Contests & Giveaways

Contests and giveaways are an excellent way to drive traffic to your site and gain exposure for your products and/or services. If you change the contests or giveaways regularly, they are an excellent way to get repeat visits. Holding contests can also be a great way to learn more about your target if you ask a question or two on the entry form. Contests are one of the fastest growing online marketing activities. According to Jupiter Communications, a New York-based market research firm, 49% of all American Internet users have entered an online contest.  Research also indicates that a site visitor who visits your site on a consistent basis is much more likely to become a customer of your product or service. By having regular contests, draws or giveaways you give your visitors a reason to return to your site again and again thus increasing the likelihood that they will follow through with their purchase or order. 

1. Tips

  • Change your contest or giveaway on an ongoing basis. This encourages repeat visits if they know each time they visit they may be able to enter a new contest. 
  • Allow entrants to enter on a daily basis - this encourages them to come back daily.
  • Include a clear call to action - "Bookmark this page, we update our contests weekly!"
  • Employ permission marketing - "We have new contests monthly - sign up now to be notified when we change our contest" or "Sign up to be notified when we select the winner of our latest contest". This gives you the opportunity to form an ongoing relationship - they have asked to be contacted by you...the winner announcement email can also include some promotional material - perhaps a special price on the prize - they obviously were interested in it! 
  • Encourage viral marketing - "Tell a friend about this contest" or "Increase your chances of winning. For every five people you tell about our contest, receive one additional entry."
  • Network - Look for sites that are visited by your target that have a lot of traffic and offer to provide the prize for a contest to be run on their site. Of course more info on the prize would be accessed via a link to your Web site. Make sure that the page the link goes to encourages permission marketing so you can follow up with anyone who requests more information on your product or service. 
  • Take advantage of partnering opportunities. For instance if you are the owner of a restaurant near a ski resort why not partner with the resort for a contest? The winner receives a free night stay at their resort, a meal at your restaurant and lift tickets for two. Both of you can feature the contest on your Web site and promote it to your mail lists. If you are a professional speaker partner with the conference organizer to offer copies of your book as an early registration incentive or hold a draw for one of your books. 
  • Make an entry into the contest conditional - "Sign up for our weekly e-specials newsletter and be entered into a draw for a chance to win [appropriate prize here]."
2. Tools
Looking to hold an event such as a contest, survey, poll, or quiz on your site?  Are you trying to avoid all the headaches of having to manually handle entries, winners, totals, and all the boring time consuming stuff? If so, this is the script for you.  It's a one of a kind and the ultimate in an event manager.

I have included a few contest sites where you may want to place a link to your contest for more exposure:

3. Techniques
  • Change your contest or giveaway on an ongoing basis. This encourages repeat visits if they know each time they visit they may be able to enter a new contest.
  • Keep your target market in mind. If your target audience is composed primarily of young adults then offer a DVD player as a prize as opposed to a microwave oven. If you are an outfitting company offer a prize pack containing a lantern, a tent and a camp stove, not a day at the spa. What would be appealing to your target market?
  • Permission and viral marketing is key in getting the word out and developing a relationship with your site visitors. Asking for permission to contact entrants when the winner is selected or when new contests are added gets your foot in the door to communicating with them on a regular basis. The more often your message is in front of them the more likely they are to think of you when it is time to make that purchase or time to utilize a service like yours.
  • If you want to find out something about the people who enter the contest, ask them to answer a question about your product or service.
  • If the prize is a sample of one of your products or services then ask entrants to write a short note outlining why they would like to have the product or service you are giving away.
  • If your prize would be appropriate for many different target markets then you may consider finding contest sites that would be willing to offer your product as the prize on their Web site. This will help generate brand awareness and may even include a picture of you product and a link to your site.
  • Before you hold any kind of contest check the legal issues and restrictions that surround contests.
  • Don't forget to promote your contests and giveaways through public mail lists, newsgroups, your e-mail signature, press releases and links from contest sites. 

4. Resources

Online Contests and Incentives

More Than Just a Random Drawing

Generating Sales Leads with an Online Contest

Drive Traffic to Your Website & Run A Contest!

Guerilla Web Promotion and Marketing - Contests


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