Welcome to the competition FAQ. If you’ve never run a competition before you’ll probably have hundreds of questions… If you have run a competition before, you’ve probably got thousands!
You might not know where to turn to for answers or feel like you’re asking silly questions (note: there’s actually no such thing as a silly question) so we’ve compiled a constantly updated list of real life questions asked by real life business owners to help you get some answers. From competition permits to your giveaway’s duration and everything in between… it’s the ultimate giveaway and competition FAQ!
Have a competition question you want answered?
Pop your question in the comments below and we’ll give you a personalised answer. If you’d rather ask your question anonymously, send it to email@example.com.
I have questions about my competition goal...
Your goal is the whole point you’re running your competition, right? So let’s get this sorted out.
- Did you make sure your entry method matches your goal? For example, if you want to up your page likes but you’re asking people to post a photo to enter, you’re not going to achieve your goal
- Be honest – did you do your homework? If you haven’t checked out the last guide to competitions you’ll ever need to read yet, you need to at least read the goals section. It’s so important, that’s why it’s the first step
- Are you sure you’re not achieving your goal? Make sure you double check your statistics and refresh them regularly
- Have you aligned all of your other aspects towards the competition goal?
- Have you chosen a specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic and time-bound goal?
- Have you achieved something else instead? Is it valuable? Perhaps this can teach you something about what you should be aiming for with your next competition?
- Can you steer people towards this goal with some gentle persuasion or clearer instructions?
Your competition is over and you’re happy with the new fans and leads you’ve gained… but you’re not actually sure if you achieved your goal or not?
- Revisit your goal, read it out loud, look at your results – do they match up?
- Did you do the proper groundwork to set your goal?
- Was your goal SMART? If so, it should have been measurable and if it’s measurable you know if you’ve achieved it or not
- What was your entry method? If it was to gain followers on Instagram, do you have any new followers? Even one?
- What do your results tell you? What did you achieve, regardless of your goal?
- … does it matter? Did you achieve something valuable with your competition? Are you happy with your results, even if you’re not sure if it was technically a success?
It’s OK, you’re not the first and you won’t be the last. Here’s how to turn it around.
- Look at what you did achieve – a number of new followers? Useful comments? Feedback? Page likes? There’s always a silver lining, you just have to find it
- Did you do the necessary prep work before the competition?
- Are you sure you didn’t achieve your goal? Double check the figures and count up everything
- Was your goal realistic? Perhaps you aimed a little too high and next time you can adjust accordingly?
- Did you set your competition up to achieve that goal? Were your entry method, entry criteria etc aligned to that goal?
- What does it teach you about your audience? Perhaps you can use those insights to tweak your goal for next time?
- You might want to check out this video.
Anyone who has read our The last guide to competitions you’ll ever need to read will be shouting their answers at their screens right now:
“it all depends on your goal!”
In order to measure something, you need to decide what it is you’re actually measuring. Sound confusing? Let us explain: if you get into your car with no destination in mind, how do you know if you’ve arrived at your destination? If you get into your car and plug an address into your satnav, your goal is to arrive at that address (usually by a certain time) and you’ll know when you’ve achieved it because you’ll be parked outside of that specific address (plus the fact your satnav will announce your arrival in that odd little accent of theirs… “Arrived.”).
Your competition is exactly the same, when you launch your competition you’ll have a specific goal in mind: to collect X number of email addresses, to increase your page likes by X% or X people, to get people to vote on their favourite photo or to get comments on a photo for example. You can gauge your competition’s success against whether it achieved the goal you set out to achieve.
I have questions about my competition budget...
Yes. Fortunately, competitions can be run for next to nothing, especially the first competition which is more of a trial run to see how your audience reacts and whether they would enter. I’d advise you to:
- Run a competition on your Facebook timeline to avoid paying for third party apps (make the most of IFTTT, Zapier, Contest Capture and Agora Pulse who offer free tools)
- Make it a game of skill to avoid having to pay for a competition licence
- Write your own basic set of T&Cs but be aware that professionally written T&Cs will protect your business a lot more than anything cobbled together from google!
- Work out if you have any assets you can give away that won’t cost you anything (consultations, old stock etc). You can always see if a partner or supplier of yours is willing to contribute or sponsor a prize
- You may need to cover postage or travel. If you can deliver the prize yourself, snap a photo/video whilst you’re at it to use as marketing material!
Money. Such a dirty word, but we need it to pay bills. Let’s see if we can’t get you some…
- First and foremost is money your competition goal? If not, you know what to do… let it goooo…
- If money is your goal, have you set a realistic target to achieve? One competition isn’t going to make you an overnight millionaire, otherwise I would be ridiculously loaded (spoiler alert: I’m totally not)
- Are you actually asking for money or hoping they’ll pay out of the goodness of their hearts?
