How To Do SaaS Product One-Year Free Giveaways

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Promoting SaaS products can be a challenging thing to do. You need to create the right promotion. You have to hype up your customers and target audience. You may even have to offer discounts and lifetime deals.

But you know what’s even harder? Maintaining the hype.

Every promotion dies down. The hype that you worked so hard to create is bound to settle down. That’s just how the market works. Now the challenge for every SaaS marketing and sales team is to create a new hype to exceed your previous one.

One of the most effective activities to follow up your promotions and lifetime deals is to give one-year free giveaways.

You might be thinking “Really? Another giveaway?”

YES. It may sound like you would be giving up potential revenue at the moment. But if you do it right, it can make a strong and long-lasting impact on your SaaS company’s growth.

And besides, what’s the alternative? Letting your brand awareness take a nosedive? You wouldn’t want that, would you?


What Is A SaaS One-Year Giveaway?


Most SaaS solutions are subscription-based. Users have to pay a steady rate per month or per year, unless they upgrade or downgrade their plans.

SaaS one-year giveaways involve you offering free use or a free upgrade of your product for one whole year.

But you don’t give it to everyone who signs up. You’re running a SaaS company, not a charity. Successful one-year giveaways get a lot of people involved but only choose a few winners.


Benefits Of One-Year Free Giveaways


It’s understandable if you think that giving a one-year free giveaway is still a pretty risky move. After all, that’s a whole twelve months’ worth of revenue that you could otherwise earn from a number of customers.

But try to think of it as an investment rather than a cost.

Every investment has its risk. But with the right strategy and maybe a little bit of luck, it would give you significant returns.
If you’re still not convinced about the potential benefits that it would give you, here are just some of them:


It Continues The Hype From Your LTD Campaigns


Firstly, if you’ve experienced running a successful SaaS lifetime deal (LTD) campaign, you already know that these promotions work.

Let’s say you’ve launched an LTD campaign recently. You’ve racked up a lot of early adopters who got their lifetime licenses. Maybe the campaign also did its part in getting you some subscription-based users. It helped you grow your customer base and your annual recurring revenue (ARR).

But now, it’s been months. The hype from the LTD campaign has died down. New sales have been steadily declining.

So it’s time to create another hype for your product.

A one-year giveaway is one of the most proven ways to do that. Have you ever seen the sparkle in someone’s eyes when they hear the word “FREE”? That’s the advantage you need to use in cranking up the hype.


It Increases Brand Awareness


If you promote your one-year giveaway campaign right, word about your brand will spread like wildfire. After all, being viral is one of the best ways to grab a large chunk of the SaaS market.

Again, it’s the word “free” that gets people’s attention. People who want to try your advanced plans finally have the chance to get it without having to pay. A one-year free giveaway will make them more willing to do something for you so that they can have the chance to win that free access.

Depending on your strategy, you can further use that willingness to further promote your brand. We’ll talk more about those strategies later.


It Delivers The Value Of Your Product


Taking your new users to the “A-ha!” moment of seeing the value of your product is the key to securing loyal customers.

Your product has to do that as quickly as possible. This is especially true for SaaS businesses with a product-led growth model.

SaaS providers usually do this by giving a fourteen-day trial or even a free plan. But with a one-year free giveaway, you have twelve months to deliver that value. If your product is good enough, your new customers will continue using it even after their one-year free access ends. They would be willing to pay for it.

That’s why you need to make sure that you have the right target audience for your free giveaway. Whoever wins, your SaaS solution has to address their precise pain points. That’s how you deliver value with as few clicks as possible.


It Puts You Ahead Of The Competition


If more of your target market’s attention is drawn to you, that means less for your competitors.

Imagine you are deciding to buy a particular software solution. You need to choose from a few competing SaaS brands. But then one of them announces that you have the chance to get a one-year subscription for free. All attention goes to that provider, right?

That’s what you can do for your potential customers with a one-year giveaway.


It Keeps Existing Customers Loyal


One of the most important goals for every SaaS provider is to reduce customer churn rates.

Existing customers can be valuable assets too. As your product helps them grow, they will upgrade to higher subscription plans. Even better, they become your advocates who refer your product to their friends and colleagues.

But the reality is that you can’t have that for all of your customers. There will always be those who are considering or even deciding to cancel their subscriptions. It could be because they feel that they’re not getting enough value from your product. Or perhaps they’re not using it as much anymore.

At this point, they might start looking for something new. Maybe the latest feature-rich product on the market or a similar solution that is more affordable.

But giving them a chance to use your product for free will give them a reason to stay. And who knows? Within that free year, maybe they’ll experience the value of your product again.

You will have earned their loyalty back and lowered your churn rate.


One-Year Giveaway Campaign Strategies


Now, how to do SaaS product giveaway campaigns? There are a lot of strategies you can come up with.

