How to hold a competition to beat your competition

How to hold a competition to beat your competition

Holding an online competition is one of the easiest ways to get your brand out there and attract new customers. Making sure you get it right is the tricky part. Here are the ins and outs of putting on a successful competition to boost your business.

Why you should run a competition

Let’s face it, everyone loves winning — so pulling in customers with a competition makes sense. It’s a good way to promote your brand, give people something to talk about and drive more consumer traffic to your website and, ultimately, through your shop door. Holding a competition allows you to promote a particular product, build a mailing list and reward your current customers. They’re also a great way to give back and grow your community.

Where to hold your competition

There are quite a few options available for holding competitions. Twitter and Instagram are pretty straightfoward — all you need to do is ask people to retweet or follow you and then you can select a winner when the contest ends. Facebook is a little more tricky as there are strict guidelines, but it does have an online form you can use to set up your competition.

Competition hosting sites like Rafflecopter are really easy to use. Gleam has 200,000 brands using it for contests and giveaways. They are reasonably affordable — from free to $40 per month — and there’s no contract. These sites basically “host” your competition and allow consumers to enter via your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and website. They also collate the entries for you and provide you with analytics, depending on the package you buy. This means your competition is readily accessible and frankly, the more ways people can enter, the more they are likely to do so.

How to make sure your competition is a success

Make the prize worth it. People are more likely to engage in a competition, and tell their friends about it, if the prize is worthwhile. According to prizewinning portal Loquax, the five most popular prizes are cars, vouchers, cash, vacations, and electrical goods or gadgets.

Getting lots of publicity and brand awareness for your competition is only one measure of its success. What you really want to come away with is a database you can use to target your competition entrants with marketing down the track. So what you don’t want to do is end up with a database filled with people who really just wanted a vacation to Niagara Falls or a free iPad. Offer a prize that’s relevant to the tire industry. Perhaps it’s a new set of tires and a complete auto service. If you are offering a vacation, at least make sure it’s for a NASCAR weekend and throw in some tickets.

Try to make your competition a little different. The most popular type is a simple prize drawing where entrants have to provide their details and perhaps answer a simple question. Other options are asking them to complete a creative task, such as come up with a slogan or post a picture of their vehicle with your new tires on it.

Common mistakes and how to avoid them

Select the winner ethically! If it’s a random prize draw, then draw it randomly. No one likes to see the boss’s son win. Relatives, employees and their families, and sponsors are not allowed to enter and you should ensure you have terms and conditions attached to the competition and abide by them. You need to be transparent and honest, and there are online templates that can help you with this.

Run your competition for a decent length of time. If it’s too shortyou won’t get many entrants or exposure; too long and people will become dismissive of your brand and what’s on offer. At least a month — and no longer than three — is about right.

How to promote your competition

Bear in mind you’ll probably need a promotional budget behind your competition. Aside from the cost of the prize, you should consider producing promotional materials and buying media advertising. Using eye-catching graphics and images is really important to get attention.

Aside from that, use your website and social media channels to push your competition. If entries depend on someone retweeting or reposting your content, you’ll reach their followers too. Create a custom hashtag for your competition so you can follow any interactions and see how far the word is spreading.

Legal stuff you should know

There are quite a few rules and regulations around hosting competitions, and you need to know them before you start. For example, you can’t charge a fee for entry, because then your competition becomes a lottery and those are subject to even more rules. You are also responsible for paying for the shipment of the winner’s prize.

And you need to make good on your promise. If you’ve advertised a competition, then you must award the prize. Even if a sponsor that was donating the prize pulls out, you are still obligated to supply either the prize or a cash equivalent.

Find out what the rules are in your state before you do anything else.

Turning competition entrants into customers

Competitions that require the entrant to follow, like and repost your content are a great way to build your audience and potential customers. Make signing up to your newsletter a condition of entry so you can grow your database.

Finally, remember to get a photo of the winner with their prize to use in follow-up marketing. This reinforces trust in your company and brand and gives you another opportunity to promote yourself on social media.

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