- Have you made purchase to win your entry method?
- Have you made it clear that the entrants need to spend money?
- Did you make any money at all? Even a dollar?
- Can you ask your target audience why they didn’t go ahead with their purchase? Is it a case of price or the prize wasn’t worth it or they bought your product but just didn’t enter your competition? Get to the bottom of it.
- What did you get from the competition? Did you receive likes or follows? Are they still valuable to you? Can you convert them to paying customers?
- Is your business model suited to making money from a competition or is your product or service a slow sell where you’re best to collect email addresses and woo them before they’re ready to part with their money?
I have questions about my competition entries...
It happens to the best of us. Of course, if your competition has only been live for 10 minutes then my only troubleshooting advice is to be patient!! If your competition has been live for a few days or weeks and you’re still not getting any traction:
- Have you made sure you’ve tailored your competition to your target audience?
- Are you offering a relevant, valuable and desirable prize your target audience wants?
- Have you gone live with your competition – make sure a technical difficulty isn’t holding your competition up? Try to enter and check for bugs
- Have you made your competition public (as opposed to private or admin only)?
- Have you turned on notifications so you actually know when people are entering?
- Have you tried these methods to promote your competition?
- Have you cross promoted your competition to your other social media channels?
- Can you go to where you know your target audience hang out and tell them about your competition? Remember to respect the rules and etiquette
- Can you approach any partners or influencers?
- Have you explained to people how to enter and is it a simple enough process?
- Have you tried boosting/sponsoring your posts?
- Are you running the right type of competition for your situation? For example, if you only have 2 page likes but you’re running a comment-to-win competition and only promoting it on Facebook, you only have two possible people to comment. It might have been better to choose a like us to win competition advertised across your social networks which will give you the fan base to run a comment-to-win competition with next time around.
No dramas, we’ll work out why in no time.
- Did you complete the ground work on your target demographic and creating your avatar?
- Do you currently have that target audience following you on your social channels already? If not you need to go where they are
- Is your prize tailored to your target audience? For example, if you’re trying to attract gamers, a spa voucher isn’t going to work…
- Where are you promoting? Is it where your target audience hangs out?
- If you’re paying to boost/sponsor posts, are you targeting them to your specific demographic?
- Try asking a few friends or friends of friends who fit your target demographic why they aren’t entering – is it because your product/service simply doesn’t appeal to that group or is it more because they don’t actually know that your competition is live?
- Who is entering your competition? If you’re not getting any interest, see ‘no entries’ (above) but if you’re getting a different demographic to the one you’d hoped, is there a reason? Perhaps your company has overlooked this audience and you should try targeting those instead/as well?
- Ask any entrants you have got what it is about your competition that’s so appealing, it’ll give you insights into why they are entering but maybe your target demographic aren’t.
You’re watching your Google analytics and it’s flatter than a pancake. What do you do?
- Does anyone know about your competition? Have you promoted it?
- Is your competition easy to find or have you hidden it in the depths of your website/social media?
- Have you pinned your competition to the top of your feed/timeline?
- Have you created an obvious URL for your site such as www.yourcompany.com/win or /competition?
- Have you tried tagging a couple of people who might be interested in entering?
- Have you tried asking your family and friends to share your competition to help get it off the ground?
- Be honest now – have you followed the strategy section of the last guide to competitions?
- Is website traffic your competition goal? If not, you need to make like Elsa and let it go. Traffic will come over time, focus on the goal of your competition for now.
ENTRIES: I’m getting entries to my competition, but they’re not following my entry criteria! What do I do?
Those naughty entrants. Are you sure it’s them and not you?
- Are your instructions crystal clear? Do you list out, in as few words as possible, as few steps as possible, exactly what they have to do or have you written out an epic 1000 word description of what they need to do?
- Have you made it clear that they will only be entered if they meet all of your entry criteria? If not, maybe repost your entry criteria in a separate post?
- Remind those who have entered already that in order to get an entry they must also complete the steps they missed and list the next steps they need to take.
- Don’t ask too much of them, you can always run another competition asking them to complete more actions later. Try to stick to one action in order to enter.
- Learn from their behaviour – if you’ve asked them to like every single one of your social media accounts but they tend to only follow your Instagram account, maybe next time just ask them to follow your Instagram?
- Have you made your call to action clear? Have you created a button or dedicated link where they can enter?
- Consider revising the entry criteria for the next competition.
Well that’s no good, clearly they’re not looking hard enough.
