How To Create Viral Giveaways That Grow Your Brand

It’s getting harder and harder to stand out as a brand with thousands of stores, products, and tools being launched every week. The number of options a consumer has is vast.

That’s why it’s so important for brands to start looking at the big picture.

Who is my target market and how do I get in front of them? What will make them buy from my website instead of my other 3 competitors who are also fighting for their attention?

The simple answer is to build a core audience and nurturing those people into becoming avid fans and customers. This sounds pretty easy but in practice, most brands fall short as it takes a lot of time, resources, and talent to pull off.

How do you nurture your audience?

People don’t like buying from brands, they like buying from personal recommendations.

So how do you get people referring and recommending your brand?

Usually, this process of finding and nurturing your traffic into raving fans involves:

  1. Building traffic with ads, content (blogging), organic social posting, etc.
  2. Capturing that traffic’s email address (2-3% convert into email sign ups).
  3. Nurturing those leads via email.
  4. Eventually converting that person after 3-8 weeks.

The marketing tactic of giveaways and contests

What we are going to discuss in this post is how to build more traffic and incentivize them to become avid fans and customers in a third of the time.

The marketing tactic we use is giveaways and contests.

Giveaways and contests are extremely good at:

  • Introducing new people to your brand via referrals
  • Generating social engagement and followers
  • Incentivizing actions that benefit your brand (reviews, downloads, shares, user-generated content, etc.)

The beauty of giveaways and contests is that you can generate a huge amount of traffic, followers, and engagement quickly.

Once you have that, you will want to convert them using scarcity and great offers.

This post will be showing you exactly how to do that!

Examples of brands using giveaways

Here’s a sneak peek at some super successful giveaways that you can copy and add your own twist to.


Giveaways are a great way for eCommerce stores to build their potential customer audience. A healthy acquisition balance is 30% of store sales coming from email, 30% from ads, 30% from organic, and 10% is usually uncategorized.

Remember this is a general balance, it changes from niche to niche and store to store.

The below contests have all been extremely successful in growing their business. Some of them have grown their email list 2-3 times faster, or added an extra 30-60k emails to their list.

So take a look and get some inspiration and guidance for your own contest.

Coconut Bowls

This company collected over 40k+ new emails, 8,578 new Facebook page followers, 11,352 new Instagram followers, and 126 pieces of user-generated content.

All of these metrics have a huge positive impact on your eCommerce store that will help in future brand awareness and sales.

The secret to this campaign was that they included a Vitamix in their contest to make it more interesting and of higher value.

They also identified that their customers liked using their product to make Acai Bowls. Hence why a Vitamix was a good addition to the prize pool.

Waiakea Water

Marketing water has got to be one of the harder products on the planet to sell.

This company ran a 30-day contest with a few partners to collect over 60k emails and 125k+ new Instagram followers.

Here’s a full in-depth case study that dives into how this brand achieved those results.

SaaS (Software as a Service)

Creating buzz about a new feature, release date, or software bundle is a lot easier when you use referrals, incentives, and competitions.

This niche mostly involves B2B companies which are usually a little boring.

Not too many people get excited enough to share their new accounting tool with their friends on Facebook, but collecting leads, followers, and new customers in this niche does not have to be boring.

Take a look at this Foundr for example. They sell magazines and educational courses, but used a giveaway to get people talking and sharing their brand.

Set Up A Giveaway For Brand Awareness

Create prizes that will attract your ideal customer as Foundr did (marketing and business development training). You can also make your campaign a countdown or leaderboard to bring out the competitiveness.

One of the most impressive and noteworthy B2B contests is the Shopify, Build a Business campaign.

Shopify Build A Business Campaign
Source – Shopify

Not only can you use giveaways and contests for fun products like Coconut Bowls, but also for more serious B2B products and services.

Personalities & influencers

This category is pretty much, “famous people” or “influencers” who rely on followers to build and maintain relevance and popularity.

Giveaways are a great way to reward your fan base. A lot of the time influencers also are given products to test and promote so it’s perfect for building prize packs for their followers.

Even celebs as large as Kylie Jenner are running giveaways to continue building their social empire.

This post was interesting as the giveaway was run on her homepage as a popup or widget, however now that the campaign is over, the popup is no longer live.

It’s a great little trick to make sure that once your contest ends, people can still click through and find your brands website.

How to set up a giveaway

There are a few key components to building a giveaway that generates viral results. We go over some of these below.

The prize

Below is a list of things you need to consider when picking your contest or giveaway prize.

