5 Key Steps to Leverage Online Contests to Grow your Business


Want to drive up your sales and leads?

Want to turn leads into engaged customers while boosting your sales?

You can do BOTH with contests and these 5 key steps


 1. Why contests actually work

To run a great contest, you must first understand WHY people enter and share with their friends.

Thankfully, society has evolved much faster than the human brain. This means, that while our mediums have changed; the same basic psychology exists.


Principle #1

Gamblers Mind set – While our contest are always FREE and not gambling based. The Mind set still applies.

The gambling industry is huge for the experiences they can create for players. As studied by the University of Cambridge, gamblers thrive in 2 applicable cases.

Case 1 Confidence: Most people who gamble over estimate their ability to win.

This is a driving force that gets people to actually enter contests by the masses.

People will also believe that they can win what you offer.

Case 2 Near misses: If a contestant “nearly wins” they are more likely to participate again.

It is important to understand the near miss reaction as it sets up the perfect offer. The premise is to make people still feel special who “lose” the main contest.


Principle #2

Competition Psychology – As studied by the University of Michigan, humans are competitive by default. As humans we can’t help ourselves…we LOVE to WIN at everything.

This becomes even truer once we’ve made any commitment to something (fear of failure).

We experience this at work, supporting a sports team and even on social media (I.e selfies and image control – people portraying a better life style than their currently living on Facebook, Instagram and on other social networks).

By leveraging the Gambles mind set we can get people to enter a contest.

By leveraging the psychology of competitions we can drive people to actually compete.

There is one caveat to this though….

The Price must be compelling to enter. However, compelling does NOT equal qualified.


2. How To Maximize Engagement

Goal #1 The Goal is to increase the front End visibility for our contest.

Here is how you can accomplish this goal. Simply ask your audience to engage before even entering the contest.

You can announce this to an existing audience via a Facebook post , Instagram, Email or drive traffic to it with targeted Facebook ads.

contest ad.fw

You will need a software/service than can collect people’s information in order track entries.

To maximise your campaign, you’ll want a software that can track referrals. Ultimately rewarding contestants with bonus entries for referrals.


Goal #2: Getting more overall referral entries.

What would really motivate people to get referrals?  Simply ask, and reward them when they do.

Using something like a contest software you can easily see the referral statistics in an excel sheet.



3. How To Pick The Right Prize

This is the most important step to get right in order to generate revenue. The “Obvious” reaction for most owners and marketers is to give away a product that most people would wish for like a high end smartphone, tablet or Money.

While these products would appeal to many people, they often don’t pre-qualify your leads in what you do or sell.

Unless you’re an electronic retailer or in the financial sector, what do these giveaways have to do with your core audience?

We have seen them work when coupled with specific content though like additional relevant prizes… however, you have to get it right.

As you can tell the best prizes were the ones that would only appeal to the target audience of each business.

Running your contest this way does not result in them going viral or generating the most leads. What it does is get you the most qualified people who are actually interested in your products and services.

Important: you don’t need thousands of leads or prospects to generate thousands in revenue (or profit).

Imagine if you just finished running a contest which you gave away a brand new IPAD and collected thousands of non-targeted leads.

What value will that bring to your business?

Your right Nothing!! Who would say no to a free ipad?

Contest have very little to do with the quantity of leads and almost everything to do with pre-qualifying your leads

In Many cases, simply giving away your best-selling product as a prize is a great strategy for pre-qualification.


4. Drafting Your Ideal Audience

If you don’t have an email list, no problem. There are 3 ways of getting traffic to your contest


Method #1 Email your own list.

This is the most obvious way to get traffic for those with an existing opted in customer email list.

Now you may be thinking … “Why would I email my previous customers for a contest?”

Well simply because they are your biggest fans, advocated and have the most affinity for what you do!

No one is better suited to tell world how great your product is than your existing fans and customers.

Any time you can give your customers a reason to tell the world about your business/service is a WIN.