- Have you told them very clearly where your competition is? Including a link?
- Just double check it’s actually live…
- How do you find it? What steps do you take to find your competition entry page? Share those steps people to show them how it’s done
- Make it super easy to find with a dedicated post/page or URL
- Ask a friend to try and find it and note any difficulties they have and how you could address them
- Have you posted about it in our Facebook group?
- Have you been promoting it?
- Ask any entrants how they found it and share that with others.
How long is a piece of string?
OK, maybe that’s a little unfair, there are a few things you can do to get a fairly good idea, however nothing is guaranteed and the best proof is in the pudding – by actually running the competition.
Here’s how you can get a rough idea:
How many entrants do you want? If you want a huge number of entrants obviously you will have tailored your competition around that with a super strong competition strategy, that’s been designed and implemented to set yourself up with a better chance of attracting more entrants
How many is realistic? If you’re just asking for your existing fans to enter and you only have a couple of hundred, then truthfully, aiming for 500 entrants is unrealistic. If you are looking to attract a new audience and you’ve done your due diligence research and found there is a potential target market of 1.2 million, then aiming for 500 entrants (given that you are putting effort into promoting) is a more realistic figure.
What encourages entries?
Unfortunately every now and then you will come across an undesired entry or entrant. This will be someone who just wants to get a reaction and stir things up. They might be annoyed because they didn’t win or just be a generic internet troll.
If you do come across an undesirable, don’t panic. It’s usually not a reflection of you or your company, most of the time they just do it for the love of trouble or because they’re a sore loser, which I guess is testimony to how great your prize was if it’s worth getting upset about! If the person in question is leaving nasty comments or posts that are offensive or defamatory – report them straight away and hide/delete them if you have the ability to. If the comments are just upsetting but not necessarily reportable, use it as an opportunity to turn it to your advantage. How many times have you appreciated a company more for the way they’ve dealt with a complaint than if everything had run smoothly? The way you deal with adversity shows just as much about your company’s character than when everything runs to plan.
Calm down, take time away then come back and draft a reply. Leave it for 5 minutes then reread it, does it sound neutral, reasonable and level-headed, addressing their concern and offering a solution? If so, then it’s probably ready to hit ‘send’. If it sounds petty and argumentative or defensive, scrap it and wait until you’ve cooled down or get someone else to draft something for you. You’ve got more to lose than they have by replying in the heat of the moment when upset, so take time to construct a neutral reply that makes you look like the bigger person.
It’s unlikely to be an issue for your first few competitions which will be relatively small-scale to start off with, but there are people out there who use ‘bots’ (software) to enter competitions automatically on their behalf.
Here are a few tips to help avoid cheat entries and encourage valid entries:
- Limit entries to one per person
- Offer a specific prize that appeals to your target audience rather than a generic prize such as a dreaded iPad
- Make the entry process qualitative – or a game of skill – requiring a sensical and well thought-out answer that is difficult for bots to enter
- Set clear criteria against which entries will be judged and state that ‘incomprehensible or illegible entries will not be considered’ for example, to rule out gibberish, cheat answers
- Check your entries at the close of competition for duplicates or nonsensical entries and remove these (as long as you have this stated in your T&Cs as per above)
As mentioned, consistency is key – keep promoting, keep plugging away across your channels and keep up the interaction. It’s a finite period whilst your competition is live and the extra effort will pay off when you smash your competition’s goal!
Here are a few suggestions to keep the competition momentum going:
- Ask questions
- Highlight entries and entrants
- Offer additional incentives such as free content
- Mix up your competition messages and promotions with your regular content to avoid competition fatigue
- Ask if partners or guest posters want to write a few posts to mix up the messages and give your competition a freshen up
- Curate your entries as you go using hashtags or mentions and feeds or galleries to keep people interested and interacting and give them an idea of what they need to do to enter. Seeing that other people have entered also acts as powerful social proof that it’s worth entering.
- Don’t just try promotion activities once, especially if it didn’t work for you the first time around, as with anything you need to get the timing right so give it another go
- Offer some content giveaways/discounts/special offers during your competition so people still feel they’re getting value from you outside of the competition
- Remember those guest posts press releases, hashtags etc that you created before your competition? Make sure you’re keeping an eye on those and responding to any comments and questions. It’s not a set and forget task (I know, I know, I say that all the time but it’s true), it needs a little love from you in order to succeed.
There are indeed – some are more successful than others. Going down the app route is definitely the safest bet rather than asking people to share your competition in order to enter which is actually against Facebook’s competition rules. For referrals and sharing to help your competition gain momentum, we love Gleam. Developed here in Australia, Gleam has a very generous free version and allows you to award extra entries to people who share your competition and refer friends. Besides Gleam, there’s also:
KingSumo, which we also love, but unfortunately it restricted to website-based competitions (WordPress only) and also awards extra entries for sharing the competition link on various social platforms.
