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Small Business Tips \ APR 27th 2015

A-Z Of Running A Contest for Your Small Business

If you’re marketing your business online (and you definitely should be), adding a contest or two into your roadmap should be high on your list of priorities. It’s a great opportunity to get more eyes (and potential followers) on your business’ social pages as well as engage with your current followers on another level. What’s more, it can even be fun!

A-Z Of Running A Contest for Your Small Business

We don’t mean to brag… but we’ve run the gamut of contests and in doing so, have come to know a thing or two about how to hit a homerun. But if it’s worth doing it’s definitely worth doing right – here’s what we learned along the way:

Set A Clear Goal

Knowing what you want to achieve before you launch a contest is crucial. Are you looking to get more followers for your Facebook page? Are you trying to promote a new product? Would you like to get more eyes on your latest YouTube video? Once you’ve pinpointed your end goal, you can get to work on how to make it a reality.

Decide The Best Way To Achieve That Goal

If you answered ‘yes’ to getting more followers on Facebook, you will probably (read: definitely) want to host your contest off of your Facebook page. If you have a bigger following on Twitter and think that your followers there will be more likely to get involved, Twitter will probably be the better option. Finding the right balance and picking the platform that suits your end goal will help you win at your own contest. Once you’ve chosen a home for your contest, you’ll need to do some online research. Different social channels have different rules and regulations about running contests on them, and you’ll want to be well-versed so you don’t get into hot water.

Decide The Best Way To Achieve That Goal

Write All The Rules Down

Nota bene: this section should not be skimmed over. How long will it run? What will you offer? What will you offer when what you initially wanted to offered goes out of stock? Getting all the details down on paper (or Word document) gives your contest footing, and helps to cover your backside should you have an unruly contestant. Once you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed every t, you’ll want to make sure this information is readily available and easy to find for your contestants. A link to a pdf will do, or you can even make a one-page website with all the details.

Write All The Rules Down

Use a 3rd party tool

If you’re using Facebook and you’re really serious about results, you’re going to want to pair up with a 3rd party tool. While you don’t necessarily need it, they come with a lot of bells and whistles that can make the cost worth it in the long run. Benefits include growing your email database, getting more info about your fans so you can customize your content going forward, driving conversion rates and more. If you’re interested in exploring this further, check out tabsite and heyo to start.

Entice People With Cool & Relevant Prizes

Offering up desirable prizes will get you some traction, but if they’re not relevant to what your business does you’re missing out on further promoting yourself. Keep the prizes in line with your brand and you’ll avoid this potential snag. If you have a bakery, offer a cupcake tower or baking class, if you have a surf shop, offer a new board or a water-proof GroPro. The examples go on, but the point is this: don’t offer up a prize that has nothing to do with your business. With that said, do make sure to pick the most enticing prize that you can think of that fits within your budget.

Entice People With Cool & Relevant Prizes

Keep. It. Simple.

No one wants to work too hard to win something trivial. As it turns out, no one wants to work too hard to win something that’s even quite impressive, either. People aren’t looking to put in a lot of work via contests on social media, and that’s why yours should be fun and easy to join. This will make for a bigger number of people getting involved and contribute largely to the success of your entire contest. Test your idea by asking yourself, “if I saw this pop up in my feed on my cell phone, would I join? Or would it be too much of a hassle?” Once you’ve answered that question with a clear ‘heck yeah I would,’ you’re in the clear.

Keep. It. Simple.

Cross-Promote For More Reach

If you choose Facebook as your main stage for your contest, you should of course promote it there. But if you have other active social channels and an email list, you should be letting people know on those channels, too. Think of it as letting the neighbors know that there’s a party over at your place and that they should all come on down and enjoy the free snacks. But since you can’t walk up to each and every contact and tell them in person, email marketing can really come through in this area. One email to announce the contest, another to remind people to join, and a potential final email to announce the winner or link to where that announcement is. Wix ShoutOut is a great and easy way to make this happen.

Learn From The Results

You put time, effort and money into this contest – you can’t just walk away once it’s done! It’s important to measure the high points and low points, what was successful and what wasn’t and so on so that you can go into your next contest even better prepared. Be sure to follow-up with the contestants on your channels and thank everyone for participating too, it’s good internet manners.

 

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