Bribing People With $50 Gift Cards: Part Deux

When we last left our scrappy, middle-ish-aged Promotion and Link Building columnist, he was working away furiously on an exciting multi-part column tracking the adventures of a small promotion. Catch up here and here.

My small promotion, in which I held a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card for anyone who submitted recommendations for the future of this space, has been great fun and a wonderful success. As I said last time, based on a conservative value of $20 per respondent, I got a whopping 340-percent ROI!

I highly recommend these Amazon gift cards because they’re so easy to give and use. I simply e-mailed the winner, Paul Rivero, the gift card. That was handy because I think Paul lives in Australia.

He was able to instantly use his gift card, and incidentally, let me know what he bought. That was a nice touch, Paul. I’m going to make a bigger effort to let people know what I bought when I get gift cards in the future. But, I digress.

I asked readers to share with me their ideas for taking this column in a new direction. Now let’s look at some of the actual responses I received. They far exceeded my expectations and could really help push this section further along.

My question to potential respondents was: What do you want to see here and what would a promotion-monitoring component look like? I was curious if people would possibly like to see how promotions have gone for others so they could better craft their own.

Some responses were straightforward. Some responses were clever. Some responses were downright funny. And remarkably, every response was incredibly thoughtful.

As promised, here’s Paul’s response:

Sage, you suck because:

You think I’m only doing this for the gift card (even though I am).

But you rock because:

You teach me how to think. Whether or not your ideas were hot, the way you think freaks me out, and I learn from it. Like this one, and the list of ideas you had about link building which included murdering someone — dumb idea, but man it got my brain going.

Idea feedback:

Interviewing people with successful promos is the best, because it will also allow you to generate some link love and uni search opportunities.

I’m not crash hot on the creative competition coz, while it will get us thinking, they may not necessarily work. The successful competition is much more bottom line — which is what we need.

I also note the difficulty to set up factor is a keenly needed one — as your own post proves — ideas guys don’t always have the know how or know who — who to ask that is.


I say prove the power of the Web by posting the project with your requirements on and watching the ideas and offers roll in.

Best regards,

I wanted to show you this response because it’s very good advice, and because of the amazing consideration Paul gave. All I offered Paul was a chance to win a $50 gift card. And look at all he gave me in return.

Paul was a random winner. Most of the responses were this thoughtful.

As you consider your promotions, don’t forget the multidimensional potential of your promotional entrants. Normally, the goal of a promotion like this is to get people engaged in your brand, or to potentially build a list for future contact. But I clearly got a lot more in return.

Check out some of these other suggestions:

Karen Burgess, Dori Eldridge, and Brenda Smith liked the idea of tracking promotions and having readers send them in. Then we could feature the most interesting ones. There were labor concerns involved in this, especially because I don’t have any minions.

Katrina Gibson thought we might use Ning as a private social network to post promotions and then allow visitors to get engaged in them.

Joey Rahimi thought I should offer a $500 scholarship for promotional essay ideas. Then we could be featured on all the scholarship sites.

Judy Lin liked the contest idea for the best promotions, but wanted to make sure the criteria was very objective. Dean also liked the contest idea and thought I should use Joomla for a content manager.

Ken Barhoover wanted analysis of promotions to be broken down into their most fundamental form. “How can I use this in my business.” (As a disclosure, Ken is a client of mine. But he still didn’t win the gift card. Sorry Ken!)

Scott from Purple Widget liked the contest idea and pointed out the value of all this user-generated content I’m getting here.

And Linda Messer thought I might try offering advertising space in my column instead of gift cards.

These are all highly abridged. I wanted to give you the essence of the high level of thought and great ideas.

If you’re looking at ways to push an idea in ways you hadn’t thought of before, I highly recommend this kind of promotion. These responses are all much bigger and brighter ideas than anything I could have come up with.

Next time: My initial thoughts on these ideas, then we’ll vote on which ones to pursue — for a chance to win another sweet Amazon gift card, of course. So be sure to check back in two weeks.

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