Subject: How to Gain Readers with Giveaways

Have you ever wondered why corporations give out stuff for free? Well, it's to get your email address in order to be able to sell something to you later.

Why would you as an author care? Because you can do the exact same thing! 

We already know that a mailing list is crucial to be able to succeed an author. One way you can build it is via viral giveaways.

Here's how to do it:

1) Figure out a prize that will be relevant to your readers. I don't recommend giving away cash, iPads or kindles because you will get plenty of subscribers who don't care about your books and you will end up having to pay for them with your email provider and you won't get any value from them. 

The prize I recommend is a bunch of your books or yours and those of similar authors. A prize of over $100 is best, so around 10 great books from your genre (including your book) would do well.

2) Choose the right platform. Here are some popular choices:
  1. Rafflecopter - it's free and you can run it on any website. What I don't love about it is that it shows the number of entries. If the number is low, the reader will think "nobody's entering this giveaway so why should I?" and when it gets high she could think "my chance of winning is really low now so why bother?" but since it's free it gives you an idea of what a giveaway is and you can select a better solution in the future.
  2. KingSumo - this platform runs only on a wordpress site and it was designed to grow subscriber lists. It has an incredible conversion rate (almost everybody who lands on the giveaway page enters the giveaway) and it promotes sharing - if you share the giveaway, you get more entries - and so the word spreads. This is what I am using at the moment. There's a one-off fee.
  3. UpViral - I hear it's the latest and greatest in giveaway software, you can use it on any website and integrate it with your Facebook page. You can use it not only for giveaways but also for viral contests and viral product launches. The great thing about it is that it integrates with every email service provider so you don't have to manually copy and paste the subscribers to your lists. There's a monthly fee.
3) Promote your giveaway. I know, crazy, right? Not only are you giving stuff for free but you also have to pay to promote this! Unfortunately, yes. Here's how:
  1. There's a bunch of websites you can use to promote your giveaway, the most popular being givewawaypromote. Here's a list of sites you can also submit your giveaway to. And if you want somebody to do it for you, here's where you can get the dirty work outsourced.
  2. Contact influencers and get them to tweet or post about your giveaway on Facebook. Think who would be a great person to talk about your giveaway and approach them. Offer them one or all of your giveaway prizes in exchange. If you have some kind of following, cross-promotion might work. On rare occasions people do this for a fee.
  3. You can also promote your giveaway with Facebook ads but if your giveaway is running for a short time you might not have enough time to test your ads to get the lowest cost per click.
4) Engage your subscribers. This is crucial. As soon as somebody enters your giveaway start them on a series of autoresponders so that they get to know you. Start by thanking them for entering the giveaway in the first email and follow up by introducing yourself and your books. Remember to always respond to any questions your readers might have. If they took the time to write an email to you - treat them like celebrities - they are the reason you will thrive as an author.

So, how does this sound to you? Have YOU had success with viral giveaways? Do let me know!

Happy list building!
Alinka Rutkowska
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