  • Is it unique and desirable? Will people be upset if they miss out on this once in a life-time opportunity?
  • Is it shareable? For example, a clothing store could give away $1,000 store credit or they could do a personal shopping spree with Jonathan from Queer Eye. The winner would get fitted, sized and styled and it would be very unique. Which one do you think is more shareable?
  • How valuable is the prize? You wouldn’t share a contest with your friends if the grand prize was a $5 phone case, but you would put in the effort it the prize was a customized phone case and iPhone. It does not have to be a $$ value either, you want to aim for a high perceived value.
  • Can you give multiple rewards? To keep people motivated at different stages (1st, last, just entered, etc.) it’s a good idea to use a range of prizes. For example, you can have a 1st place winner, a random prize winner and also a milestone reward based on how many points someone collects. This makes sure everyone has the chance to win something and it keeps people engaged.


It’s important to have a few things in place when you set up a contest or giveaway. These settings below will help you run a successful and smooth campaign:


It’s important to keep entrants up to date on what’s happening. Make sure you have your confirmation emails all set up before you launch your campaign. It’s a good idea to track the open rates to gauge the quality of that lead.


If you can, set a countdown timer on your contest or giveaway. This makes sure that everyone is aware of the end date. The scarcity will encourage more shares as the campaign nears its end date.


Your giveaway or contest can generate a huge amount of traffic. It’s important to track this traffic so you can understand what’s working and what isn’t. Simply find what works and do more of it.

Adding your advertising pixels will help you retarget these people and adding your Google Analytics code will help you gauge the quality of traffic and see where it’s coming from.

Share image

Your giveaway or contest is going to get shared A LOT. So spend some time designing a nice looking image (use Canva or Snappa) then set that as your preferred share image for your campaign.


If you use a tool to manage your giveaway, make sure it has built-in cheater detection and can limit which countries your campaign is available in.

It’s a good idea to monitor all your contestants through your campaign to make sure there is no funny business going on.

Bonus actions

This section of your giveaway or contest is going to be a little unique to the contest tool you are using. We have been using VYPER in these examples so far (disclosure: I’m the co-founder).

A bonus action is a way to reward people with points in your contest for completing the actions you set.

This for example, might be – Get 100 points for leaving a comment on this Facebook post.

Another one might be – Get 500 points for uploading an image to Instagram and tagging it with #YouBrand.

VYPER Contest Set Up
Source – VYPER

Bonus actions are a great way to keep people engaged with your brand. It can also help build followers, engagement, and awareness.

A few of our favorite bonus actions are:

  • Follow us on social
  • Comment on this post
  • Tag 3 friends in this post
  • Download our app
  • Subscribe to our channel


As I mentioned before. It’s important to keep your contestants in the loop. Getting them excited about your campaign, brand, and mission can be tough. That’s why you will want to use engagement emails throughout your campaign.

Send updates to your contestants to get them excited about the prizes and referring more people.

A few of the emails we like to send are:

  • We’re halfway through the contest, keep going…
  • Only 5 days left, keep referring others and completing bonus actions to increase your chances of winning the grand prize!
  • Only 24 hours left, keep referring others and completing bonus actions to increase your chances of winning the grand prize!
  • A new bonus action has been added
  • Get 2x the referral points for the next 48 hours
  • You’re only 100 points away from the next milestone reward

How to make your giveaway go viral

This is the section that people get really excited about. How do you make your contest or giveaway go viral?

It’s  part skill and part luck I would say. Even if you work out the exact numbers of share to impression ratios or entrant to referral ratio, at the end of the day, if people don’t want your prize, you will never hit those numbers.

So the main factors that contribute to making a contest go viral are:

  1. You need a really good prize (unique and high perceived value).
  2. You need to market the giveaway from day 1 (tell everyone in your network).
    • Email your list
    • Post to your social channels
    • Contact anyone influential people
    • Run ads
    • Add a popup or banner to your website
    • Post in groups, communities and forums
  3. Make sure people are sharing. You will want to give entrants plenty of opportunities to share.
  4. Make your bonus actions complementary to your giveaway. For example, share this post featuring our giveaway.
  5. Work with influencers or brands who have an audience that would be interested in your product or brand.
  6. Use social proof. People like to see brands and posts with lots of engagement, it gives off indications that it’s worth checking out.
  7. Pitch your campaign to blogs, news sites, and social pages in your niche.
  8. Do not expect to hit a home run the first time you swing the bat. It takes time to learn, adjust, and try again before you hit a home run!


So now you should have a good foundation on how to create and set up a good giveaway or contest. We have given you a few examples, some tips on choosing prizes, and what settings you need to pay attention to.

Now get out there and start building your brand with giveaways.