Best of the Best Promo Ideas for Lead Gen

If you want to run a contest or giveaway on social media and you’re wondering which incentives work best, you’re in luck.

Here are the best ideas I’ve come across to date. Some I’ve tested first-hand, others are suggested by third parties. Give ’em a try and see how it goes.

Promos specific to your business

The most successful incentives for lead generation relate directly to your business.

Do you sell fridges? Give away a fridge.

Fix furniture? Give away a rosewood armoire.

Rescue animals? Post a pic with a cat and say “Adopt Max, free today!”

You get the idea.

Since my background is B2B—specifically with agencies selling solutions to local businesses—I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about contests geared toward SMBs.

Here’s a campaign an agency could use to generate local business leads:

ABC Agency Facebook Page

Chicago salon owners, market your business like a champ! Win $20,000 worth of premium marketing services from ABC Agency for free. Includes:

  • 1 year of social media lead generation to grow your social profile
  • 1 year of review generation to get you more online reviews
  • 1 year of free website hosting and design updates
  • 1 year of listings management on Google, Yelp, and 40+ others
  • $5,000 in design services from our best designers

It doesn’t have to be $20k,  but make it substantial enough that people care.

Campaigns like the one above generate valuable leads since entrants have already expressed interest in your offering. For those who don’t win the contest, it’s a perfect opportunity to follow up with content or a consultative sales call.

Here are some other creative examples we came up with to sell Vendasta’s marketing automation platform:

  • Hot leads sauce > bottles of hot sauce branded with our “hot leads” system
  • Gift cards to local businesses > instead of giving away gift cards to Amazon (the small business killer), we gave our agency partners gift cards to small businesses in their local market. It showed that we’re here to help local.
  • Agency in a box > since one of our slogans is an “agency in a box” we mocked up physical boxes branded with the tagline and filled them with helpful content.

Promos not specific to your business

If you don’t have time to come up with something creative that’s related to your business, you can always resort to these tried-and-true prizes:

  • Gift cards (Visa, Amazon, Google Play, etc.)
  • Tech gadgets (iPads, iWatches, iPods, Google Home, Alexa, GoPro, Roomba, VR headset, headphones, game console, etc.)
  • Clothing (t-shirts, socks, hoodies, etc.)
  • Event tickets (sports games, theater, etc.)
  • Food (coffee, candy, cupcakes…more on this in a second)

For something more unique, I’d suggest 1 of 3 options…

Option 1: An awesome experience

Check out the giveaway options in this poll from Funnelytics:

Talk about unique, not-so-cheap experiences.

If you don’t think that cash is an experience, by the way, picture a duffle bag of Benjamins showing up on your doorstep and tell me you wouldn’t brag about that moment later.

Option 2: Geography-based swag

I’ve worked for Canadian companies for over ten years, and let me tell you, people love Canadian-themed stuff.

Maple syrup, ketchup-flavored chips, Mountie memorabilia, toques, moose and beaver-related knick knacks, Tim Hortons gift cards, hockey gear. The list goes on.

Without fail, it gets great responses—especially when paired with our “nice” Canadian tone, eh? Wherever you’re from, I’m sure there’s a local element you can lean into. Jars of your town’s world-famous jam, Haggis from your Scotland hometown. Whatever.

Option 3: Cupcakes

There’s something incredibly powerful—almost unsettling—about the effect that cupcakes have on people. In Toronto, I’ve seen lineups for trendy bakeries a mile long, which can only be explained by good marketing, black magic, or both.

Believe it or not, cupcakes might be the best prize you ever offer.

RJMetrics ran a campaign where instead of giving away iPads like they usually do, they entered people in a draw for a dozen cupcakes.

They coined it the greatest marketing growth hack of all time.

“We decided to scrap the iPad in lieu of cupcakes…and our conversion rate skyrocketed. No joke. People would rather receive a dozen cupcakes than an iPad.”

The going theory is that cupcakes seem more attainable than an iPad. They give people a feeling they have a better chance to win. I’d agree, so next time you’re about to throw down the cash for an iPad, Google the nearest bakery and pick up a dozen cupcakes or cronuts or whatever the kids are eating these days and save a few bucks.

If cupcakes aren’t your thing, check out Savannah’s Candy KitchenLake Champlain Chocolates, or The Hamper Emporium for other sweet treats.


Hopefully that helped get the gears turning and gave you a few ideas for your next giveaway. Have another suggestion or a story of something that’s worked for you before? Drop it in the comments below.


Devon Hennig

Devon Hennig is a published author with a background in lead generation, brand development, and event speaking. He lives in Toronto and works as VP of Demand Generation at Vendasta.

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