The fact that word of mouth is the single most powerful form of advertisement is a universally accepted truth. The trick is getting people to talk about you. While there are a lot of ways to go about this, one of the most effective is the viral giveaway.

Believe it or not, you can actually make people compete to see how many impressions they can garner on your behalf. Using viral giveaways for lead acquisition in this manner can be a very smart move when enacted properly.

Here’s what you need to do to make it happen.

Define Your Goal

You’ll need to establish the performance indicator upon which you want to focus and make achieving it your ultimate aim.

Maybe you want to gain more Facebook followers, increase the number of visitors to your site, or see revenues increase by a given amount.

Whatever you decide, having a target gives you something by which you can measure the success and cost effectiveness of the campaign.

Offer a Desirable Prize

When you’re dangling a carrot, you have to be certain your audience is hungry for it. Otherwise, they won’t consider it worth their time.

If you sell your furniture online with a platform like Shopify, your choices will be fairly simple. Find something in your inventory you can afford to give without experiencing too much pain, but your ideal customer will find desirable.

Another move is to make the prize a voucher for a certain dollar amount, rather than a specific prize. That gives the winner the ability to get exactly what they want (and maybe spend a bit more to make up the price difference if they want something more expensive). Whatever it turns out to be, make sure it’s desirable enough to get you some traction.

Create the Offer

While producing a landing page and promoting it is a simple way to go, tools exist to make managing contests like these much easier. After all, you’ll need to keep track of how many referrals you get from each entrant to determine the winner.

Among the best are Gleam, Promosimple and Rafflecopter.

Each of these tools also make it easy for entrants to share the contest with friends to increase their chances of winning (and the number of leads you acquire).

Tell People About It

The research you conducted to find your ideal customer when you established your ecommerce site should have told you where they tend to hang out online. Depending upon your demographic, social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube or LinkedIn will be your best bet for promoting the giveaway.

You should also let your existing customer base know you’re running the contest. After all, who’s better positioned to tell people how wonderful you are than the people with whom you are already doing business?

Explain what people need to do to win in very clear terms to eliminate confusion about the parameters of the contest.

Provide Progress Updates

Post frequent updates to keep interest high during the course of the giveaway. Let people know how many entries you’ve got and how well the leaders are doing to encourage continued competition. This also gives you an opportunity to attract new contestants who may have missed the original announcement.

Laud the Winner Publicly

Make a huge deal out of the winner. Encourage them to share their good fortune within their social circles and post the result prominently on your site. Depending upon the prize, you might even post a picture of them with it on your site and in your social outlets. When people see somebody actually won, participation in your next event will be even greater.

Keep in mind; contests like these are subject to certain legalities. Before you consider using viral giveaways for lead acquisition in this fashion, familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations governing contests in your state. But with any luck, you will delight the winner so much that he or she will spread the word about your brand.