Using giveaways to generate (and convert) leads

Here at QTS, we support a lot of our clients with lead generation campaigns. And increasingly, we are seeing more clients embrace lead gen with freebie giveaways.

These giveaways might be in the form of branded pin badges, car stickers, tote bags, mugs, even access to exclusive educational video content – but an appealing freebie can be just the little incentive people need to shift from simply being curious about your charity to being actively interested in supporting it. Equally, the campaign and the giveaway will generate stronger brand awareness for your charity, with the added outcome of securing new regular donors and supporters.

So how does it work?

The client runs a campaign promoting a giveaway item. This promotion is usually online, so might be via their website, or a social media platform or even through an email marketing campaign. The great thing about this is that because there is a free giveaway, it can generate a lot of interest which in turn can lead to a lot of prospects to call and convert.

In order to obtain the giveaway item, the respondent needs to provide their contact details – along with consent for contact. Their name and contact number usually suffices, but some clients will request email contacts as well. We think the simpler, the better! This is the first step in generating the lead, and converts people who feel strongly about your cause into someone who has taken an action – so a much warmer lead.

We then work with the lead gen list to contact all respondents to thank them for their interest and to obtain their address details in order to arrange delivery of their requested giveaway.  You might be surprised to hear that the majority of respondents are happy to provide this information; in our experience it’s around 85% of all those asked, and this of course generates further valuable data for the client.

While we have the respondent engaged during the call, we explore whether there is interest in becoming a financial supporter of the charity, with perhaps a range of asks to present them. The conversion rate from initial respondent to regular donor by direct debit currently averages at about 7% – 9% donating £5 – £8  a month – a healthy return on a relatively low cost campaign.

What are the disadvantages?

Well, if you run a successful promotion with an appealing giveaway, inevitably you will be sending out a lot of freebie items – the majority of which will go to people who do not choose to financially support your charity. However on the plus side, you are creating a positive, feel good factor with potential supporters, you are generating greater awareness for your charity with the visual branding on your giveaways and you are building a community around your brand and your work.

We recently ran such a campaign for regular clients Samaritans – and here was the feedback from Campaign Manager, Claire Leslie.

“Our recent Lead Conversion campaign beat Cost per Acquisition and Average Gift targets. The Conversion rates were good and our pin badges proved popular! We’re now planning our next campaign.”

samaritans logo

Read on for the top tips from QTS and the team at Samaritans:

  1. Try not to pitch the campaign as simply a chance for someone to get something for free. We suggest promoting it as a chance for someone to show their support for your charity, be a part of your community and actively help in promoting all the good work you do. 

  2. Don’t wait until the end of your lead gen campaign to start your telemarketing. Leads need to be very warm, ideally within 48 hours or so, or respondents may have forgotten they requested the giveaway, or assume it’s not going to be followed up.

  3. Which brings us to organising your data – and a top tip from Samaritans’ Claire: “Work out in plenty of time how the data can be sent to QTS on a daily basis so the people are called before they forget about the action they took. Consider how the data will be stored in your database when the campaign is finished, so you can keep in touch with your new donors, members or campaigners.”

  4. Think carefully about your giveaways – mugs were great when we all used to take them to our place of work, but things have changed. Reusable bags are really popular if the design is right – they will be used as shopping bags or for other daily tasks. Like car stickers, it means that the logo of the charity will be carried around everywhere by their user – excellent for brand awareness. Pin badges are great – as we saw with Samaritans, it gives the person wearing the badge a sense of pride and it can make them appear generous to people around them as they will think they have carried out a charitable act.

  5. Purchase your giveaways carefully. On demand printing is without doubt the savviest way to do this and keep your costs (and waste) down, unless you are producing items in the sort of quantity you might have alternative uses for. We highly recommend suppliers such as Urban Planet Ltd for efficient on demand printing AND fulfilment.

  6. Track ROI by firstly monitoring your click- through rates, and then the number of addresses provided, and finally any conversions to regular financial supporter. Review which giveaways have been more popular, and which asks receive more support – and tailor future campaigns accordingly.

  7. And one last tip. Think about your supporter journeys – how will you retain your newest recruits? Consider how you’ll be able to stay in touch at key points in their journey.

In summary, giveaways are a great way to engage with your audience and drive people to learn more about your charity – and can be a really cost-effective way to generate useful intelligence and data for future activity, as well as creating regular donors.

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