Strutta which sits very nicely in your Facebook page and has a ‘share’ tab but is unfortunately very pricey.
ShortStack which offers sharing options but not overly obviously (the buttons can be a little small).
Overall, for sharing, Gleam is still the clear winner for us.
ENTRIES: Are there any other apps like Gleam out there that easily allow for social and email sharing?
Gleam is definitely our top pick for easy sharing, but as mentioned above, there are a number of other apps out there that encourage sharing too though in our opinion none do it quite as well as Gleam. If you’re running your competition on your website and it’s WordPress-based, KingSumo is a good choice as the simple entry screen doesn’t overwhelm you with sharing options before you’ve even entered, they’re presented only once you’ve entered. ShortStack is our top pick for competition apps and has little buttons for sharing but they’re not made as obvious as with KingSumo and Gleam. Most competition apps will have a sharing facility so it depends on your actual entry method too.
Some more tips to encourage social and email sharing:
Make sure you actually share you own competition on your own social channels and encourage people to share (you can even track the shares if you wish to reward the sharers) and ensure you include a ‘forward to a friend’ option in your emails that you send about your competition to your database.
ENTRIES: I am looking for help on how to create a sign up competition on my website, how do I do this?
As we’ve discussed above, there are a number of apps created to assist you in collecting entries for your competition. A couple that are particularly good for email signup are ShortStack, KingSumo, Gleam, PromoSimple and Strutta. There are also plugins you can download and integrate into your website that will manage the email collection for you, if you’re WordPress-based, Ninja forms is a great free plugin that collects form entries and collates them ready to export and upload to your email list. We’ve also heard good things about Contact Form 7 (though we don’t have any personal experience using it) but you can search your provider’s apps and plugins for one that suits your site and your needs. The advantage of using an app/plugin is that they are specifically designed for this purpose, so will be fully customisable to the look and feel of your website and you can add all the necessary fields for your competition – the apps will even let you upload images of your prize, links to your T&Cs and social media like/follow integrations. The downside is that not all of these apps and plugins integrate easily into your email provider, so you’ll most likely need to download a CSV/Excel file of your entries and upload it manually into your email list.
The second option is to check whether your email provider has an email collection form option that you can design within their platform and integrate into your site. Mailchimp, for example which is commonly used by small businesses, does have the option to design your own email collection form as will most other email providers. Check the documentation or have a look for a ‘forms’ option within your email platform. The disadvantage of this method is that the form editors are usually a little clunky and don’t allow for much customisation to the look and feel of your brand, however the huge upside is that every single entry into that form will be automatically added to your email list without you having to do a thing.
If that all sounds a bit too hard basket or you just don’t have the kind of time to design your entry forms, OrigamiGlobe will help.
We’ve seen mixed success with loop giveaways and they do seem to be frowned upon on some social networks (especially Facebook) but I’ve also seen success in numbers so it’s all about working out if it’s the best fit for your business. If you do want to run a loop giveaway, here are a few tips:
- make sure you find similar but non competing businesses to partner with – for example it makes no sense for a personal stylist to partner with a children’s toy maker!
- agree in advance how the entries will be collected and shared so everyone gets equal reward for equal work.
- try and keep the entry process as simple as possible, 10 companies getting together for the loop is great but people entering won’t necessarily like all 10 pages so collating entries to find a valid winner is difficult and you draw the short end of the stick of your business is listed last!
- try and avoid giving away a voucher, they have much lower engagement rates. Packages (for example one product from each company participating in the loop) tend to get far better engagement as people perceive a package to be worth a lot more than its retail value and it’s completely exclusive to that giveaway, they can’t get that package elsewhere.
- partnerships can work just as well as loop giveaways too, so you might want to weigh up the pros and cons before going ahead.
Personally, I don’t think loop giveaways give a big enough return on your time, effort and financial investment. You can read more here.
I have questions about my competition engagement...
Boo! No one likes a page with no comments! We’ve all been there though. Let’s see what we can do.
- First of all, is engagement the goal of your competition? If not, you need to focus on what you are trying to achieve with this competition and accept any engagement as a bonus!
- Is your entry method geared towards engagement? If you’re just asking for people to follow you to enter, you can’t always expect them to engage too
- If it is the goal of your competition, what are you doing to help people engage? Are you posting images? Are you writing compelling posts?
- Have you told people you want them to engage with you/your posts?
- Have you tried asking them questions?
