When you hear the word “contest,” what comes to your mind? For some people, online competitions are spammy… or maybe a waste of time.
But if you’re here because you want to know how contests can benefit your business, you’ve come to the right place.
Believe it or not, contests are fundamental for helping you meet a lot of marketing goals. Do you want to create buzz? Grow your audience? Promote a product or service? Make your sales soar?
Yup — you can achieve all these goals and even more.
First of All, Why Do Contests Work?
It all boils down to a basic principle in social psychology: Reciprocity.
Reciprocity is about giving to get. Humans are hardwired to give back after receiving something. And it doesn’t even matter whether we asked for it or not.
So if you offer a freebie or incentive, people are likely to return the favor. They will engage with you, follow you, and share your contest with their friends.
A popular example of reciprocity in action is Dropbox’s simple referral program. You may have heard of it.
The process: Basically, Dropbox gave away up to free extra storage space to those who invited their friends to use Dropbox. Friends who successfully installed Dropbox were rewarded as well.
Because of this simple strategy, Dropbox was able to build a massive user base in a matter of months. From 100K users in 2007, Dropbox grew to 33.9M registered users in 2017.
8 Marketing Goals That Contests Can Help You Achieve
Are you thinking of organizing a contest but still not sure how it helps your business? Let’s explore eight marketing goals that you can achieve through contests.
1. Increase brand visibility
If there’s one thing that all contests do, they boost people’s awareness of your business. This allows you to stay top-of-mind with your audience.
Brand awareness also paves the way for the achievement of other marketing goals such as increased traffic, loyalty, and sales.
Contests are great especially for new business owners who have a small existing audience or no audience at all.
Here’s a helpful tip: To get people to be familiar with your brand, offer your own product or service as the prize. For example, David Fraser of Bunkie Life gave away one of his bunkies in his 26-day contest.
Read the case study here.
2. Build an email list
Email is still a highly effective channel for growing your revenue in the long run. It’s no secret that email has stood the test of time. (Check it out: 8 Email Marketing Stats in 2020)
Think about it. Many people worldwide make a habit out of checking their emails at the start of their day. For marketers, email enables them to have a one on one conversation with their audience.
An UpViral user, Corey Richard, gathered 520 leads in 5 days. 320 people directly signed up while the remaining 200 were referrals. What made those leads special was they were high-quality.
One of the things he did to ensure lead quality was to offer a prize that appealed to his ideal audience. Corey is in the travel industry, so he offered a 5-night stay at a beach resort as the prize.
3. Improve customer loyalty
Is your business growing or do you want to further grow it?
If so, you need to start thinking about retaining and attracting new potential customers to maximize your revenue.
Let’s say that you own a business where you create personalized keepsake jewelry. Wouldn’t it be cool to host a contest on Christmas, Valentines’ Day, or Mother’s Day?
Imagine your customers’ excitement when they know that they could get personalized jewelry for free by simply inviting their friends. Their friends also invite their friends, which brings new people into your campaign.
This will potentially increase your holiday sales as well since it’s the time of the year when most people shop online.
4. Boost your sales
Contests can increase your sales while they’re running. But to make that happen, you need to set that as your primary goal. Then build your contest around that goal.
For example, David Fraser of Bunkie Life intended to promote his bunkies in his referral contest.
Here’s what he did to meet that goal:
Not only did he use his bunkie as the contest prize, but he also did a 2-day sale when the contest ended. Those who didn’t win had the chance to enjoy $1,000 off a bunkie plus free shipping if they bought one.
Below is a screenshot of the Facebook post:
Here’s another smart tactic to boost your sales:
When people see that CTA button, they’re encouraged to visit your shop since they can earn additional points which means more chances of winning.
And by visiting your shop, they might also feel compelled to buy!
5. Get to know your audience better
You probably have not thought about this…
But through a contest, you can actually do market research. It’ll allow you to collect more information about your audience. You can then use those insights to create better products and campaigns in the future.
Do you want to conduct a quiz? Run a survey?
Like tip #4, the key is to add a specific action on participating in a quiz or survey in exchange for more points. Make sure that the points are high enough to motivate your audience to complete the action.
6. Drive website traffic
SEO or search engine optimization brings people to your website.
But if you’re not relying on SEO alone and you also want a faster way to increase quality traffic, an online contest is a great strategy.
There are different ways to do this:
One option is to add the custom action “Visit the blog” using UpViral. Assign higher points for that custom action.
Another option is to add your website link to your email signature in your follow-up emails. Here’s an example of how to do it:
Be sure to link to your website from all your follow-up emails. In fact, it would be great to talk about your business in one of your emails.
7. Collect user-generated content (UGC)
Ever heard about Starbucks’ iconic White Cup Contest in 2014? It’s one of the best examples of user-generated content campaigns.
Customers across the US and Canada decorated a Starbucks cup and posted their pictures on social media as entries. They were to use the hashtag #WhiteCupContest.
The design that won would be printed on a limited edition Starbucks reusable plastic cup.
People are more likely to submit user-generated content if they’re incentivized for it. You must decide what kind of original content you want to collect. Will it be reviews and testimonials? Customer stories? User photos?
Next, decide how you’re going to collect UGC. Will you ask people to upload their content on social media and use a hashtag? Or will you use a tool like UpViral?
8. Grow your follower base
The bigger your audience, the more people you can reach to promote your business.
But the truth is, it will probably take a long time to grow your audience on social media if you simply post content, follow others, and wait for them to follow you back.
It doesn’t matter if you want more YouTube subscribers, Instagram followers, or Facebook group members. Contests can skyrocket your social media growth in less time.
Again, make sure to give points for following your social media account or joining your online community. UpViral’s Custom Actions feature lets you do that while also allowing you to verify whether they’ve actually completed the action.
These are the eight marketing goals you can reach when hosting an online contest. And yes, it’s possible to meet multiple goals in one contest! 😎
Remember: Don’t plan a contest without setting clear goals. Because your goals will set the tone for the rest of your campaign.