When I first started Giving It Away I was excited. Really excited.
I was going to giveaway some TVs, video game systems, iPods and cameras and before I knew it Giving It Away would have thousands of followers and have a line of sponsors just waiting to give me prizes to giveaway.
As it turned out I was half right.
Getting people to want free stuff is pretty easy. Getting companies to give me their products to giveaway isn’t so easy.
So where did I go wrong?
See the thing is, I know exactly how good a service Giving It Away provides. I know how much social exposure a giveaway can produce, how much buzz a giveaway can create around a company and how much cheaper this type of exposure is compared to the other forms of advertising (Google ads, Facebook ads, etc).
And that’s the problem.
I’ve been blinded by thinking because I know how great Giving It Away can market a product that everyone else knows it too. I had the “Field of Dreams” syndrome where I thought if I built it the sponsors would come.
Well, because sponsors won’t come to me I’ll have to go to them. I have to step out of my comfort zone and become a salesman. I don’t know much about being a good salesman but I can tell you exactly what I’m going to do to become a great one and lock down great sponsor after great sponsor.
1. Build case studies based on how well our giveaways perform
We’ve just launched our 200th giveaway which means that we have tons of data on how well our giveaways spread through social media. By creating visual infographics to illustrate past giveaway performances I’ll be able to show potential sponsors what they can expect to get out of a sponsorship deal.
If I can go up to a potential sponsor and show her that I can get her product demo viewed over 1,000 times on YouTube, tweeted 300 times on Twitter and liked 600 times on Facebook which provides 100,000+ impressions throughout all major social networks for only a $100 giveaway, that packs a huge punch. From there she’ll be able to see that Giving It Away can create exposure for her product orders of magnitude greater than what any pay-per-click campaign can ever achieve for the same price.
2. Contact people to let them know about me and my services
This is the part I hate the most. I don’t like trying to sell things or myself to people, but at the same time I believe in the philosophy behind Giving It Away which is to help people.
For example, I will sponsor a company’s giveaway for free because I know that many small businesses out there can’t afford the big dollars it takes to reach out to tens of thousands of people. I know that my company will benefit from a giveaway just as much as the sponsor will so I don’t feel the need to try and squeeze out every penny that I can.
Now I don’t know much about selling, but thankfully there are some great resources out there for learning how to be a good salesman both in the traditional sales market as well as in social sales.
But one thing that I do have plenty of experience in is building relationships with people on social media, which is the foundation of social selling. My goal is to create a social network that will provide resources to help businesses solve problems that Giving It Away excels in. If I can help people solve problems or make them understand how I can help them solve their problems then they’ll be much more inclined to sponsor a giveaway.
3. Always be honest about what I can deliver
Everything about selling is about honesty. If I’m not honest in my communications with potential sponsors then the word will spread quickly that I can’t deliver on my promises. Telling a sponsor that I can guarantee they’ll gain 1,000 new Twitter followers and I deliver only 100 then I’ll be in a whole lot of trouble.
If someone doesn’t think that they’re getting a great deal by sponsoring a giveaway then that’s ok. Not everyone is going to want to sponsor a giveaway, no matter how great I think it is.
4. Get used to people telling me no
This brings me to my last point. I need to get used to being told no. It’s something that nobody like to be told but the reality is there never is one solution that will work for everyone. In the same way Giving It Away is not the marketing avenue for everyone. But it is the avenue for many people and those are the people I need to focus on.
Over the next two months I’m going to apply these steps in order to establish some great sponsors, great giveaways and most importantly meet some great people.
If you also run giveaways or contests on your site I welcome you to take this challenge with me and we can watch our businesses and our sponsors’ businesses grow together!
Do have any different techniques that you use to get great sponsors for your contests?