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Don’t get us wrong, we love competitions, contests and giveaways. We’re literally in the business of running competitions…

But sometimes, even though a competitions would be a lot of fun and get you some great results, it might not actually be the best thing for your business right now. You may not actually need to run a competition to get the results you want.

HUH? I thought this was OrigamiGlobe – Home of Competitions and Giveaways? Yes, it is, but read on…

Let us explain the three simple questions we ask – or tests we run – to check that a competition really is the best marketing tool for our clients…

Is a competition the only way to reach your goal?

Let’s say your goal is to find out how your customers feel about your products and what they’d like to see from you in the future – you’re planning to send out a questionnaire to your audience and you’re thinking about running a competition to entice people to complete it.

Sure, you could run a competition that gives everyone who completes your survey an entry to win a prize, but you may not need to.

If a customer is truly engaged with your business, your brand and your products, they’ll be more than willing and eager to provide feedback and help your business grow, without the need for an incentive. This means you also don’t need to shell out for a prize.

As a business, we’ve also seen some great surveys from fellow business owners who skip the competition and offer a gift voucher for their product to all who complete the survey – your customers get a discount or value add for your products, you get valuable feedback and make a sale – win, win.

We’ve also seen businesses who survey their customers and pledge to make a donation to a cause close to their hearts, so those who complete the survey get to do good by giving feedback and feel good by knowing that five minutes of their time will result in a donation to a worthy cause – win, win, win!

This doesn’t just apply to surveys though. Whatever your competition goal , there may another way to achieve it that doesn’t involve incentivising your audience and spending up big on a prize.

Is a competition the only way to generate sales?

We were once approached by a company offering a service that its clients use annually. They wanted to drive more purchases, collect more emails and attract more users by running a competition to win a car.

Now, a car is a significant investment. I’m sure I didn’t need to point that out.

We ran the first test and asked – is a competition the only way to reach the goal? It was decided that whilst there were other ways to reach these goals, a competition would be a quick and powerful way to achieve all three goals in a relatively short timeframe.

So we ran the second test – is a competition the only way to generate sales?

Of all of our goals, generating sales was paramount, emails and users would happen as part of that sales process, but it’s sales that keep the business ticking over.

We looked at their existing setup – how they were attracting new users, where they found them, what those users did on the site (again, a reminder of just how much we love Google Analytics for finding this data) then tracked them through the process, how did they turn that user into a subscriber and more importantly how did they turn a user or a subscriber into a sale?

As it turned out, the company had a veritable treasure trove in its email database – over 140,000 subscribers/users – but that’s not even the best part. This company also had the exact date those users would next be likely to make their annual purchase, thanks to the data the users input as part of using their service.

A competition would have achieved our goal, for sure, but at a $30,000+ price tag for a brand new car, plus the cost of promotion, plus a myriad of other costs.

By helping them to optimise their email process and ensure they were in the right place when their customers were ready to use their services again, it turned out we didn’t actually need to incentivise their audience with a competition to drive sales.

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Is a competition the best use of your marketing budget?

A competition can be a weighty investment, both in terms of the cost of the prize and when it comes to promoting your competition ; so you’ll want to make sure a competition or giveaway is the wisest use of your marketing bucks.

Don’t get us wrong, competitions, contests and giveaways can have killer return on investment (ROI) – just ask Mountain Bikes Direct or Pedder Wilderness Lodge – but they aren’t the only way to spend a marketing budget.

The thing to remember with competitions, is that depending on your entry method, you’re collecting ‘leads’ such as email addresses, not directly generating or asking for sales initially. That usually comes in the post-competition conversion phase.

So that means you may want to direct your marketing moolah to other activities that may directly drive sales instead of leads.

One such marketing activity is Facebook ads. We may be the authority on Facebook ads for competitions, but when it comes to running Facebook ads outside of competitions, we defer to the experts – and it just so happens we have a handy interview with the Facebook Ad genius herself, Dahna Borg from Bright Red Marketing, if you’re curious.

This third and final test we apply is to make sure that our clients – and now you as a result of reading this post – get the most out of your marketing spend. If there’s a better option for your business that will give you a better return on investment, we’ll always vote for that.

We love competitions. We’ve built a whole business around helping people DIY their own competitions and offering done for you services to run wildly successful competitions for our clients – but we’re also incredibly honest. During our free strategy calls, we’ll sound out your idea, ask a tonne of questions, give a tonne of advice and then apply these three tests. If we think there’s a better way to reach your goals, generate sales or spend your marketing budget, you can be sure we’ll let you know.

If you like the sound of our upfront honestly and free strategy sessions, why not book yourself in for a chat or get in touch with us via our contact page? We’re always happy to help you smash your marketing goals the best way for your business.