How to do a giveaway on Shopify
Sales & Marketing

How to do a giveaway on Shopify

Giveaways drive engagement and sales for your Shopify store, especially when you use them to get your audience from less profitable channels like social media to more profitable channels like your email list.

For example, below is a giveaway that a Shopify merchant ran on Instagram to get followers onto their email list.

Shopify giveaway on Instagram
Shopify giveaway on Instagram

The example above is a Shopify store's giveaway on Instagram. Even though they only had 3,000 Instagram followers, they got over 200 entries and 100 new email subscribers. So, let's talk about how your Shopify store can do a giveaway too!

Here's how to do a giveaway on Shopify:

  1. Pick a giveaway goal
  2. Decide which channel to use for your giveaway
  3. Pick a giveaway prize
  4. Use 3 simple giveaway entry rules
  5. Collect personalization & product recommendation data
  6. Use a compelling giveaway image with 'GIVEAWAY'
  7. Run your giveaway for no more than 2-3 days
  8. Pick giveaway winners fairly and randomly

Next, let's walk through each of these steps to do a giveaway for your Shopify store.

Pick a giveaway goal

To get the most value out of your Shopify giveaway, you should target new customers who aren't already buying from you. For example, running a giveaway on your website only targets people who are already coming to your website. Why would you target someone who is already on your website and ready to buy and distract them with something free? If they're there to buy, let them buy!

Instead, you want to target people who are NOT already coming to your website, like your Instagram followers. Instagram users are on Instagram to be entertained, not to buy. So, your giveaway goal would be to get them on your email list, where you have a much higher chance of converting them.

The goal for your Shopify giveaway can be whatever you think is valuable for your business, but in this example we'll use the following:

The goal of my Shopify giveaway is to get my Instagram followers onto my email list so that I can track, nurture and convert them better to drive sales.

Whatever your goal is, state it clearly so you understand the what and why. That'll make the rest of planning your giveaway easier.

Decide what channel to use for your giveaway

You want to get your audience from low-value channels (e.g. Instagram) to higher-converting channels, like your email marketing funnel. So, what channel you use for your giveaway depends on where you have the largest audience.

For most Shopify stores, this means running your giveaway on Instagram to reach the most people and convert them into email subscribers.

It's generally best to start with a social media channel because that's where your customers are. You want to engage your customers where they already are in ways they love, like Instagram giveaways.

Social networks also have built-in features that drive engagement, such as likes, comments, visuals, etc.

What if you have a small audience?

You may think that's great for those with a large Instagram audience, but what if you don't have a lot of Instagram followers? You have a few options.

First, you don't need a huge audience to get decent results. In the example we used above, they only had 3,000 Instagram followers but still got around 100 new email subscribers! As long as you have an engaged following, you can get decent results.

Instagram giveaway collabs are also a great way to expand your reach. You can reach more like-minded people by collaborating with other accounts with a similar following.

Lastly, you can also sponsor your giveaway post (paid Instagram ads) to reach even more people.

Pick a giveaway prize

Using the right prize for your Shopify giveaway is one of the most important steps because it helps you target the right customers. Here's the key: Only use a prize your target audience wants.

For example, if you sell beauty products, give away a lip kit or something similar that only people interested in beauty want. If you give away generic prizes like an iPad or an Amazon gift card, then you're more likely to get generic, untargeted customers entering your giveaway.

Use a giveaway prize that only your target audience would want to attract the right customers and get the best results.

Use 3 simple giveaway entry rules

Your goal is to attract as many entries as possible while driving as much value for your Shopify store (ROI) as possible. So, how do you keep the entry criteria simple while also making it valuable to your business?

The specific entry rules you use depend on your goals (which we covered above) and the channel (e.g. social network) you use for your Shopify giveaway, so for this example we'll continue to use Instagram.

The Instagram giveaway rules we recommend for Shopify stores are:

1. Follow us
2. Tag 2 friends in the comments
3. Join our newsletter (link in bio) for 10 BONUS entries!

These rules are simple and effective. Here's why:

  1. Follow us: It just takes clicking a button and grows your following
  2. Tag 2 friends: Generates engagement and attracts new people to your giveaway
  3. Join newsletter: They've already committed by completing the 2 rules above. Now they can get 10X more entries by subscribing, which grows your email list (the goal of your Shopify giveaway).

