4 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make When Conducting a Blog Giveaway

March 30, 2012

Have you thought of conducting a blog giveaway for your products with a blogger in your niche? Mom blogs have exploded all over the internet and so have blog giveaways and reviews but are they really of any benefit to a small business? The answer to this question is “it depends”.

When I first got in business little over a year ago, I noticed the trend and went all out with signing up mom bloggers to review my online kids’ bookstore. I was excited with all the blog press I was receiving and expected to start getting paying customers from those reviews and giveaways.  

Sales did not come and I came out of the whole experience extremely disappointed with this marketing modality.

If I knew then what I knew now, I would have gone about my blog reviews and giveaways campaign differently.

Here are the erroneous assumptions small businesses have about running a blogger outreach and how a small business owner should structure a blog campaign to get the best bang for their buck.

1. Blog reviews will bring in sales

So I thought as I shipped off my wares to requesting bloggers. Having this mindset sets you up for failure. Blog reviews when done well will bring you back links and improve your website’s position on the search engines. Pairing your review with a giveaway may give your website a traffic boost, face book fans and more twitter followers but will hardly bring in sales, at least not immediately.
So your blog reviews and giveaways should be utilized as a branding tool and a way to increase your social media followers.



2.  Equating a blog’s traffic and page views to its influence

If you take a look under the hood you will find out lot of mom blogs with the highest traffic numbers tend to be review and giveaways blogs. Their audiences tend to be hanging round for the freebies. You will also find out that large segments of their audience are fellow bloggers who are waiting in line to send you a pitch for their own review and giveaway blogs.
 Instead of simply judging a blog by its traffic stats, look through the blog and get a feel of how the blogger writes.  Go with a blog that has more content than reviews and giveaways.

3. Not providing any guidance to the blogger

As much as you would hope the blogger could read your mind, she does not have such abilities. You have to set your expectations from the onset. Most bloggers prefer to write their first hand experience with using your product or service. You can make the work easier for them by making them aware of the keywords you want targeted in the write-up. Emphasize linking to your website through those keywords instead of just through your brand name. You get your best search engine ranking push from anchor text links using keywords a prospective customer will type when searching for your product or service.
 Provide hash tags for promotional tweets too.

4. Leaving the promotion of the review (and giveaway) to the blogger

Sure you are paying for your review in either cash or goods and you expect some social media marketing as part of the review package. Don’t however fold your arms and leave the whole promotion to the blogger. Promoting alongside the blogger shows you take your business seriously and shows that you are willing to take the extra mile to get your business ahead. Promoting your review (and giveaway) through your own social media platforms serves as a third party validation and a form of word of mouth seal of approval for your own audience which builds trust and makes them more likely to buy from you. The blogger will also appreciate the exposure to a new audience.

With some homework and elbow grease, your next blog giveaway can actually help your bottom line on the long run. Cheers to your continued marketing success!

Bola Ajumobi is a mom, a literacy advocate and owns an online kids bookstore, SlimyBookworm.com where you find a wide array of engaging books for kids.  Save time and money on gifts for the kids by joining the Free Slimy Bookworm Birthday Club.

25 Comments. Leave new

Hilani-Handmade by Hilani
March 30, 2012 7:44 pm

Well put, gets some good information!

launchgrowjoy
March 30, 2012 7:44 pm

Glad you like it, Hilani!

So timely that you had this post now. I’ve been getting a lot of blogger interest lately for bloggers who want to do a review and or giveaway of my shirts. Of course they did come in after I’ve been featured on a few blogs already. I thought it was too coincidental that I was all of a sudden getting so much interest. I have found that my Facebook and twitter base has been growing from this exposure as well as my email list. I have asked the bloggers to include signing up on my website for my newsletter as well as becoming a fan and follower as requirements for the giveaway. You are right though, I haven’t seen any sales from any of this but I am hoping for brand awareness so eventually it may generate sales (and maybe some wholesale interest).

But I do wonder which bloggers to accept and which to pass on. One blogger requested one of my shirts in a women’s XXL as well as one for her husband. I told her they didn’t come in that size for women. I decided that it wasn’ a good fit for my brand and walked away from that one. Your advise about reading their blog to see if there is more content than just giveaways and reviews is good and I will do that moving forward.

launchgrowjoy
March 30, 2012 11:38 pm

Sheryl, thanks for your comments and glad you enjoyed the article.

Bola@books for kids
March 31, 2012 12:02 am

Sheryl,

Thanks for giving such a robust assessment of blog reviews and giveaways. We live and learn! Expect a bit of untried dings and unsubscribing after the promotion, but enough would hang around to make it worthwhile.

