Competitions: the secret to online success
17th June 2011
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The concept of running a competition to drive footfall and sales is tried and tested in the retail and consumer markets. For years internet marketeers have been using competitions to drive website traffic and build marketing databases. The added benefit is that good competitions tend to spread quickly on the online social networks, creating ‘buzz’ and widespread social chatter about a brand.

Matthew Jensen, business development manager at Reckless New Media explains how to set about putting a campaign together, avoid the pitfalls and maximise the benefit:

Set Clear Goals

“It is important to have the marketing objectives of your campaign clear in your mind. Do you want to drive brand awareness, collect a database of potential customers or increase the take up of you business’ social media channels? There are many valid motivators for running an online giveaway but it is vital to know ahead of time what you are trying to accomplish. This will help you design, plan, monitor and manage your campaign.”

Be Creative

“You will not be the only company out there running a giveaway and it pays to be innovative. There are lots of so called competitions online which require the customer to complete page after page of tedious data capture and market research. The best online-savvy customers will be wary of this type of activity so you would do well to ensure that your campaign cannot be confused with any of these.

“Here are a few ideas of the types of competitions that have had good results for marketeers:

• video competition inviting users to create a new commercial for one of your products

• brand-user experience competition that  rewards the best “experience stories” or photographs

• guess-the-answer competition

• product invention competition with a cash prize

“Remember to be creative and make it worth the participants’ while, either with the prize or the entertainment value of the competition, otherwise entries could be limited.”

Leverage Social Media Channels

“The best part about online giveaways is how easy it is to take them viral, encourage participation, and link them into your social media presence. Promote your giveaway via Facebook, Twitter, your company blog, and all other social media channels, as well as via traditional marketing channels such as print, e-mail, and in-store signage.

“A quick search for the term “competition” on Twitter shows hundreds of giveaway campaigns being delivered right now. The best competitions are intensely social by nature because people like to play games and contests together, and most people love to share the chance to win a cool prize with friends and family. It is vital then that your competition is easily sharable by embedding “share this” links on your website, on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and everywhere else people will come across it.

“Facilitate and encourage viral activity by encouraging easy “copy/paste” sharing using Bitly, a URL redirection service which helps you shorten, share and track the links to your location online. Most importantly, allow participants to vote to choose the winner, which keeps the audience interacting with one another and engaged with your brand after they have submitted their entry.”

End with a Bang!

“People will lose interest and your competition will fizz out if it drags on for too long. Online consumers have learned to expect instant gratification so make sure that your competition is just long enough to accomplish your objectives. A typical social competition runs for about four weeks –- longer, of course, if it includes user content creation. When the winner is identified, run a PR campaign to publicise the winner. This creates a great buzz about the competition, enshrines its validity and creates more brand awareness.”

Measure the Results

“As mentioned in the first point, launching a competition isn’t just for fun; it is to achieve a specific marketing goal. Once the dust has settled, you need to measure the impact it had on brand engagement, clickthrough to your site, conversion, and bottom-line sales. You can use a social media tracking tool and Google Analytics to measure all of these parameters. Compare these to your original objectives to create success metrics and find out whether your campaign drove as much traffic to your site as you had hoped, and whether this traffic resulted in conversion.

“So the cat is out of the bag; there is big money to be made by marketing your company online and competitions are one good way to do it.”

For more information, contact Matthew:

About the Author

Paul D

Member since: 10th July 2012

Chester word of mouth specialist, promotes and markets the best businesses in Chester. Passionately supporting local businesses, organisations and events.

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