How about a barbecue to grill your steak in peace? Or maybe you’d rather pamper your face, with this anti-wrinkle treatment?

No, let me guess: you’re a foodie. In that case, I’ve got the thing for you: the latest food processor-cutter-mixer that everyone’s raving about.

Are you excited about these prizes? They’re up for grabs on three of the thousands (millions?) of giveaways that swarm the internet. Anyway, I’m not telling you anything new if I tell you that they’re everywhere.

Man dancing in front of his outdoor grill.
It’s the outdoor grill party!

On the other hand, did you know that a giveaway can be a great ally in building traffic to your site, subscribers to your email list, and those to your social media accounts?

This is the promise made by RafflePress, the most popular WordPress plugin for creating a contest in the official directory. We tested it in this new article and we reveal absolutely everything about it, especially how to set it up.

The version of RafflePress Pro used in this test is 1.6.1.

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What is RafflePress?

RafflePress official website homepage.

RafflePress is a freemium WordPress plugin that makes it easy to create giveaways with a visual drag-and-drop interface and ready-made templates.

From its options, this viral marketing tool helps to grow your email list, site traffic and social media followers, by “turning your visitors into brand ambassadors”.

The plugin is available in two versions:

  • A free version (also called RafflePress Lite) to be activated from your WordPress dashboard, or downloaded from the official directory. It had 10,000+ active installations at the time of writing, for an average overall rating (3.7 stars out of 5).
RafflePress plugin to download on WordPress official directory.

The handful of disgruntled users reproach it, among other things, for the high cost of its paid plans, or the lack of options available on the free plugin, which is admittedly very limited, as you will see later.

  • A premium version, with 4 plans ranging from $39.20 to $359.20. It is this version that this test focuses on.

Download the RafflePress plugin:

To be transparent with you, the links leading to the premium version of RafflePress are affiliate links. This means that WPMarmite will get a small commission if you decide to buy it but there’s no impact on the price. However, this does not affect the opinions shared in this article. If we don’t like something, you’ll know it.

Making giveaway creation “easy and powerful”

The creation of RafflePress was a response to a problem faced by its creators.

They were frustrated by the solutions on the market, which they considered “bloated, buggy, slow, and very hard to use.” as detailed on the About page of the website dedicated to the plugin.

To remedy this, first and foremost, they decide to launch a plugin in July 2019 that is both “easy and powerful”.

The in-house know-how is quite developed, as one of the co-creators of RafflePress is none other than Syed Balkhi, a successful American entrepreneur who is very famous within the WordPress ecosystem.

He is – and his parent company Awesome Motive – behind WPBeginner website but also behind the following plugins:

  • OptinMonster, to design opt-in forms.
  • MonsterInsights, to link Google Analytics to WordPress.
  • WPForms, to design contact forms.
  • Coming Soon Page & Maintenance by SeedProd, to set up coming soon pages and landing pages.
  • WP Mail SMTP, to improve the deliverability of emails sent by default by WordPress.
  • Smash Balloon, to display your news feeds from social networks, like Instagram.
  • All in One SEO, to optimize your site’s SEO, etc.

Some of these must surely ring a bell. 😉
But let’s stay focused on RafflePress, if you will.

Maybe you want to know what its main options are? Good thing, we’ll talk about them in the next part.

Man doing the ok sign with his hand.

What are the features of RafflePress?

To stand out from the competition, RafflePress puts a lot of emphasis on the user experience in particular, offering simple and effective options that are especially suitable for beginners.

You don’t need to know how to code or have any technical knowledge to use it. You will benefit from, for example:

  • A drag-and-drop interface, thanks to a dedicated WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) builder that allows you to quickly add the elements of your choice (e.g. buttons, images, etc.). All your changes are visible in real time, and you can of course act on the style of your contest (colors, typography).
  • Ready-to-use giveaway templates to avoid starting from scratch. All you have to do is customize them according to your desires later on.
  • Integration with major email marketing services (Mailchimp, AWeber, ActiveCampaign, Constant Contact) to collect email addresses left by your contest participants. RafflePress also integrates with Zapier and CRM.
  • Integration with the main social networks (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter) to help you develop your number of subscribers on these platforms.
  • One responsive display. The contests created will be readable on any screen used by your visitors (computer, tablet and mobile).
  • Viral sharing options for your contest based on the word-of-mouth principle. For example, you can ask a participant to share your contest to their audience on social networks to reach as many people as possible.
  • Stats to measure the success and impact of your contests by connecting the plugin to Google Analytics.
  • One anti-spam system with the possibility to activate a ReCaptcha.

