Saturday, 10 September 2011

My giveaway philosophy

Top prize of our Christmas Competition
I recently spotted this great post over on the Sew Mama Sew blog with their throughts on giveaways and I thought it was a great idea so share about why you run giveaways, and why they are run the way they are so I've decided to do the same.  My giveaways have been evolving over the last year and a half that I've been running the site and this is a good chance for me to explain why I do things the way I do now.

Why companies give us prizes 

First up you may want to know how I get prizes and why people give them to me.  As with many things it is all about publicity, the companies want to let you know about their products, new website, latest offers and want to incentivise people to visit their site which is why most my giveaways require you going to the prize givers site to enter.

Now to be honest I don't think that is much of hardship, often the purpose of the visit is for you to choose your own prize so it means you are guaranteed to get something you want if you win.  Plus taking a couple of minutes out to look at a site full of lovely fabrics, sewing supplies or books isn't a bad way to spend your time ;-)  It's cetainly easier than having to go and follow their blog, twitter account, facebook page etc as many competitions demand.

Why do we have to fill out a competition entry form each time? 
 
There are 3 main reasons for this requirement in my competitions:

1) All entry forms come to me as e-mails which means I can store them all in 1 e-mail folder, count them up at the end of the comeptition and use the random number generator to choose a winner (way less time consuming than having to enter it all into a spreadsheet!)

A sneaky peek at an upcoming prize
2) Facebook introduced new rules a while ago preventing you from running the 'comment on this post to enter' type comptitions which means they now expect you to pay for a special app to run 'official giveaways' through their site.  Personally I think this is just another way for them to try and make more money and do not agree with it, hence the use of my onsite entry form instead.

3)When I used to run competitons that you could enter of Facebook/Twitter/Blogger I would not have the winners full details and would have to try and contact them after the competition to get their full name and address.  Often I could be waiting a week or 2, or even get no reply at all which is a waste of a prize, and of my time.  Now I have everything I need on the entry form so once the winners have been picked I can just cut & paste their details into an e-mail and send it off to the company providing the prize.

Why are competitions fornightly and not weekly as before?

Again there are a couple of reasons for this.  The first and main reason is that competitions involve a lot of admin, sourcing a prize, planning the competition format, writting up the details, scheduling competitions, picking a winner & sending their details to the company giving the prize etc.  I found I was spending so much of my time working on competitions that it was effecting the rest of the site.  The primary aim of my site is not to giveaway prizes but to share great sewing businesses, news, articles, reviews, interviews & projects with you so I had to reduce the frequency of competitions to ensure a fairer balance.

Secondly, the turnover of the competitions were so fast that many of you told me you were missing some of them.  I would only get chance to mention it once or twice before it was over and given that most of you don't spend all day online you would sometimes miss it.   I want to make sure that you all get a fair chance to enter so now with 2 weeks to enter hopefully you all do.

Why do some competitions require more effort?

A past prize from The Eternal Maker
Every now and then our lovely site sponsors offer some big prizes sewing machines, sewing kits worth over £100 etc.  Now as with all of our prizes I want to make sure that these are going to genuine fans, people who use the site and follow me because they love sewing.  Unfortunately, there are a group of people out there who are what I would term 'professional competition enterers' who enter any and every competition, sharing links on their competition forums, spending hours entering competitions each day and often they don't actually want or need the prize.  In fact many of them either sell them on or swap them with others in their group (they have Facebook pages and forums where they do this).  I think many of you who run your own competitions know exactly who I am talking about!

When it comes to the big prizes I try to take extra precautions to make sure that these type of people are not entering, for instance by asking you to write a sewing tutorial (as with our christmas competiton), or answer a question that requires sewing knowledge etc to make sure it is genuine sewists winning the prize.  I'm sure that you, like me, would like to see our competition prizes going to people who will actually use them.

Geographical limits

A lot of my competitions are limited to the UK & Ireland.  Obviously one of the reasons for this is that this is where I, and the companies giving the prizes, are based.  Often prizes are provided by companies who only trade (and ship) within the UK.  Also on many occasions the cost of shipping abroad (especially books & bigger prizes like sewing machines) can be the same, or more than the prize itself.  The companies giving the prize are the ones who ship them out and often they are small businesses already giving up some of their profits to provide the prize so it would be unreasonable to expect them to pay even more to cover international shipping costs.

I do love the fact that we have a fan base around the world, in particular many fans visiting from Europe, America and Australia (hello all!) and I do try to ensure that every 2-3 months I source a prize that can be sent internationally so as not to exclude you, but I cannot do it every time. 

Anyway I hope that all of the above helps you understand why I run my competitions the way I do.  I am of course always open to suggestions so if you have any ideas please do comment below or contact us.  I look forward to many more great competitions!  Plus don't forget there's only 6 weeks left to enter the Christmas Competition which has over £1,000 worth of prizes!

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