- Are you replying to comments to show them how it’s done?
- Can you ask some friends and family or better yet, some of your target audience to get the ball rolling with the first few comments?
ENGAGEMENT: We just launched our first Instagram competition and would love some help to build excitement around it.
Congratulations! Instagram is a great platform for building engagement and interaction with your brand. To create some excitement around the competition, make sure you’re shouting about it anywhere and everywhere you can…
- Change the link in your bio to the link where they can enter the competition. If you want them to enter on a specific Instagram post, open that post on a desktop computer and copy and paste the link into www.bit.ly to shorten it and paste back into your bio or use something like linktr.ee to give you more links from your bio.
- Consider changing your profile picture to one that promotes your competition – perhaps a countdown or your usual logo wrapped up in a bow to signify you’re giving something away.
- Post some pictures on Instagram that advertise your competition, even a simple image of your product with the words ‘giveaway’ or ‘win’ over the image will attract people’s attention when scrolling through their feed.
- You could also consider using your feed’s layout to promote the competition – split an image into three or six and post them to your feed where the complete picture will come together.
- Ask any partners or collaborators to post about your competition to their audience.
- Promote your competition off of Instagram too, change your Facebook header image to one that shows your competition, again you could change your profile picture on Facebook, create a post with a link to your competition and pin it to the top of your feed. This process can apply to all of your other social media channels too.
- Email your audience. If you’ve already built up an email list, make sure you send out a message to your audience and let them know your competition is live, what they can win and how they can enter.
- Post your competition in any groups and forums you’re a member of (as long as it’s allowed!).
I have questions about my competition promotion...
You feel a bit cheated, you followed all my advice and you still aren’t getting entries! What’s the deal?
- Is your prize attractive enough to encourage entrants?
- Are you entry instructions clear and simple?
- Have you actually told them how to enter once they find you? Make it super simple and explain it as if you’re explaining it to a child, clearly and simply
- Can you ask some people you did reach with your promoting why they didn’t enter?
- Did you actually promote it or did you just read the article on promoting your competition and not implement anything?
- Did you try all the promotion methods listed? Yes, even that one?
- Is there anyone you can get to give you a shoutout to help you gain traction? A partner or an influencer or maybe a friend or former colleague with connections to your target audience?
- Did you complete the pre-work to make sure you’ve got a clear goal, well-defined target demographic etc?
PROMOTION: I was wondering how people have successfully marketed their competitions? Have you used any sites specifically for competitions?
This question is two-fold: how to market your competition and what sites are there to market your competition on.
We’ll tackle the sites first. There are a number of sites you can promote your competition on and as long as your prize is considered valuable, you’ll probably get a tonne of entries. BUT (there’s always a but) these sites are aimed at ‘compers’ or prize pigs – people who enter competitions professionally for a living, or just for the love of competitions (or more precisely winning competitions). They are not necessarily your target demographic, nor will they likely ever convert into a paying customer, so think carefully about whether you want a lot of low-quality, low-converting entrants or a small number of targeted and higher quality entrants. If you do decide to go down the competition site route, here are a few Australian-based sites:
In terms of marketing your competition, it really is about creating awareness and excitement around your competition and its prize before, during and after your competition. If you haven’t already launched your competition, consider creating a series of promotional posts to let your audience know your competition is coming. You could count down to your competition and hint at what the prize may be. Building up awareness before your competition launches means more people are going to know about – and enter – your competition. On launch day, you really want to make the most of that build up and promote the hell out of your competition – let everyone and anyone who’ll listen know that you’re running a competition, what the prize is and how they can enter. Here’s a whole bunch of promotion tips.
I have questions about my competition winners...
Take a deep breath, we’ve all encountered them. There’s always a solution.
- Get to the root of the issue – are they upset about the prize? Are they upset about the way the draw was conducted? Once you understand this you can begin to fix it
- Can you ask someone else to help correspond with them if you’re having a hard time communicating with them?
- If they’re disputing an aspect of the prize/competition, make sure your T&Cs are watertight and refer back to those
- Keep a copy of any and all correspondence – this may mean recording phone calls or keeping everything in writing, by email
- Be polite and courteous, whatever your personal grievances with the entrant/winner, you are still representing your company
- Is it easier just to let them have what it is they’re causing difficulties about?
- Seek legal advice
- Take the emotion out – we’ve all written an angry email in immediate response to something that has upset us, but don’t hit send. Give it 15 minutes and come back to it, get someone else to proofread it – an angry customer tells more people about their bad experience than a happy one (unfortunately)
- Turn it around – this can be a great opportunity to wow them, go the extra mile to resolve their complaint and turn them into an advocate
- Try to resolve any issues on the first contact, the longer it drags out, the more painful it is for all involved.
