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It’s your first competition, you’ve prepped the marketing material, scheduled the posts, checked the licences and social media platform rules (of course!) and it’s the eve of your competition launch. You’re feeling super excited but you’re wondering – how many entries will I get? Will anyone convert into a paying customer? How do I promote it? You just wish there was someone who could tell you what to expect…

Well your wish is granted! OrigamiGlobe is here to answer some of your most commonly asked questions so you can feel more confident about launching your first competition.

If you can’t find the answer to your competition question here, book in a free 15 minute strategy session with our competition nerds and ask us anything! … Yep, even that question you’re afraid to ask.

Q: How many entries will I get for my first competition?

Sadly our crystal ball is on the blink and we’ve had to send it to get repaired, so whilst we can’t give you an exact figure, we can say with absolute confidence that the number of entries will correlate directly to the amount of promotion and interaction you have with your campaign.

Running a competition is by no means a ‘set and forget’ task, it’s like a seedling that needs a little attention every day in order to grow bigger. The more you share and promote your first ever competition and interact with your target audience, the more entries you’ll get. Of course if you only have 10 Facebook friends and you only post one announcement on Facebook that you’re running a competition, you can expect next to no entries.

It’s all about how you promote it.

Q: Will anyone convert into a paying customer?

Again, this depends on you (notice a theme here?)

If you’ve set up a like our Facebook page to win-style competition and you’ve got 500 new Facebook page likes but no plan to engage them now you’ve got their attention, then realistically, your conversion rate will be low. If you collect email addresses as part of your competition and set up a killer email autoresponder series to keep them engaged and start segmenting your audience, chances are you will up your conversion rate and convert your first competition entrants into lifetime customers.

It’s all about keeping your audience engaged with your brand so that when they’re ready to buy, they buy from you.

Q: Where and how do I promote my competition?

Everywhere! If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

You need to advertise your competition on every channel you own and also on your website. If you can have a landing page (it truly doesn’t need to be fancy, text only with an entry form and a couple of images of the prize is enough) on your website, you’re not only going to create a central and easy point for people to enter, you’ll also add credibility to your competition and get people looking at your site and what you offer too.

Don’t underestimate sharing as a means of promoting your competition either – if you have friends that have access to your target audience, ask them to share – just be careful of Facebook’s sharing rules.

If you have a big budget, definitely consider paid ads, but don’t go overboard for your first competition as it will mainly be about testing the water, getting the format right and working out what appeals to your audience so you don’t want to blow the budget before you know what works.

Q: How do I know if I’ve picked the right platform?

Where do your target audience (or ideal entrants) hang out? If they’re hardcore Instagram addicts, you need to promote your competition there. If they’re all about the tweets, that’s what you need to be all about too.

By going where your audience is, you’re likely to get more entries, that’s simple maths. There’s also no harm in trying multiple platforms for your first competition to see what works best – just make sure you’re keeping track of the stats, how many followers/visits/views/interactions you started with and how many you gained during the competition process, this will give you an insight into which platform to target next time.

Q: How much should I spend promoting my first competition?

Ideally, for your first competition (or at least the first week or two of your competition) nothing. $0.

It’s not because we’re tight that we’re telling you this, but as we touched upon above, you might not have a huge amount of data on what works on which platform yet. Waiting for at least a week, you’ll get an idea of your organic reach and engagement as well as Facebook stats and insights into natural interactions, which you can then choose to spend money on to boost and encourage those naturally existing trends.

Q: How long should my competition run for?

Ideally between 14 – 90 days.

That probably sounds like a lifetime but you really need to give your competition time to spread and for the word to get out there. Running a week-long competition isn’t going to have a huge amount of reach or get a huge amount of new customers as, say, a three-week long promotion would.

In our experience, the sweet spot is around four weeks (approximately a month) as this gives you enough time to promote it and reach new people and interact with your audience. It’s also going to reach further and allow more entries. That said, if the prize is right and you have a good audience built up, 24 hour ‘flash promotions’ and competitions also work really well for some brands. These brands are usually lower-priced, product-based businesses with larger followings.

Q: How do I know if my competition will reach my target audience?

First of all you need to make sure you know and understand your target audience, have you got client avatars or buying personas? If not, you need to create some in order to understand how to reach them.

Here is a great article by Buffer, which pulls together some research and insights into demographic information by platform so you can make an informed decision about whether the platform you’ve chosen will likely reach your target audience. If you do decide to go down the paid ads or remarketing route, make sure you do a little research beforehand so you can tweak your campaigns to ensure they have the best possible chance to get in front of the right people.

Remember our seedling analogy? Picking the right platform is kind of like ensuring you sew the seeds in the right part of the garden so they get exposed to just the right amount of sun and rain.

Enjoying our first competition Q&A?

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Q: What if it fails spectacularly?!

First things first, when it comes to competitions, there’s no such thing as failure, only learnings.

We know, it sounds cheesy but it’s true – if you poured all your energy into a competition on Facebook, only to realise your audience hangs out on Instagram, realistically you’ve lost absolutely nothing but gained the invaluable knowledge of exactly where your audience is, so your next competition needs to be Instagram oriented.

We’ve put together a video on what to do if your competition wasn’t successful.

Q: How do I keep track of all the competition entries?

It entirely depends on your method of entry as to the easiest way to keep track of entries, but in general we would always recommend creating a unique hashtag on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, ensuring that your entrants @mention you on twitter or if you’re after the easiest method of all: use a third party app.

To make your life easier, we’ve reviewed 20+ of the best competition apps right here. If you’re collecting emails, try to hook your entry form up to your email platform so entries are automatically added to your database – preferably to a sub-list or with an identifying tag so you can contact them as a group at a later date.

Q: What do I do now? / What do I do whilst my first ever competition is live?

Great question, it’s really really important that you interact and engage with your audience and entrants before, during and after the competition. Highlight great entries and thank people for entering. Remind them you’re still running the competition and pin your posts to the top of your page feed. Tell the world you’re running a kick arse competition that they just have to enter!

Keep an eye on your entries too, making sure they’re appropriate and in line with the social media channel’s rules. Monitoring your competition’s progress, its successes and lulls will help you adjust course and keep the momentum going, ensuring your competition keeps the bang that it launched with!

Now you know a little of what to expect, you can relax a little! Know that every competition is completely different and even if it doesn’t go at all how you would have hoped, you’ll just have a bucket load of information to learn from and implement next time around. The main thing is to enjoy the experience of running your first competition and use it as a great opportunity to get closer to your audience.

If you have a question on what to expect for your first (or even 100th!) competition, why not book in a free 15 minute strategy session with our giveaway gurus?