Thursday, 29 September 2011

Giveaways as marketing tools

Ebooks are still in the process of gaining ground in the UK, but of course they have been around on the internet a long time.
So what has changed since their inception? Well, price for one. Free offers abound. Yet does this stimulate sales or simply devalue the worth of the book? It’s a tricky one.
As a general marketing strategy, one of the easiest ways to turn people on to your product is to give it to them. This is a proven tactic for products that people are likely to get hooked on and come back to buy more and more. Clearly, the same person is not going to come back time and time again to purchase the same copy of our book.
So what are the benefits of giveaways for ebook authors?
They include:
- generating reviews/ positive feedback that helps us to create a buzz about our book
- stimulating word of mouth recommendation
- creating goodwill
- reaching a new audience: people love getting something for nothing and the freebie deal will attract an audience you might not otherwise reach
- they can help us to build our mailing lists
But are these benefits lost in view of the sheer number of free giveaways on offer?
Also, does giving away our prized possession devalue its intrinsic worth? And how do we avoid this pitfall?
I believe it is important that we are excited about the book that we are giving away and that we convey our enthusiam by talking it up through sms sites like facebook and twitter. We need to make readers feel that the prize is something ‘special’. Posting review quotes or short extracts will help enhance the worth of the prize. Another tactic is to engage their competitive spirit and make them ‘work’ for the prize through events like scavenger hunts. Will they value the prize more if they have won it through some effort on their part over and above other entrants? I think so.
Of course giveaways are not limited to books – they can be trinkets, fridge magnets, pens or ‘bigger’ prizes like gift tokens or even a Kindle. Generally, larger sites can afford bigger prizes. It is a question of cost vs benefit and, of course, affordability.
'Buy one get one free' is a useful form of giveaway for authors with backlists i.e. buy the latest release and get a free backlist book.
For blog hosts, giveaways can also be considered a marketing tool in that they build awareness about your blog and gain new readers as well as rewarding regular ones
There is no doubt that giveaways are a much used marketing tool – some might say overused – yet I believe there is still mileage in them providing they themselves are marketed effectively.


  1. This a very interesting blog Megan. On a recent blog where I offered a free copy of my novella The Wrong Touch, I had an awesome number of comments. Apart from the winner those who took the time to follow the 'rules' of the contest may not have won the e-book, but perhaps they found out about it and are interested enough to buy it now they know thet have not won the contest. :-) I hope so. LOL

  2. Great post, Megan. I've always been a fan of awarding free copies in contests in order to let readers sample my fare. :) I especially like that Kindle allows them to sample the book before they buy, that encourages authors to write engaging first chapters that reel in the reader.