I have questions about my competition timing...
TIMING: Running a competition for 1 day - is it worth it? How much time should you allow for it to be successful?
Great question. Now it does depend a little on your business and the prize you’re offering; but we’ve seen businesses that pull off 24-hour flash competitions just as well as companies who run campaigns for 8 weeks.
If your goal is to reward your customers and you have a high-traffic avenue such as a large amount of followers on your Facebook page or Instagram account, a one-day competition could be a lot of fun and your followers could absolutely love it. It may even encourage future high-traffic as people will want to be in the know if you were to run a similar competition again. However, if your goal is to encourage email signups and you don’t have a high-traffic avenue or access to a large audience, realistically, one day is definitely not enough time to achieve an adequate number of subscribers and you’ll end up giving away your prize in return for only a few email addresses.
Regular quick competitions or daily/weekly/monthly giveaways with low-cost prizes could be a great way to build up to a bigger prize and overall goal. Whilst there’s no secret formula, generally there’s a peak of entries around the 25 day mark – it’s long enough for people to have found out about your competition, entered, shared and referred any friends. Just think carefully about your business, your customers, your goal and your prize and whether a a quick flash competition would suit all of the above, or whether you should consider a longer competition period and give your competition time to achieve your goal.
For more info on timing, check out our section on competition timelines in The last guide to competitions you’ll ever need to read.
TIMING: How long do you keep giveaways open for before announcing a winner? Is a week too short? Is a fortnight too long?
There’s no one-size-fits-all method when it comes to deciding your competition’s duration, some competitions get a great response in just one week and others need 6 weeks to gain momentum – it depends on a number of factors such as:
- The size of your existing audience/reach – a bigger audience means more entries and potentially more shares with a longer competition.
- The goal of your competition – if it’s to launch a new product of yours, then a week probably isn’t enough time to gain enough attention and hype, but if it’s to get comments and engagement on a post and your audience is quite active then a week should be ample.
- The entry method – if you’re asking entrants to complete a survey or submit a video/photo then a week and even a fortnight is definitely too short.
- Your prize – depending on what you are offering for your prize, you may need to adjust the length of your competition to suit. For example, if you’re giving away tickets to an event that’s taking place within the next week, you will obviously need to allow yourself enough time to run the giveaway, draw the winner and send out the tickets. On the other end of the scale, if you’re giving away a $10,000 prize, you want to make sure you’re making the most out of that spend and keep the competition open long enough to benefit from that huge cash outlay.
Remember that your competition duration should be pre-determined before your competition goes live and stated clearly in your T&Cs rather than just decided at random when you’ve had enough. The best way to find out the answer to this question is to dive in and learn what works best for your specific audience. We’d always recommend keeping a competition open for at least two weeks as we’ve found from experience that a week just isn’t long enough to gain real traction.
I have questions about my competition licences/permits, social media rules or terms and conditions...
LICENCES: I think I remember something about needing a licence to run a competition that works on chance, is that right?
Yep! That’s right. There are two types of competition you can run: a game of chance and a game of skill (see below for definitions). In Australian law, games of skill do not require a licence in any state, but games of chance may require a licence in NSW, ACT, SA or NT depending on the value of the prize. If your competition is open Australia-wide, you will need a licence for NSW regardless of value or whether it’s offline or online, but will only need one for ACT if your prize is over $3,000 and in SA and NT if your prize is over $5,000. Find out more about competition licences here.
Not sure if your competition is a game of chance or skill?
A game of chance (as the name implies) is where the winner is picked at random, completely by chance, no skill involved. A game of skill, on the other hand, is where the winner is picked based on the quality of their entry or the skill they demonstrate. You can read more about games of chance and skill here.
I’m sure you don’t need us to tell you how important protecting yourself with T&Cs is, so once you’ve decided on your prize, dates, entry method etc it’s time to nail those terms and conditions.
We’d always recommend getting a qualified law firm to create your T&Cs from scratch for you, especially if you have a particularly unusual or complicated competition. The last thing you want is for some technical hitch to cost your business thousands of dollars when you could have spent a few hundred protecting yourself with watertight T&Cs.
That said, we also understand that startups and small businesses don’t always have the budget for law firms, so OrigamiGlobe does provide a stock standard set of terms and conditions that we customise to your business and campaign for a small fee of $95. Please do bear in mind that these are more of a customised template for the budget conscious who can’t afford the recommended option and OrigamiGlobe is in no way qualified to offer legal advice – we’ve just learnt a hell of a lot about what makes a good set of T&Cs from the hundreds of competitions our team has been involved in!
