The secret is out.
Marketing contests can be a highly effective way for companies to achieve dramatic results in a short period of time. Although the two most common reasons why businesses engage in marketing contests is to attract new clients and increase brand awareness, it's possible to customize contests to achieve any number of business goals.
At the heart of every successful marketing contest is the reality that everyone likes free things. Your contest doesn't have to award millions of dollars to be successful. Sometimes highly effective contests offer modest product awards that connect entrants with the company's products and mission.
The trick in creating an effective marketing contest often boils down to its ability to convert contestants into satisfied, long-term customers. Here are some of the questions you should ask yourself when you're designing your next marketing contest:
What is the marketing contest's purpose?
As we mentioned earlier, there are a lot of reasons why companies conduct marketing contests. But why do you want to offer a marketing contest? If you don't adequately identify your reasons for sponsoring a contest, you won't have the ability to adequately assess its effectiveness.
Who are your targets for the marketing contest?
Your target contestants will vary based on the purpose of the promotion. Legally, anyone over the age of 18 should be allowed to participate. But the way you promote your contest will depend on the kind of contestants are trying to attract.
What is the company connection?
Good marketing contests have a very clear connection to the company and its products. If it's done right your contest should have cross-promotional value, i.e. your efforts to promote the contest should simultaneously promote your products.
How much to spend on marketing contest prizes?
If you aren't experienced at running promotional contests it can be difficult to know how much you should invest in prizes. As a rule of thumb, never invest more in a contest than the promotional value you expect to receive from it.
Can you really run a marketing contest on your own?
The short answer is, no – most business aren't capable of running their own marketing contests. There is no shame in outsourcing the design and administration of your contest to an outside provider. In fact, an outsourced provider is probably your best bet for staying out of PR and legal hot water.