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April 9, 2012 1:58 pm

Amazing Site, Thank You! Keep up the great work.

I totally agree with this one – the giveaway / review bloggers can lead to a snowball effect, once you get mentioned on a couple, more of them start hounding you for goodies for themselves. They can definitely have their advantages of course, but you really have to think about it strategically and decide if it’s a good fit for your brand. I think it’s also a good idea to double check their traffic and influence using a site like Stat My Web or Traffic Estimator, as I’ve caught at least one of these types of reviewers blatantly exaggerating how many readers she had.

Great article for us bloggers of what NOT to do if we want to solicit reviews. I think there should always be a win-win when it comes to blog reviews and advertising. Great point about some of the blogs that do reviews really only have followers who are looking for freebies and aren’t going to buy. That tidbit will definitely make me view requests differently down the line as I begin creating more products.

-Dorethia
http://www.themoneychat.com

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April 13, 2012 11:37 am

[…] 4 Mistakes Small Business Owners Make When Conducting a Blog Giveaway […]

This piece had some very pertinent info and gave me a new perspective on this aspect of marketing. Thank you. Definitely learned something new here today.

launchgrowjoy
June 6, 2012 5:47 pm

Glad to hear it, Nik!

We have done many reviews and giveaways on blogs. I have found success in providing a promo code to entice the blog’s followers to make a purchase. On one occasion we got over 100 new customers!

launchgrowjoy
June 6, 2012 5:48 pm

Great idea, Shoshanah! Thanks so much for sharing…

Aviva Goldfarb
June 8, 2012 6:18 pm

Thank you for that excellent practical advice about working with bloggers on giveaways!

launchgrowjoy
June 8, 2012 7:14 pm

Thanks Aviva, Glad you enjoyed the article!

Nice post exactly what I was looking for. I just had the same experience with blog giveaways. Didnt bring in any sales. Did you found other things that worked better foor your books?

Great info! I am about to do a blog giveaway and spent a lot of time researching the right site to work with. I have a very niche product- Hebrew baby bodysuits and want to make sure I am reaching my exact target.

Thanks for the tips on linking- I am just getting into the SEO elements of my site and this was great advice.

I sell high end hand made jewelry. When a blogger request a free sample of my work I want to be sure I am in a win win situation. How can I be sure that traffic will come to my site and sales will increase?

While I do see some of this as practical advice, I see it as putting bloggers in the category of just “looking for freebies” as well.

I have been blogging for around a year and I do have regular content as well as reviews and giveaways.

Some things I thought that were incorrect with this article are:

You say that blog reviews often do not generate sales. I actually have had quite a few companies I work with come back and tell me they are selling out of product. A well written review will do that as well as good SEO will show help the reviews show up in search engines. I did a review for a techie gadget and when I look at my highest conversions and most searched posts and keywords, this device comes up a lot and I did that post more than 6 months ago.

Bloggers must use no follow links as per Google’s TOS so if you are getting backlinks, that blogger is violating the TOS and is setting you up for not only themselves getting penalized but you as well. However, having the blogger use key words with links will help you because when consumers put in words like “sweeper mop” and the blogger’s website comes up a review for that product, and a link, if it is well done, you get sales and potential customers.

Also, I would suggest that when you are looking for bloggers to work with, don’t just pick anyone. Make sure they are using their own pictures, that the pictures are clear and tasteful, that the blogger has good grammar and spelling as well as a good length for posts. 250 words should be minimum and they should never copy and paste from the website. You want original content! Original content will show favor in search engines!

I can honestly say that although I do follow my blogger friends in my network, I get most of the items I review by being pitched in my own email, off websites designed for connecting bloggers with review products, and just cold pitching companies I like. I follow my blogger friends so I can read their content, just like any other person follows a blog for.

Know that if a blogger is serous about doing well for you and your company, you will be able to see it in their work. Do not always rely on stats or ranks. Rely on what you see on that person’s blog and how professional they are. I know some bloggers that have tons of fans and followers, but their content is all copy and paste or their content is all reviews and giveaways.

Danielle Tomwing
March 18, 2013 9:01 pm

I am catching up on all of your great advice! Tip #3 was the most helpful. Did not think of “guiding” the bloggers. Thank you!

This is great advice, thanks so much for sharing because I never thought of it in this light. I was actually contemplating participating in a blog giveaway and this is great information to keep in mind.

Good information! I have found that blog giveaways do not increase sales. I have had experiences where bloggers accept product and never follow through by writing a review. One blogger showed a picture of a product that wasn’t mine and wrote, “It’s a nice [product].” That was it! I asked her to at least post the correct picture and she never did. I haven’t participated in a review in quite some time and no longer respond to requests.