Business owners generally agree that marketing contests increase visibility and attract new customers.
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There is less agreement about which contests are most effective. But in practice, the marketing contest that is most effective for one company won't necessarily be the one that is most effective for another. Contest selection largely depends on what you're trying to accomplish and the limitations you face as a company.
If your company offers contests on a regular basis it can be difficult to come up with new contest ideas. To get the creative juices flowing again we've compiled a short list of contest concepts. Keep in mind that you will need to research state laws regarding marketing contests before you invest too much time and focus in a specific concept.
- Random drawings. The random drawing concept is the workhorse of marketing contest promotions. Winners are randomly selected under the oversight of an objective third-party. These types of contests are particularly attractive when it is necessary to make sure that contest results are not based on skills.
- Essay contests. If you are gearing your marketing contest toward young people it's hard to go wrong with an essay contest. Even if the winners are randomly selected you can highlight essays that speak to your company, your products, or (more typically) your cause.
- Makeover contests. Makeover style are a favorite of home improvement and health/beauty companies. For the right business these kinds of contests provide an opportunity to showcase your work to a broad sampling of prospective customers.
- Win a free (fill in the blank) contests. Merchandise contests have the potential to cost less than cash contests, especially if you're supplying the prize yourself. Although customers will think about the value in terms of retail, your actual cost is wholesale. For some prizes (e.g. a new car) the difference can be substantial.
- Monthly contests. It's not difficult to find an excuse for a new contest every month. From "National Pizza Month" to "The Boss Is On Vacation Month", there are plenty of ways to justify a contest that is capable of catching the eye of consumers.
- Nomination contests. Contest that involve nominations for best parent, teacher, coach, etc. create key linkages between your business and the local community. Combined with a strategic PR campaign that shines a spotlights on winners and finalists, these types of contests promote your business and community assets at the same time.