The most important thing to remember is that it’s not just about how many people sign up for a chance to win. It’s also who they are and what they need to do.

Will they really benefit from your one-year campaign? Will they merely participate or will you give them an incentive to involve others?

Here are some strategies you can use:


Include New Features


You want as many people as possible to participate in your giveaway activity, right? That includes new users, current subscription-based customers, and even those who won LTDs.

Really? Even the LTD winners? Why would they want a one-year deal if they already won lifetime deals?

Because there is something more to win.

On your one-year free giveaways, include features that aren’t included in your LTDs. If they are reaping the benefits from a perpetual license, chances are they want more of it. And that would make them participate in your one-year giveaways.

Better yet, use your giveaways to promote newly developed features. Winners would get exclusive early access.

Ah, yes. “Exclusive” and “early access.” More words that capture people’s attention. They want to be a part of a special class of customers. Being the first to try a new feature you’re rolling out is a good approach to make them feel that way.


Referral Marketing


The best way to promote your one-year giveaway to your existing customers is through a referral system.

Why? Because you’re sure that they belong to your target audience. What’s more, it’s an efficient way to turn your current customers into advocates and brand ambassadors.

You can do this by creating an incentive that would motivate them to share their unique referral link with others. The incentive could be more credits, if you have a credit-based model. It can be a discount. Or it could be extra entries to the contest.

There are a lot of possibilities when it comes to incentives. What do your customers want? What works best for your business?

Just make sure that the incentive is good enough to get people excited about sharing it with others.


Create Scarcity, Limit The Winners


Scarcity is one of the most effective marketing and sales tactics in creating the urgency to buy. They just don’t want to miss out.

“Limited edition.”

“Ending soon.”

“Only a few slots left.”

These are phrases that make potential customers feel the need to click the buy button as quickly as they can.

One way to use this in your one-year giveaway campaigns is by limiting the number of winners. Even better, set a deadline for the activity. Add a timer on your website, post, or any promotional material you use. It would create an even stronger sense of urgency.


Hold Interactive Competitions


Interactivity is one of the most effective ways to increase customer engagement and get people more excited about your giveaways. It also gets them involved in the process, as they would need to take specific actions like posting, sharing, or rating your product.

For example, it could be a landing page design competition. Or a search for the best product testimonial of your SaaS solution.

The possibilities are endless. You just need to make sure that the interactions you require from your participants are reasonable and easy to do.


How To Promote One Year Free Giveaways


Once you have your giveaway campaigns set up, the next step is to promote them. And this is where things can get a little tricky.

You don’t want to just blast your entire email list or social media followers with call-to-action statements. You might end up annoying them and losing potential participants in the process.

Instead, take a more subtle and gradual approach to promote your one-year giveaways.

Here are some ideas:


Email Marketing


The best way to start promoting your one-year giveaway is by sending promotional emails to everyone on your email list. This includes both current customers and those who haven’t converted yet.

In your email, make sure to highlight your ultimate prize. Clearly communicate the scarcity in it. Set the deadlines and the number of winners you are looking to choose.

It’s also good to start the hype early on to build excitement. You can use subject lines like “One Week To Go!” or “Are You Ready?”

Just steer clear from subject lines that get you to the spam folder.


Social Media Sharing


Of course, we’re not leaving out social media as one of our promotional tools. It’s the marketing and sales channel with the widest reach. It doesn’t just target your existing customers or prospects. On social media, anyone can see your promotions and giveaways.

Have you ever encountered those promos where you had to leave a comment on a social media post and tag three friends? It’s a bit like that.

But remember that you have a specific target audience. You can’t just promote your giveaways to everyone. Pick pages and communities where your ideal buyer personas are a part of.

For starters, you can go to our Facebook group Ken Moo’s SaaS Lifetime Deals (LTDs) Group. It’s mainly for LTDs, but it’s where you’ll find SaaS users who are on the lookout for the best deals and giveaways.


Holiday Promos


The holiday season is just around the corner. You can leverage days like these to promote your giveaways.
I’m not just talking about Christmas or the new year. You have Labor Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and a lot more holidays to choose from.

It’s during the holiday seasons when a lot of people are expecting giveaways and good deals. Plus, it can be a part of your promotional.

Christmas time? You communicate your giveaway as a holiday present.

For Labor Day? It’s a time to appreciate working people.
Independence Day? Celebrate freedom with a free subscription.

And don’t even get me started on Black Friday deals. You could guess how you can leverage those for your giveaway.


Launching One-Year Giveaway Campaigns


Running one-year giveaway campaigns is a great way to grow your business and your share of the market.

It may cost you a bit of potential revenue, but that’s what it takes to grow a SaaS business. It’s how you build your brand. It’s how you get early adopters. It’s how you raise the customer lifetime value for your users.

If you find this article helpful, visit our blog for more guides on growing your SaaS business.


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Ken Moo