4 Steps To Using Contests Effectively In Your Marketing Strategy

Written By Gary Spirer Published July 21st, 2011

If you’re looking to leverage social media and technology in your business contests and sweepstakes may just be the best thing that happened to your marketing strategy. Sure, contests and sweepstakes have been around for decades, and, yet, they are being used in a totally different way with the growth of the social web. Although they may not solve every small business marketing challenge, they should be implemented as part of every social media marketer’s strategy. Here’s why.

Step 1. You Can Explode Your Fan Base Exponentially With Contests

Contests have been proven to increase the number of “fans” of your business, even if you are only beginning with 50 to 1,000 “likes” on your Facebook Page. What’s awesome is that, when running a contest, many business see their numbers grow to 15,000 to 50,000 likes in just a few days or weeks! There is a huge power in this type of promotion. The best option if you are just getting into using social media contests as part of your marketing strategy, and don’t yet have a large base of fans, is to use a simple enter-to-win sweepstakes which has a lower barrier to entry.

2. You Can Immediately Engage Your Audience With Contests

A contest will allow you to engage your audience in real time, and build greater loyalty by building a deeper connection. Something like a promotion that allows users to generate their own content, such as a photo or video contest, is the perfect way to do just that. This type of marketing promotion speaks to people’s inclination to contend with others and makes those who enter feel like a “celebrity” for a short while. The key to remember is that by sharing their personal content in your promotion, e.g., a photo or video, you have now brought them over the line to where they are invested in your brand.

3. Look At All The Data That Is Generated By Running Contests!

When a prize is involved, people will often share their personal information with you in order to enter the contest. You certainly want to create a low barrier to entry, but you also want to be able to collect some data on your consumers as this is one of the best opportunities in marketing to do so – how they learn about your promotion, which of your products is their favorite, etc.? Remember that if you are asking for a lot of information from your consumer, what you are offering as a prize or reward should be in line with that. Oftentimes conversations and interaction amongst your company and the consumers as well as the consumers themselves will take place around your contest, and so be sure to keep your social listening ears open as you can learn a great deal here.

4. Your Consumers Create The Buzz For You When You Run Contests

Wouldn’t it be great to have your fans actively spreading the word about your campaign? You want to still create a promo plan that includes various marketing channels, but social media marketing – as a result of sharing – allows you to amplify your marketing message like never before.
Including a voting element in your contest will often prompt consumers to ask their friends and family to support their entry, and thus, increase the traffic to your contest site or app significantly as a result of their marketing your brand to other consumers.

When used as a part of a broad social media strategy, contests can be extremely rewarding for your business – whether a B2B enterprise of B2C. Remember that you should familiarize yourself with local regulations as each state has its own contest laws.


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