Once your contest has been created, visitors to your site who wish to participate must enter their email address or log in via their Facebook account.

Then, you can offer them additional bonuses/gifts by prompting them to perform additional actions, such as:

  • Following you on one of your social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.).
  • Visiting the web page of your choice.
  • Watching a YouTube video or tweeting a message.
  • Answering a question.
  • Sharing your contest on social networks or asking a friend to share it with their community, etc.

Finally, the creation of a contest is only a pretext, so to speak, to develop your community on social networks, the traffic on your site and, potentially, your conversions (a specific action you want your visitors to perform).

To give you an idea, the contest organized for the 10 years of WPMarmite made our English Twitter account grow from 80 to 450 followers. Thanks RafflePress! 😉

To find out how this all works in practice, I suggest you read on, just below.

Nicolas Cage pointing his finger.

7 steps to set up a giveaway/contest with RafflePress

To manage to set up a giveaway with the right touch, 7 steps are necessary. You’ll see: this ranges from selecting a template, to setting up actions for participants to perform, not to mention the drawing stage.

But I’ll stop disclosing. Check out the details through the roadmap below.

You must first have installed and activated the plugin, of course.

Step 1: Choosing a template for your giveaway

First step in your “I’m creating my awesome giveaway with RafflePress” mission: choosing a template.

The plugin offers you 8 of them, adapted to different marketing actions you want to set up.

To simplify, you have two options:

  • Start from scratch using the “Classic Giveaway” template.
  • Rely on a template that already has specific, well-defined actions (we’ll come back to the concept of actions later). For example, the “Grow your Facebook Page” template offers a pre-built giveaway whose objective is to increase the number of subscribers to your Facebook page.

For the purpose of this test, we will use the “Classic Giveaway” template, to take a closer look at the options offered.

To get started, simply give your giveaway a name (e.g. “My awesome giveaway”), then choose the template you’re interested in:

Selection of the RafflePress Classic Giveaway template.

Step 2: Setting up the details of your RafflePress giveaway

You are now inside the Setup tab of RafflePress. This is the nerve center of the plugin, where you will be able to make most of the adjustments to the content and design.

Let’s take a closer look at this, there’s quite a bit to it.

The first observation we can make, if you are familiar with other plugins offered by Awesome Motive (e.g. SeedProd, WPForms), is that the interface is quite similar in each of these WordPress plugins.

A sidebar, on the left, offers you the different possible options. You can then add the elements of your choice on the right side of the screen, where the final rendering of your giveaway is visually displayed.

Each area of the giveaway is also editable by clicking on it. Depending on the item selected, you will be directed to the corresponding settings area.

Regarding the details of your giveaway itself, you must:

  • Give a name to the prize to be won (e.g.: “Win a WPMarmite mug”), as well as a description. You can of course offer several prizes to be won, by clicking on the ” Add Another Prize ” button (number 1 on the below screenshot).
  • Enter a start and end date for your giveaway (number 2).
  • Choose an image to illustrate the prize to be won during the giveaway. Important tip: remember to choose customized visuals for the prize(s) to be won (number 3).
Giveaway Prize Details on RafflePress.

Don’t forget to save by clicking on the “Save” button at the top right of the page. All set? You are ready to move on to step 3.

Step 3: Defining actions

As the name implies, actions are what you want your visitors to do in order to enter the giveaway.

RafflePress divides them into 3 categories:

  • Get More Subscribers
  • Get More Social Engagement
  • Get More Traffic
RafflePress actions settings to get more subscribers, more social engagement, more traffic.

In total, you have more than 20 actions to choose from, with various goals: visit a Facebook page, watch a video on YouTube, tweet a message, answer a question, and even write a blog post! In short, there’s plenty to do.

