Whether you're a startup looking for more visibility, an established business wanting to strengthen customer relationships, or a corporate giant searching for innovative growth strategies, contest marketing is something you shouldn't overlook in 2023.
In the ever evolving world of social media marketing, contest marketing has become an essential strategy, as it provides organizations with a cost-effective and engaging way to connect with their target audience, enhance their brand image, and gather valuable consumer insights. The problem, however, is that not everyone is aware of the benefits, or more problematically, they are aware, but are overspending on other marketing pursuits such as online ads.
To counter this, this article will seek to explain the core principles and benefits of contest marketing, and what it takes to launch a great campaign. In other words, we'll provide you with an all-in-one guide on how to execute campaigns that not only connect with your audience, but that also produce measurable outcomes.
So if you weren't sold on this idea before, you definitely will by the end of reading this!
Understanding Contest Marketing
The first step that is needed in order to take ownership of this exciting marketing pursuit, is to understand what it means and entails.
Put simply, contest marketing is an online (and offline) promotional activity that involves individuals or businesses enticing consumers/supporters with competitions or giveaways. This strategy utilizes various tactics to expand its reach, and to enter these contests, participants are typically asked to complete certain actions in return for prizes.
By offering attractive prizes, contest marketing aims to enhance brand recognition, encourage user involvement, and even gather valuable customer information. However, it's important to note that the contest prize you offer is crucial to your success, and should be exciting and engaging enough to motivate people to participate and take the necessary steps to enter.
As can be seen, contest marketing not only boosts customer engagement, but also generates excitement around your products, cultivating stronger connections with your audience. When smartly integrated into your overall marketing strategy, this avenue can amplify your brand message and propel you to new heights in competitive markets.
But as mentioned in the introduction, although the advantages are seemingly self-explanatory, there are still many marketing professionals who either underrate the power of contest marketing, or simply do not know about its potential.
The following section should put any misunderstanding to rest.
Why Contest Marketing?
What can be gathered so far is that tapping into consumers' love of freebies and competition is a powerful marketing tactic that brings about an array of different benefits for your brand.
The question that must now be asked, is what are these benefits?
Increased customer engagement
The first benefit that can be experienced after conducting a contest is seeing an increase in customer engagement. This appeals to a person's natural desire for 15 minutes of fame or fortune, and will ensure that your existing consumer base/ community are constantly engaged; something which can be the difference between them staying with your brand, or going elsewhere.
Generation of new leads
Another key advantage is the generation of more leads, which can be converted into actual paying customers. This comes off the back of the social media activities conducted by participants, which if done properly, can create mass exposure for your products and services in front of a new audience.
Increase in social media following
If done effectively, it only takes one viral competition to bring about a significant increase in one's social media following. Besides being a benefit in terms of brand awareness, this marketing pursuit will also lead towards more people to advertise to, and more participants for future contests.
Cheaper form of marketing
Perhaps one of the most attractive reasons for running a competition is due to it being one of the most cost-efficient forms of marketing. More often than not, this approach is much cheaper than other avenues such as online ads, influencer marketing and paid-for PR, and the reason is simple — the only overhead is purchasing the prizes, which can usually be purchased for an amount that is far cheaper than the cost of other initiatives.
Now that the benefits are clear, it's important to go through the key components of a successful strategy for contest marketing.
Key Components of a Successful Contest Marketing Strategy
When creating a contest, there are several key components to consider. By following these steps, you can effectively optimize your marketing approach and successfully achieve your goals and objectives.
Understand your audience
This is a crucial step when designing a contest. Instead of targeting just any participants, you should focus on attracting your ideal customers. Take a strategic approach to engage with individuals who align with your brand values and are more likely to convert into paying customers. This can be directed by data-driven insights from previous campaigns, email lists, or third-party analytics tools.
Define your goals
Prior to starting your contest, it's important to establish the specific objectives you wish to accomplish. These may involve enhancing brand visibility, generating leads, or amplifying engagement on social media channels.
Without defining your goals, you simply won’t be able to run an organized and impactful contest, so this is a very important step that needs proper attention.
