Your firm might not be able to host the biggest sweepstakes in history, but you can still cash in on contest marketing. By using a smart strategy, you can use this tool to promote your business, get more leads, and do market research.
How? That’s precisely what we’ll explain in this post.
There’s No One Correct Contest Marketing Strategy
What’s are some tried and tested sweepstakes marketing techniques? The short answer is whatever works for your brand and budget. For example, you could center your contest on:
- An event: Competitions are always fun around holidays like Valentine’s Day, but don’t restrict yourself. Consider other fun events such as the release of a new movie, a local fun run, or even a product launch.
- A poll: Do you need insight into what your clients want? Why not opt for a pick-a-prize poll? Use multiple-choice answers to highlight what’s high on your customers’ wish lists. Throw in a few research questions for good measure, and you’re set.
- A giveaway: Giveaways are always a fun way to reward clients. You could make the selection random or choose the 54th client for the day. Just decide ahead of time what criteria you will apply, and you can drive a lot of engagement.
- Trivia: Everyone loves showing off how smart they are. Trivia contests are fun and useful for checking the client’s brand knowledge. Throw in a few brand-related questions to see how well customers know your company.
- Photo or video submissions: Most people love showing off their cute kids or pets. Up the ante by getting them to submit great images featuring your products as well. It’s a quick way to build brand recognition on social media without much effort.
What Does Contest Marketing Do for Your Brand?
Provides better promotional impact
People see hundreds of advertisements a day. Consumers have become adept at ignoring ads and even unfollowing brands that overdo marketing.
Consumers will see a contest, even a promotional one, in a different light from straight advertising. Contests have a magnetizing element of “There’s something in it for me,” and consumers are more likely to pay attention because of it.
Helps you conduct market research
Historically, consumers aren’t huge fans of participating in market research surveys. But, if there’s a chance to win a grand prize, the survey becomes much more exciting, allowing you to bulk up your email database and learn more about your target audience.
Cost-effectively markets your brand
Sponsoring an exciting prize brings much exposure for your brand. Consumers are bound to be more attentive when there’s something in it for them, and they’re also likely to be more engaged and share your contest with their friends.
While consumers historically love cash prizes, you can spice things up by choosing products that your target audience wants—the prize doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective. As long as you handle the marketing aspect correctly and ensure that you’re providing value, your audience will want to enter the contest.
If you’re not sure where to start, you can hire a sweepstakes or contest marketing company to assist you. They’ll ensure that your competition hits the right note.
Builds a fan base
A contest is an excellent way to show people what your brand is all about. Make it highly appealing or fun, and you’ll soon attract new fans.
When was the last time that you saw someone share a standard advertisement on social media? Unless an advert is incredibly fun or highly unusual, it is less likely to be shared. Add the chance to win a prize, however, and suddenly the post becomes a hot commodity.
Better yet, use the contest to drive user-generated content and have your audience promote your product in their own words. Move over, influencer marketing. User-generated content from “real people” is 9.8 times as effective.
A fun, quick poll on social media allows consumers to have their say and gives them a chance to win something. It’s also a great way to get your brand in front of new users.
How to Run an Effective Contest Marketing Strategy
By now, you’re on board with the idea of using promotional advertising. You might even have a few contest ideas you’d like to implement. That energy is great – but running a promotional campaign of this nature requires careful planning.
Here’s how to make it successful.
Set your goals
Set measurable, well-defined objectives for your contest. These might include:
- Improving brand awareness
- Gathering new leads
- Rewarding your existing clients
- Encouraging UGC
- Publicizing a new service or product
- Getting more followers on social media
- Conducting market research
- Understanding your goals helps you to create a highly targeted campaign.
Define the target market
Now that you understand your aspirations, consider who your ideal client is. A good campaign focuses on the needs of your targeted group.
For you to reap the rewards, you must attract the correct type of contestant. This is generally the type of person who will buy your product or use your service.
A clear definition of your audience makes it possible to create an irresistible prize.
Determine the type of contest you will run
First, consider how much effort your target market is willing to expend. If they don’t find it easy to enter the contest, you won’t get the full mileage from it.
Next, consider how much effort you wish to make. What is your budget? How will you handle the administration of the contest?
Many companies hire contest fulfillment firms to take care of the administrative, legal, and marketing details.
Delegate responsibilities for your team
What will entrants need to do to stand a chance of winning? Who in your company is responsible for the various administrative and marketing tasks?
Clearly define everyone’s responsibilities before you begin setting the rules to minimize the chance of miscommunication later. You need to lay out who is accountable for each section so that the campaign runs smoothly.
It’s a daunting task once you get started. Should you be unclear about how to proceed, a sweepstakes management company may assist you.
Write out the rules
Keep yourself and your clients out of trouble by developing a clear set of rules. These should be in accordance with federal and state regulations and (at minimum) drafted by a sweepstakes agency to ensure compliance. If you have an international client base, you may also have to be mindful of GDPR and the laws, permitting and translation requirements of each country you wish to include. Consulting a qualified legal team here could save your firm much trouble in the future.
Choose the prizes
The prizes offered may well dictate the success of the contest. Prizing should be valuable enough to motivate consumers to enter the contest without blowing your budget.
Choose a prize that your ideal client will appreciate and that links back to your offering. Creativity may earn more points than spending a fortune. The Best Job in the World campaign by the Queensland Tourism Board is a perfect example. The prize was a yearlong contract to act as a “caretaker” of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. It cost the board around $1 million but generated an estimated $200 million in publicity. Thanks to the prize’s creative nature, the contest garnered attention from major global news agencies.
Create a sense of urgency
Follow up with the entrants as soon as possible once the contest is over. You might, for example, send out temporary discount codes to those who didn’t win. Ensure that consumers feel as though they’ll miss a great deal if they don’t act immediately.
Monitor your results
You’ve now launched your campaign, and it’s time to reap the real rewards. Monitor the reaction from consumers and see if your contest is hitting the right notes. Don’t hesitate to use split-testing methods to see which aspects of the campaign were the most appealing. That way, you’ll know what to duplicate with the next campaign.
When the results are in, analyze the data. Did you meet your contest goals? If not, where did the results fall short? Through careful analysis of the results, you’ll be able to create better campaigns in the future. Draw as much data as you can from the contest to use in your traditional marketing efforts as well.
Make contest marketing work for you
Build on the goodwill that you’ve gained throughout the contest. Follow through by using what you’ve learned about your consumers as part of your ongoing marketing strategy. Refer back to the campaign or draw on elements of it in the future. What future product promotions will appeal to your target audience based on the results?