RULES: I know there are rules about promoting/doing giveaways through FB but not clear on them. Any advice?
Ah yes, the elusive Facebook rules – there is so much confusion around the official Facebook rules and still so much incorrect and out-dated information out there which is a shame because it must put so many people off running competitions when in reality, the rules are actually pretty simple!
Here are the official rules:
In a nutshell: make sure you publish and link to your T&Cs, make sure you apply for all the relevant licences according to your state and country, release Facebook from any liability and don’t imply that they endorse your competition in any way and most importantly do not ask your entrants to share your competition on their timeline or any one else’s timeline or ask them to tag their friends to enter.
Whilst it’s vital to know what the rules DO state, it’s also important to know what they DO NOT state – or prohibit you – from doing. Before August 2013, there were rules that stated you could not ask people to like your post/page in order to enter and that you must use a third party app to run your competition. Note that whilst these used to be true, they no longer apply so you can ask your entrants to like your posts to your heart’s content.
I have questions about something else...
There are a few places to find collaborators – local Facebook business groups are a great place to start if you search for your town/city’s name and business groups. Just make sure asking for partnerships/collaborations are allowed (we can’t see why not). There are also a lot of groups on meetup.com too. Local Chambers of Commerce could be the perfect place to meet likeminded businesses but there is usually a price tag to attend.
The easiest and most direct way is of course just to directly contact local businesses that you feel would be a good fit. Make sure when you do contact them that you clearly communicate exactly why you are contacting them (to see if they are interested in collaborating for a competition), how you see the collaboration working (who collects the details, do you both get access to the detail, who pays for the prize etc) and what they need to do if they want to collaborate (or the next steps). Don’t be upset if they knock your offer back, some companies get multiple requests a day, so make yours straight to the point, relevant and tell them what’s in it for them.
You can always jump in our Facebook group Competition Creators and put a shoutout for collaborators too!
Cross promotions are a fantastic way to expand your reach and access new customer bases, but it can also be a bit of a gamble to find the right partners. The best kind of partners will be non-competing companies that are in a similar or complementary industry – for example if you create hand-made children’s clothes a great partner would be a custom children’s shoe company, same target market but you’re not directly in competition and by partnering up, you offer something you can’t give away on your own (in this case a complete outfit).
So how do you find these non-competing partners?
- A great place to start is with your own network. Grab a piece of paper and list all the possible business types you could partner with then fill in any contacts you already have for these companies or reach out to your network to see if they can help fill in the blanks on your contact sheet. A warm introduction is better than cold outreach.
- Post your request for cross-promotion partners in the groups you belong to or pages you follow on social media.
- If you sell your product at a market, have a chat with stall-holders or even at trade shows to see if anyone would be interested in partnering up for a giveaway.
- Just ask. If you come across potential partners in your journeys across the internet, send them an email. The worst they can do is ignore it or reply with ‘no’, best case they could say ‘great timing, I was just planning on doing a giveaway and I’d love to partner with you…’
- Pop into our Facebook group Competition Creators and post your request – it’s a group created specifically for those that run competitions in their business so you’re bound to find a likeminded partner in no time!
We’re also currently building a tool that will allow you to connect with collaborators quickly and easily, if you’re interested in taking it for a spin and being part of our test group, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Only one? That’s hard! OK, if we had to pick one, we’d probably say: just run it.
If you have an idea for a competition but you’re not sure if it’s the right time, you’re not 100% convinced the prize will work, you only have a small following and feel you should wait until it’s grown, or any of the millions of other excuses we tell ourselves because we’re afraid to run that competition; put that fear on the back burner and just run it anyway. The worst case scenario is your fear is confirmed, you prove yourself right. The best case scenario is you blow yourself away with the huge success of your competition and can’t wait to run the next one!
Competitions are a huge learning experience, you will never get everything right the first time around – you won’t even get everything right the 20th time around! The one thing we can promise you is that you and your business will grow hugely as a result of running a competition. You will learn a hell of a lot about what works and what doesn’t work for your audience and your business.
If you’re still scared and need a kick up the arse to just run it, we are putting together a very exciting and completely free competition of our own that will take you from ‘I don’t know’ to ‘that was awesome, let’s do it again!’. We’re still putting together the content (we want to make sure it’s spot on before we send it to you) but you can sign up by sending an email to email@example.com with the subject “I’m in!”.
We could talk all day about how to run competitions and we’ve already shared some great tips above, so we’re just going to share our top 3 tips for Instagram and Facebook here.
