Holding a contest on your blog is a fantastic way to increase traffic, get new readers hooked, and improve the engagement of those regularly perusing your witty musings. Relevant to you and your audience, contests are easy to run, and bring an element of excitement to your blog that’s hard to beat.
There are a few things you need to remember, however, in order to capitalize on your contest efforts. Follow these tips, and your contest will be so successful, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it years ago.
Before you get started, there are a few things you need to consider regarding the purpose and practicalities of your contest.
1. Why are you running it? What to you hope to achieve? More subscribers? Social media fans? Sales of a product? Comments and engagement? Know all of this when you start (and think in terms of measurable metrics) and you’ll know for sure whether your contest has been successful once it’s finished.
2. Choose your contest carefully. There are many different types of contests out there, so consider your objectives before you decide on a particular kind.
3. Pick your prize well. Make it relevant and exciting, and don’t spend more than you can reasonably afford! Sponsors might be a good option here, but be sure to set up expectations (yours and theirs) right from the start.
4. Write clear terms and conditions before your contest, and keep it as simple as possible. You don’t want to alienate your audience by making them jump through too many hoops.
Once you’re ready to get started, there are a number of fantastic tools available online that will make running your contest simple.
- Wizehive contest manager lets you run photo, video, audio or text entry contests and even accept paid entries.
- Rafflecopter is an easy way to run a giveaway for free. It’s embeddable anywhere, and is cheap and effective in just a few clicks.
- Binkd is a social media contest platform that allows you to customize and run contests quickly and effortlessly, and is packed with awesome features.
As ever, marketing is a huge factor in the success of your contest, especially if your aim is to increase your audience. Take it step by step, as detailed below, and news of your contest will spread as fast as salacious gossip.
1. Promote your contest on your blog itself. This is a simple contest, but it’s important to point out that this should not be at the cost of your regular blogging activity. If you’re running a particularly big contest, then it’s sometimes a good idea to pre-write your content, to give yourself time for administration.
2. Send an email out to your subscribers (or use your contest to build one, if you haven’t got one already!). With the huge buzz around social media, it’s easy to forget the importance of email marketing, but it’s a great way to reach out to your audience personally.
3. Use social media, but be careful not to turn your Twitter feed into a constant stream of advertisements for your contest, or to drive people to distraction begging them to retweet your posts. So, keep advertisements to a bearable level, and maintain your regular social media repartee to ensure your followers and friends stay engaged.
4. That being said, it’s OK to reach out personally to (not nag!) your advocates – the people who love your blog. As well as entering themselves, they’ll more than likely be happy to share your contest, or mention it on their own blog, in return for a mention on your site.
5. Think about paying for advertisements. There are a range of options out there for you to consider, all can be instrumental in making your contest a success. However, be careful not to spend too much. Think about the returns you’re hoping to get from your contest, and how much you should reasonably spend in order to achieve them.
As well as all of these options, a lot of ecommerce platforms have automated promotions, which will entice your audience to complete the calls to action that you need them to, and take the stress out of promotions.
Throughout your contest, and once the dust has settled, keep an eye on analytics to see what worked, and what didn’t. This information will be priceless when it comes to running your next contest.
Heed these tips well, and you can’t go wrong! Best of luck!