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How to run an online competition

Posted on December 13, 2012 by ybis There have been 0 comments

How to run an online competition

Running an online competition can be one of the most cost effective marketing methods to your business. They prove to be an excellent way to increase fan engagement and build upon your existing fan base. They are also one of the best, proven forms of word of mouth marketing available as a good competition will be something people will want to talk about especially if there are big prizes to be won.

Competitions are designed from the outset to be viral, without a competition being shared and expanding you will not be able to make the most out of it and attract many new followers to your brand and thus may end up giving away an expensive prize with very little benefit to your company, in order to avoid this we have set up a guide on how to run an online competition.

Running an online competition involves a lot of initial planning and many things need to be decided upon and put in place so that, once the competition goes live, the competition will run smoothly and remain problem free. If a competition goes live and you are left unable to monitor and record the amount of entries due to a high volume of applicants you will be left with a huge backlog you will need to deal with.

how to run an online competition

how to run an online competition

How to run an online competition

First of all you need to figure out what you want to achieve with your competition. Do you want more followers on Twitter/Facebook? Do you want people to visit your website and browse products? You’ll need to tailor the way people enter your competition around the results that you want to achieve.

For e.g. In order to gain more Facebook ‘likes’ it would make sense that you award multiple entries for every time they share your page or the winner should be determined by the amount of ‘likes’ their comment receives.

You then need to determine what your prize will be. You’ll need to decide what will appeal to your target audience and also match the budget of your competition, you don’t want to be giving away a holiday for two in Spain if you’re competition isn’t likely to attract many new visitors, conversely the prize needs to be desirable enough that it will make people want to enter. Generally if there is more effort required to enter your competition like submitting a photo, recording a video or song then the prize would need to be of higher value to encourage people to make the extra effort seem worthwhile.

When choosing how people will enter your competition the easier it is for people to enter the more entries your contest will get. You will also need to think about the features used on social media sites and how their unique features can help you achieve your goals. Facebook has a ‘like & share’ feature that allows people to post your competition to their own friends and family, whereas Twitter has a ‘Follow and Re-Tweet’ function which allows people to spread the word of your competition in a different way.

Be careful though Facebook have very strict rules regarding contests and understanding how these social media sites work and how to utilise their features will be vital in the success of your competition and how many people it will reach out to. Should you wish to build your own Facebook App so that people may enter easily then we recommend you use Antavo.

Your competition will need its own area of space to work effectively; this can be creating a separate micro website, blog post or Facebook app page that you will be directing all of your traffic too. The landing page will need to be simple, attractive and explain everything to the entrant on one page to they do not have to navigate through multiple sites as they will most likely lose interest if your landing page is too complicated to follow. Most importantly, your competition page should outline what the competition is, how they enter and should feature the rules as well as clearly defined terms & conditions.

You might want to also consider adding a privacy policy stating how your entrant’s details will be used, if you plan on adding their e-mail addresses to a mailing list, you MUST inform them of this or you may be breaking the law.

So now that you have spent weeks detailing over the above you can now worry about launching your online competition.

Promote your competition for the entire duration that it is running, right up until midnight of the last day of entries. Interest in competitions, especially online will die off quickly if you do not keep on top of promotion, keep reminding people and create a sense of urgency by posting messages like ‘Only 5 days to go until the end of our fantastic competition!’ This will be especially true if people can enter more than once through one of the methods mentioned earlier. Keep things as easy as possible by proving links so people only need to click a button once to find your landing page.

There is no harm in approaching media’s to advertise your competition, the worst that will happen is they will say no. A small column in a local newspaper can be attained with some clever persuasion as Journalists are always looking for neat and tidy stories as page fillers.

When your competition has ended, announce the winner immediately. You want to build on the hype that you have created over the duration of the competition, also make it a big deal. You need to be just as excited about announcing the winner as the person will probably feel who has won. It is their 5 minutes of fame and this is a valuable time to build a great relationship and trust with your new winner and added fan base.

You will want to ask the winners permission if you can use their name on your website, newsletter and social networks after that, the sky’s the limit. Promote the winner for as long as possible. Be timely with awarding the prize, if the prize is a physical item such as an iPad3, prize winners will often share photo’s and comments to your site creating even more of a buzz. Every single share, like, follow, tweet and blog post all help raise your brand awareness.

We hope this has helped you decide on how to run an online competition. We know there are many ways to succeed in business and running a fantastic competition is just one way of getting your brand out there!


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