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When it comes to competition prizes, there is definitely such a thing as a good prize and a bad prize. We’ve already ranted at length about some of the worst prizes you should definitely not choose for your next competition; but what makes a good competition prize and how do you choose what prize to give away?

A good place to start is always your own product or service, but we figured you may need a little more guidance than that, so we’ve put together a comprehensive guide to choosing your competition prize – and before you ask, no an iPad is not an acceptable prize…

Start with your own product or service.

There are a couple of phrases I use more often than I’d like to admit. One such phrase is this:

“The best prize is always your own product or service.”

Why? Because you know that every single person entering your competition is saying ‘I want what you sell’. You’re building an audience of people ready and willing to purchase your product or service.

Often people will pull a face and say something like ‘but my service is boring… no one wants to win that’ or ‘my product only costs $10 though, no one will enter…’ and to those people I say; if people are willing to pay for your product or service (and you’re in business, so presumably you have paying customers) then I guarantee you they’d want to win it for free.

Yes, it’s true that a $10 prize may have less appeal than a $10,000 prize… but we’ll get to that.


If you’re unsure how make your own product or service as a prize sound tempting, here are some helpful suggestions.

  • Tailor the duration of your competition to the value of your prize. A 24 hour flash giveaway would work wonders for a $10 RRP prize, but a $10,000 prize is going to need longer than 24 hours to give you a good return on your investment.
  • It’s all about how you sell it. Ever watch those infomercials that have you reaching for your phone to buy a 30 piece pen set you’ll never use for three easy payments of $9.99 before you come to your senses and change channel? No? Maybe it’s just me… My point is clever pacing, scripting and imagery is used in those adverts to sucker you in and consider a purchase. Leverage clever copy that’s designed to convert and images that showcase your product at its best and suddenly your $10 prize becomes absolutely irresistible…
I have to buy them, they’re OrigamiGlobe colours!
Tempting photo by Dee @ Copper and Wild on Unsplash.

Go broad and go niche.

You’re probably thinking, great advice, Suki so contradictory…

Stick with me here.

Popular competition prizes include cars, travel prizes, gadgets, tickets, vouchers and the dreaded iPad (my pet hate); but their popularity is a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, these types of prizes appeal to everyone, so you have a huge pool of potential entrants and your competition is guaranteed to be popular… but on the other hand, these types of competition prizes appeal to everyone, including prize pigs, with only a small percentage likely to be your ideal customer.

The answer? Go broad and go niche.


Embrace the popular and use it to your advantage, then customise it to your particular customer niche.

Here’s how:

The perfect rainforest retreat by Miryam León on Unsplash.

Let’s say your ideal customer is a laid-back, boho, barefoot kinda gal. The idea of touring Europe’s iconic landmarks by the bus-load by day and sleeping in a comfy but soulless hotel chain by night, may not appeal to our flower-powered, eco warrior friend; but it doesn’t mean we have to abandon the concept altogether, just give it a little twist.

We can easily customise this concept to a tailor-made, rainforest treehouse-hopping private tour of Europe’s most unique and eco-friendly properties. Swapping city chic for wooded wonderlands.

You’re still capitalising on a popular and sought after prize concept, but by tailoring and targeting it to your ideal client, you’re likely to attract higher quality entrants who are most likely to be your ideal demographic.

We’re full of ideas…

Need a hand putting something popular but personalised together? Why not book in a free prize brainstorming session with our team?


Bigger and more expensive does not mean better…

In all my years of running competitions, I’ve never seen a shred of evidence to suggest that more expensive and bigger means more popular or better when it comes to prizes – and believe me, I’ve been looking.

What we’ve learned from hundreds of clients, hundreds of competitions and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of prizes is that the key to a popular and successful prize is actually in the perceived value of the prize – not the dollar value.

For example, if you have a limited edition signed copy of a highly coveted book that’s much loved amongst your very niche target audience but wouldn’t be worth more than $30 if you flogged it on eBay, it truly doesn’t matter that it’s only worth $30. To your audience it’s worth a lot more, because they perceive it is.

The good news is that there’s a really easy way to incorporate this into your competition, that isn’t necessarily going to cost you a fortune – ‘money can’t buy’ experiences.

Money can’t buy experiences are, you guessed it, experiences your target audience cannot usually purchase or obtain. For example, a chance to get a behind-the-scenes tour (à la Willy Wonka) or a personalised product, something that you don’t sell elsewhere. These types of competition prizes make for such a unique and valued prize to your audience at little or no additional cost to you.


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A note on vouchers as competition prizes.

Personally, I think vouchers are a bit of a cop out. Most likely, you’re considering giving away a voucher as your competition prize because you think vouchers are easier (and cheaper) for you to organise than any other prize.

If you’re nodding along or looking sheepish right now, let me show you exactly why I don’t think vouchers are as powerful as an actual, well-thought out, relevant and specific prize:

See what I mean?

Just because it’s easy for you, doesn’t mean it’s easy or appealing to your target audience. If they need to then physically go to a store, look through a catalogue, decide on a destination, talk to a consultant, decide on arrangements and make decisions; the appeal is lost.

If you want to achieve your competition goal, you need to make it as easy and as tempting to enter your competition as possible. That means putting your entrants’ preferences first and making your competition prize so irresistible, your target audience has no choice but to enter.

Is there anything you can’t give away?

Yes. Some items are prohibited from being given away as prizes for a competition and others have special conditions that apply.

In Australia, for example, the following items are prohibited from being given away as competition prizes:

  • Tobacco products in any form
  • Firearms and ammunition
  • Weapons
  • Cosmetic surgery or personal appearance improving procedures
  • Liquor prizes are restricted to a maximum of 20 litres at 20% volume or 5 litres if the volume exceeds 20%. Liquor prizes are also restricted to entrants aged 18 years and above
  • Any other item that is restricted by state legislation

Each country and indeed each state, territory or province, will have its own rules, restrictions and laws with regards to what you can and can’t give away as a competition prize, so you must always research laws specific to where your competition will be open to.

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to choosing your competition prize. Remember to always start with your own product or service and tailor it to appeal to your target audience. Don’t stress about spending a small fortune on prizes… but avoid vouchers, they’re the ‘sorry I couldn’t be bothered’ prizes of the competition world.

If you’re still stumped for prize ideas or stuck on what you can and can’t give away, why not book in a totally free strategy chat with our team of giveaway gurus? You can also send us a love letter, give us a call, email us or if you’re old school, send a carrier pigeon.