The $5 Giveaway On The To-Do List

A recent question asked: “What are the best giveaways to promote a customer community? (must be under $5)”

This is a crazy question to ask.

Giveaways neither drive people to a site or keep people participating. At best, they can work as a variable reward for really great contributions, but they’re far more likely to be a silly distraction for everyone.

Think about impact here.

Is what you’re planning going to have the biggest long-term impact on the community as it can?

Is it going to affect a lot of people for a long period of time?

Instead of $5 giveaways, start building a comprehensive knowledge base and make it easier to find community answers from the website, FAQ, or help center.

Instead of $5 giveaways, schedule calls with two-dozen members who are drifting away and find out what’s happening and what you can do to bring them back.

Instead of $5 giveaways become familiar with technical SEO and make sure you’re ranking highly in search. Remove the unpopular stuff and merge discussions into definitive resources.

If a $5 giveaway reaches the top of your to-do list, you need a much, much, better list.


  1. Rebecca Braglio says:

    In my opinion, giveaways are rarely worth the time and effort. However, I have had one instance where the payoff was worth it: I did a few giveaways (retail value approx. $50) when I was in the pet industry and then tracked every person who entered and the winner afterwards (to see what actions, if any, they took after the contest was over).

    I had some interesting results. In general, the majority of the winners did come back and continue to participate (I don’t remember for how long though, but it was at least a few months).

    But was that in and of itself worth the effort of putting it all together, shipping it out, etc.? Shrug. Did it make the members happy?

    I think giveways are so common place now it’s almost becoming an expectation.

  2. Paul Mosca says:

    We are brand new to organizing a learning community. The big idea was to invite forum starters to engage and begin the conversations. Here are the details of the program. Give out swag to the forum leader. They would have little cards to invite others to the forum topic they created. At the end of reaching three badges we would give out gift cards.

    I’m now seeing this program just like at give away. MY question: Any of the requirements or modifications seem like they will help? Improvements?

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