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Hooray! You’ve successfully run your competition and closing day is fast approaching – so what’s next? Where do you start? Luckily for you, we’ve been there (a few hundred times), done that and got the checklist – and we’re sharing it with you.

In this post we’ll walk you through exactly what you need to do as your competition is coming to an end, what needs to be done on closing day and how to ensure your competition is properly closed and all the loose ends neatly tied up.

Step 1 – Prepare your competition for close.

In the days before your competition closes, you’ll want to make sure you encourage all the entries you can – and familiarise yourself with what you’ll need to do to close your competition.

  • Encourage those last few entries by posting across social media and other channels to let people know your competition is closing and how long they have left to enter.
  • Familiarise yourself with how to close your competition – whether it’s removing a form from a landing page or logging in to an app – do a test run so you know exactly how to close your competition.

Step 2 – Close your competition.

At the time and date specified in your terms and conditions, here’s what you need to do to close your competition.…

  • Prevent further entries by removing the ability for your audience to enter. The way you do this will depend on your entry method. It could be removing the entry form from your landing page or turning off comments on your competition post on social media.
  • Double check your competition is closed. Navigate to your competition page or post and attempt to enter as an entrant would – if you can’t enter, your audience can’t either.

NOTE: It’s extremely important from a legal perspective that you close your competition at the time and date specified in your terms and conditions. If you didn’t get as many entries as you were hoping for, you cannot simply extend your competition and wait until you feel satisfied you have enough entries or you’re bored of running it. Not only is it illegal, but it will damage your brand’s reputation with your audience too.

Step 3 – Remove your competition from your website.

Once you’re sure your competition is closed, it’s time to start removing competition promotional material from your website.

Here’s a list of places you may need to remove your competition from:

  • Links in your menu or navigation (nav) bar
  • Banners on your homepage
  • Banners on other pages of your site
  • Site-wide pop-ups
  • Site-wide announcement banners
  • Competition blog posts (consider repurposing the blog post)
  • Links in regular blog posts

You’ll also need to:

  • Remove any entry forms from competition landing pages to prevent further entries. Consider leaving your competition page live and replacing the form with a message along the lines of ‘Our competition is now closed, keep an eye on your inbox to see if you’re our lucky winner!’
  • Consider whether you’ll leave the competition entry page live on your site to announce your winner or repurpose the page – for example to drive traffic elsewhere on your site.
  • Contact any third parties or influencers who may still be promoting your competition to ask them to remove links or content relating to your competition.

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Step 4 – Remove your competition from social media.

Here’s a checklist of places you may have mentioned/promoted your competition across social media and may want to edit or remove once your competition is over:

  • Change your bio and/or header images back to your regular images
  • Change your call to action buttons or links back to your regular buttons/links
  • Remove any competition tabs from the left-hand menu on Facebook
  • Update your ‘about’ tab or bio to remove mention of your competition
  • Unpin your competition post and replace it with a relevant pinned post
  • Post your ‘competition closed’ post

OPTIONAL: Some people choose to archive or delete their competition posts if they don’t fit their aesthetic, we recommend leaving the posts as they’re part of your brand’s story and usually have great engagement.

Step 5 – Gather your entries.

Once your competition is closed, you’ve double checked no more entries can be submitted and you’ve removed mention of your competition from the relevant places, it’s time to turn your attention towards how you’re going to pick a winner.

  • Gather your entries in one place – whether it’s slips of paper in a bowl or emails in your email platform, make sure all of your entries across all of your entry points are gathered in one place. The easiest method is to create a spreadsheet with each entry on its own line.
  • Save a backup copy! We may or may not be talking from experience here. Regardless of whether you ran a game of chance or a game of skill, you’re going to want to keep an untouched, original list of entrants to refer back to (for example to follow up with). So before you start sorting and sifting through your list, save a backup copy.

Step 6 – Benchmark your key stats.

At the start of your competition, you should have set yourself a goal and benchmarked (noted down) your key stats, so you could compare your results at the end of the competition to see exactly what your competition helped you achieve.

Now is the time to take a note of your key stats – especially ones that relate directly to your goal. Every competition is different, but a few of our favourites to benchmark are:

  • Social followers/likes
  • Social reach
  • Email subscribers
  • Email open/engagement rates
  • Website visits
  • Leads/enquiries
  • Sales

Once you know the impact your competition has had on your key stats, you can begin to work out your ROI (or return on investment) from your competition.

And that’s how you close your competition. This is the exact same checklist we work through with our clients, so you can feel confident that by following our steps on how to close a competition, you won’t receive any more unexpected entries, or get into any legal hot water.

If your competition didn’t go as well as expected, or you’re not sure what to actually do with your entrants now your competition is closed, why not book in a free chat with the experts to discuss how you can make the most of your competition?