31 Best Giveaway Ideas (+Tips to Make Them Successful)


Here’s a hill I’m dying on: giveaways are one of the most versatile and efficient marketing strategies available. They work on any channel, are easily scalable to your budget, and create their own buzz (we all love free stuff!).

But the best part is they are endlessly variable—there are infinite giveaway ideas.

I want you to get a feel for what a good giveaway can do for your business and find a few versions to try. So I’ve listed over 30 ideas, a handful of examples, and some things you can do to make sure your giveaway delivers what you need it to.

Table of contents

Why should you run giveaways?

Giveaways produce results across your entire sales funnel, from early awareness to customer evangelism. Here are some of the most popular ways I’ve seen giveaways used in marketing:

  • Boost brand awareness: When people don’t know or trust your brand yet, a giveaway will help you break the ice.
  • Support a product launch: Giveaways capture attention fast, which is exactly what you need for a new product.
  • Introduce a new location: A little free gift will build rapport quickly with new neighbors.
  • Grow your social media and email following: It’s crazy how well tag-a-friend giveaways multiply social networks.
  • Clear out seasonal merch: Turn a sunk cost into a wildly effective marketing strategy.
  • Capture UGC: Make sharing user-generated content a sweepstakes entry, and watch the awesome customer images pour in.
  • Get customer referrals: Incentivize customers to become your best salespeople.
  • Recover abandoned cart sales: Put all those “almost-won” sales over the finish line with free shipping or by throwing in a gift card or trial size.

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How do you make a successful giveaway?

The type and scope of giveaway you manage depends on what you have available, who you’re trying to reach, and what you hope to get out of it. Follow these steps so your giveaway makes a huge splash.

Set a goal

The goal of your giveaway is the first piece of the puzzle. Everything else snaps in around it.

Say you want to blow up your Instagram follower count. The platform, set of rules, and promotional plan supporting your giveaway should all align to make that happen.

Choose the prize

This is trickier than some people realize. Ideally, you want a prize aligned with your brand and right-sized for your goals.

A brand-aligned giveaway helps you focus on attracting ideal potential customers. If you sell baby monitors, giving away running shoes will attract lots of people who don’t need your products.

Choose a gift that matches the size and goal of your giveaway.

Likewise, a huge prize for a simple entry method (like tagging a friend on Instagram) is going to bog you down with so many entrants outside of your core audience. Pick a prize just large enough to make it worth the effort to get it.

Pick your platform

Here, I’m talking about in-person, social media, email marketing, etc. Where can you find the people you want to reach? Which option makes it easy to achieve your specific goal?

If you’re drumming up brand awareness for a new dentist’s office, handing out travel toothcare kits at a health fair is perfect. However, an email campaign would be better if you’re looking for new patient referrals.

Schedule appropriately

Timing matters a lot in giveaways for several reasons. Seasons, competition levels, and your own internal needs all factor in.

For example, a brand awareness giveaway that would triple your TikTok follower count in June might get drowned out by holiday marketers in December.

Create the rules

There are two questions to answer here:

  1. What do people have to do to get the giveaway?
  2. What laws and platform rules do you need to follow?

To set the rules of entry, match the ask’s difficulty to the prize’s value. The better the prize, the more you can ask. It’s fair to ask someone to buy one shirt to get another similar shirt for free. Or to register their email address for a chance to win a weekend trip. But if your giveaway is an inexpensive branded pen, you won’t get many people registering (those are great handouts at conferences, though).

Make sure you’ve listed all giveaway rules clearly.

Laws and platform rules can vary. Instagram has its own rules, for example. In general, you want to clearly and fairly describe the prize, give a minimum age to participate, list the rules, and give the odds of winning if it pertains to your type of giveaway.

Hype it up

Before and during the big day(s), use social media posts and popups on your website to get more attention. Email your subscribers and offer your loyalty members early or extra entries. Look for influencers or related businesses to partner with. If it’s a really big deal, consider spending on paid search ads or boosted social media posts.

Follow up

After your giveaway is over, there’s plenty of attention and excitement to be had. Announce the winner (if it was a contest) and tag them in the social media posts so their network can see them. Let people who didn’t participate or win know what they missed, and tell them to stay tuned for future events.

You could end up gathering more email addresses with the promise of a future giveaway than the original giveaway itself.

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Best giveaway ideas for businesses

These are your tried-and-true giveaway ideas that have proven to generate buzz, leads, and sales.

