Contests and Competitions

Contests and competitions are great traffic builders. According to Jupiter Communications, a New York-based market research firm, online contests are among the fastest-growing online activities. They report that 49 percent of all American Internet users have entered online contests. Some sites hold regular contests on a weekly or monthly basis to generate repeat visitors. Holding contests is also a great way to find out about your target market by requesting information on the entry form.

What type of contest you hold depends upon your Internet marketing objectives. If you want to attract as many people as possible to your site regardless of who they are, then offer items such as money, trips, cars, computers, and so on. If you would like to attract potential customers from your target market, then give away something that relates to your products and industry.

1. Tips
There are a few things to keep in mind when creating your online coupons:
  • Have a clear and concise call to action to enter the contest or competition.
  • Allow site visitors one contest entry per day - you're happy to have visitors return to your site often.
  • Change your contests often. Tell your site visitors "We have new contests every month...keep checking back and bookmark this site". 
  • Make the contest conditional - "Sign up to receive our weekly e-specials and be included in our drawing for [something of interest to your target market].
  • Have contestants answer three questions relating to your product or service on the entry form. Of course, to find the answers, the visitor has to visit a number of pages on your site.
  • Provide links from your contest page to other repeat traffic generators like your coupons or e-specials.
  • If the prize is one of your products, consider asking entrants to write a short note outlining why they would like to have the product you are giving away. You can award the winner(s) with the product and follow up with other entrants. These people have already pre-qualified themselves as a customer and by having them think about and write down the reasons they'd like to have your product, you are taking them closer to being a purchaser.
  • The closer the contest relates to your product, the better. Instead of offering  just one prize, offer a number of smaller prizes as well. This makes the odds look better and people feel they have a better chance of winning.


2. Tools

Check out the following Web sites that feature contests. You may want to investigate them further to see if there is an opportunity for your contests to be featured on their sites.

3. Techniques

  • Offer incentives for referrals - "refer 5 friends and receive another entry".
  • Encourage permission marketing by asking for permission to send visitors e-mails notifying them when new contests are available on your site or to be notified when a winner is selected.
  • Encourage viral marketing by encouraging visitors to "tell a friend about this contest".
  • Travel agents sometimes have newsletters that are sent out weekly or monthly. Permit the travel agency  to include in their newsletter - it offers great content for the travel agency and it provides good exposure for you. Make sure there is a hypertext link from the contest information to the contest entry page on your Web site.
  • Promote your contests through your signature file. For instance "Visit our site to win [something of interest to your target market]".
  • Do cross-promotion with sites that share the same target market.
  • Make sure you get listed on contest sites.
  • Also arrange to be included on national and international contest sites that receive lots of traffic such as those listed above.

4. Resources
I have included a couple of resources for you to check out when developing your contests. For additional resources on a variety of topics, I recommend you visit the resources section of my Web site at There you will find additional tips, tools, techniques and resources.

Visit my Web site at