As you can imagine, the choice of which action to take depends on your end goal and your needs. As an example, here’s what Alex had chosen to set up for the giveaway to celebrate WPMarmite’s 10th anniversary (a contest organized with RafflePress, of course):

  • Share the giveaway with the “Refer a friend – Viral” action.
  • Ask to answer a question.
  • Ask to follow WPMarmite on LinkedIn, the two Twitter accounts (French and English), and Pinterest.
  • Visit the YouTube channel, visit the Instagram account, visit the Facebook page.
  • Sign up for the newsletter.
  • Share the anniversary on Twitter.

What you need to understand is that each action has options attached to it, called “Entry Options”. They allow you to make the following settings:

  • Change the title of the action to one of your choice.
  • Make Mandatory: this means that the participant will only be able to perform the next action if he participates in the previous one.
  • Allow Daily Entries: in this case, the participant will be able to perform a specific action every day. This makes sense if you ask your participants to tweet a specific message every day. It is also interesting because it allows participants to come back to your site, to boost your traffic. 😉
Entry Options on RafflePress plugin.

Most importantly, you can assign each action a very specific “Value”. For example, you can indicate that the action “Write a blog post” is worth 5 points (the scale goes from 1 to 5), while “Follow you on Pinterest” is worth only 2 points.

The more high-value actions the participant completes, the more points he earns, and the more chances he will be drawn to win the prize(s) at stake.

Depending on the action you choose, you will have more or less options. For example, the “Join an Email Newsletter” action offers you to link the contest to your favorite email marketing service.

That way, your new subscribers land directly in your list. Clever.

Select a newsletter integration on RafflePress plugin between: ActiveCampaign, AWeber, Constant Contact, ConvertKit, Drip, GetResponse, HTML Web Form, Mailchimp, Zapier.

If you wish, you can also create your own personalized action with the “Invent your own” action.
If you want visitors to be able to participate in your contest without performing any particular action afterwards, use the “Automatic Entry” action (we highly recommend it).
Finally, note that you can’t offer participants to like or share your Facebook page or Instagram account. RafflePress states that this is prohibited by Facebook.

In the end, the participant has a clear vision of the actions to perform, at the bottom of the contest:

5 ways to enter a RafflePress giveaway: join an email newsletter, view Facebook post/video, follow us on Twitter, tweet a message, visit a page.

As for the webmaster, he can prioritize each action with a simple drag and drop, and configure his settings by clicking on the pen icon, which appears on mouseover.

Pen icon on RafflePress to edit settings.

Now, all that remains is to make your contest stick to your visual desires. To do this, go to the “Design” section of RafflePress.

Step 4: Customizing the design

When it comes to design, don’t expect a lot of special effects and a lot of options. We stay in the basic, but it does the job.

You can act on 5 aspects being the:

  • Layout: with the possibility to display the title, the text and the image. Or the image, the title and the text.
  • Writing font: 9 pairs of fonts are proposed, each one acting on one side on the titles, and on the other side on the textual content.
  • Color of the call-to-action buttons.
  • Background of the page and its possible image.
Design options on RafflePress.

Step 5: Configuring the settings

The last step before you can publish your contest is to configure several essential settings.

Everything happens in the “Settings” sub-menu, inside the “Setup” menu.

Setup tab on RafflePress: general, giveaway rules, email verification, success tracking, success redirect, social logins, GDPR, Recaptcha.

The General tab in RafflePress

In the General tab, you can, for example, set up a permalink for the landing page associated with your giveaway (more on this in step 6), as well as have display options related to your contest.

It is possible to show/hide the total number of entries and winners of the contest, or the RafflePress link at the bottom of the contest.

In RafflePress, an entry is the number of points earned by participants through available actions (Facebook page visit, newsletter subscription, etc).

The Giveaway rules

The Giveaway rules tab allows you to specify the rules for your contest. RafflePress has its own rule generator, but it is very simple and maybe not adapted to your country’s rules.

If it is possible to organize a free game with no obligation to buy in a specific country, the rules are sometimes quite strict and it is not easy to find your way.

To be sure you are in the right, I advise you to get in touch with a specialist (legal for example) of the question, who will be able to guide you.

There are also paying services, on the Internet, which can write and file the rules of your contest. Some even files it with a bailiff (optional but recommended).

Whatever the solution you choose, make sure you have your back, and remember to at least mention the following elements in your rules:

  • Participation rules.
  • Terms and conditions of participation.
  • Designation and identification of winners.
  • Conditions of elimination of a participation.
  • Prizes at stake.
  • Copyright (on the visuals in particular).
  • Personal data management.

