A well-organised B2B contest or giveaway based on your online contest ideas will greatly increase the efficiency of each penny invested in an advertising campaign, including boosting total sales, the number of contacts, and other key indicators for the company.
For B2B social advertising, the objective needs to be buyer focused. In short, offer a relevant prize! Use contests as opportunities to learn more about your customers/clients. Use contests to connect with your existing customers’ peer connections. Try out cool contest ideas, surveys and quizzes to show off your company’s personality, and present this in a friendly way to get the information you want from them.
Social media contests and promotions on platforms like Facebook, Instagram or YouTube is popular for B2C business but the Harvard Business Review discovered that 84% of B2B buyers are now starting the purchasing process with a referral, and peer recommendations are influencing more than 90% of all B2B buying decisions. Contests and giveaways are no longer a marketing option exclusive to B2C companies, and in fact, work well in a variety of end goals when thought through strategically.
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In this article, we’re going to share successful B2B campaign ideas and tips to create contests, promotions, and freebies for your marketing strategy to generate more leads.
1. Implement a Contest Leaderboard
Most people are naturally competitive to some degree. They appreciate knowing how they stack up compared to peers. Tap into that reality by building a viral leaderboard.
Woorise, a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company did that and approached other SaaS companies to create a gigantic product bundle giveaway. Woorise’s content leaderboard showed how a person compared to other participants. Thus, they could see how close they were to winning the grand prize.
The contest leaderboard also gave people actionable things to do to raise their ranking, such as referring others or following Woorise through social media channels. The campaign resulted in 12.000 new B2B leads, plus 18.000 more social media followers.
2. Give a Complimentary E-Book Written by a Thought Leader
A 2020 Edelman/LinkedIn study found that 88% of respondents said thought leaders influenced their perception of an organization. However, only 17% of those polled ranked the quality of the material they read as very good or excellent. Consider putting a sizeable amount of resources into a book written by one of your thought leaders. Then, give it away via your website or social media. You may even create a dedicated landing page for it.
Katherine Hartvickson of Quantum Ascendance is a human resources consultant who used such a landing page to detail why people should download her free prospective employee interviewing guide. The content explains that readers should ask each interviewee five specific questions before hiring them. It also gives a helpful bulleted list of benefits. By using a specialized landing page, you reduce the chances of people getting distracted before requesting the item.
Aim to impress readers from the very first page, causing them to conclude that your publication was so useful and authoritative that they would have willingly paid for it if you didn’t give it away. It’s vital to check your e-book for spelling, grammatical and statistical errors. While it often works well to pack your content with information, the efforts could backfire if you rush to publish the book before scrutinizing it for mistakes.
3. Invite People to Show the Diversity of Their Workspaces Through a Photo Contest
There’s a good chance your business leads have extremely varied workspaces. Although many people may get stuff done from conventional offices, others might remain productive while sitting in a grassy park or under an umbrella on a sandy beach.
Hootsuite recognized through a photo contest. It used the #IWorkFromHere hashtag to focus on freedom. Individuals posted images of themselves holding their smartphones and working from their porches and balconies, as well as with furry friends.
They entered the contest by downloading the Hootsuite Mobile app, then posting a picture from their workspaces and designating it with the hashtag. The winner got a trip for two, but even people who didn’t walk away with that prize got plenty of exposure through a dedicated Hootsuite page, as well as the brand’s social media pages.
Creating a photo-based contest could also increase your contest’s reach. For example, you could allow a person to enter by sharing someone else’s entry rather than snapping pictures themselves.
Companies should hold these kinds of B2B contests only if what they sell supports flexibility. When people see the various situations where individuals use an app or a similar technology offered by a B2B company, they’ll be more likely to decide that the product could help them do the same.
4. Host an Innovation Competition
You can also stimulate B2B lead generation by holding a contest to position your company at the forefront of innovation. Then, people get the impression your workforce is up to date on the latest advancements and prepared to implement them to help customers.
It’s even better if your contest associates you with furthering innovation. Cisco had a six-month event for startup businesses called the Grand Innovation Challenge. More than 5,700 entrants from all over the world took part in 2016. The winning startups got cash prizes of up to $150,000, plus resources including mentorships, access to Cisco’s Innovation Center facilities and more.
Such a strategy drives leads because it shows a company as being on the cutting edge. Potential leads want to feel that your business could help them immediately, as well as into the future. Capitalizing on innovation shows your company in a positive light and helps people decide your operation could assist with their future-proofing strategies.
5. Plan a Facebook Contest
Many sales professionals realize the best approach to take is to combine traditional lead-generation tactics with modern ones. Social media offers plenty of enticing possibilities for growing your numbers. In addition to holding a contest or giveaway, you can interact with followers through polls, tutorials, videos and more.
Facebook is an excellent channel to consider for your first social media contest, primarily because so many people use it. Statistics collected in 2019 by the Pew Research Center found that about seven in 10 U.S. adults use that social media platform.
A web and application development company called Pink Panda Digital Solutions invested $600 into a Facebook contest. The people involved set a goal of acquiring at least 200 new qualified email subscribers as business leads. The company wisely gave away its premium web design package as a prize. That decision ensured the majority of the entrants were in the market for the company’s offerings and placed them into the sales funnel.
The company provided the four steps participants must go through to enter the contest on each entry form. It also created a countdown timeline and clock to establish urgency. These choices worked well for the business, which ended up with 276 new subscribers who were leaders of small or medium-sized companies or decision-makers researching web design services. The company received nine hard business leads where people submitted quote requests, too.
