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10 Great Reasons to Run an Online Contest

From building your brand to lead generation and more, online contests can help fuel your company's growth.

Maia Kapahi

posted on March 4, 2017

Online contests are all the rave right now. Here are 10 reasons why you should give them a try and promote your brand online and on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

1. Contests engage your customers with your brand

Regardless of what online platform you use to promote your contest, you can encourage your customers to engage with your brand by either answering quizzes, asking them for their opinions, or asking them to submit content about your brand whether through photos, audio, video or in writing.

On Facebook, promoting your Page with a contest, for instance, is a great way to encourage non-fans to “Like” the Page in order to be able to participate in the contest.

2. Contests help you grow your email database

When entering your contest, encourage participants to opt-in to your mailing list. Most businesses pre-check the opt-in box and in our experience it usually stays checked. Of course allow customers to opt-out at any time. We have experienced that on average at least 50% of participants opt-in and subscribe to the brands newsletter.

3. Contests are easy to promote and can go viral

If you have a well-designed contest and a good incentive to enter it isn’t hard to get people to participate and to talk about it.

Many online contests now have a strong viral component where participants are encouraged to promote & share the contest on social networks or by email to have more chances to win. For each one of their friends who signs up to the contest they will get an extra entry to the contest.

Contests can be talked about on Facebook, Twitter, on your blog and promoted in your newsletters.

There are many sites that compile contests so contest fans can receive a steady stream of updates on the latest contests running. For example: www.contestcanada.net

Traditional media can also be a good way to promote online contests, just share a short and easy to remember web link (URL) on print, radio or TV campaigns.

4. Contests are an easy way to collect customer information

In order to participate in your contest collect a modest amount of personal information about the contestant. Use the entries to discover what demographic is interested in your contest and your brand.

5. Contest promotional reach and results are measurable

You can easily measure your participation and conversion rate by tracking how many participants have accepted to register to your newsletter (which is often the primary goal of a contest for marketers).

You can also easily and affordably sign up for a social media tracking tool (such as www.socialmention.com or Google Alerts) which can help you to determine which sites, ads and users generate the most word-of-mouth traffic about your contest. You can find out who is talking about your contest, where they are talking, and what they have to say about it.

6. Contests increase the conversation around your brand

Social media contests in particular make it easy to get people talking about your brand as these online places are all about sharing ideas and opinions.  A creative and fun contest with a great prize is going to lead to discussion especially if the entry ticket involves talking about your brand or product by sharing it with your friends.

7. Contests are easy to setup 

Online contests, especially those involving social media, can be quick to implement. A simple Facebook-based contest (promoted on Facebook via iFrame or via a Facebook App) can be up and running within hours. A more complex contest involving surveys or requiring uploading of content could be up and running in a week or just a couple days if you’re running recurrent contests.

8. Contests are flexible and malleable

Online contests can be tailored to suit the goals of your business.

Are you simply looking to drive traffic to your site? Do you want to generate discussion and awareness of a new product? Or, are you looking for creative content generation from your fans? All of these are possible.

Time frames are also flexible. You can run your contest for as short as an hour or as long as you want.

9. Contests can be a source creative content

If your creative team is feeling a little short on ideas for a new campaign or new product why not mine your customers for ideas.

Countless big brands are depending on their fans for their next product development. Vitamin Water, owned by Coca-Cola, sourced its fans using a contest for their next flavor. The winner? Black cherry lime. Read more at Everyjoe.com

10. Contests can be inexpensive

Whatever the goal of your online contest it does not have to be expensive to implement.  It can be as a simple form designed on your website that you then promote on social networks. Of course, it will cost you more to design a Facebook App contest, a more complex form where participants submit content, or for advanced viral features.

All you need are a few prizes such as gift cards, valuable items or a cash prize in the hundreds of dollars to engage customers and fans into entering the contest.

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