When I first decided to host a giveaway online, I had no idea where to start. I decided to use Rafflecopter, a well-known giveaway site, to host my giveaways.
Below is a review of their services.
1. Free to host a giveaway
Features of Rafflecopter Free Account
The free hosting capabilities are basic, but do get the job done, and I highly recommend going with the free option for your first giveaway and then decide later if you want to upgrade. Also, all of the giveaway linky sites know Rafflecopter and this makes sharing your giveaway information easier.
2. Relatively easy to navigate
Hosting your first getaway is pretty easy to understand, although there was a learning curve that I’ll get into later in this post. It has three sections – setup, installation, and entries. In the setup section, you add the prize description, decide how people can enter, add the terms and conditions, and start/end dates. In the installation section is where you find the links and code to embed the Rafflecopter widget on your blog or website or preview on your Facebook fan page. You can also preview your giveaway. The last area is the entries section and you can view a report showing who has entered the giveaway and what options they chose. You can also download the report into an excel spreadsheet and add a random widget to pick a winner at random when the giveaway ends.
3. Integrates with Facebook
I found this to be a huge benefit because once it’s setup, the changes you make to the giveaway are automatically updated on your Facebook fan page. Also, you can boost your posts on Facebook to reach more people and there is always a direct widget to your giveaway. You can also schedule posts on Facebook to remind people of the giveaway as it goes on to increase traffic.
4. Good Q&A Articles
Links to Q&A Articles
As I mentioned before, there is a learning curve when using Rafflecopter, but they do provide a field manual about a variety of topics concerning in the ins/outs of using their services. I found them clear and to the point.
5. Ability to copy the settings of a giveaway
I found this feature really useful because I hosted three similar giveaways in a short amount of time, and basically I copied the setup from one to the other and this made it easy and quick.
Cons of Rafflecopter.
1. Free account has limited features
You can easily host a giveaway, but some key features aren’t included. The main one for me was that you can’t customize your entry form by adding a picture of your prize. A good quality photo really boosts traffic to your giveaway and the free account doesn’t include this option. After my first giveaway, I upgraded to a basic account for $13 per month to have this option. I also wanted to integrate my mailing list with the giveaway and have the option for the entrants to refer a friend, but these features are only included in the grow and premium accounts. These were not in my budget, but if I continue to use this Rafflecopter consistently, I can see these two features being a huge bonus, so a further upgrade might be necessary.
2. Setup is pretty easy, but there are a few confusing areas.
The first one is deciding how people can enter. For my giveaway, it was critical that the entrant nominate my novel, to enter the giveaway. To do this you need to invent your own option and make this mandatory. If you read about giveaways they recommend not making an entry option mandatory because it can dissuade people from entering, but since this was the whole purpose of the giveaway, I ignored this advice. I did read that adding more than one option is a smart way to go. Other options to choose from are: tweeting about the giveaway, visiting a website, commenting on a blog post, etc. I added a few of these as well. I was confused by the number value you can give each option. 1-5 are the choices. I instinctively knew to give the Invent Your Own Option a higher value and the others a lower value to make this option more attractive, but it wasn’t until later when I looked at who entered the giveaway that it became clear that the numbers represented the total number of entries each person can earn for completing the different entrant options. So it looks like you’ve had a lot more entrants than you’ve had.
Another confusing area is the terms and conditions section. For the free account you don’t have access to a template and for a giveaway newbie I had no idea what my terms and conditions should state. I had to do some serious research to find the right language and to include all the necessary terms and conditions. Once you upgrade to the basic account you have access to a template. But if you don’t want to pay for this, you need to figure this out yourself.
The last confusing area is that you can set your start/end dates but the start/end times must be at midnight. Being able to change the time your giveaway starts is a feature of the basic account not the free one. I found this doubly annoying because I read on a Rafflecopter’s Q&A article that there are better times to start and end a giveaway to increase traffic. And midnight is not one of those times.
4. Integrating the Facebook App
There is a learning curve when integrating your giveaway with Facebook. First, you need to create the connection on your page, then they give this recommendation of not posting a link to Rafflecopter in a Facebook post advertising your giveaway, but rather a generated Facebook link. This took time to understand. However, once the parameters were clear this became really easy to execute.
Overall, once I learned the basic ropes of using Rafflecopter, I decided it was best to stay with them for further giveaways. And the widget is great overall. I highly recommend it. The main cons I overcame as I went and my giveaways were successful for my main purpose. There are some key features that I wish I had that are only available if I upgrade. Let me know what your experience was like with Rafflecopter below. I would love to hear them.
I also wrote a blog on How to Host a Giveaway. Check it out and let me know what you think.
If you haven’t please click on the book cover and nominate my novel! A million thanks!!