If you’re in the cannabis industry, you can gain a lot by giving stuff away.

People like free stuff, so giveaways earn a ton of organic (free) views and engagement.

Not only does this save you money, it also provides an alternative to paid online advertising, prohibited for cannabis companies by government legislation and social media company bans

And to round out the benefits, contests and sweepstakes allow you to grow your email list, generate leads (potential sales), and build brand or product awareness.

Giveaways are a win-win if you’re in the cannabis industry. Read on for eight simple steps to getting your contest or sweepstake right. 

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[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Set Your Goals[/ut_title_divider_2]

Set measurable, attainable targets so you can measure your success. If you’ve done this before, look at the results from your last contest: How much can you grow these numbers?

Set a goal for leads – customers that share their information. This can include their name, e-mail address, postal address, cellphone number and interests. Think about the quality of your leads too – are they qualified? Are they likely to buy your product?

Leads also give insight on how much awareness you’ve generated. Additionally, set targets for engagement – how many likes, shares, retweets or comments are you aiming for?

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[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Pick Your Prize[/ut_title_divider_2]

Prizing is tricky in the cannabis industry since regulations limit what you can give away. In Colorado, for instance, retail cannabis stores may not give away cannabis or any cannabis product, or any consumable items including food and drinks..

So what can you give away? What will your customers, new and existing, be most enticed by? What prize connects to your brand and contest? Some ideas include:

      • Experiential: tickets to cannabis events or competitions, concerts in your city
      • Accessories: papers, grinders, glassware
      • Grower equipment: lighting, ventilation, hydration

If you’ve got partnerships, do any of your agreements include contra (free products or services supplied by a partner). For instance, if you’ve sponsored an athlete or sports team, you could ask for comped tickets to give away throughout the season.

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[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Create Your Giveaway[/ut_title_divider_2]

If you want to maximize your entries, make your giveaway easy to enter.

The easiest kind of giveaway is a sweepstake. It’s based purely on chance: the entrant just has to enter their details and the winner is randomly selected. 

In fact, you don’t even need to ask for details. A share, tag, or follow will suffice if boosting awareness is top of your agenda.

Let’s say you’re launching a product and you want to generate hype. A few days before release, you launch a contest on social media, teasing the product and asking your followers to retweet or share the post to enter a sweepstake to win it. Alternatively, ask your followers to tag a friend in the comment section and, to build sustainable awareness, ask them to follow you as well. Sit back and watch the engagements multiply.

You can also build engagement by creating a cool contest and creating some fun content. You could test your followers’ knowledge with cannabis trivia, challenge them to predict the next Cannabis Cup winner, or encourage them to share something personal, like a photo of their favorite smoke spot. 

[ut_header title_linebreak_mobile="on" lead_linebreak_mobile="on" title="STEP 4" effect="fadeIn"][/ut_header]
[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Spread the Word[/ut_title_divider_2]

Publicize your giveaway through as many different channels as possible. If you’re looking for new leads, you’ll need to look for ways to expand your reach beyond your existing audience.

[ut_service_column size="small" headline="Social Media" icon="fa fa-twitter"]Social media: Post on all the platforms you’re on – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram (including Stories), Snapchat and so on. Choose an eye-catching picture or graphic and make sure there’s a word like win, giveaway, sweepstake or contest in the first line of the caption.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Web" icon="fa fa-desktop"]Place an ad on your home page. Build a dedicated landing page and drive traffic to a custom URL.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Influencers" icon="fa fa-user-circle-o"]Team up with an individual that commands a big following online and ask them to help publicize your giveaway. It’s a win for the influencer and their following, too.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Partners" icon="fa fa-handshake-o"]Ask your partners to help publicize your giveaway through social media, e-mail and any other channels.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="Print/out-of-home" icon="fa fa-pencil-square-o"]Hand out “Scratch and Win” cards at an event or retail location. Utilize print and public advertising for “text-to-win” contests.[/ut_service_column][ut_service_column size="small" headline="In-person" icon="fa fa-tablet"]Set up a tablet computer and collect entries at an event or your place of business.[/ut_service_column]

Publicize regularly throughout the contest and, at the end of the giveaway period, communicate urgency with “last chance” messaging.

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[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Gather the Entries[/ut_title_divider_2]

Whether you’re publicizing your giveaway online or otherwise, collecting your entries digitally will save you a lot of time on data entry.

Use a data management system like Formstack to build an entry form to collect entries automatically:

      • Decide what information you want to collect
      • Build the form and embed it on a dedicated landing page
      • Create a custom URL for the landing page
      • Drive traffic to the URL through your marketing collateral
      • Use custom tracking links to identify which channels or creatives are most successful in driving traffic to the page

If you’re publicizing your contest offline, asking your customers to remember and manually enter a URL can feel cumbersome. “Text-to-win” giveaways use five or six digit “Short Codes” to make entering contests easier. Your contestants to text an opt-in word to the Short Code you’ve created, e.g. “Text WIN to 762200.” Your contestant will automatically receive a reply containing the URL for the contest entry page.

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[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Make Sure It's Legal[/ut_title_divider_2]

Contesting laws differ from state to state in the US, so make sure your giveaway is legal

Also, you’ll need to draft up a Terms and Conditions for every contest you run. At minimum, this should contain details on:

      • Name of contest
      • Key dates and times (start, end, prize draw)
      • Eligibility
      • How to enter
      • Prize (quantity and description)
      • Prize claim
      • Conditions attached to the prize
      • General conditions
      • Use of personal information

Hyperlink to the Terms and Conditions on the contest entry page. Include a check box for entrants to confirm their agreement. Additionally, include a check mark for entrants to opt out of their personal information being used for marketing purposes.

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[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Pick a winner. Share the good news.[/ut_title_divider_2]

When you’ve picked the winner of your giveaway, don’t forget to tell your followers – with your winner’s permission. Announcing the winner confirms your contest is real, so your followers will be more likely to enter the next one. Plus, winning is always a good story to tell.

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[ut_title_divider_2 divider="bklyn-divider-style-4" text_transform="uppercase" spacing="margin-bottom:10px"]Review[/ut_title_divider_2]

Look back at the objectives you set at the beginning. Were you successful? Did you collect enough leads and build sufficient awareness? 

What went well, and how could you improve? Record your numbers so you can try to beat them next time.

Contesting is a craft honed through experience. At Hybrid, we can help you get it right the first time. Chat with our team for advice on building the perfect giveaway for your cannabis business. You’ve got nothing to lose, but a lot to gain.