Our top tips for Instagram:
- include the word ‘giveaway’ or ‘competition’ on your image you post, people are more likely to stop scrolling their feed and read your description
- that description then has to start with the most important part first (the prize) as it’ll be cut off after about 20 words then they’ll have to click ‘more’
- change your bio description to mention your competition and your link to go directly to your entry page/post
- Bonus tip: Instagram ads are much cheaper than Facebook at the moment so if you have an advertising budget and you’re running your competition on Instagram, do it directly on their ad manager not via Facebook and don’t waste your dollars on advertising your Instagram competition on Facebook unless your audience is there.
- it’s mostly about choosing your competition goal carefully, if you need to build a following start with a ‘like our page to win’ competition but if you want engagement, ask them to comment on your posts or post pictures which will count as an entry
- keep it super simple: ask them to do one or two things to enter. Don’t ask them to like, share, comment, then post. People are innately lazy and feel like that’s too much hard work and won’t bother entering
- don’t forget to pin your competition entry post to the top of your feed! It’s super easy and takes a second and ensures people see that post straight away
- Bonus tip: there are heaps of apps out there for managing competitions on Facebook, some are even free, so check them out for running a more professional looking competition that makes your life easier when it comes to collating entries and picking a winner!
Q: I would love some info on the best way to write wording for competition promos - is there a specific wording that works? Also whats the best end point and what should we ask for in return e.g. sign up to email list, like and share Facebook page? Is that allowed?
Great questions! There’s a few to answer here:
- Wording – the main thing to do is to communicate WHY they should enter. Not just what prize they could win but the benefits they’ll get, what’s in it for them and by liking/sharing/tagging/signing up what do they get even if they don’t win? Explain the benefits of your business, then clearly explain the HOW to them, how to enter, how to share your competition, how to know if they’re the winner etc. Keep it super super simple and straight forward as you’ll have a much higher entry rate.
- End point – that depends on the aim of your competition and the entry method (for example first one to answer correctly will be a short competition, but enter your email to win needs longer for you to gather enough emails to have made the competition worth it for your business). 1 week is definitely too short, it needs to be 2 weeks minimum to see a decent amount of entries and there’s a sweet spot around the 25 day mark so if you can, aim to have your competition open for between 2-4 weeks as a minimum.
- What to ask for – that depends on your goal. If you are trying to build a following on Facebook so you can create a community or get feedback from them on your latest product for example, you’ll want to run a like to win/comment to win type competition. If your business is all about the long wait and nurturing them until they’re ready to buy, email collection is the best way to go. Decide what you want the outcome to be for your business first, then the rest of your competition falls into place.
- Rules – Facebook does not allow you to ask people to share in order to enter so avoid this at all costs! Like to win IS now allowed and you no longer have to use third party apps to run your competition. You can read the definitive guide to social media platform rules in this blog post.
It’s so incredibly important to make sure you set solid foundations for your competition, not only will it make decisions and management of the competition easier but it’s also more likely to be successful. Check out the foundations section of The last guide to competitions you’ll ever need to read.
Q: I'm a (very new) blogger and am currently trying to encourage my readers to subscribe, I'm intending to do a subscriber only giveaway. I'll be buying the prize and just wanted to know what monetary value is the sweet spot?
When it comes to prize value, there’s no one size fits all or magic number – it’s a bit of a formula. The main thing is to offer something of immense value to your target audience, regardless of the dollar value. For example, a book that is revered amongst collectors of a certain genre could only be worth $20 if sold on eBay, but emotionally that book would be priceless to those collectors. A real life example is from one blogger who ran a competition for light up toilet seats (her target audience is mums with young kids so multiple trips to the bathroom in the night!) it retails for $20, but she had a hugely overwhelming response, she’d nailed something her audience values. Other ideas could include an ebook or resource that that’s valuable, useful and relevant to your target audience, again it doesn’t have to be hugely pricey, just valuable to your audience. Packages always work really well, you could bring together a package of 5 resources for example, research on incentives shows that people perceive a package as being worth a lot more than the retail value.
What if I need further support?
We’re here for you, man.
- Give us a call or come for a coffee.
- Send an email directly to me and I’ll get straight back to you: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Send an email to the team: email@example.com
- Check out our blog for more advice, tips and tricks on running competitions
- Join the community on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest
- Send us a direct message on our Facebook page, Instagram or tweet us
- Join our Facebook group full of game-changing competition creators and pick their brains, ask for feedback or help or just rant about a difficult winner. It’s your space.
If you can’t find what you need in this FAQ or our guide, please feel free to post your question and we’ll send you a personalised response with suggestions and references for further research – we’re here to help make your competitions and giveaways a success! If you’d rather email us, send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.