GDPR

Within the settings, you will also come across the GDPR tab.

This acronym means “General Data Protection Regulation”. It is a European regulation, in force since 2018, which aims in particular to ensure any individual the control and protection of personal data that he disseminates during his browsing on the web.

For example, the visitor must be informed that they are sharing their data, and explicitly know for what purposes. You can specify this in your contest rules.

Join the WPMarmite subscribers

Get the last WPMarmite posts (and also exclusive resources).

WPMarmite English newsletter

For example, during the contest for the 10th anniversary of WPMarmite, Alex specified that he would delete the data collected at the end of the event.

In terms of its GDPR options, RafflePress offers to display a checkbox to collect the participants’ consent when they register, with an accompanying text that you can customize.

GDPR consent on RafflePress.

To learn more about the GDPR, and to discover point by point all the actions to take to comply with it on your site, check out our ultimate guide on the subject on the blog.

Other RafflePress settings tabs

Finally, let’s not forget some of the other options available in the settings:

  • “Email Verification” allows you to send an email to the participant to verify their email address and limit the risk of fraud.
  • “Success Tracking” includes a box to add your Google Analytics tracking code, so that you can access detailed statistics on visits to the landing page generated by RafflePress.
Success Tracking on RafflePress.
  • “Success Redirect” is used to redirect participants who have met all contest criteria to a page of your choice at the end of the process.
  • “Social Logins” allows participants to log in to the contest via their Facebook profile, rather than by entering their email address.
Facebook login on RafflePress.
  • “Recaptcha” adds a system of the same name to fight against spam.

Again, remember to save whenever you make an addition or change.

You’ve now reached the end of the process. To close it out, we’ll tackle the last two pieces: publishing the giveaway and drawing the winners.

Step 6: Publishing the RafflePress giveaway to your visitors

RafflePress offers 3 options to get your giveaway seen by as many people as possible:

  • Use a dedicated Gutenberg block. To do this, go to the page or article of your choice, and insert the RafflePress block wherever you want within your content.
    Select the name corresponding to your giveaway via the drop-down menu, and you’re done.
Gutenberg block on RafflePress.
  • Use a shortcode if you want to add your contest in a widget area (e.g. your sidebar), or if you are still using the old WordPress editor (TinyMCE).
  • Share the URL of the landing page associated with your contest. The advantage, as RafflePress explains, is that this page is optimized for “conversion and engagement,” since there are no extraneous distractions. The person just has access to the giveaway on a white background, and that’s it.

After all the effort to get the word out and share your giveaway, there are bound to be some happy and some disappointed. The final step in the process of creating your giveaway with RafflePress: drawing the winners.

Step 7: Drawing the winners

If you have hundreds of participants, you can imagine that you’ll need a reliable, fast, and well-tested process for picking the winner or winners of your giveaway.

Let’s focus on a simple option offered by RafflePress: Pick Winner.

You will find it on your dashboard, in the list of participants (“Users”) linked to each contest.

You can choose:

  • The number of winners to draw.
  • To exclude emails that have not been verified.
Pick Winner on RafflePress.

While it doesn’t make much sense, you should know that you can conduct a random drawing to pick a winner at any time, even if your giveaway isn’t over.

And finally, it is possible to have access to detailed statistics for each giveaway created. But be careful, only if you have the Growth or Ultimate License of RafflePress.

Well, that’s a pretty hefty game you’ve just ingested. Congratulations! Before we get into the value for money of the plugin, I wanted to stop for a moment and look at some alternatives to RafflePress.

Because while it’s popular on the official directory, RafflePress isn’t the only tool available on the market for designing giveaways.

What are some alternatives to RafflePress?

RafflePress is the most popular plugin in the official directory for creating a viral giveaway on WordPress.

But if you are not satisfied with it for any reason, what other options can you fall back on? Let’s say it right away: the choice is very limited on the official directory.

There aren’t many competitors, and none of them will be as complete and feature-packed as the Pro version of RafflePress, if you go by their descriptions.

The ones that come closest to what RafflePress offers are:

I haven’t tested them, but if you use them, please feel free to share your thoughts.

