Businesses don’t become successful just because of their products and services. Of course, those are essential, no doubt, but customers wanted something that would hook them in. Something that would entertain them and make them feel special. And thus, the marketing industry brought in the concept of contest marketing.
What’s in it for my business, you ask? Well, contest marketing has much to offer your business: brand awareness, audience engagement, customer retention among other things.
We can keep citing the benefits of “contest marketing” all day long, but it won’t get you far unless you actually establish contests that vibe with your brand and resonate with your target audience.
That’s why we’ve put together this blog post to help you create a well-thought-through contest marketing that would help move the needle and scale your brand.
Sounds good? Let’s begin with the basics and define contests!
In this article
What is Contest Marketing?
Contest marketing is pretty much what it sounds like: a strategy that engages the audience through contests, giveaways, sweepstakes, and everything in between in order to establish solid brand awareness and online visibility among potential customers.
Contests have this psychological element that triggers consumers’ desire to win something for free. Many participants just can’t resist the rush of joy when they get a prize, which excites them to hit that “play” button despite the relatively low chances of winning.
The online world has made it even easier for businesses to integrate contests into their marketing playbook, especially with the explosion of social media, where companies, regardless of their size, can directly engage their audience.
Here are some ways you can organically leverage contest marketing online:
- Conduct contests across all the famous social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, TikTok etc.
- Organize contests within your website and collect the audience data.
- Leverage your email list (or maybe newsletter) to promote contest participation
- Create contests related to your podcast content to boost interaction and views.
You can choose to focus your contest marketing on the channels that drive you most leads or maybe all of them! Totally up to you.
Seven Strategies to Create Effective Contest Marketing for Your Brand
Now, let’s move on to the more complicated parts: How to create effective contest marketing for your business.
Let’s agree that marketing has taught us that all customers are not the same, and for that, you’ve got to speak their language, hit their pain points, and offer solutions that trigger an ‘Aha!’ moment for them.
We surely don’t want you to shoot in the dark. That’s why we’ve put together a couple of strategies that are likely to help you maximize your subsequent contest campaigns.
1. Leverage Social Media
A promotion well begun is a contest half done! Can you think of a better place to spread the word than social media? We genuinely can’t! With plenty of platforms at your fingertips (TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), if you apply the right content distribution strategy, your contest can literally reach millions.
Using visual elements to make your contests more shareable and engaging is a terrific idea, and for that, make your contest as catchy as possible by including eye-catching graphics. And to make sure nothing slips through the cracks, your posts should provide all the nitty-gritty details of the contest: rules, participation policies, deadlines, giveaways, etc.
Also, consider creating a cool hashtag! It keeps everyone in the loop and encourages them to generate content about the contest.
2. Organize Event-based Contest
For those out of context, event-based contests are tied to specific occasions and celebrations that happen throughout the year, such as holidays or major pop culture events (Black Friday, Super Bowl, etc).
Your best bet to capitalize on these special occasions is to run event-focused contests, as they are highly impactful during that specific time frame.
You can still run post-event contests as it’s a great opportunity to engage your audience further and gather feedback, insights, and opinions from them, a pretty clever way for shaping next year’s strategies, right?
3. Conduct Personalized Quizzes and Trivias
Nobody likes tests and exams, true. But quizzes and trivia aren’t your everyday basics. Your audience will love being challenged while having fun; that sense of accomplishment never gets old.
For optimal results, make sure to alternate between easy and tough questions to enhance customer participation and extend their dwell time. Always aim to stand out and introduce something new, like gamification elements, interactive content, and personalized questions.
Once you’ve got the lowdown on your customers’ brand-related knowledge, you’re all set to produce marketing content that aligns with their thought process and helps increase customer retention rates.
4. Invest in Influencers
Partnering with influencers is powerful enough to maximize your brand’s credibility, and it’s not really hard to see why.
When an influencer with an important follower count shares and promotes your stuff, chances are high that your contest will get a spotlight the next day, and suddenly, you’ve got their audience in your corner.
