Today’s post is written by David Walker who runs a make money online blog and recently hosted a successful JV Giveaway. After adding over 3,000 subscribers to his mailing list in little over a week, David explains how to use giveaways effectively to build your own.

1. What is a Giveaway & Where to Find Them?

To put it simply, a giveaway is a time-limited, free membership website where marketers (known as contributors) submit their “gifts” (often a free info product) so that members who register can download them.

However, a member has to join a marketer’s mailing list in order to download the product they want, usually via a squeeze page.

Giveaways are traditionally promoted via “word of mouth” with a marketer sending a sign-up link to their mailing lists or posting them on their blog.

There is an updated giveaway list on this blog so make sure you bookmark it and check it often for details of new events to get involved in.

2. What You Need to Contribute

The barrier to entry is very low and all you need to participate as a contributor is a product to submit to the giveaway, an autoresponder and squeeze and thank you pages. Here I will go through each in turn.

a) A Free Product

In terms of personal branding and originality, it is more beneficial to offer a product you have created rather than a tired old product which you have resell/redistribution rights to but has done the rounds for months on end.

You can create a short PDF report which solves a specific problem and you can also add your own personal story, links to your blog and other affiliate products to personalise and monetise it at the same time.

If the thought of doing this terrifies you, then you could always take a Private Label Rights (PLR) product and thoroughly edit it to make it your own.

Your free product does not have to be a report – it could be an instructional video, an MP3 interview conducted with a fellow marketer, a software product or a script

b) An Autoresponder

This is what collects your prospect’s name and email address when they want to download your free product and also sends them the download link automatically – it’s a completely hands-off process!

There are several autoresponder services to choose from but I personally use Aweber.

c) Squeeze & Thank You Pages

You should create a very simple squeeze page which has your autoresponder opt-in form embedded into it and brief information about what your product is all about.

Similarly, rather than just emailing your new subscriber a direct link to the downloadable file, send them to a download page instead. You can put the download link on this page as well as some “unnanounced bonuses” – free downloads which have your affiliate link embedded so you earn commissions on any backend sales.

3. Identifying Quality Events

There could be 20 or even more giveaways running at any one time so identifying the quality events which attract large numbers of contributors and members will help you build your list a lot faster.

All giveaways have a “paid upgrade” option whereby you can enjoy a more prominent position for your gift within the download area in addition to other benefits, such as being able to submit more than one gift, upload banner adverts, text adverts or even a paid product for people to buy.

BUT, not all events are created equal and the majority are not worth your upgrade dollars!

By involving yourself in giveaways every month you will become an expert at sussing out the great events from the duds. You will notice the same people hosting events which pass by relatively unnoticed month after month and you will spot others who always put on a great giveaway.

Two of the big players when it comes to giveaways are Guido Nussbaum and Rodger Hyatt. An event backed by either of them is usually successful and worth the upgrade fee.

4. Promoting a Giveaway

The traffic (i.e. new contributors and members) arrive at the giveaway initially by the contributors promoting it to their lists and when the giveaway goes live, members are able to promote too.

However, new marketers may find themselves in a Catch 22 situation. They want to use the giveaway to build their list but they are unable to promote it.

Some events are not very “newbie friendly” and “downgrade” a contributor’s account to that of a member if no signups are recorded under their ID. This means the contributor’s gift is removed and they are unable to get any new subscribers.

Personally, I think this is unfair and giveaways should be about giving newcomers a helping hand. I know how difficult it is to build a list in the early stages and in my giveaway I had a “no downgrades for no promotion” policy, meaning your account would NOT be downgraded if no referrals were recorded.

Unfortunately, this policy is not used by the majority of giveaways so you will need to promote the event by other means if you don’t have a list at all. Hit up your contacts on Skype, use Twitter, Facebook, forum signatures and/or write a blog post about the event and hopefully you will get a couple of referrals to save your account from the dreaded downgrade.

5. The Next Step – Hosting Your Own Giveaway

Where you will really add numbers to your list is by hosting your own giveaway. By doing so you can add every contributor and member who registers to your list and when I did this myself, I added over 3,000 new subscribers!

I would not recommend a newbie hosts their own giveaway due to the technical requirements of installing a script such as Scott Cases’s Ultimate JV Giveaway or Guido Nussbaum’s Giveaway Manager.

But, if you are at a stage where you are confident of handling an installation and have made enough good contacts who will be happy to give you a leg-up and promote the giveaway then go for it! There is quite a bit of day-to-day work involved in setting up and maintaining the giveaway but it’s a lot of fun as well.

I wrote a blog post, giving 10 reasons why my giveaway was successful and recorded a short “behind the scenes” video to show you the subscriber numbers, traffic and also earnings you can expect to achieve from hosting your own event.

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