Two of the smallest words in the English language, yet everyone everywhere yearns to hear them hurled in their direction – loudly and often.
But what makes this tiny phrase so hugely important? Is it an affirmation of their value as a person? To some. Does winning create a fun spectacle everyone can enjoy from start to finish? It can.
Or, does that tiny phrase mean that, out of tens, hundreds, thousands of people who took action in a single, competitive event, A CONTEST, they are the best? Chosen? Special?
Like the legendary Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing!”
The great news is that companies – both large and small, looking to earn more clients, more email addresses, and more engagement for their brand – can harness the immense power of a shiny contest for themselves, and create something that is not only good for others (because they can claim victory) but also good for business!
1. Use Social Media: Creating a contest on social media is a no-brainer. People use social media every day, multiple times a day. They love it. If you take steps to create contests on the most popular social media sites – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – you have an excellent chance to see a spike in traffic (a 34% increase, roughly) to your connected site, comments, retweets, followers, and all the lovely perks social media can offer.
Want proof? Check out the “Search for the Ultimate Fan” contest from the Broadway musical “How to Succeed in Business Without Actually Trying.” The results from their Facebook contest? $50,000 in ticket sales, and 40% of all traffic came directly from fan videos.
A Winner With: The lifestyle & luxury crowd (Sephora, Dove, Vans, etc.)
2) Offer An Amazing Prize: Money, travel, cars, free swag, discounts, bundled prizes – offer your audience what you know they will want. Also, if you create a sense of urgency and scarcity for prizes among contestants, they will flock to your contest, and tell their friends! Finally, second prizes, third prizes, time limits – all of these things can increase the perceived value of the prize overall, and earn you more engagement.
Think of 2011’s “Find the Dodge Journey” for inspiration. Perfect for any business with enough product and resources to run a giveaway.
A Winner With: Travelers, drivers, and shoppers.
3) Hit Them in The Feels: Heartfelt consumer-generated content is always welcome (and a winner) in any contest. When you ask for participation from your audience, it makes them the focus – and everyone loves to be the center of attention! Asking followers to create their own videos, testimonials, jingles, share a photo, etc. adds the essential human element, and makes them the storytellers! You should also keep social responsibility and giving back in mind as well to try and benefit others, not just your paying customers.
A Winner With: People who care (Animal lovers, activists, etc.)
4) Make the Entry Form SHORT and SIMPLE: First name, last name, email address. That is all you need and that is all your contestants want to give you. Anything else, and the feeling of fun and safety is gone, along with your chances of optimal engagement. If you simply have to gather more information, make the fields optional so you don’t lose out on the masses. For social campaigns, keep the hashtags simple and easy to remember so fans can use it easily.
A Winner With: EVERYONE
(Bonus Contest Essential) Use Visually Stunning Images: To generate maximum customer attention, use a vibrant, colorful image that’s pleasing to the eye. Why? Photos, like the ones on Pinterest with multiple colors get repinned 3.25 times more than the ones with a single dominant color.
Half plow-horse, half show pony, an attractive contest not only does the work of gathering useful analytics and lead generation data for you (that can be eventually turned into profit), it also shapes, cuts, and fashions a competitive jewel of an event that people are absolutely powerless to resist.
You get leads and data, customers get to feel involved, valued, and maybe even get a prize! It’s a win-win situation all around.