But this strategy will take a little more work than that: make sure that the public figure you pick aligns with your business’s core values, genuinely embraces the contest, and has an audience that could naturally become yours. If the influencer ticks all these boxes, the money you invest is totally worth it.
5. Engage in Reciprocal Promotion
It might sound similar to influencer marketing, but reciprocal promotion is a bit different. It’s essentially a partnership between two brands, each promoting the other’s contest. The takeaway? Both brands can expand their reach by swapping audiences in some way, and once the cross-promotion takes place, their audiences will do the word-of-mouth magic recommendation.
Again, it won’t be a walk in the park; brands should ensure their messages and CTAs are synced up before randomly reposting contests. This way, their contests will resonate with their respective audiences and boost each other’s visibility and credibility.
6. Advertise on Your Website
It shouldn’t be a shock to hear that promoting contests on your website is still working, especially among your loyal blog visitors. If your marketing plan involves running contests regularly, why not set up a dedicated section just for them? It’ll be your go-to spot to share and update all the contest details we covered earlier in this article.
Strategically insert pop-ups and contest banners across your website to direct visitors to the contest pages. Also, place the contest-focused articles at the forefront of your blog to maximize visitor exposure to the upcoming event you’re organizing.
Consider warming up your audience on the blog before the contest kicks off. You can do this by sharing practical participation tips, testimonials from past participants, or setting up countdowns and reminders. The goal here is to create a sense of FOMO and urgency among your audience while adding depth to your content.
7. Capitalize on AI Tools
AI tools are no longer a new thing, and let’s face it, they’re not overhyped despite what some skeptics might say and at this point, if you don’t endorse the AI change, you risk falling behind, just like Nokia did back in the day. We trust you’re not headed down that path, which is a good sign!
We won’t be exaggerating if we say that Incorporating tools like AI chatbots into your contest marketing will revolutionize how you interact with participants. YYou no longer have to do any of the heavy lifting, as the bot is designed to offer real-time assistance, answer user queries, guide users through contest rules, and even provide personalized recommendations. Yep, you heard that right!
Five Real Life Examples of Contest Marketing Strategies
Tap “Sprite contest” on Google, and you’ll be directed to a landing page that displays a purchase-to-Enter Contest. As the name suggests, this type of contest requires consumers to buy the Sprite Soda with the hope of finding the unique code and winning big.
If you’re among the luckiest folks and find the code just after a refreshing Sprite drink, your next step would be to scan the code behind the label, enter it, and enjoy your prize.
It might sound like a ‘spray and pray approach,’ but what Sprite actually does is implement a contest aimed at encouraging repeat purchases and keeping customers engaged for the long run, all while they savor their favorite soda.
Fantasy Premier League
How do you measure success in contest marketing? Through metrics, of course!
With over 11 million players, Fantasy Premier League is the world’s largest Fantasy Football game (or soccer, as our friends in the US call it! 😜). Fans can participate totally for free and can win impressive prizes!
The rules are pretty simple: choose 15 players you believe can earn the most points for your team by their performance, and you’re good to go.
As for the prices, they’re usually determined by player renown and their potential for scoring big points. Users have a budget cap ( £100.0m for a 15-man squad.) to ensure everyone starts on equal footing.
The takeaway from all of this? The British Football League plans to roll out incredible prizes for various winners this season. Check below to find out what the top prize will be awarded in this fascinating contest.
If this isn’t hitting the jackpot, we don’t know what is!
The Four Hills Tournament (Vierschanzentournee)
Still with the sports industry, but this time with skiing and the official Facebook page of the Four Hills Tournament (which you might also hear referred to as Vierschanzentournee in German).
Alright, quick backstory Here. The Four Hills Tournament is a ski jumping event with four World Cup events happening in Germany and Austria every year since 1953.
Vierschanzentournee (a tough one to spell, we get it 😜) recently ran a ticket giveaway for their ski jumping fans with a chance to win two competition tickets, all while keeping the participation rules a no-sweat for everyone: sharing the post, like the Facebook page and cross fingers to see your name announced in their Facebook story.
