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Running a competition is one thing, converting visitors to entrants during the competition is another – and converting those who do enter, into genuine leads or paying customers after the competition is an entirely different kettle of fish.

A member of our Competition Creator’s Facebook group asked us what the best mechanism for conversion is and we thought it was too good a question not to share, so here are our top tips for encouraging conversion during – and after – your competition.

What is conversion?

Conversion is essentially how many people completed your desired action from the total number of people who could have completed your desired action.

For example, you run a Facebook competition to win tickets to your movie-themed event and 100 people (which you’d see as ‘reach’ on Facebook) saw your post asking them to tell you their favourite movie quote for a chance to win.

From those 100 people who saw your post, 10 people left a comment to enter; so your conversion rate to entrant would be 10 (actual entrants) ÷ 100 (possible entrants) = 0.1 (or 10%) conversion rate.

Why does it matter?

Well as much as we’d all love to run competitions and give away our products and services for free all the time, we have to actually keep an eye on whether competitions are an effective tactic for our business or not.

One way we do this is through measuring conversion rate – especially conversion rate to paying customer or lead.

Tips for converting visitors to entrants…

One type of conversion to keep an eye on during your competition is how many people see your competition vs how many people actually enter it.

If you get 500 likes on your instagram post announcing your competition and explaining how to enter, but you’ve not received a single entry; something’s wrong.

Here’s what to keep an eye on:

  • Firstly, make sure everything’s working correctly – enter the competition yourself to test everything is working as it should be
  • Use google analytics to keep an eye on your competition landing page views vs entry numbers, or if you’re using a competition app, have a look at impressions or views vs actual entries and if you’re running it on social media, check your insights for views and reach vs engagement
  • A conversion rate of 40% or higher is a good aim, ideally you’d want to keep tweaking layout and content to get this higher throughout your competition
  • Look at your entry method through your potential entrants’ eyes – is the page attractive, easy to navigate, explains what prize is on offer, is branded to your business, has simple to follow instructions and makes you want to enter?
  • Make sure your entry method doesn’t ask too much – if you’re asking for people to follow you on Facebook, follow you on Instagram, like your page, comment on a photo on instagram, tag 3 friends on instagram and then submit a 25 word answer (because after all, you want a game of skill to avoid the licence fee, right?) I guarantee you you’ll have little to no entries. Keep it simple, every action is a chance to lose potential entrants, so stick asking entrants to complete actions that help you achieve your competition goal
  • If you’re running your competition on social media and your engagement has taken a nose-dive, make sure you’re not breaking any rules. Avoid spammy ‘tag your friends to win’ or ‘comment yes below to enter’ at all costs. Not only is tagging and sharing against Facebook’s competition rules, but Facebook now actively penalises spammy, engagement bait content
  • Remember that competitions are 20% strategy, 80% promotion – so the more traffic you drive to your competition, the more entries you’ll get.

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Tips for converting entrants to customers…

Once your competition is over, you’ll hopefully have a targeted, engaged and happy audience – so make the most of it!

To help maximise your ROI (return on investment) on your giveaway and offset the cost of running the competition, your next job is to try to convert your entrants to leads or paying customers.

Our tips for encouraging conversion to customer:

  • Remember to ask for the sale! If you don’t directly tell your entrants how to become a paying customer, they’re not necessarily going to investigate for themselves. Show them your products, explain what your service is or direct them to a relevant landing page on your website
  • Ask them if they want to opt out of your email list – people enter competitions for various reasons, sometimes they may not be your target demographic, so give them the option to opt out of further communication. This may sound counter-intuitive, but you’ll improve your conversion rate as well as your deliverability rate plus you build a list of people who actually want to hear – and potentially buy – from you
  • Stay top of mind with regular posts or emails after the competition, don’t just drop off the face of the earth and forget to follow up with them. You’ve worked hard to attract a new audience, so engage and interact with them to keep them interested in your business
  • Don’t be afraid to experiment with different tactics, some people respond well to plain text emails, some people love images. Some will respond well to a time-sensitive offer (e.g. ‘ends tomorrow!’) whereas others hate to be put under pressure. Try lots of different conversion methods to see what works best for your specific audience
  • Offer them an incentive. This is one of my all-time favourite conversion tools. In your winner announcement post/email, tell them that everyone’s a winner with an exclusive discount code/link/X% off for the next X days. You’ll be surprised at how many people take you up on your offer
It doesn’t have to be a freebie, try an upgrade, value add, percentage off or discount code…
Photo by William White on Unsplash.
  • Finally, run another competition. Yes yes, of course I’d say that! But in all honesty, why wouldn’t you put everything you’ve learnt from this competition to good use? I guarantee that if you take your learnings from this competition, you’ll improve your conversion rate for your next competition.

So now you know why conversion is so important and how to encourage visitors to entrants and entrants to customers, it’s time to run a competition. Check out our super comprehensive guide, The last guide to competitions you’ll ever need to read or book in a FREE 15 minute strategy session with our competition gurus.

You’ve literally got no excuse not to start planning your next competition!