To find other credible alternatives, there are also paid solutions:

  • KingSumo offers a WordPress plugin that starts at $198 for use on 1 site. At this price, you get a lifetime license (so you only pay once). You can also use a dedicated app for free, but the features are very limited and you don’t have access to the creation process on your WordPress admin.
  • Gleam is a marketing platform that offers several applications, including one for creating viral giveaways. It does not offer a plugin for WordPress. You have to design your contest outside of WordPress, then add it to your site by pasting an embed code. The application to create contests starts at $10/month.

Speaking of big bucks, how about finding out exactly how much RafflePress would cost you if you ever wanted to purchase it?

I’ll tell you everything… right now.

How much does RafflePress cost?

To get started, you can use RafflePress without paying a cent. To do so, all you need to do is activate the free version of the plugin.

On the other hand, be careful. With it, you will hardly be able to do anything:

  • The formatting options are almost non-existent: you don’t have access to drag and drop and you can’t act on the visual appearance of your contest, unless you use CSS code.
  • Only one template is available (compared to 7 in the Pro version).
  • It is impossible to link RafflePress to an email marketing service. You cannot use the free version to grow your email list.
  • The actions you can make your participants perform are ultra-limited. You can only ask them to follow you on social networks, to tweet a message or to go to the page of your choice.
  • You cannot get a statistical follow-up of your giveaways.

The free version can only be used for very simple contests, if you want to try to get more followers on your social accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest), or a little more traffic to a specific page on your site.

With one major constraint, again: you can’t customize the visual appearance.

In summary: almost all advanced features are only available with the Pro version, which seems to me the only viable option to create professional and efficient giveaways. Four licences are offered:

  • Plus ($39.20), usable on up to one site.
  • Pro ($79.20), which can be used on up to 3 sites.
  • Growth ($159.20), for use on up to 20 sites.
  • Ultimate ($359.20), which can be used on an unlimited number of sites.
RafflePress licenses and prices.

The difference between the licenses lies in the amount of use you can make of them (from 1 site for the Plus license to unlimited use for the Ultimate license) and the number of options offered.

Only the Growth and Ultimate licenses offer all the features that RafflePress has to offer. The choice of a license will depend on your needs. Look at the pricing table to make sure that what you want to implement is available in the license you choose.

Each license comes with updates and support (user assistance) for one year. Except for the Ultimate license, which is offered for life (you only pay once, without having to renew it every year).

Finally, note that a 14-day money-back guarantee is offered, so you can test the plugin without taking too many risks.

RafflePress offers a coupon code, available in the footer of its website, which allows you to get 20% discount on each license. Very aggressive on its marketing, RafflePress also frequently offers discounts on its licenses, which you will find throughout the year.

Our final review of RafflePress

RafflePress is a great plugin that can help you increase traffic to your site, subscribers to your email list, or even engagement on your social networks.

On the one hand, it accumulates quite a few strong points:

  • Its interface is pleasant and easy to use. It will delight beginners as well as more experienced users (developers etc.).
  • No technical knowledge is required to create your contest. All this can be done in a few minutes, in a visual way, with real time access to the changes made.
  • The settings menu is clear and not overloaded, which makes it easy to get started. And everything happens inside your WordPress administration. You don’t have to leave your site to make adjustments, unlike some third-party solutions.
  • There is a wide variety of actions to offer your users. Clearly, this is one of the main strengths of the plugin, especially when compared to the competition.
  • RafflePress is developed and maintained by a very strong company (SeedProd, owned by Awesome Motive) and very experienced with WordPress.

But let’s not forget some areas of improvement as well:

  • RafflePress integrates with several popular email marketing services (ActiveCampaign, AWeber, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, etc.), but not with Sendinblue.
  • The free version of the plugin is very limited.
  • If you want to take advantage of all the options of RafflePress and use it on more than 3 sites, you will have to pay a minimum of $159.20/year, which is a substantial budget for a contest plugin.
  • A way to automatically award prizes to winners (or allow them to choose them) would be the icing on the cake. Such a feature would reduce the number of interactions after the contest.

In the end, RafflePress is a great plugin that holds up well. I would recommend it if you want to design a giveaway on your site, no matter what niche your business is in.

Download the RafflePress plugin:

Are you already using RafflePress or want to take the plunge? Let us know your feedback by posting a comment.