Putting the Pieces Together for a Successful Contest Promotion.
Running a contest can be a powerful way to build word of mouth and long-term customer relationships. However contest promotion takes a lot more than a cool prize. It takes planning, clear objectives, timing integrating different marketing channels—and legwork.
Define your goals-why are you running this contest? Are you trying to get more brand awareness? Introduce new products or services? Gain consumer insight? Build an email or mobiles subscriber base? Increase your level social media engagement How will you measure success?
A contest is a terrific way to start a conversation. It is up to you to keep the buzz going. Don’t sit back and expect customers to do the work for you. Monitor the conversations, whether on Facebook, Twitter, bogs or other social sites. Every conversation is an opportunity to engage with your customers, and for them to engage with your brand.
Be relevant Make sure the contests prize is of interest to your customers. Just because you think a 52 inch flat screen TV is worth the effort you’re asking your customers to make, don’t assume they do. Match the prize to your customer profile.
Choose the right mediums and integrate them
Engage your team
Don’t underestimate the importance of internal communications. For many bricks and mortar business, the success of your contest lies in the hands of your front line people. If they are engaged and enthusiastic, they will transfer this to your customers. If not, chances are your contest will fizzle out , results will be disappointing and you could give up on a productive marketing channel.
Timing is everything
Know when to start and when to stop. Pick a time that allows you to focus the appropriate energy on your contests. Consider seasonality, other overlapping promotions, holidays and other events that may draw attention and energy away from your contest. Don’t limit participation by choosing too tight a window between launch and your contest cutoff date. Contests often pick up steam after the first week or so. It takes time for customers to begin talking about your contest and spreading the word. After all, that’s one of the main objectives. Conversely, don’t let the contest linger on too long in the hope you’ll get every possible participant. Maintaining the excitement will be next to impossible.
Having a contest on Facebook won’t be very productive if the majority of your customers are not on Facebook. Text messaging, email, contest entry websites and print, working together can provide amazing results while building or reinforcing your brand identity.
Integrate your existing marketing channels and consider additional opportunities. Provide alternative means of entries. Some states have laws requiring this. For example during this contest we combined the following marketing channels to create a synergy and promote a new brand:
A contest website
Monile with text to enter
Point of sale posters, flyers and handouts
Obey The Law
Last but not least make sure you are in compliance with your state contest or sweepstakes laws. You know the difference between a contest and a sweepstakes right?
A “sweepstakes” is a game of chance one plays voluntarily and for which one is not required to pay anything to enter in order to win a prize.
A “skill contest” is a puzzle, game, competition, or other contest in which: A prize is awarded or offered; The outcome depends on the contestant’s skill, and A purchase, payment or donation is, or seems to be, required, to enter the contest.
Most of all, be memorable.
Engage customers during the contest. Don’t use the conversation solely to promote. Ask questions, find out more about your participants interests, pay attention to the little things and be transparent. You’ll discover that the buzz is still going long after the contest ends. After all that’s why you started this process in the first place.
Before moving to Western MA, Dan launched his career in New York in advertising and public relations, where he worked with some of the country’s top brands. Dan also has many years’ experience in small-business and corporate marketing, finance, franchise business operations and field consulting. In 2005, Dan became the first area president of TruePresence, a national internet marketing firm specializing in web design and search engine marketing. Dan’s clients have included Johnson & Johnson, Sears, Warner-Lambert, Monsanto and Pepsi, but he prefers the individuality of his smaller business clients. Dan launched The Green Internet Group to help business owners fully leverage the digital marketing and social media by offering results driven marketing planning, consulting, training and creative services.
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