Provide enticing incentives
The rewards should be relevant to your intended audience, appealing enough to encourage participants to enter the contest, and should align with your brand's image and values. Whatever you choose, pick a prize that will be irresistible for your target audience, thus encouraging them to participate for a chance to win.
Promote your contest
To ensure maximum reach, create a comprehensive plan to market your contest on various platforms like social media, email marketing, and website banners. Additionally, leverage your existing customer base and collaborate with influencers in your industry to increase visibility and generate buzz.
Determine budget and ROI
Creating a budget is a crucial step in campaign planning. Start by identifying your goals, such as generating leads, increasing brand awareness, or driving sales. Having clarity on these objectives will guide you in allocating the necessary resources effectively.
Next, you'll need to calculate the total expenses by breaking down the costs associated with the contest. This includes items like prizes, advertising and promotion, platform or software fees (and any labor costs for managing the contest).
Design an exciting contest
Last but not least, it is important to develop a contest that is not only captivating, but also simple for participants to join. Clearly outline the mechanics of the contest, ensuring they are easy to understand and follow. You may want to include features like user-generated content, voting, or even add a gamification aspect to make your contest more interactive and enjoyable for participants.
Below are some of the most common contest types that will be of most use to marketers.
Types of Contests
There are various types of contests that can effectively engage your audience and fulfil specific objectives. Each type has unique benefits, and can help you achieve goals like boosting brand exposure, generating leads, or creative good engagement.
Below are a few common contest types, and their respective advantages.
Sweepstakes are a simple and widely used form of contest. Participants enter with the hope of winning a prize, and winners are typically chosen at random. Sweepstakes have consistently high engagement rates and are effective in raising brand visibility and attracting new potential customers.
Giveaways are a simplified version of sweepstakes, as they require less effort from participants to enter. For instance, participants might only need to like a post, tag friends in a comment, or follow your brand's social media account. This type of contest is highly effective in increasing social media engagement and attracting new followers.
Quizzes and trivia contests
Quizzes and trivia contests are effective ways to assess participants' knowledge in a specific subject or your business' products and services. These interactive activities not only promote deeper audience engagement but also serve as educational tools to familiarize customers with what you have to offer. For example, a trivia contest can incentivize participants with discounts or prizes for correctly answering multiple-choice questions.
Building contests around user-generated content is a fantastic way to interact with your audience and gather creative contributions. Participants can submit creations that align with certain guidelines, such as featuring your product or capturing the essence of your brand. Not only does this foster creativity, but it also creates a sense of community among your followers. Moreover, you can utilize any groundbreaking submissions in future marketing initiatives.
Once you decide on the contest type, the next step is to decide on the right social media platform for your business.
There are three primary platforms commonly utilized to run promotions. However, it's important to note that there are other platforms that exist, and which may be more appropriate depending on the industry of a business. But for the most part, the following are the go-to social media contest platforms for contests.
With its wide range of features, Facebook provides a large user base and multiple tools that are ideal for conducting contests. These include Facebook Polls, Groups, and Live Streams. To ensure compliance with the platform's rules and regulations, it is important to carefully review the guidelines for running a contest on Facebook.
Facebook also attracts a wide range of users, making it a great platform for reaching a diverse audience, including older demographics. Besides this, advertising on the platform also offers powerful features that enable you to promote your contest to a specific and relevant audience, maximizing its reach and impact.
Instagram offers great opportunities for visually engaging contests, leveraging features like Instagram Stories, Reels, and Grid Posts. However, it's crucial to adhere to Instagram's contest guidelines to ensure compliance and avoid any penalties or restrictions on your account.
By using high-quality images and videos, you can make your contest highly noticeable and eye-catching, so it is advisable to create interactive and engaging content that encourages user participation.
X (formerly Twitter)
If you're looking for fast and straightforward text-based contests like giveaways or trivia questions, X/Twitter is the perfect platform for you. By using hashtags and retweets, you can easily promote your campaign to a wider audience. Just remember to follow X's contest guidelines to ensure that your campaign aligns with their policies.
