When you don’t get a lot of entries into your giveaways, it can be mystifying. What went wrong? Was it the prize? The marketing? Today, we’re going to go over a few mistakes you might be making in building your giveaways that are putting up barriers to entry. Read on…

What are Barriers to Entry?

Obviously, the goal of promoting your giveaway is to get people to enter it. Any things you do that get in the way of that — whether consciously or unconsciously — are barriers to entry.

Think of it as opening up a new store and telling people to “Come on in!” but then putting a big “Open” sign in the middle of the doorway that people have trouble getting around.

Generally, your barriers to entry will be things you add to or incorporate into your giveaway form beyond the very basic (name and email address) entry methods.

3 Common Barriers to Entry

Obviously, you don’t intend to bar most people from entering your giveaway. It’s likely that your barriers to entry were things you added to your form with good intentions — but that are actually causing people to stay away.

Here are three common examples.

1. Requiring too much.

Generally, requiring two or three inputs—things like name, email address, or even a twitter follow—are reasonable. But when you start to require any more than that to enter, people get overwhelmed and leave.

Be careful, too, about what you require to enter. People may be completely comfortable with giving you their names and email addresses, but most people don’t want to give you their phone numbers. They’d rather skip the giveaway than risk getting calls, and you lose entrants.

2. Signing them up for too much.

When people enter your giveaway, it’s reasonable to expect that they’re fine with getting your emails. (Though you should put that in your Official Rules just to be safe.)

And when you’re running a giveaway with a partner, it’s okay to let people know they’ll be getting emails from you and your partner. But if you’re running a giveaway, and you have five or even 15 partners? People are going to avoid your giveaway if entering means that they’re being added to 15 newsletter lists!

It’s better to limit your number of partners and maybe have a smaller prize than to tell people they’re signing up for 15 email lists and risk losing entrants.

3. Giving conflicting or confusing instructions.

Usually, this happens when you create your giveaway too quickly. Let’s say, for example, that in your description you tell people that it’s required that they tell you what state they live in. But in your form, you don’t give them a place to do that! When people get confused, they leave.

Similarly, you create a confusing barrier to entry when you reference things that aren’t on the form. If you’re placing your form on your website and you reference something on your website but not on your form, you’ll confuse anyone who comes across your form in other places. If they don’t understand, they won’t enter!

The easiest way to avoid barriers to entry is to simply put yourself in other people’s shoes. If you came across your giveaway, would you be willing to enter? And would you be clear about how to enter? If not, you’ve got barriers to entry—and you need to fix them!