Giveaway strategies are used quite often in social media to help businesses boost their followers and open doors to partnerships with other brands. For instance, these giveaways prompt followers to do something—like follow, comment, or like a post—to enter the contest.
You’ll usually find these giveaways sponsored by external brands aiming to reach a specific group whose products can’t quite touch in their campaigns.
Cambly is a language learning platform that gives users instant access to native English speakers over video chat. Their business model is working wonders, and so does their highly successful referral-based strategy.
The deal is simple: refer Cambly to your friends learning English. Once they spend $50 on the platform, you start earning cash. The more you refer, the more you make. Easy peasy!
Not only does this referral-based contest boost user growth and subscriptions, but it also conveys a great mission: learning and educating people. So, participants will definitely be promoting a noble cause.
Another excellent example of contest marketing is a sales-boosting contest. Unlike the typical social media contests that take place online, Ooredoo, the multinational telecommunications company, invites its users to recharge their balance “as usual” to enter the draw.
The particularity of this contest is that all the contest rules are specified beforehand, including the draw location, the prize, the deadline, the game tricks – Absolutely everything. And it’s all for a clear purpose: to maximize traffic and revenue by transforming a routine SIM top-up into a game-like experience for customers.
How Can You Leverage Contest Marketing to Scale?
You could say that contest marketing won’t help you scale your business, and we can agree, but then we’d both be lying!
Contest marketing is a strategy that goes beyond helping your business get more visible. It’s an ever-reliable approach that scales up as your business does.
Here are some actionable tips that will help you leverage the potential of your contests to scale:
Define Your Goals
Before you even launch your contest, make sure you have a clear and predefined objective, whether it’s for generating leads, increasing engagement or simply increasing brand awareness, because the purpose will shape how your contest should be structured and customized to deliver the desired results and hit that primary goal.
Pick the Perfect Prize
One great way to maximize lead generation through contests is to pick the prizes and giveaways carefully. They should be relevant, valuable and deeply speak to your target market. Need some ideas to hook your audience?
Let’s assume you run an e-commerce platform specializing in warehouse optimization solutions, particularly warehouse management systems (WMS). When you decide to create the contest, ideally, your prize should be offering a WMS software package—or at least something along those lines!
The bottom line is that the right prize will naturally attract the right audience, and thus, you get the most out of your giveaway campaign.
Craft Compelling Content
With better content comes better contests. And with better contests, highly successful results.
For that, we recommend using cool visuals, videos, and GIFs. Oh, and if you want to go the extra mile, think of telling a unique story or narrative. That adds character and depth to your contest.
Your content is the heart of your contest. Take a beat, rethink it, refine it—craft something that will really engage.
Collect the Data You Need
As you organize your contests, many hidden benefits come along the way—beyond the ones we’ve already covered throughout the article (brand awareness, online presence, lead generation). We’re specifically referring to the participants’ data.
But that’s not all! Slice and dice your data to measure your contest’s success based on your predefined KPIs to figure out what worked and what didn’t so you can fine-tune your future contests.
Your work doesn’t end with the event. There’s a bit more on your plate. You’ll want to publicly announce winners, show some appreciation to all participants, and share any relevant stats or reports from the contest.
The point of doing this is to continue engaging with your old and especially new audience and the perfect chance to slip in a pitch or two about your services.
And thus, we reach the end of it – the blog post, we mean, not contest marketing tips!
We think by now, one thing is clear. The contest is a strategy too cool for you to ignore. Because what’s marketing about if not engaging your customers and gaining a competitive edge, right?
Depending upon your niche, you can create your own personalized contest. And it’s not as tough as you think.
But we’re sure you still have many doubts and questions about running your marketing contest campaign. Well, what are we here for? Reach out to us and lay it all out on us!
And while you’re at it, why not give Woorise a shot? It’s just a click away!