Digital Contesting Myths Debunked

Executing a digital contest successfully produces a positive experience for your audience and maximum results for your brand.

From creating the concept and writing the rules to winner selection and prize fulfillment, digital contesting is all about organization, creativity, and promotion. Executed effectively, contests remain a great vehicle for generating consumer engagement, driving website traffic, growing your database, and increasing online sales.

Let’s debunk the following two digital contesting myths that mislead brands into thinking they can defy the rules of consumer engagement:

Myth #1 “If you build it, they will come.”

This mentality does not contribute to an effective contesting strategy. How many times have you found a contest organically on your favorite brand’s website? Probably not very often. If you’re not shouting from the proverbial rooftops about the amazing prize or the opportunity to win, that can reveal a lack of enthusiasm to audiences, especially in new markets. How are you supposed to build excitement about your brand if you’re not excited either?

Similarly, if your prize doesn’t knock your own socks off, more often than not, it won’t resonate with customers. This is something we call the Who Cares? test. Glean insights about your key buyer base from psychographic data to help determine what generates excitement. Engaged audiences share content with their friends who most likely resemble your target demographic, making them apt to convert to your brand.

Myth #2 “Set it and forget it”

You had the best prizes. You had a nice media buy to promote it. You’ve even shared it on your OWN social media! And yet, no one enters your contest. What now?

Although this resembles throwing a party and having no one show up, don’t panic! Your first instinct may be to bury your shame under other marketing initiatives and pretend your contest never existed. Don’t do this. It’s a cop-out. Change-up your plan of attack.

Do you have budget leftover? Add another level of exciting prizes. Tweak your creative for that aesthetic lure. Pull your media buy immediately, review where you went wrong, and relaunch your marketing campaign.

Whether it was your creative, medium, or strategy, fix it and re-promote ASAP to keep up with the bit of momentum you already had.

Also, take advantage of as many FREE opportunities as possible! Post again on social media. Send it out in a newsletter. See if your client partners can share on their social media to increase visibility. The short of it: don’t give up. Exhaust every opportunity you can to make this contest a winner.

Pro-tip: give a little, get a little

Everyone’s a winner! Contesting should benefit both you and your customers. Contesting offers you the opportunity to benefit from actual results, not just the thrill of giving something away. In addition, contests allow you to collect insightful intel on your customers by gathering data via your enter-to-win form:

  • Emails for a database boost
  • Zip codes for geographic data
  • Birthdays to build a rewards program

But beware! The more information you request from your customers, the less likely they are to give it up. Take only what you need – the fewer the hoops, the more engagement you’ll see.

And since turnabout is fair play, your contest should ALWAYS offer your entrants some type of value proposition. From promo codes and free samples to a percentage off their next purchase, make it worth their while. The average customer realizes they’re giving up valuable information, so offer them something in return.

Once your contest is over, announce the winner. Include a photo of them in your next newsletter. Have them record a video with their prize and share it. This helps build trust with your customers because they know someone actually wins your contests. Stay true to your word. Many brands seem disingenuous when they don’t try hard enough to play to their customer’s emotions.

Remember, remind your customers every chance you get that you appreciate their business.

Learn more about connecting with your audience and supporting sales growth through digital contesting.

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