1. Sweepstakes

You’re probably pretty familiar with this one. You give up your email address or some other information, and you’re entered to win a prize. Unlike a gift-with-purchase, your free gift isn’t guaranteed, which adds a little anticipation to the game.

Sweepstakes are useful for all types of brand awareness and lead-generation campaigns. They’re less often used to generate direct sales since requiring a purchase to enter can be legally tricky.

2. Customer loyalty giveaway

Customer retention is a critical business growth strategy. This giveaway aims to keep your best customers happy and returning for a long time.

Use exclusive giveaways for your loyalty members to keep them active longer.

The actual giveaway can take on many forms. The important part is to talk up the exclusivity of it. Only your best customers get the gift, discount, or entry to win. That’ll help cement the feeling of community, which strengthens brand loyalty.

3. Holiday-themed giveaway

Holiday-themed giveaways come in many variations. Black Friday doorbuster deals are a very popular one, but you can get pretty creative. For example, you could offer a self-care giveaway for singles as part of your Valentine’s Day marketing.

4. The year’s supply giveaway

There’s some psychology behind our desire for abundance, even for everyday products. Think of having a pantry full of mac and cheese or all the laundry detergent you could use for a year. It’s more exciting than it should be.

That’s the motivation behind giving a year’s supply of a product. The bonus is that you can make this highly relevant to what you sell, attracting future customers.

5. BOGO

Buy one, get one free deals are among the most popular giveaways for both the giver and the receiver.

Use BOGO deals for a big boost in sales and awareness.

Your customers get double the product for the same price, and you make a sale every time someone takes advantage of your offer.

Giveaways like this can also be great loss-leaders—products that don’t generate much profit on their own but drive lots of new customers to your store to buy additional items.

6. Free upgrade

This is a nice option if your product or service has pricing tiers and you want to attract more customers to the higher tier.

Say you sell software with entry, pro, and executive plan options. Run a promo where anyone who buys the entry plan gets the pro version for the first month. Some of those users will get hooked on the expanded capability and upgrade at the end of the giveaway period.

You can use this for physical products, too. Offer the premium product at the standard price for a limited time. Then gather as many reviews of the higher-end version and use that social proof to sell it after the promo is over.

7. Free product with purchase

I love these types of giveaways, especially for two specific purposes:

  • You have seasonal or excessive stock you need to turn
  • You’re introducing a new product

Make the free product as relevant to the purchased one as possible. Socks with a pair of shoes is a perfect example. You could also throw in something that often causes friction when forgotten, like batteries with a battery-powered toy.

8. Product bundle giveaway

Grow your add-on sales by bundling several complementary products and running a sales promotion giveaway to demonstrate how they all work together.

Bundling products for a giveaway is a great way to promote complimentary products.

9. Surprise discount or coupon code

Here’s the gist. A customer opens a promotional email with their secret code. They click through to a sales page and enter it to learn they’ve been given a 20% discount. That little bit of intrigue and anticipation makes a much bigger impression than simply getting 20%.

This giveaway works best when you can give away something valuable—you might disappoint people if they go through the motions for 5% off.

10. Branded swag giveaway

This is a standard and useful tactic for in-person events. Hand out pens, t-shirts, ball caps, or fidget spinners (remember those?) to get people to your booth or table.

A slight modification here is to buy fewer, more expensive items and only give them away to people who talk with your team. That shifts the focus from brand awareness to a lead generation campaign.

11. Refer-a-friend giveaway

There is no better salesperson for your business than happy customers. Use a little gift to give your customer referral program a big shot in the arm.

Use giveaways to get more customer referrals.

You’re asking people to discuss your business with their friends, and the leads you get will be very high-value, so make sure the gift is a good one.

12. Influencer giveaway

If you don’t already have a big audience, partner with an influencer to get more eyes on your giveaways.

Pick an influencer with a smaller, niche, engaged audience. So find a holistic health professional with a few thousand dedicated followers over Selina Gomez for your essential oils giveaway. That’ll deliver higher quality traffic which leads to more future sales.

13. Buy a gift, get a gift

This is such a great variation of the holiday giveaway or buy one, get one promo. When someone orders a present, give them something for themselves.

Gift cards work well here, so the buyer can choose what they want. But you can also create a cool version where both people get the same gift, especially if your product is great for friends—like bracelets.

