By Noelle Brooks
Need a strategy that boosts brand awareness and lead generation? Create a contest. Contests are excellent marketing tools because they require participants to engage with your brand, usually through challenges. They also provide insight into what motivates your audience and if executed effectively, generates qualified prospects for your organization. But how do you create an effective contest? Here are five ways to use contests for marketing growth that truly builds your brand:
Define Your Audience
The key to an effective contest is clearly defining your audience. Review your buyer personas, particularly their pain points and motivations. What keeps them up at night? What keeps them going throughout the day? What can you offer that addresses these questions? While a free vacation has mass appeal, access to an exclusive training or a free industry-specific book will attract your target audience. You want participants to become customers beyond the contest. Understand who they are and what they need before launching your campaign.
Identify Specific Goals (Beyond Lead Collection)
After defining your audience, identify marketing goals. While collecting leads is one of the primary objectives of contests, it should not be the only goal. What do you want to happen after the contest? How do you know if it has been a success? Think past getting a lot of new and shiny emails to how these emails will impact your brand. Is the goal for these prospects to test out your new product? To schedule a consultation? Be as specific as possible. How many new product testers do you need? What is the average number of consultations you need to secure a sell? Then, identify what metrics track your success. The more defined your goals, the easier it is to manage resources and minimize costs.
Choose Select Platforms
As tempting as it is to post your contest any and everywhere, keep your target audience in mind. Where do they frequent? What platforms do you have an established presence? Although a contest presents an opportunity to break into new markets, it is more important to maximize resources with targeted strategies. This also prevents burnout from sorting through numerous entrants and managing promotion on multiple platforms. There is only a select number of winners. Save yourself a headache and whittle down the list from the beginning.
Use Your Own Products or Services
Contests are marketing tools. So why not market your own product or service? Offer a coupon or free samples to lucky contest winners. One, you receive clear and immediate data on who is actually interested in what your products or services. Two, you get people to use what you offer, providing a built-in case study. Encourage winners to give feedback about the service or product and use this information to make adjustments as necessary. Additionally, make sure what you offer is actually affordable. A contest for one of your high-ticket products may produce a lot of buzz, but you should plan for the worst-case scenario. If you make no actual sales from this contest, will you still be able to keep the lights on? Even the best-planned campaigns may not be successful, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Create A Brand-Relevant Contest
To ensure your contest is relevant to your brand, there are two things you need to consider. First, does the type of contest reflect how you want to be perceived? Second, does it resonate with your intended audience? Answering these questions will help you determine which contest type is best for you. It also helps you determine rules and eligibility for the contest. Check out Small Business Trends’ 25 Social Media Contest Ideas to Engage Your Customers for contest ideas.
Once you have a successful contest under your belt, maximize the impact. Celebrate winners, reuse contest content or even create a regular contest schedule. The point to create marketing growth, so use it as often as possible. Your future brand will thank you.
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