Your Go-To Guide for all Your Contest & Giveaway Questions
We all know that yes, contests and giveaways have been around for basically EVER and are a classic marketing tactic. But contests and giveaways aren’t what they used to be, they have taken on a completely new life, as if they were reincarnated along with this beautiful new area of social web domination. While I will be honest and tell you that contests and giveaways are not the end all be all of your marketing challenges, it is a genius kick butt way to build your fan base, engage your audience, get a rich source of data and wait for it…. Get your consumers to do your marketing for you!
Let’s back it up a little bit before you start getting all wound up with crazy ideas like giving away a new car to the 100th person to like your Facebook status or something crazy like that. You want to create a contest or giveaway that is not only going to bring in new/returning consumers but is also going to be of the biggest benefit to your company. So I went ahead and broke it down for you, I simplified this process to the point that you would be able to teach a toddler how to organize a giveaway of their favorite snacks in return for the bigger, better motherload of snacks.
Back to the serious point, giveaways and contests can be a great marketing tactic for your super small-super large companies but if not executed correctly you could do yourself more damage then good, so let’s cut out all the other fluff and get down to business.
Let’s think about the YES to holding a contest/giveaway:
1. Contests bring the fans to you
Whether you have 100 Facebook likes or 1 million Facebook likes on your company page, contests have consistently proven as a way to increase that number. When Blue Soda Promo ran its very first Facebook contest we saw over 1,000 new unique consumers come visit and like our Facebook page. This led to a big increase of 25% in engagement on our other Facebook posts, because of the 1,000 new eyes checking out how freaking awesome we are. Now I know increasing Facebook likes or engagement is not the only metric your company cares about, but it still does measure the power of a promotion. An easy enter-to-win contest or giveaway with a simply entry barrier often can provide as the best option to those who are just starting out with social media or those without a large fan base at the moment.
2. Engage with your audience
Like I mentioned in the point above, your increasing fan base is going to increase the sheer number of people who interact with your brand but it also can provide a much deeper connection as well. UGC or user-generated content promotions, such as a photo or video contests, are perfect examples to do just that. UGC contests tap into the human drive to compete and they provide an opportunity for everyone to experience their mini 15 minutes of fame. Most important idea to keep in mind with UGC contests is that when participants upload their personal content, such as the video or photos, they are naturally invested in your brand.
3. Gain the richest sources of data
With the lure of a shiny brand new prize, many people are prepared to share information with you as part of the entry process. Be careful though because you don’t want to introduce too many barriers, but take this as a opportunity to learn a little bit about your customers. Have them fill out a couple questions along the lines of, how did they hear about your promotion, what their favorite product of yours is..etc. Keep in mind what you ask should be commensurate with what you offer in return. So not only are you then collecting data as part of the entry process, you are also gaining a large amount of knowledge about your consumer and you can learn a great deal more if you keep up with the interaction and conversation that takes place around your contest.
4. Empower your consumers to do your marketing
How does it sound to have tens, hundreds or thousands of your fans helping you spread the word about your campaign? Pretty freaking fabulous? To achieve this you need to create a promotional plan that encompasses multiple marketing channels, but thanks to sharing via social media, contests today enable an amplification of your marketing message that was not previously possible.
Let’s say you create a contest that has a voting component to it, participants will be inclined to share through their social networks, asking friends and family to support their entry. You are likely to see ten voters to every entry (sometimes a whole lot more) as well as ten clicks for every shared link. There numbers represent a significant multiplier of traffic to your contest site or application as a result of consumers marketing to other consumers.
Wrap up for those who didn’t actually read all of that: Understand that holding a contest of giveaway promotion is going to do numerous great things for your company such as, create buzz about your products, encourage new consumers to visit your website, build your email list, generate advertising content at a reasonable cost, provide valuable market research and strengthen the relationships between your company and your consumers.
The how-tos of creating a contest/giveaways:
Before you even begin planning out contest promotion and picking out prizes and rules, the first thing you need to do is determine what your goals are. The key is to make sure you understand each goal and you know the path that will take you to that goal. Whether its revenue, audience growth or database growth, your team should define your goals and create a campaign report once the contest is over to determine if it was a success.
Common goals when running a contest:
- Capture a specific amount of new email addresses to your mailing list
- Increase Facebook likes by a specific number
- Receive a specific amount of retweets on Twitter
- Collect a specific amount of photo/video submissions
- Receive a specific amount of shared links
- Specific amount of new or unique visitors to your contest landing page or website
- Increase in sales
- Increase in time spent on site
Now this doesn’t mean the listed above should be one of your goals because I’m not telling you what to do, I’m not your momma. But most commonly contests are going to be used to increase sales, consumers to social media shares or visitors on your company’s site because well that is the whole reason you are holding the contest to begin with. So if your not interested in any of these things I am not really sure why you are still reading this.
Now moving on to the next stage which is all about creating an outline for your contest. This is what you need to remember as you outline your contest:
- Relate your contest to your business: If you are a car dealership and you hold a contest where participants have to complete in a hot dog eating contest, you are definitely doing it wrong.
- Determine the type of content you are looking to collect: If you still haven’t come to the conclusion that holding contests and giveaways are a way to obtain metrics then this post has been a horrible waste of time. Determine what your company is looking to achieve in measurement of metrics so when you start putting the pieces together of your contest you can specify the rules/ criteria so they will coincide with the metrics you are looking to obtain.
- Decide the personal information required: This one can relate to the bullet point above but I wanted to go a little bit more in depth. Depending on the metrics and content you are looking to collect, you will alter your contest accordingly. hence why this point is second. For example, if you are looking to hold a contest to increase the reach of your monthly company newsletter you would ask your participants to include their email address with entry.
- Set a time frame: Decide when you want to begin and end your contest so that you have the necessary time to market your contest or giveaway and so your participants know when to expect a winner to be announced. If you run your contest for too long your audience will become bored and forget about the excitement of even entering to begin with.
- Decide your prize:Ah the prize, the reason why everyone wants to come and enter into your contest. the success of your promotion greatly depends on the prize that is being given away. If the prize does not align properly with the audience that you’re targeting, your promotion will under perform.
This section of the post is where I am going to let you go and fly with your own wings. When it comes to promoting there are a million different routes you can take, but here is a quick rundown of my favorites and then just because I am awesome I supplied you with several other sources in case you ever need a quick go-to reference.
- Banner ad
- Blog post
- Press release
- Contest directories
- Social media
- Blogger outreach
- Organic search
- A simple checklist that covers all the basics of where and how to promote
- A longer post on how to not only promote but also grow your business
- Last but not least, a list of websites that will allow you to promote your contests on
And the winner is…..
After all the entries are in and the deadlines have been met it is time to close down the contest. When you think about how to choose your winner remember this, there is no definite winner per se. Everything depends on what you are measuring, how your contest was executed and what metrics or knowledge you gained from your contest/giveaway. Compile the information you received and save it for the next time you decide to run another contest or giveaway so you can build off of what did and did not work in your last run.
Has your company or small business run a contest or giveaway and you have some stories or tips to share? Share in the comments below!