Method #2 Paid Advertising.

boosted postsBeyond your existing audience, paid advertising is the 2nd most direct method of contest promotion.

We’ve found Facebook advertising to be an effective way to get in front of interested prospects.

Facebook Fact: September 2015

  • Kenyan Audience – 5 Million
  • Nairobi Audience – 3.1 Million
  • Targeting Options:  By Location, demographics, Interests and Behaviour

According to Wikipedia. Nairobi was estimated to hit 4 million by 2015, that’s means 77.5% of Nairobi’s population in on Facebook (Not bad)


Facebook Organic post reach decline


Facebook is the holy grail of Social Media Marketing however, its now a traded company which means they have to make MONEY.

This has changed the game dramatically…

In the beginning, Facebook was all about building Fans and Engaging with them to see results. NOW you have to pay just to get YOUR Fans to see Your POSTS.

Unfair if you ask me.


Not BOOSTING your posts means about 90% of your  Fans Will NEVER see your POSTS

Using the Facebook Ad manager or Power editor

While most businesses with fan pages simply boost the posts to get the desired reach, we recommend a more advance approach by using the ad manager to target your audience better.

we recommend using custom audiences and re-targeting (advanced method) for extreme targeting.

I wish I had the time to break down this advance method, buts it’s just too big a subject get into right now.


Method #3 Earned media.

If you don’t have a list or much of a budget, you will need to earn the Traffic.

Typically Earned media comes in 1 or 2 ways for contest.

Content Sponsors: This is a clever way to generate qualified traffic and buzz by partnering with sponsors.

By working together with sponsors, you will be able to stack both prize value and front end traffic.

By giving your potential sponsors social media spot light, such as driving social engagement and awareness.

You will often be able to provide enough value to convince them to participate in your prizes and promotion strategy.


Method #2 Guest Posting.

A tried and true method of Audience drafting is to use guest blogging to leverage new audiences for traffic. However a simple, “I want to blog for you and pitch my contest” clearly won’t work and you will need a good reason.

A method that appeals to larger authority blogs/websites who have your ideal audience is to purchase one of their products to give it away to their Audience.

If you can establish trust that you won’t be spamming their audience, most would at least entertain the idea.


5. Building Your Irresistible Offer

This is where the rubber meets the road and your campaign generates revenue.

The best lead generation campaign in the world means absolutely nothing if it does not turn into sales for your business.

Luckily, not only do contest convert traffic into leads. They also a great way to prequalify those leads.

Since you’ve picked a prize related to what you do and sell (#3), you’re in great position to make an offer.


Offer Type #1 Discount Scarcity.

This is the most straight forward method. Simply offer an attractive discount for all contestants as a special thank you.

We have seen a consistent formula of offering 30% – 60% off your best selling product for 3 days (72 hours).

This has proven to be the highest converting method we have found to turn contestants into customers.

You just have to drive the contestants to page where they can find out who won, and announce your special offer.

With subject lines such as “And the winner is… ” and telling people to click to find out who won is a proven winner J

What if you’re concerned with appearance of a discount business?

Use this second option.


Offer Type #2 Bonus Scarcity

We are still huge fans of the 3 day (72 hour) scarcity model, as that’s plenty of time to get people to take action.

Instead of offering a steep discount on a best-selling product, you can bundle special bonuses that go away at special amount of time.

This retains your price anchoring for the value of your product, and allows you to position the bonuses as a special thank you for contestants.

Contest Viral Tools you can use



Adding  monthly or quarterly contests will create predictable results and consistent revenue in your business.


Your Turn

Want an easy way to Implement online contests to grow leads and sales in business?

Download our contest marketing Cheat sheet to help you create your first contest.

1 comment

  1. Gerald
    October 14, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Facebook is a goldmine to generating traffic here in Kenya. I get many inquiries through Facebook advertising when promoting my page for my services The ads are pretty cheap at 0.02 per click compared to other markets like the US.

    Im building a mailing list in the process

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