I once spent all the money in my pocket on a raffle because I wanted the chance to win a big bottle of merlot. I don’t even like merlot that much, but the value of the bottle seemed so much greater than the value of my pocket change, and my time, that I couldn’t resist at least attempting to win.
I know I sound like a less than a stable person but bear with me, because psychology suggests that I’m not alone. Human nature is – for better or worse – filled with one resounding issue: greed. In other words, we all want to have as much stuff as we can possibly get our hands on. If there’s a chance to win something expensive for free, then you can bet we’re going to grab it with both hands.
At Traffic for Me, we know what it takes to grow a successful email campaign. We know exactly what you need to do to get all of the traffic that you need to run an incredible business, and we also know that you need to keep that traffic engaged if you want some great conversion ratios. People need to be entertained if they’re going to stick around.
Running a competition for your business is one of the best ways to attract a list of targeted leads straight to your brand. That’s because promotions and competitions are fun, exciting, and easy to understanding. Sort of like the gladiatorial games, except (hopefully) no one gets eaten by tigers.
While many marketers consider running contests for sales, branding, and more, an option that’s often overlooked involves using competitions to grow your email list. Created correctly, contests can help you to fill your funnel with excited leads, which makes you and them happy at the same time.
Step 1: Choose your Poison
You can’t run a competition from your mom’s basement. Well – you can, but few people are really going to enter.
The first step in using competitions to engage your email list is choosing the perfect platform. Shop around and look at the different options that are available to you, making sure that they check off all the boxes that are important to you and your customers. For instance, a good competition platform should provide:
• Great functionality and lots of flexibility to play with new ideas.
• Options to tally entries and watch over campaign goals.
• Mobile responsivity so that you can access your campaign and make changes wherever you are.
• Clear and straightforward systems that make it easy to use for your target customers.
The goals that you want to achieve with your contest, and the type of contest you’re running, will have a direct impact on which features are the most important to you when you’re searching for a useful way to connect with your audience. However, if there’s one rule of thumb that all contest platforms should follow, it’s that they should all have access to social media.
Being able to share “I just entered to win a free iPad with “____” means that your customers can not only share their excitement with their social following, but do some of your advertising for you. After all, your campaigns are far more likely to go viral if everyone shares their entry with others. Imagine you get 100 entrants into your competition, and they share with 10 friends, and those 10 friends share with 5 friends, and so on.
If your aim is to engage your email marketing list, try using the following features:
• Share via email
• Share via Facebook
• Share on Twitter
• Share on LinkedIn
Step 2: Choose the Rules of your Contest
Rules are boring – but they have a part to play in any competition. After all, everyone can’t be a winner, right?
Once you’ve picked a platform that has all of the features you need to run a kick-ass competition, it’ll be time to put your contest wheels in motion. This means making a few more decisions about what you’re trying to achieve with competitive engagement. For instance, ask yourself:
1. How many winners are there going to be?
2. How long am I going to run this competition for?
3. What are the prizes for the top winners – and runners-up?
4. How am I going to advertise this competition to people beyond my mail list?
Remember to think carefully about the goals you’re trying to achieve in the long run and to make decisions about your competitions from there. For instance, if you’re hoping to create 100 leads from your contest, and you know that your general visit-to-lead ratio is around 20%, then you’re going to need around 500 visits to your content.
From there, you can come to us at T4Me for help with boosting your traffic while you’re looking for other ways to get more people excited about what you’re sharing. Just remember that outlining your goals will help to keep your expectations realistic and give you the insight that you need to achieve better things for your business.
Furthermore, choosing the rules and deciding the ideal outcomes for your contest in advance will give you a good benchmark to work towards when it comes to deciding what success will look like in your competition.
Step 3: Make your Dreams Come True
Here’s the part you’ve been waiting for – actually making your contest happen.
Turning your competition from a dream into a reality means thinking carefully about how you’re going to promote your efforts, get entries, and make decisions about who wins and who loses. To generate initial interest, you can buy additional traffic while hitting your social media accounts and your homepage with notices that something big is in the works.
You can also go ahead and blog about your upcoming attraction, put together some Pinterest boards, and share other content to make the competition out as a big a deal as possible. Just make sure that you’re actually creating something that’s worth getting excited about. There’s not much point in raving about a competition when the grand prize is a packet of marshmallow treats.
Remember that while you’re promoting, you’ll also need to watch the temperature of your contest and evaluate how it’s performing. Determine whether your promotions are bringing in the attention that you want and whether specific platforms are more beneficial to your goals than others. You might also want to ask yourself whether your technology is working the way that you’d expect and whether you’re getting more engagement overall.
Analyzing the results of your competition as regularly as possible will help you to get an insight into whether you’re actually making a difference with your campaign. Just remember that you can’t necessarily pull out and tell your followers that it was all a joke if you don’t get the incredible results you were looking for.
Even if you wanted 1000 people to get involved, and only 100 people did, you still need to pick a winner or risk being marked out as a flakey, untrustworthy company for all of the time.
You don’t want to be THAT guy.
Step 4: Pick your Winners – and Make a Big Deal out of Them
Finally, once all your entries are in, it’s up to you to select your winners and inform them that they’re the lucky recipients of…whatever it was you were offering.
If your competition platform lets you select winners at random, then you should probably do that unless your contest rules require you to do something different. Once you’ve picked your winners, email them and let them know, then get them to share their experience on Facebook, Twitter, and any other social platform you can think of.
You can always follow up with the winners of your campaign at a later time to prompt more free promotion by interviewing them about how they like their prize and getting them to send pictures in that you can share across your email and social campaigns in the future. Sometimes, winners will happily share the story about their win with the world – and this is great press for you.
Remember, there are 1.79 billion active users on Facebook every month. That’s nearly 2 billion people that can read your story and learn more about your brand. Sharing the results of the “big win” not only helps to get people more excited the next time you run a competition, but it generates more content for you and builds your authenticity. After all, the last thing you want is for all of your non-winners to think that you didn’t really give anyone the grand prize.
A Couple of Golden Rules to Keep in Mind
Before you run off to get your competition going, remember that there are a few extra factors to be aware of if you want to run a killer contest campaign. For example:
Your prizes need to be relevant to what your company does. In other words – if you’re a shoe shop, then you can’t offer prizes that are for free flowers or free wax. No one will know what the heck is going on and you won’t be promoting yourself effectively.
Set big goals to help you keep on track. The more you can track your journey to success with little benchmarks and smaller goals, the more chances you have of seeing what goes right – and what goes wrong with your competition campaign. This means that you’ll be better prepared next time around.
Check rules and regulations – Before you get your competition started, remember to check up with the legal department in your business for tips on laying out your terms and conditions.
Remember, a quick competition might seem simple, but it’s one of the best ways to keep your traffic engaged and grow your following on a more intimate level!