14. Appreciation giveaway

Use this type of giveaway for milestones like business anniversaries or getting your first 100K followers on TikTok.

You can make this about the individual, too. For example, you could send an extra gift or discount to people one year after their first purchase.

15. Reengagement giveaway

Now, for those customers or prospects who haven’t made a purchase or opened an email in a while, a re-engagement giveaway is just the trick.

Start by segmenting your email list to pull out subscribers who haven’t done what you want them to do (click a link or re-order a product) for a set period. Send them an email with a concise, compelling subject line announcing the giveaway.

If reordering is the goal, an extra discount or BOGO offer is a good giveaway to use here.

Giveaway ideas for small businesses

Every penny counts for small and growing businesses. These giveaway ideas don’t require a lot of money or time to manage but can still net a really nice return.

16. Co-sponsored giveaway

Co-sponsored giveaways are events managed and promoted by two or more businesses. I purposely put them at the top of this list because they’re such a smart way to share the load of running a giveaway while multiplying its effect.

Giveaways work great as co-promotional events.

With multiple businesses involved, you’ll be able to afford a larger prize or gift. But even better, your brand will get exposure to the existing networks those other businesses have built.

Co-sponsored giveaways are a good social media marketing strategy, but they can also be effective in person or even via email.

17. Tag us in your post giveaways

This giveaway is a UGC-gathering powerhouse. Ask followers to tag you in their social media posts using either your handle or a branded hashtag in exchange for entry into a sweepstakes, then share the content on your account.

These events are easy to run. Just make sure you explicitly mention that tagging a post is consent for you to reshare the image. And don’t forget to highlight the winners so everyone knows the contest was legit and to get an extra splash of attention for your brand.

18. Tag-a-friend giveaways

If you scroll Instagram or TikTok for about five minutes, you’re almost guaranteed to stumble on one of these contests. That’s simply because they’re so good at exponentially growing your social network.

Use tag-a-friend giveaways to grow your social media following quickly.

Try to keep the instructions simple. If you ask someone to follow three accounts, like two different posts, and share the post to their network, they might keep scrolling (unless you’re offering a monster prize).

Combine this with a co-sponsored giveaway for an extra boost in online presence.

19. Giveaway for feedback

Online reviews do a lot of heavy lifting for your business. Buyers trust reviews, and Google uses them as a local search ranking factor so you show up in more searches.

You can use giveaways to get more reviews in a hurry. Just make giving a review a requirement for entering the giveaway.

Caution is warranted here. You don’t want to come off as buying reviews. And some platforms, like Yelp, don’t allow this tactic. Plus, you need to start with an excellent product and service, or you’ll just get more bad reviews.

20. Free information giveaway

This one is nice for small businesses because it leverages your valuable expertise instead of a costly product.

To launch this type of giveaway, create an ebook, template, or some other form of content that your target audience would love to have. For example, if you’re a chiropractor, you could create a PDF showing 10 daily habits for a healthy back. Then use a popup, or lead magnat, which asks visitors to enter their email address in exchange for the guide.

Not sure what to create? List out the five questions your customers most frequently ask and start there.

21. Free trial

An old sales trick says that if you can put a product in a prospect’s hands, your chance of making the sale will increase dramatically.

A free trial giveaway does just that. Let people who register on your website try your product without cost. They’ll gladly pay to keep using it when they fall in love.

You’ll see this strategy used for software sales a lot. But you can also send a sample size of a consumable product. Make it a gift with the purchase of another popular item to get it in more hands.

22. Free quote

This might be the most underrated giveaway on the list. Especially if your competitors regularly charge to price out a job.

Don’t sleep on the value of a free quote.

Besides attracting new potential customers, you’ll also create a cost barrier that makes it more likely people choose to work for you. Once they have your quote, they’ll be less likely to pay another business for theirs.

Cool giveaway ideas

Here are several fun giveaway ideas your customers and followers will love (and you’ll love to run).

23. Quiz/trivia

Ask your customers to answer a question about your business or industry. Tie it to your unique selling proposition so as people search for the answer, they learn what makes you different.

Here’s an example. Say your long history and wide range of services set you apart. Ask people to reply to a Facebook post with the year your company was founded and the number of services you offer. Then, pick one winner out of the replies and give them a nice giveaway.

24. Choose your own gift

I used to love it when my mom handed me a little cash and told me to pick out one toy I could take home. I had a blast prowling the isles for my special treat.

Give your audience that same thrill by letting them pick their prize from a list of options.

