How to Market Giveaways Without a Big Budget

By Meagan Kral

How to Market Giveaways Without a Big Budget

When you are thinking about starting an online giveaway, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the cost of- quite frankly, the whole process. We want to support your budget and efforts to go as far as they can, which is why we think your decision to run a contest is an amazing idea.

In this article, we’ll cover what may be the most important items to allocate your budget to as well as free ways to boost your marketing to gain leads for your campaign.

Here are the five basics you’ll need to focus on to run your giveaway: marketing and promotion, e-mailing lists, incentives, labor, and of course- your contest building platform. We are also here to take a look and even give advice when you need it- just email support@kickofflabs.com anytime!

Giveaway marketing and promotion

Marketing is going to be your most useful tool when it comes to making your viral campaign a success. This is something that you can be flexible with in terms of budget because good marketing is so easily accessible these days.

 Luckily there are plenty of free and low-cost options so choose where your efforts should be expressed the most (Facebook, Google Ads, YouTube, etc) and meet that audience where they are. You can find more information on great places to get your contest seen here: Giveaway Resources to increase the odds that your KickoffLabs campaigns succeed

You will need to decide how much you are willing to spend on this and the focus on being informative, concise, approachable, and consistent wherever you choose to put your efforts. Read this article to learn more about minimal cost marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your Startup Online Without a Big Budget | KickoffLabs. As well as this one to learn how to create content in the most budget-friendly way: HOW TO CREATE AMAZING PRODUCT SHOTS FOR YOUR WEBSTORE AND CONTESTS | KickoffLabs. Lastly, check out some free templates we created for you to use on Canva here: Canva Social Media Contest Image Templates

Marketing graphic

Email lists

Your email lists are a vital tool to keep your audience engaged once they have entered the contest. You can use our included action-triggered email system for your contest with your paid plan to keep your audience informed of where they stand. To re-engage them, we do recommend using some kind of blast email program. This can cost anywhere from $20-$300 a month depending on how many emails you plan to send and the number of addresses collected. We have seen some great success from Klavyo, Mailchimp, and Convert Kit. You can also use email marketing through Shopify if that is the platform your storefront is on.

Email graphic

Incentives and contest prizes

This oftentimes is the big one. When deciding on your incentives (and possible re-engagement incentives at the end of the campaign), come up with a few different options:

  • Something big and enticing to draw new people in- this could be a new laptop, a trip, a lifetime membership or subscription. Anything that seems like it would be exciting and beneficial enough to tell all of their friends about.
  • Something that directs them to try your business- think a few months subscription or free product from your store that they can try out and tell people how great it is!
  • Something that keeps them coming back- so maybe a coupon or a product that goes alongside your product. For example, if a tech store wanted you to buy the new iPad, they may give away the Apple Pencil or a coupon for $50 off the product.Incentives graphic

When budgeting this in, think about the most practical options for your current audience or your ideal customer. Here is a great article for more information about choosing a prize:6 Types of Contest Prizes That Make Them Worth Your Customers’ Time | KickoffLabs 

You don’t have to break the bank on prizes, especially if your product is something people are already excited to get their hands on. If you are trying to stay as low budget as possible, incentivizing your product’s worth can still be incredibly valuable and enticing enough to get the customers you actually want. Plus, your product being the main prize can help get the buzz around since it would be the topic of conversation when your current audience sends referrals. 


Whether this is your own sweat labor or you are paying someone to run the show, make sure to budget for it. Small business owners often don’t count their time as part of the budget, but why not? Your time is valuable and keeping a new audience engaged in your contest is easier said than done. You will need time to create/ design the landing page, set up contest rules and actions, obtain and send out prizes to winners, set up automatic responders as well as blast emails, and create content with a posting schedule to remind your audience that they should take more actions. Allot yourself the time it will take or plan accordingly when it comes to paying an employee to do so.

marketing on a budget

The giveaway platform

We would love to tell you that you could do this with no budget, no problem- but there are, of course, some things that you just can’t get around budgeting for, like your awesome contest building platform, for example. Luckily, we have several plans based on your needs and you will only have to move up if you are bringing in an overwhelming amount of leads. Paid plans even come with 1:1 calls where we will help you go through specific questions and set up if you need.

KickoffLabs pricing tiers

Truthfully, your contest will be what you put into it, whether that is time, money, or the whole shebang- so remember that while you make it happen. You don’t need to invest above and beyond what you have into it, stick to a practical plan and grow from there. Contests are fun and getting new leads that become consistent customers is such an exciting outcome, so we highly recommend you put your all into one of those banks and make it yours!

Read more Running Viral Giveaways with the next chapter:

12. Six Giveaway Ideas

Learn six invaluable tips for running a giveaway that delivers real results.

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