At OrigamiGlobe, one of our three core values is to be genuine. Genuinely useful, genuinely honest and genuinely helpful. It’s something that’s very important to me as a business owner, so whilst I was drafting a piece on reasons to run a competition, I decided to deliberately include twice as many reasons not to run a competition…
It may sound crazy coming from a company built around helping you create competitions, but I want to make sure you’re fully prepared for everything your competition or giveaway could throw at you as well as aware of the truly amazing results it can get for you and your business. So here they are, the 10 reasons you should run a competition and the 20 reasons you shouldn’t.
10 reasons you should run a competition.
1. To gather quality leads.
Especially if your entry method is to enter an email address, which is then added to your email list (information you own, unlike social media) creating future marketing opportunities and of course, sales and revenue.
2. Because they’re incredibly engaging.
Did you know competition posts are 5.5 times more engaging than regular posts? You do now! If your Facebook page is a ghost town or getting likes and comments is impossible, try a competition to boost your engagement.
3. Because your audience will love you for it.
First of all, who doesn’t love winning? I still talk about that colouring competition I won when I was 9 (see? I’m doing it again!). Second of all, who doesn’t love free products or services from a business they buy from already? They’re following your page, liking your posts or signed up to your email list because they like what you sell, so of course they’d love to win it for free!
4. To gather social proof.
You’ll have the opportunity to create a loyal brand advocate from your winner, plus gather heaps of social proof for your business and brand in the form of photos and testimonials from happy winners. Social proof from peers (as opposed to salesy marketing from companies) is a LOT more effective at converting sales.
5. They’re not that expensive, all things considered.
You don’t (necessarily) have to spend a fortune. You can get away with spending as little as the cost of your prize and your time. The success of a competition doesn’t directly correlate to the value of the prize or the ad budget, but the careful strategy behind the competition.
6. You’ll gather quality marketing material.
Your entrants can potentially create your marketing material for you. Imagine not having to scramble for Instagram post ideas or draft up new t-shirt slogan ideas and designs. Launch a competition and get inspiration directly from the people who buy your service or product whilst rewarding them for their contribution.
7. The ROI is clear to see.
Competitions have clearly measurable return on investment (ROI). Set a budget, benchmark your current results, run a competition and compare. You should be able to find out exactly how much it costs you to acquire each lead from your competition vs your other marketing efforts, among other incredibly valuable figures and stats, which will help you work out where best to spend your marketing dollars.
8. To increase your brand awareness.
This is one of my favourite bonuses of running competitions. Whether your goal is to get more followers to your Instagram account or drive sales of your latest product, you will always, always see an increased level of brand awareness when running a competition, especially if you’re careful about branding your competition promotion.
9. They’re incredible learning opportunities.
You’ll gain a huge amount of insights into your target audience and learn a lot about your business from running a competition. Not just in the entries themselves, but from comments, questions and observing behaviour. If you want to learn more about your audience, run a competition!
10. Because they’re actually a lot of fun…
Finally, because they’re incredibly fun and surprisingly simple to set up and run… we’ve even put together a totally free guide to help you navigate the world of giveaways and make the most of your investment.
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20 reasons why you shouldn’t run a competition.
1. Competitions require work.
Competitions are not a ‘set and forget’ campaign, they require work on your part and it’s important you’re aware of this right from the start.
2. You need plenty of time to prepare.
They do require some planning to get the best results. If you decide at 6pm on a Sunday night that you should do a giveaway and eagerly announce your competition on Facebook with an image you found on Google, I guarantee you that you’ll be disappointed by your competition. It takes time to build up to your competition and prepare your audience as well as your marketing material.
3. Competitions can come at a cost.
I mentioned above that you don’t have to spend a fortune on your competition, but running a competition will always cost something. You may have to spend a little money to make a little money, if you’re a service-based business it may be the cost of your time or the cost of your product plus postage for a product-based business. Be prepared for this and create a budget.
4. You do have to give something away…
This means you need to have something to give. I always recommend your own product or service (why promote someone else’s?!), so have a careful think about your prize.
