One of the more popular ways to build up your online audience and generate some positive buzz around your brand is to run a contest. People love entering contests almost as much as they love winning them. You could run a giveaway directly on your blog, perhaps using a third-party utility like Rafflecopter, but then you’d have to deal with all the logistics of the contest yourself.
You’d have to source the prize. You’d have to get in contact with the winner. You’d have to order the item and get it shipped to the winner’s address. There’s all this extra legwork involved, in addition to the work that you’ll have to put in to get the word out about your contest in the first place.
An interesting alternative you might consider is to run an Amazon Giveaway instead. This leverages the existing infrastructure and brand recognition of Amazon and puts it behind your contest. It’s win-win-win, all around.
In short, Amazon will host and effectively administer the contest on your behalf, including setting up a dedicated page on Amazon specifically for your giveaway. This will be found as a page on the giveaway.amazon.com domain and it also lets you take advantage of the #amazongiveaway hashtag used to promote contests on Twitter and social media. Avid giveaway people will be monitoring that hashtag and there’s a good chance they’ll find yours.
There is one important catch that you’ll need to keep in mind. The prize needs to be an item that is sold directly by Amazon and not an item that is sold by a third-party retailer on Amazon. That’s a very distinct difference. Contests are also limited to people living in the United States. The prize can be a physical item (in which case you’d have to pay for taxes and shipping, if applicable) or a Kindle ebook.
For the purposes of this hypothetical example, let’s say I wanted to give away a few copies of the book I co-authored with John on how to make money online. Going to the Amazon listing page for that product, scroll almost all the way to bottom where you’ll find a button labeled “Set up a giveaway.”
The setup page for an Amazon Giveaway is actually really simple and is basically a one-step process. Just go through the wizard.
- Select your giveaway type: The winner can be picked at random, based on a lucky number (like every 3rd person wins), or on a first-come, first-served basis. For most giveaways, the random option makes the most sense.
- Select the number of prizes: Pick how many prizes you’d like to give away, plus the chance at winning. If I want to give away 3 copies of the book and I want to set the odds at 1 in 100, then entries will be capped at 300 people.
- Select the entry requirement: The options here are somewhat limited. You can get people to enter by following you on Amazon, following you on Twitter, watching an Amazon short video, or watching a YouTube video. These options must be validated. Or you can set it to effectively have no requirement at all other than the act of entering.
- Select the giveaway duration. The giveaway can run anywhere from 1 day to 7 days in length. It can’t be any longer than that.
After you’ve gone through the process of defining the criteria for the giveaway, you “design” the giveaway page by entering the text for the giveaway title, your name, an image, a welcome message, the message on the “win” page, and the message on the “lose” page. You then hit the checkout button to pre-pay for your prize and that’s it.
The net result will be a very basic-looking giveaway page like the one shown above. It’s pretty barebones and there’s no way to embed it on your own website. You have to direct traffic to your specific Amazon Giveaway URL, through social media or any other means that you’d like.
While it sounds powerful to leverage the name recognition and existing infrastructure of Amazon for your giveaway, the limitations and restrictions leave something to be desired. It’s helpful that the winner can enter his or her own mailing address after winning and the prize gets shipped automatically, but it’s really unfortunate that you can’t define other ways to enter, design a more robust contest page, or otherwise tweak the many details you may want to tweak.
There is certainly value here. If you don’t have your own website, hosting a contest through Amazon Giveaway is a suitable option to consider. It’s really convenient and you can tap into that Amazon name. But if you want something more flexible, other contest systems may be a better bet.