Brands use contests and sweepstakes to drive engagement and to support new customer acquisition initiatives. Why shouldn't your blog leverage promotions in a similar way? Here are a few tips to help you set up a winning campaign- whether this will be your very first contest or sweepstakes or you are a promotional program veteran.
Learn the rules about contests/sweepstakes for your region.
Rules governing the legality of contests and sweepstakes vary according to region. In the US, sweepstakes sponsors take care to dissociate themselves from suggestion that players must pay to enter or pay to win, so as not to conflict with federal lottery rules. Check the rules of the region where you live- as as the legality of contests. In general, contests are giveaways with some element of skill involved, whereas sweepstakes are prize giveaways where winners are chosen by luck.
Get creative with prizes- the most expensive cash value prize is not necessarily the most compelling one.
If you are just starting out with contests and sweepstakes for your blog, and you are a relatively new blog, you may not be able to get a brand to sponsor a prize. Which means you may need to get a little creative with prizes for the contest. Try putting together a memorial experience for the winner – whether that's a skill that you can leverage (personal shopping or graphic design package anyone). You may also want to purchase an unforgettable package of summer beauty products for a summer themed giveaway. Entrants may simply want the beautifully curated selection of items you have put together- and that may be more compelling to them than a $2500 corporate sponsored giveaway.
Choose the best length of time for entries in your contest or sweepstakes.
The optimal amount of time to collect entries may vary according to the contest/sweepstakes type. If it's a relatively easy entry and random drawing sweeps, you may want to limit the entry period to about 2 weeks- to capture as many entries as possible, but to also keep it timely and relevant. For a contest asking people to submit Instagram photos, it may be in your best interest to extend the period out to 3 or 4 weeks, to make sure that you capture as many entries as possible, and to allow the entrants to spread the word about your contest.
Make it as simple as possible for people to enter your promotional giveaway.
Leveraging a third party promotional platform such as Offerpop or Rafflecopter makes it easy to capture key information for your contests, and for you to do random drawings or capture entries with easy forms that can embed on your blog and/or social networks. You also want to be capturing key analytics information, so using a third party promotional tool helps keep everything organized and in one place.
Before launching a giveaway, hone in on the ultimate objectives for the promotion.
Try to narrow down the scope of your objectives for the promotion. Are you looking to increase the number of email subscribers for your newsletter, boost Facebook numbers or Instagram followers? Incorporate that into the entry form for your promotion. But remember to keep the form as simple and streamlined as possible. People will be more likely to enter if it is relatively easy for them to enter.
At launch, get as creative as possible about promoting the contest!
Send out an alert on your social networks, email your friends, send out a reminder to your email list and reach out to blogs that might want to cover the contest/giveaway. It is really up to you to get the word out about the contest, and to stay on top of the promotional push during the contest/sweepstakes period.
Have you ever hosted a contest/sweepstakes for your blog? What are some key learnings you might want to share with others?
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