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5 Tips for Holding a Promotional Contest

Written by Karen Bivand

Before you invest the time and money into holding a contest, it’s important to make sure that it will get you tangible results. Not all contests are created equal; some are effective marketing campaigns, while others just amount to a waste of time. Here are some tips that will help you ensure that your contest makes a solid contribution to your business.

Know Your Goals

What are you trying to accomplish with this contest? Brand recognition? Increased followers on your social media sites? More referrals from existing customers? Who is your target audience? When you are clear about what you want to accomplish, you are able to design the contest with your specific goals in mind. It also makes it a lot easier to evaluate the success of this strategy.

Have an Irresistible Prize

Once you have determined the target audience for your contest, you need to get to know them. Who are they? What do they care about? What problems keep them up at night? Most importantly, what do they want? If you find a prize that they simply can’t resist, then you’ve got them hooked.

Keep It Simple

Have you ever been all excited about a contest only to find that entering it is complicated?! Who has time to spend half an hour filling out multiple entry forms or visiting several sites to fulfill the contest requirements? There should be no more than two steps involved and the whole process should take no longer than three to five minutes. As soon as your contest gets annoying, most people will ditch it.

Make a Promotional Plan

Your contest is at the top of your mind but for everyone else it’s just another thing competing for their attention. You need to remind people about it in a way that engages them and makes them want to be a part of it. Try to put yourself in the position of your target audience and think about what would grab your attention. It’s important that your plan clearly outlines where, how and when you will promote your contest and that you follow through with it.

Be Fair

Nothing irks people more than someone who isn’t playing fair. Just ask a four year old who lost his favourite game because someone was cheating. When your business is holding a contest, your reputation is on the line. Use a computer program to randomly select winners or have witnesses present when you hold a draw. It may not seem important now but you’ll be glad you did it if anyone ever questions the integrity of your contest.
Contests are one of the more fun parts of marketing your business. Have a brainstorming session and let yourself to get creative with it. You don’t have to do the same thing that has been done hundreds of times before. Take a risk, try something new and your customers will love you for it.



Featured image courtesy of shutterstock


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