Instagram does not have a built-in mechanism for the 'Join our newsletter' step, but you can use the POPSMASH Shopify app to track entries and validate email subscribers for your Shopify Instagram giveaways.

Even if you do your giveaway on a different social network than Instagram, try to do something similar with simple but effective rules with increasing levels of effort.

Collect data to personalize marketing & recommend products

One profitable twist with a giveaway is to use a Shopify quiz app to add a quiz to your giveaway and collect customer preferences. Then after customers opt-in you can include recommended products that match those preferences in your future email marketing campaigns, in on-site upsells and more.

Use a compelling giveaway image with 'GIVEAWAY'

Your potential customers are scrolling their social feeds a mile a minute. You have a fraction of a second to capture their attention, so don't waste it!

Use a compelling giveaway image with the text 'GIVEAWAY' overlayed to capture their attention and stop that scroll. Here's an example:

A Shopify Instagram giveaway example image
A Shopify Instagram giveaway example image

If you want more examples of good giveaway images, we added more Shopify giveaway image examples here.

Run your giveaway for no more than 2-3 days

The duration of your Shopify giveaway depends on what channel you use. For Instagram giveaways the ideal duration is 2-3 days, which is most common for Shopify giveaways since they mostly use Instagram.

2-3 days is ideal because social networks like Instagram prioritize recent content, so you'll get a surge of entries early, then it'll level off.

There are some cases where a longer giveaway duration (e.g. 7 days) can make sense. Here are a couple examples:

  1. Collab giveaways where the other accounts will continue to promote the giveaway after the initial surge.
  2. If you boost the giveaway post with paid ads or as a sponsored post you can continue to drive traffic to it.
  3. If you continue to post stories and reminders to enter the giveaway to continue to drive entries.

Bonus tip: Post your giveaway at the ideal time

To make the most of the initial bump in visibility and engagement when you first post your giveaway, post it at an ideal time when your followers are most likely to see it.

This is usually around lunch time so you get the lunch time boost, then the evening boost as people share it. Morning can also work, depending on when your audience is most active.

The worst time to post it is the middle of the night when most people are asleep!

Pick giveaway winners fairly and randomly

Successful brands are built on trust. You want your customers to know, like, and trust you, which breeds loyalty and repeat purchases. But that trust must be earned consistently over time.

One way brands can earn trust with Shopify giveaways is to run them fairly and transparently, especially when picking random winners at the end. The best way to do this is to use a third-party tool to draw a random winner.

The added benefit to third-party tools is they often do more than just pick a winner. For example, the POPSMASH Shopify app will also track entries, validate email subscribers and pick a random winner for you at the end.

Regardless of what social network you run your giveaway, use a tool to pick a winner fairly and randomly, and communicate that transparently to your followers.

Grow your Shopify sales with giveaways!

Now it's your turn to get started. In closing, here's a quick summary:

  1. Pick a giveaway goal: For most Shopify stores, this is to grow email subscribers.
  2. Decide which channel to use for your giveaway: Shopify stores usually use Instagram.
  3. Pick a giveaway prize: Use a prize only your target customers want.
  4. Use 3 simple giveaway entry rules: For Shopify Instagram giveaways, we recommend 1) Follow us, 2) Tag two friends in the comments, 3) Subscribe to our newsletter in our biolink.
  5. Collect personalization & product recommendation data with a quiz to help drive sales
  6. Use a compelling giveaway image with 'GIVEAWAY'
  7. Run your giveaway for no more than 2-3 days
  8. Pick giveaway winners fairly and randomly using a Shopify giveaway app

If you want to learn more about using Instagram to run giveaways, here's an Instagram giveaway guide.

About the author
Gabriel Mays, the Co-Founder and CEO of POPSMASH
Gabriel A. Mays
Gabriel Mays' Website
Co-Founder & CEO at POPSMASH
Before POPSMASH, Gabe was a Director at GoDaddy and founded two startups. He was also a Marine Corps Captain, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He lives with his wife and two kids on Cape Cod, MA.

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