Looking for an easy way to build some buzz for your startup? Here’s a straightforward tactic we used to build an audience for a B2C startup going from 178 followers to 3,818 in just four days.

Sometimes the simplest tactics turn out to be the best.

Recently I participated in a CanIRank brainstorming session to develop a marketing strategy for a new startup. Startups are always challenging yet fun.

Like a typical B2C startup, this one needed to build its brand on a tight budget with quantifiable results in a short period of time. After reviewing a number of potential tactics, we ultimately settled on an Amazon Giveaway for our initial test.

Why an Amazon Giveaway?

Giving away product is a standard strategy for B2C startups. Creating a contest for the giveaway exposes your product to an even broader audience. The question really came down to the method of execution.

Ease of implementation was a big factor in our decision to go with Amazon. They have a very streamlined process for setting up a Giveaway, using a two-step wizard to get everything up and running. There are no apps to purchase and install, and no training is necessary.

We were also confident in using Amazon since the company is known to provide quality services, reducing the chance of running into any technical issues. Plus the popularity of Amazon Giveaways increased the likelihood of success since we could “ride on their coat tails.” Lastly, there was little friction in entering the contest ensuring maximum participation and exposure.

This last point should not be underestimated. When you have a startup with no built-in network developed prior to launching, it’s hard to get that initial bit of traction. Without a large number of friends, family, and acquaintances, there are few people to help spread the word. Using the #AmazonGiveAways hashtag provided exposure that otherwise would not be possible using any other method. In this case, it gave us some substantial lift.

What Is An Amazon Giveaway?

Amazon Giveaway is a service that enables any Amazon customer to create a contest using eligible physical products shipped and sold by Amazon.com or Kindle Books.

The host of the Giveaway selects a product and pays for it in advance. Then they share a unique URL to the Giveaway landing page where others can participate to win a prize.

The host decides on the number of products provided for the contest and selects the rules. Items are purchased by the host using their Amazon account, whereupon they receive a unique URL for their Giveaway landing page. This URL can then be shared through any channel including social media and e-mail.

How to Host A Giveaway on Amazon

There’s really not much to hosting a Giveaway:

  1. Go to Amazon.com and find a product you want to use in your contest and click on the “Setup Giveaway” button.
  2. Enter the giveaway details. Decide on which of the three methods to use in awarding a prize; random, lucky number, or first come first served.
  3. Design your landing page by selecting what message your audience sees and uploading an optional image.
  4. Pay for your order and receive a unique URL for your Giveaway page once it’s live.
  5. Share the URL during the promotion period. All Amazon Giveaways expire after seven days.

 What Participants of Amazon Giveaways Will Experience

When someone clicks on your unique Amazon Giveaway URL, they arrive at your contest landing page. If there is a social media requirement, like following on Twitter, participants need to follow the on-screen instructions. Otherwise, they just tap the box to see if they win. If they win, they follow the on-screen instructions to claim their prize.

amazon giveaway landing page for participants

How We Set Up Our Amazon Giveaway

Now that you know what an Amazon Giveaway is, and how it works, you might be wondering how to setup an Amazon giveaway. If you’re an Amazon seller, you’ll need to go to your Amazon sellers page, take your product and make it “Amazon Giveaway Eligible.” Otherwise, you’ll need to find a product on Amazon that is eligible for Giveaways.

Then you’ll need to create a Giveaway by filling out the following sections:

NUMBER OF PRIZES: You can choose up to 30. We chose 7 because the maximum duration of a Giveaway is seven days, and we were aiming for one prize per day.

SELECT YOUR GIVEAWAY TYPE: We chose Lucky Number as this allowed us to select winners by entry order, giving us a bit more control than the other options, which were random, or first come first served.

SELECT A RULE FOR WINNING: We chose Every X Entrants. We wanted to ease in to see what type of engagement we got, so we began with a low number of entrants needed to win a prize and raised it from there. This is a bit of trial and error until you find the odds that work for your current following, and their engagement.

GROW YOUR AUDIENCE BY REQUIRING ENTRANTS TO: We chose to have them follow us on Twitter, as our intent is to build a following and through that build brand authority. Other options include: follow an author, watch a video short, watch a YouTube video, or answer a poll.

OFFER A DISCOUNT TO ENTRANTS (AMAZON.COM SELLERS ONLY): We offered a 40% off discount to all entrants who did not win. It creates goodwill for the brand since everyone that enters the contest gets a prize. Plus it provides the opportunity to generate sales from a highly interested audience.

MAKE MY GIVEAWAY PUBLIC: We allowed this in order to make the Giveaway visible within Amazon’s active Giveaways page, providing our Giveaway with increased visibility.

GIVEAWAY TITLE (5 – 50 CHARACTERS): We titled ours “Consumer Associates – Week 1 Nebulizer Giveaway” as we intend on having a new giveaway every week for the month of November.

NAME (5 – 30 CHARACTERS): Consumer Associates, your brand name.

CUSTOMER IMAGE: Your logo.

WELCOME MESSAGE (10 – 250 CHARACTERS): Any copy you see fit. This is what we used:
Thanks for entering!
-The CA Team
Learn about our product and warranties: www.consumerassociates.com
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of 11/8/16 11:59PM, or when all prizes are claimed. See official rules: https://giveaway.amazon.com/rules.

WIN PAGE (10 – 250 CHARACTERS): Any copy you see fit. This is what we used:
Congratulations! You won!
With your good luck – you should like us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/consumerassoc/.
We will be posting about all of our future giveaways!

LOSE PAGE: (10 – 250 CHARACTERS): Any copy you see fit. This is what we used:
Oh, no! Sorry, you didn’t win – maybe next time – which is just around the corner!
Like our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/consumerassoc/.
We will be posting about a new giveaway NEXT week!
Meanwhile, here is a 40% off discount code.

How We Marketed Our Amazon Giveaway on Twitter and Facebook

First, we designed a Giveaway image to post with our entry link, on both platforms, that outlined the details and length of the Giveaway. We also created a branded Giveaway hashtag (#30DaysofCAGiveaways) to use in addition to the Amazon hashtag(#AmazonGiveaway).

Then we posted the entry link and Giveaway copy on Facebook and Twitter using the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag. We made sure to pin these status updates to both pages as well.

Every day we thought of something new to say about our Giveaway to continue building excitement around the event. At the same time, we responded to any interaction we received, ensuring our audience remained engaged.

Our Amazon Giveaway Results

The first indication everything was going well came when I got a message via Slack from CanIRank’s social media consultant, Caitlin Nicola. Only a couple of days into the campaign and things were looking good!

consumer associates increase the twitter followers using contest on amazon

In just a few days we received 21x the number of highly targeted Twitter followers for @consumerassoc along with significantly increased engagement rates. Brand recognition continues to grow with each passing day as we continue our Giveaways.

increase twitter engagement with an amazon give away

At the same time, it’s proven useful for gaining some indirect feedback regarding the product itself. Highly satisfied customers are spontaneously posting about their experiences with the product; a good sign indeed.

Amazon Giveaways are fast and simple to set up and can be employed whether or not you’re an Amazon seller. Any product on Amazon with a Setup Giveaway button can be used as a reward, including Kindle eBooks. Plus, the existing popularity of the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag provides unknown brands with the opportunity for additional exposure. The good new is that this type of piggyback marketing can be replicated by virtually any startup.

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