X/Twitter is well-suited for immediate engagement, making it an excellent platform for time-dependent promotions like flash giveaways. Furthermore, utilizing a strategic hashtag can significantly amplify the visibility and impact of your contest, propelling its reach to new heights.
Creating and Managing the Contest Campaign
Having a well-structured campaign is essential for success. When creating your contest, it is advisable to follow the following steps:
Create a clear and concise contest description outlining entry methods, eligibility, and any other pertinent information.
Develop a timeline including the start and end dates, as well as when the winner will be announced.
Establish the contest rules and guidelines, ensuring they comply with local laws and regulations.
Share your contest on your website and social media channels to promote participation and engagement.
Whilst this all sounds self-explanatory and straightforward, there is still a lot of manual oversight that is needed to ensure that things go smoothly. This is not ideal for a busy marketing team, who will often have other tasks to attend to such as content marketing, PR, and advertisement.
It's why in 2023, businesses cannot do without using software to help run contests, which besides saving a considerable amount of time, also ensure that basic errors are eliminated, and everything is automated with just a few clicks.
Tropee is one such platform that is highly recommended for any business looking to run an online contest in a streamlined manner.
Tropee - An all-in-one giveaway, competition, and reward platform
Using Tropee, individuals and businesses have the ability to create, manage and customize their contest marketing campaign, whilst also making it much easier for participants to sign up and take part.
For example, Tropee allows contest hosts to set the exact actions they expect of their participants. So whether you want to gather email addresses, increase website traffic, generate referrals, or enhance social media engagement, Tropee provides a range of options.
What's more, using Tropee's one-click entry feature, participants can join contests and giveaways in a truly hassle-free manner, and each entrant will also receive helpful notifications confirming their entry and providing updates on the giveaway status. Contest entry has never been easier.
In addition to this, Tropee also takes measures to eliminate fraudulent entries and randomly selects winners. Once the winners are chosen, they are promptly notified, making the process seamless for both organizers and participants.
But perhaps the most useful feature is Tropee's analytics tab, where you can access valuable real-time insights on participant behavior and engagement metrics such as likes, shares, and comments. This allows you to closely monitor the performance of your campaign and make informed decisions based on the data.
But it is important to note that there is more than just social media engagement that you should be analyzing, and the final section will point to the things you should be looking at.
Aside from social media engagement, one of the first things you should do is to closely monitor the traffic on your landing pages. This will provide valuable insights into the number of visitors engaging with your contest, and how effectively your marketing message is resonating with your audience.
Additionally, pay attention to metrics such as visit duration, bounce rate, and overall number of visits. A high bounce rate may indicate a need to refine your marketing message or make adjustments to make your contest more appealing.
In addition to analyzing landing page metrics, it's important to also track the number of new signups for your services during the contest. Contests often attract potential customers who are interested in the product or service you are promoting alongside the contest. Pay attention to any significant increases in sign-ups and subscriptions, as they can indicate a successful contest.
Lastly, it is important to assess the quality of leads generated through your contest. High-quality leads indicate a successful marketing campaign and serve as valuable prospects for your sales funnel. To measure the overall effectiveness of your contest, compare the number of leads before, during, and after the contest, and evaluate their quality.
Contest marketing is becoming increasingly popular in the ever-changing world of digital marketing, and as has been demonstrated, is a powerful strategy for businesses across various industries and sizes.
From understanding your target audience, setting clear goals, to choosing the most suitable social media platform, each step is crucial in creating a contest that truly connects with your desired market. Moreover, in order for individuals to willingly give away their precious time, coming up with an engaging prize is paramount, as failure to do so will limit the intrigue of your contest.
To determine the type of contest you want to run, we'll leave you with some contest marketing examples. Once decided, you can then use Tropee to take care of all the heavy lifting that would normally be involved in order to have the best contest marketing experience ever!
So whether you're a small startup looking to increase brand awareness, or an established company aiming to engage your customers on a deeper level, this guide will provide you with valuable insights that will serve as timeless advice for your marketing efforts.
Good luck, and here's to a successful 2023 for your digital marketing endeavours!