Running a website or blog contest is one of the most effective techniques of gaining favourable attention to a site. It was also proven to help in fostering brand awareness, generating traffic, obtaining user data that can be used to improve products and services, build audience relations and enticing visitors to take a desired action.
How to run a successful website contest
While you can always hire a contest management group to run your contests for you, it is possible to do it yourself and reduce expenses. The following is a step-by-step instruction on how to do it right.
- Identify your goal. Before anything else, it is important to clearly identify your goal. What are the results you want to achieve by running an online contest and what should you do to increase your chances of achieving your goals? If you want to increase traffic to your site, you may want to run a contest with a lower barrier to entry. If you want to foster a deeper connection with your audience, user-generated content promotion might be better. In such cases, you may ask your audience to submit photos, recipes or other forms of content as an entry to the contest.
- Decide on a theme. In deciding on a theme, consider the kind of business you operate and the type of people you want to attract to your business. You may also opt to use an upcoming event or season as the theme for your contest.
- Choose a prize. After identifying the goal and deciding on the theme of the contest, you need to choose a prize that relates to your website. If you have products or offer services in your site, you can consider giving those away as prizes. Consider creating something such as an ebook or improved PLR products. In some cases, go out and find business owners who are willing to donate prizes in exchange for exposure. Don’t forget to give your sponsors enough credit so they can get something out of the deal.
- Determine the kind of contest you want to run. Depending on what your primary goals are, the next thing you need to do is to decide on the kind of contest you want to run. You may want to run a scavenger hunt type of contest or ask your visitors to answer a survey in exchange for an entry. You may also ask visitors to submit a blog post, a photo, a recipe or some other form of content in order to qualify for the contest. However, it is important not to make the visitors feel like they are being coerced into anything so actions such as signing up for a newsletter should only be a second option.
- Promote your contest. To attract the most number of people to participate in your contest, make sure you submit it to contest sites (you can find a comprehensive list of contest sites at http://www.internetbasedmoms.com/freebies/contest.html). You can also promote it by sending an announcement to your email marketing list if you have one, by distributing press releases or by using social media sites, pay-per-click advertising and forum marketing.
Useful tips in running website or blog contests
To get the most out of running an online website or blog contest, you should keep these tips in mind:
- Offer a prize that your audience cannot refuse. Offer something of value to entice your audience to join the contest. Give something that your audience can use and never give away prizes that are worthless or mediocre in nature.
- Consider the monetary value of the prizes to be given away. As a general rule, the lesser the value of the prizes, the simpler the entry requirements should be.
- Keep it simple. Remember, a contest that has too many rules or one that is too complicated to join will not attract a lot of entries.
- Do not run it for more than a month. The longer you run the contest, the higher the chances that your audience will forget it.
- Follow the rules. To be on the safe side, consider asking your state’s consumer affairs office about the rules you need to follow before putting up your contest. You can also look for a rules template online and use it to draft your own. Let an attorney review it once it is done.
- Engage the audience. To build more buzz around your business, creative contests often work best. For example, you can ask your audience to send short articles or blog posts on how using your products have helped them satisfy their needs, address their problems or achieve their own personal goals. Asking the audience to send photos and/or videos on how your products can be used in more creative ways also works well.
- Announce the winner appropriately. Let the winner feel like a real winner. Feature them on your website, social media circles and highlight him in your newsletter. This will have the winners spreading the word about your business. That’s free publicity at no added cost.
Done right, running an online contest can do a lot of good for your business.