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Think back to the last few competitions you’ve seen whilst scrolling through social media, perhaps you’ve even entered a couple. I’d wager you’ve probably found yourself wondering if the competition was legitimate, who (if anyone) actually won and what’s going to happen with the details you submit.

If you’ve had these concerns about competitions you’ve seen, chances are your entrants may have the same concerns about your competition; so we thought we’d share seven ways we create legitimate competitions that reassure visitors and ensure as many visitors convert to entrants and entrants to customers as possible.

1. Keep it consistent.

Consistency is reassuring.

Not only is it reassuring, but it’s incredibly easy to do and will positively impact your chances of converting visitors to competition entrants.

Let’s imagine your ideal entrant has seen your Facebook ad for your competition and decided to click through to your landing page. Your ad mentions you’re giving away a prize package worth $2,500 and features an image of the prize package. When that potential entrant clicks the ad and heads to your competition landing page, the prize value is listed as $1,000 and the products featured in the image on the landing page are completely different to the ad.

Uh oh.

Seeds of doubt start to sprout in your potential entrant’s mind – they start to wonder what exactly they’re entering to win and why the value and images are different… They decide that perhaps the competition may not be legitimate and that they probably shouldn’t hand over their contact details.

Before they’ve entered, they’ve clicked back and are scrolling merrily through Facebook again, congratulating themselves for dodging a competition bullet.

Keeping your branding, images, copy and messaging and even prize details consistent across your ads, social posts, landing page and promotional material sends small signals to your potential entrant that your competition is legit and they should definitely enter.

2. Make it as easy as possible for them to enter your competition.

A broken link, an ‘enter now’ button that doesn’t submit their entry, an entry form that asks far too many personal questions… not exactly signs of a legitimate competition, are they?

Let’s be honest, you will most likely never need to collect their full address details or full date of birth as part of their entry.

If this information is truly crucial to your offering (for example you’re a real estate agency and want to tailor the properties to their relevant state), consider asking for one piece of key information such as their state, suburb or postcode instead of their full street address on your entry form.

Similarly, it’s essential that you test your competition thoroughly to ensure everything is working smoothly. Nothing screams untrustworthy like a dodgy website or broken form.

By removing as many hurdles as possible from the entry process and making it as easy as possible for your audience to enter your competition is going to help build trust and show your entrants your competition is legitimate.

Broken links make your competition seem untrustworthy. Thanks to Erik Mclean for the photo via Unsplash.

3. Have a set of terms and conditions.

Having a set of official and professional competition terms and conditions is the biggest trust signal you can send to your potential entrant to convince them your competition is legitimate.

Here are some essential clauses your terms and conditions should contain to demonstrate your legitimacy and trustworthiness:

  • Include your company information (company name, address, contact details and ABN).
  • Set out the open and close dates and times for your competition.
  • Explain how and where they can enter and the exact steps involved.
  • Clearly list the details of your prize (along with the individual values if you wish or a total prize pool value).
  • State clearly how many winners there will be as well as when and how the winner(s) will be drawn.
  • Clearly explain how, where and when your winners will be announced – and stick to it!
  • Mention how your entrants’ data will be used – especially if you’re partnering with another brand or brands to co-host the competition.

Going to the effort of setting out these key aspects of your competition in advance and making your terms and conditions easily available to your potential entrants sends the message that your competition is legitimate.

Invest in a reusable, lawyer-written terms and conditions template.

We’ve paid the expensive legal fees to draft a comprehensive set of terms and conditions so you don’t have to. Grab your competition T&Cs template for a fraction of the cost.


4. Avoid the competition apps?

This may be a matter of personal preference, but some third party app options out there do come across as more than a little spammy – especially the ones that offer the ability to ‘share for extra entries’.

Though competition apps can make life a lot easier to collect entries, calculate bonus entries and even pick your winners for you; they do come with some downsides.

An important part of running a competition is creating brand awareness for your business. If you use a competition app, you lose the opportunity to promote your brand over theirs. Some apps will allow you to upload your logo or customise the colours to your branding, whilst others insist on keeping their stock-standard branding and even their logo, making your competition a carbon copy of others using the same app as well as a walking, talking advertisement for the competition app itself, rather than your business.

If you want to remove Shortstack’s branding, for example, you’ll need to fork over $199 a month for their agency plan… (Screenshot from

It’s vital to weigh up the pros and cons of using a competition app to run your competition – does the ability to collect user-uploaded photos outweighs the benefits of running your competition on your own website and potentially generate sales before, during and after your competition?

5. Send an entry confirmation.

This sign of a legitimate competition is incredibly easy to implement.

No matter which entry method you’ve chosen, it’s easy to send your entrant a quick confirmation that it has indeed been received and they’re in the draw to win.

If you’re collecting entries via comments on social media for example, reply to their comment with something like ‘Thanks for entering [Name], fingers crossed!’ or simply hit like on their comment.

If they’re entering via a competition app or a form on your website, create an auto-generated email thanking them for their entry, reminding them what they can win and explain when they can expect to find out if they’re the lucky winner.

Sending an entry confirmation is a quick win that tells your entrant they were right to trust your brand and submit their entry, because your competition is legitimate.

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6. Steer clear of iPads…

You may have guessed by now that we’re not big fans of win an iPad competitions

It’s not just iPads we have an issue with, other big ticket items such a motorhomes, high-value cash prizes and vouchers are commonly used by scam companies to ‘phish’ for users details and defraud entrants.

Because these types of prizes are so popular for businesses to give away as prizes, it’s sometimes difficult to pick the legitimate competitions from the fake ones, so you may be automatically starting off on the back foot when trying to convince your ideal customers to enter your competition.

Legitimacy, when it comes to prizes like iPads, goes both ways – not only might your potential entrants be wary of your win an iPad competition, but you may not attract legitimate entrants, with iPads and high-ticket prizes such as vehicles and cash being popular with prize pigs who enter competitions for a living.

If in doubt, always give away your own product or service – at least that way you know that every person who enters your competition is genuinely interested in the product or service you sell.

You can find out more on choosing the perfect prize for your promotion here.

7. Announce your winner.

Nothing seems more suss than a competition with no winner. The easiest and most powerful way to show people your competition is legitimate and create trust with your audience is to announce your winner.

The etiquette for announcing your winner, is to publish their first name and the initial of their surname only, to protect their privacy.

The correct way to announce your winner.

Some businesses are happy to tag winners if they know their username and usually this absolutely fine – but it would be polite to respect your winner’s wishes and confirm with them beforehand to check they’re happy to be tagged in your winner announcement post.

Never, ever, under any circumstances should you publish any sensitive or private information such as the winner’s email address or physical address.

Following these seven tips for creating a legitimate competition will send multiple, small signals to your visitors, entrants and potential future customers that you, your competition and indeed your brand are trustworthy and legitimate.

If you want to run your competition past our team of experts who have seen more than their fair share of legitimate (and dodgy!) competitions, why not book in a free strategy session or get in touch with us via phone or email. We’re more than happy to share additional tips and tricks tailored to help you run a trustworthy and legitimate competition.