Create Your Online Contest

So you have a website up and running. Your products are all there. But how do you get the crowd to come by your website without advertising?

Try running a contest! Yes, running a contest is one of the many ways you can draw the crowds in, especially if you are offering your products as the contest prizes.

But what if you don’t have a product, especially for those specialising in services or consultancy?

You can still offer your services.

For example, why not offer free advice/consultancy to the winner for a duration of six months? If you feel that you need to offer something tangible, another idea to try is partnering with other businesses to offer prizes related to your business.

Besides garnering interest in your products/services, running a contest enables you to collect details about your prospects.

After all, those who participate in the contest must be those who are somehow interested in what your contest offers, yes? So, organising a contest is an indirect way to get more information about your potential clients. Once you have their emails in hand, you can contact them when you have promotions, discounts, giveaways, freebies and goodies directly.

To run a successful contest, here are 5 tried-and-tested steps:

What’s In It For Me?
Those who join your online contest are in it for one thing: self-interest. What benefit will they derive from joining your contest? Give them a solid reason. Offer them a contest prize that they want and this means never giving them a mediocre or worthless product. People are not stupid so do not take them for a ride by offering something that you, yourself would not use or buy. Think like your customer: does this prize get me excited if I win? If you can’t even get yourself hyped up about the prize, it’s time to re-think your prizes!

How Long Is Your Contest?
Next, determine the contest duration. Is it for 2 weeks? Or 1 month? The disadvantages of running a contest longer than a month is that participants’ attention will falter and soon, your contest may be forgotten. A shorter duration may be a good bet sometimes. Again, this depends on how confident you are of your prize and how much attention you’ll expect it’ll garner.

Brainstorm Contest Ideas
With prizes and duration settled, think about the presentation of your contest. Brainstorm and decide how simple or complicated you want it to be. Do you want your participants to write a slogan? Do you want your participants to hunt for some information on your website? Again, as the organiser, it’s your call. Based on our experience, give something in between – not too complex to stump them and drive them off, nor something too easy that insults their intelligence. The participants must do some form of ‘work’ to win your prizes. Otherwise, it’s a giveaway not a contest.

Design The Contest
Finally, it is time to put the contest to work by designing the necessary web pages and forms (if applicable). How do you want the participants to send their entries in? By email? Or do you need them to fill up a form on your website or tag 3 friends on Facebook? Do you want them to snap photos and submit them? Before your contest goes live online, get family members or friends to test out the contest for any teething problems.

Another important tip is to also include a page which sets out the rules and regulations of the contest (you don’t want disgruntled participants, do you?). Be sure to inform them when the contest results will be posted online on your website. Most contest organisers will post contest results on their website as well as send an email to the winners.

Promote The Contest Everywhere
Once everything is ready, it is time to promote the contest to everyone you know. The first place to do so would be on your website. Next, promote it on social media platforms like FB or apps like WhatsApp and don’t forget about offline too. If you partner up with another business for the contest, you have a wider reach of potential participants too. Make sure they are onboard in promoting the contest.

At the same time, don’t leave out your current customers either. Send them an email announcing the contest. Tell them to send or refer the contest to friends and families, especially since you know they’ve bought from you and they know your products well (that is, if you are offering your own product).

The key to any successful online contest is to keep promoting it, even until the deadline itself.

Now that you know how to run a contest, go on, get one organised! It takes some work but it’s also loads of fun!

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