6. Compare the Payoffs of Various Channels and Methods Before Distributing Free Content
Regardless of how many B2B contests you want to hold and the timespan concerned, put time into researching which channels and methods provide you with the most significant lead generation results.
Consider the case where an author wrote a marketing book and wanted to maximize the B2B lead generation results. The writer wanted to assess which channels and promotional methods gave him the highest numbers of qualified leads. He did so with a paid e-book, but you can treat any piece of complimentary content the same way by taking care to pick your distribution and promotion methods.
The results showed that a Twitter lead generation card worked best for audience exposure. More than 1.2 million people saw that promotional attempt. However, the conversion rate was only 0.02%. The author discovered that hosting the content on the site of a third-party publisher provided the most qualified leads — more than 33% of the overall amount — but a much smaller number of total downloads compared to the Twitter statistics for that metric.
The results here do not suggest that B2B targeting via Twitter is useless. However, they serve as a strong reminder to not pour your whole marketing budget into B2B contests hosted on a single channel or use only one type of advertising mechanism to reach out to customers. Refer to your past efforts — even those not associated with giveaways — and see what worked well then. Next, tweak your strategy for the current time and goal.
7. Use Web Forms When Initiating Free Trials for Potential Customers
A free trial is arguably one of the most practical giveaways to offer. Instead of asking people to read through paragraphs of text about what makes your company or product different, you provide them hands-on opportunities to determine that themselves.
SuperOffice started using web forms for B2B lead generation in 2012. Since then, the company earned more than 125,000 leads from this method, and it has more than 20 forms on its site at any time. One of the ways SuperOffice depends on web submissions is to offer free trials.
Presenting your giveaway like that should make people more willing than usual to provide you with details such as their email addresses and full names. They know they’re getting something useful in return for the information, and are more open to doing it. SuperOffice reported that the free trial form for business leads is the most valuable type it uses.
The company puts the free trial link on its homepage, connecting it to a call-to-action located just above the fold on its website. You could take the same approach. Alternatively, attract people who fill out the fields after reading a blog post or perusing social media content.
On the left side of its free trial form, SuperOffice placed a short bulleted list providing a rundown of some of the main features the product offered. That section sets expectations and builds anticipation, thereby increasing the chances a person submits the form instead of changing their mind.
8. Get the Value/Volume Balance Right for a Giveaway
B2B contests often encourage people to enter by presenting gift cards as prizes. If you go with that method, remember that the value and the volume are the two aspects of the giveaway that are most likely to influence positive actions. For example, a single high-value gift card could interest someone, but make them conclude they have such a small chance of winning it’s not worth their time to fill out a form.
However, the right approach is not always to offer a large number of lesser value gift cards. You’ll need to experiment a bit, perhaps by running two gift card giveaways with a different value/volume balance for each of them.
One marketing professional was building a gift card giveaway for a white paper landing page operated by a B2B client. All viewers gave their emails to see the white paper. They saw information about the gift card freebie on the next page. They could enter by providing a few more personal details.
The marketing employee ran two giveaways of Amazon gift cards for this project. The first was for one of 20 $25 gift cards, and the second rewarded 10 winners with $50 gift cards. After someone provided an email on the first page, they saw a message saying, “On the next page, you’ll also have a chance to enter to win one of [volume] $[value] Amazon gift cards.”
The results showed that the $25 gift cards caused a 43% increase in leads generated. However, the $50 gift cards were even more successful. They brought a 56.5% conversion rate. These outcomes show how it pays to take your time and assess which value/volume combination will most likely appeal to your audience. Also, even though this example used Amazon gift cards, think about offering a kind more specific to your offerings or industry to ensure optimal targeting.
9. Create a Contest Related to Past Content
Some of the B2B contests you run can also ask people to dive into content released from your company or a particular channel over several years. Royal Caribbean’s Vicki Freed did that with a contest geared toward travel agents. Freed sends content to subscribers every weekday in the form of “Vicki’s Tips.” Each tidbit gives recipients advice they can apply to their lives or work.
Royal Caribbean launched a contest celebrating the 1,000th tip published. Travel agents entered the content by sending brief descriptions of which one of the suggestions helped them the most and why. The cruise line gave away $1,000 in prizes — all of them gift cards. You might wonder how this contest helps drive new business leads. It could do so in three main ways:
- A person signs up for the Vicki’s Tips mailing list after hearing about the contest and chooses one of the first tips they receive. They could admit being a new subscriber when entering but mention that they are already finding the content immensely helpful.
- Someone recalls one of the tips passed on to them by a colleague and writes about it. Perhaps they intended to sign up for the mailing list immediately after getting the advice but forgot. The contest could urge them to make good on their intention.
- A nonsubscriber doesn’t enter the contest but decides to sign up for the mailing list after realizing they don’t want to miss out on any more useful suggestions from Vicki.
10. Spotlight the Changing Nature of Your Industry With a Perspective-Driven Contest
You can also get the attention of a B2B audience by running a contest that highlights aspects of your industry that some people may not expect. DEWALT took that approach in Canada by launching its #TradeStory contest for tradespeople such as plumbers, bricklayers and carpenters.
The grand prize was $500 worth of tools relevant to the person’s job. The company got quotes from females working in trades to show the changing nature of the workforce and encourage people from minority groups who are training for such careers.
Think about doing the same thing, especially if you’re eager to give contest entrants a voice. Consider adding a prompt question, such as “Describe your biggest challenge on the job” for people to answer.
Use B2B Contests and Freebies to Drive Leads Today
These 10 suggestions and examples will steer you in the right direction as you explore the best ways to attract new leads with contests and giveaways. Tracking metrics as you measure results is an excellent way to tell what works well and where there’s room for improvement.