5. It might not work for your brand.
Competitions don’t always work out for every business and every product/service. Of course, you’re more likely to succeed with some careful strategy than if you launch into it with no clue – so read up on competitions before you decide whether they’re the right marketing tactic for you.
6. Competitions can attract trolls.
A tiny minority of people are just plain mean and might cheat or make nasty comments. As I said, it’s a tiny minority, but competing brings out the worst in people, so be prepared for any trolls lurking under competition bridges.
7. The wrong people may enter.
You might get people who aren’t your target demographic entering, therefore having less chance of converting to paying customers. This isn’t the end of the world, it could mean your audience is slightly different than you thought, or it could mean that your competition wasn’t as tailored to your ideal entrants as it could have been.
8. Fear of the unknown…
There’s no way to predict what sort of results you’ll get. Some competitions barely reach their goal and others hit their goal, smash it to pieces and throw a party on the pieces of the broken goal.
9. You might get no entries at all.
I’ve never personally seen it happen, but don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
10. You can’t win your own prize!
You aren’t eligible to win the awesome prize you’re giving away (booo). On that note, you can’t go cherry picking who you want to win, give the prize to your mate or not give the prize away at all. You must play by the rules.
11. Competitions demand your time.
You will need to set aside some time to manage the competition and engage with your entrants if you want to make the most of your giveaway, so ensure you’ve got time to spare to reply to comments/emails and encourage more entries.
12. Competitions make you think.
Competitions work best when they’re part of a bigger plan. Define what you want to achieve with your business, set yourself some goals to help you get there and ways to smash those goals. Competitions should be used as a way to smash bigger goals.
13. They’re a steep learning curve.
You may have – no – you will have to learn new skills such as Facebook/Instagram ads, creating convincing copy, creating branded social media posts, promoting your competition far and wide, creating email automations etc. Be prepared to learn new skills or consider outsourcing these parts.
14. You may meet prize pigs.
This is the industry term for people who enter competitions for a living, on-selling the prize or asking for the cash alternative. Usually they are not your target demographic and have no intention of becoming a future paying client. Avoid the prize pigs by tailoring your competition to your ideal audience and avoid generic prizes like iPads. Shudder.
15. You may get addicted to running competitions…
I’m serious! OK, OK, maybe addicted isn’t quite the right word, but around 90% of the clients we’ve worked with go on to run another competition almost immediately, because they’re so happy with the results they achieve and can’t wait to engage their new potential customers. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
16. You might learn some hard truths.
You may find out some surprising things about your brand that you’re not ready to hear. For example, you may ask for feedback on your latest product and find out that the handle breaks almost immediately or it arrived late or in poor condition which means more work for you to improve the product or change delivery company. Of course addressing these issues helps you to improve, so whilst it might be hard to hear, it’ll help in the long run.
17. You might make fake friends.
The leads (emails, followers etc) you gather during your competition may disengage, unfollow, unsubscribe as soon as the competition is over – this usually happens if you fail to target your ideal entrants, attract prize pigs or fail to keep them engaged and give them a reason to stay following you or subscribed to your list, so create a plan to keep them engaged.
18. You MUST follow rules, rules and more rules.
You may get reported and your competition shut down if you don’t follow the rules. It’s never happened to our clients (obviously, otherwise we’d be sacked immediately!) but we have seen it happen. You may think Facebook will never see your little competition in your little corner of the internet, but think again – a disgruntled customer or sneaky competitor won’t hesitate to blow the whistle and you risk losing your business page and all those wonderful followers… which you’ve totally got on your email list, right?!
19. What if competitions work too well?
You could find yourself massively underprepared for the response. This means your website may struggle under the weight of the new traffic, your lead time to process orders may increase and your inbox may be full of questions, comments and sales – not necessarily a bad problem to have, but a warning to be prepared for a potential influx.
20. You might not enjoy running a giveaway.
Competitions aren’t for everyone, as I’ve said above, they do require work, time, money, effort, brain space and preparation; resources which may be in short supply as a busy business owner. Remember that you can always outsource to the experts, we’d love to help.
If you’re still reading this and have doubts about running a competition – good! I only want you to run a competition if you’re 100% prepared, committed and excited, after all it’s meant to be fun, remember!