Competitions. You either love them or hate them. Chances are if you hate them you’ve either run competitions and had pretty poor results (cue tumbleweed) or you’ve avoided them like the plague because you think they’re pointless.

While I love the idea of winning things, I’m no expert when it comes to actually making competitions work. So I had competitions expert Suki from OrigamiGlobe step in to give me (and you) the low down on how to run successful competitions for your brand.

Make yourself a cuppa and take five minutes of your time to find out how competitions can actually be one of the most effective marketing tools in your toolkit.

Nail your strategy

To run successful competitions you need about 20% strategy and 80% promotion. I’ve seen incredible competitions advertised absolutely everywhere, but with no strategy behind them, they just don’t convert views into clicks and entries. Similarly, a competition could be strategised down to the last dotted ‘i’ and crossed ‘t’, but if no one knows about your competition, they can’t enter.

Good strategy covers:

  • why you’re running your competition
  • what you want to achieve
  • who you want as entrants
  • what you’re going to say in your messaging
  • how much you’re going to spend
  • a schedule covering all of your competition promotion and marketing
  • what you’re giving away
  • how/where people can enter

I know that sounds like a lot, but I’ve put together a super useful guide to walk you through all of the above in about 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t worry, it’s totally free!

The prize

One of the biggest considerations for your competition is, of course, your prize. Nine times out of ten I will always recommend you give away your own product or service. After all, you’re putting your time, money and effort into running a competition, you should get the fame and fortune – or emails and followers.

If you have a service-based business, give away a subscription or a modified version of your base package or even create a unique package for the competition. For product-based businesses, you just need to give away your fabulous products. Giving away your own product means you’re going to attract entrants who want exactly what you sell. Attracting your target audience means you’re going to build yourself an email list or followers who are more likely to buy from you and not just disappear when they’re not announced as the lucky winner.

Why do I say nine times out of ten?

Well, there are a few exceptions – the first being partnering with non-competing businesses who share the same audience as you. By teaming up, you can offer a bigger prize pack to a bigger audience. This is a technique I personally leverage in my business; I recently teamed up with 6 other businesses to give away a prize pack valued at over $4,000 AUD and ended up with a huge email list of targeted, engaged entrants who want exactly what we all sell.

The other exception is travel prizes. The best results I have helped customers to achieve is by giving away relevant travel packages – for example, a trip to the Mountain Bike World Championships for a company who sells mountain bike clothing and accessories which attracted almost 3,000 new email subscribers and generated a huge amount of sales as a bonus.


The other 80%

If 20% of a successful competition is the strategy, what does the remaining 80% promotion look like? You’ve put in the hard yards creating the perfect competition to attract your ideal customer, now it’s time to shout about it from the rooftops.

Competition promotion involves a link or banner on your homepage, a landing/entry page, changing your pinned post and/or header images across social media, emailing your list, promoting regularly on social media, blogging about your competition and partnering up with relevant companies for cross promotion/guest posting. You can find more promotion strategies in my free competition guide if you’re stuck on where and how to spread the word about your competition.

As you can imagine, copy plays a hugely important role in your competition promotion – from your social media captions to the competition landing page on your website. As Nell always says, your story is incredibly important. Tell your audience why you’re running your competition. Not literally ‘I want more subscribers’, (obviously!), but because you’re passionate about helping people organise their lives, or style their homes or dress for their style – whatever your business does, tell your story. Competitions are as much about brand awareness as they are about collecting ‘leads’. As well as telling your story, make sure you communicate the essential information – what they can win, how and where they can enter and relevant conditions such as opening/closing dates and eligibility criteria.

What if no one enters?

Firstly, don’t panic. It happens to the best of us and the best news is that it’s usually fixable. Lack of entries is usually due to one of two reasons:

  • Traffic – no one is seeing your competition.
  • Conversion – people are seeing it, but not entering.

Traffic can be fixed by upping your promotion, spreading your message to new channels and people through partners, social media, groups you belong to and even paid ads. Keep an eye on your Google Analytics if you have it installed on your site, or your social media analytics to see if your reach and visits increase after upping your promotion.

Conversion is fixable with some tweaks – like tuning a musical instrument. It could be that your copy doesn’t speak to your target audience or the images of your prize aren’t scroll-stopping enough to make people notice. Try tweaking one thing at a time to make sure you know exactly what has an effect on conversion and what doesn’t. Sometimes it can be as simple as you’re asking your entrants to complete too many steps to enter, or your page loads too slowly.

Whatever the issue is, it’s usually easy to fix and chances are, other people have had the same issue – so check out my comprehensive competition FAQ and if your question isn’t answered there, just get in touch with me at OrigamiGlobe.

Competitions have been used by companies big and small for decades to help promote their products and services and grow awareness for their brands. What you get out of competitions really comes down to how much you put in.

If you nail your strategy and promote your competition like there’s no tomorrow, then I guarantee you that you’ll see hugely successful results from your competition.

Suki Harrison is Chief Paper Folder and founder of OrigamiGlobe, specialising in creating kick-ass competitions and giveaways that get your business real, measurable results. If the thought of putting the hard yards in totally turns you off competitions, then get in touch with her and she’ll do the hard work while you collect the rewards!