveaway I got a hold of two different blog tour organizers to cater to their romance audiences. Bewitching Book Tours and Enchanted Book Promotions did a great job in marketing my giveaway to their romance audiences and scheduling promos with two to three different blogs each day of the giveaway. The fee for each was about $50.00 and well worth it.
You can also list your giveaway on sites like Giveaway Promote, Online Sweepstakes, and Contest Girl to name a few. The leads won't be as targeted since you're not broadcasting your giveaway on a genre specific blog or website, but your reach is fairly incredible depending on what package you get and which sites you choose to advertise your giveaway on.
Plus, whether people are interested in your book or not, they will most likely be sharing the giveaway to get more entries so they can win that Kindle Fire.
Easiest thing to do is to simply Google "giveaway directories" and start posting to as many websites as you can, especially the ones that allow you to list your giveaway for free.
Once you've set up the giveaway, advertised the giveaway, and finished your giveaway, you need to pick a winner and send out a mass email. You can integrate KingSumo with autoresponders like AWeber and Mail Chimp by creating a separate list for that specific giveaway. Then anyone who enters is automatically added to that list, which makes sending out a broadcast to only those who entered the giveaway incredibly easy.
The moment the giveaway ends, I like to send out a broadcast email thanking everyone for entering and letting them know that the winner will be announced the next day. Until then, they are welcome to collect their bonus gift for entering the giveaway. I then include the download link for their free ecopy of whatever book I'm giving away through BookFunnel. It's the easiest way for them to download the book and allows them to download it in their preferred format.
If you haven't checked BookFunnel out yet I would do it as soon as possible. Makes things so much easier.
The next day, I send out another email announcing the winner and reminding them to grab their free book by including that same download link. The day after that, I thank them again for entering the giveaway and remind them just once more to grab their free book.
I usually wait about a week after that before I clean house. By then, anyone truly interested in my book will have clicked on the link and downloaded it. Those are the folks I keep. Anyone who didn't click on the download link are probably folks who don't like YA romantic fantasy or whatever genre of book I'm offering. So I cut them loose. No sense keeping people who don't like my genre of writing.
I've grown my list by about six thousand with three giveaways, and I'm here to tell you it's pretty awesome. My new subscribers are very engaged. I also make sure to send out a welcome email to them about a week after the giveaway just to let them know what they can expect from me and that they are free to unsubscribe if they would rather not hear from me again.
But many people have stayed the course and become some of my most avid readers.
So if you're interested in using this amazing tool to grow your mailing list for whatever business you're running, I highly recommend you start utilizing KingSumo as soon as possible.
Once again you can grab that beautiful tool below.
I really hope this helps you as much as it has helped me, and remember to get creative with it. Collaborate with other authors with joint giveaways and grow your audience as fast as you can!
And as an added resource, I highly encourage you to take a look at the Written Word for more email marketing strategies for building and managing your list. You can read their tips and advice for authors here.
Happy list building author friends!
The Blond Guerrilla
The Blond Guerrilla is your one-stop guide to all things Indie writing, self-publishing, and marketing! I hope you find everything you need to make your author journey a success.
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