Let customers pick their prize for an extra exciting giveaway.

Ideally, the prize list will be a curated selection of things you sell. But it could also be from a list of your favorite seasonal products or any other themed group of items.

25. Scavenger hunt

This one is a lot of fun. Create a list of little details from your website pages (or on multiple pages if it’s a co-sponsored event). People who register get questions to answer, each requiring them to visit different pages. Then pick a winner from all of the completed entries.

These are best done over a short time period to limit answer sharing. So, make sure to create a lot of hype before the event so you have as many people playing as possible.

26. Photo or video contest

Here’s a twist on a UGC giveaway. Instead of simply collecting tagged images, offer a prize for the best one(s)!

By making it a contest, you’ll encourage people to send in their absolute best pics and videos. Plus, you’ll get a double dose of engagement when everyone checks back in to see who won.

27. Nominate a hero

People love to work with businesses that give back. This giveaway lets your audience spotlight their local heroes while you get to give back to people making a difference.

The hero nomination giveaway requires more work, but it pays off in many ways.

To run a giveaway like this, ask your followers to nominate someone they believe is a true hero and explain why. Then pick one (or more) to receive the prize and promote the event. If possible, get a video of the hero accepting their prize. You could also create a landing page listing all the nominated heroes.

Unique giveaway ideas

One of the defining characteristics of a great giveaway is that it stands out against all the other messages and ads people are exposed to. These interesting and unique giveaway ideas grab attention, even in a crowded space.

28. Gamified giveaway

A gamified giveaway adds gameplay elements to your offer. If you’ve ever spun a wheel to get a freebie or discount, you’ve seen a gamified giveaway.

Spinning the wheel is one of many ways to add engagement-boosting gameplay to your giveaways.

Digital “scratch-off” tickets add a fun element to a standard sweepstakes giveaway.

Try creating digital scratch-off tickets that give customers points for making a purchase that they can spend on future products. Anything that ups the ante by asking people to play in order to win instead of simply getting a freebie is worth consideration.

29. Caption this photo

A photo caption giveaway is great for a quick engagement boost. Post a picture on your social media platform of choice and ask your followers to write a caption for it. You pick the most creative caption and send a prize to the winner.

The game is fun, so you can expect decent participation, even with minimal prizes. Just closely moderate the replies so you don’t accidentally post a caption that isn’t safe for work.

30. Brand ambassadorship giveaway

Instead of just partnering with a brand ambassador, create a contest where people can win a chance to become one.

Who wouldn’t want to be a B.A.R.K Ranger?

Make this as big or as small as you want. You can give away a little gift to everyone who completes a task to become an ambassador. Or sponsor a huge contest where the winner spends a year using what you sell and gets paid (in products or cash) to share their experience with the world.

31. Do a good deed giveaway

This is a play on the pay-it-forward theme. Ask your followers to do something kind for a stranger (or maybe volunteer for a non-profit), document what they’ve done, and submit it for a chance to win a gift for themselves. Double the impact by offering a second gift people can give to a loved one.

This type of giveaway drums up lots of good feelings while also doing something positive for the world.

The best giveaway idea is up to you

There is no one perfect giveaway idea. What works best will be the one that matches your brand, achieves your goals, and you actually enjoy running.

Remember to be extremely clear on the rules and follow through on your promise. Missed expectations can turn a great giveaway into a public relations hassle.

Here’s a recap of the best giveaway ideas:

  1. Sweepstakes
  2. Customer loyalty giveaway
  3. Holiday-themed giveaway
  4. The year’s supply giveaway
  5. Buy one, get one free
  6. Free upgrade
  7. Free product with purchase
  8. Product bundle giveaway
  9. Surprise discount or coupon code
  10. Branded swag giveaway
  11. Refer-a-friend giveaway
  12. Influencer giveaway
  13. Buy a gift, get a gift
  14. Appreciation giveaway
  15. Reengagement giveaway
  16. Co-sponsored giveaway
  17. Tag us in your post
  18. Tag-a-friend
  19. Giveaway for feedback
  20. Free information giveaway
  21. Free trial
  22. Free quote
  23. Quiz/trivia
  24. Choose your own gift
  25. Scavenger hunt
  26. Photo or video contest
  27. Nominate a hero
  28. Gamified giveaway
  29. Caption this photo
  30. Brand ambassadorship giveaway
  31. Do a good dead giveaway



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