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We know how it is, your marketing budget is tight, but you still want to run a good competition that will help you achieve your marketing goals (and grow your business).

Just because you’re on a shoestring budget doesn’t mean you can’t run a great competition. With a well-planned strategy that takes your budget into account, you can still run a successful competition. Here’s how…

Keep your competition setup simple.

Whilst we normally champion ‘enter your email to win’ style competitions, due to the fact that email has a higher chance of converting entrants to customers, we also understand that they may need a competition landing page, which in turn may require a developer or designer and therefore additional funds to cover the cost.

So to keep it simple (and most importantly, in budget), consider running your competition via social media with a ‘like to win’, ‘follow to win’ or ‘comment to win’ style competition. Alternatively, make the most of email programmes like Mailchimp or Klaviyo, which both offer free plans and both have a landing page creation tool that allows you to collect emails with a super simple and surprisingly effective landing page.

Alternatively, there are low-cost competition apps that can help you collect entries, pick a winner and even create a landing page for you for around $50 a month.

Create a game of skill competition.

Another major consideration when running a competition on a shoestring budget, is the cost of licences and permits.

Thankfully, since the NSW licence changes, you will now only need to consider licences or permits if your total competition prize pool value is over $3,000 AUD, $5,000 AUD or $10,000 AUD. Previously you needed a licence at least in NSW regardless of prize value.

Licences and permits are only required for games of chance, here in Australia, games of skill do not need a licence or permit regardless of prize pool value. 

Opting for a game of skill competition if you have a high-value prize pool is a great way to ensure your competition sticks to a strict budget.

Don’t forget the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions are a vital part of any competition, not just to help legitimise your competition and protect your winners from dodgy competition practices; but also to protect your business from difficult winners, prize pigs and expensive legal action if you forget to cover your backside.

The problem is, a lawyer-written set of T&Cs starts around the $500 mark, which is obviously prohibitive to businesses trying to run a competition or giveaway on a budget.

That why we’ve paid the lawyers for you and asked them to create a comprehensive, reusable competition terms and conditions template for us for a fraction of the cost that tailored terms and conditions would set you back.

It’s a small investment now that will save you lots of money in the long term.

We’ve paid the expensive legal fees to draft a comprehensive set of terms and conditions so you don’t have to. Grab your competition T&Cs template for a fraction of the cost.

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Offer a valuable prize, not an expensive one.

There’s a common misconception that for a prize to be good, it has to be expensive… or an iPad.

This is simply not correct. Value has nothing to do with the price tag of a prize.

Whether running a competition on a zero dollar budget or a million dollar budget, the best prize is always going to be your own product or service. The good news is that for those of you on tight budgets, the cost outlay of your own products or services is often minimal, allowing you to keep your competition spend in check whilst still offering something incredibly valuable and relevant to your target audience.

TIP: remember that you can always partner up with other, like-minded businesses  to create a bigger prize package on a budget too.

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Consider any additional marketing or administration costs.

So you’ve leveraged free landing pages or cost-effective apps, opted for a game of skill to avoid costly licences, got yourself a set of comprehensive T&Cs for a fraction of the usual cost and your prize will set you back next to nothing… what other competition costs do you need to budget for?

COMPETITION PROMOTION OR MARKETING MATERIALS

As the old OrigamiGlobe saying goes, a successful competition is 20% strategy and 80% promotion, so make sure you have a plan in place to promote the heck out of your competition.

We have a guide to promoting your competition here, which includes both free and paid options. At the bare minimum you need to be posting on social media and promoting your competition to your email list if you want those entries.

If you can’t put together the posts or emails yourself, make sure you account for any costs of hiring help in your competition budget.

PAID PROMOTION

I know what you’re thinking, you’re reading a post about running a competition on a next to non-existent budget and here I am talking about paid promotion…

The reality is, if your existing audience is small, you’re going to need to pay to reach more people if you want to achieve your competition goals; however it doesn’t have to break the bank or blow the competition budget.

As Facebook Ads expert Dahna Borg says in her guest post, $5-$20 a day budgets are more than enough for paid ads on Facebook and Instagram in the beginning – we’ve even got a dedicated post on running Facebook ads for competitions on a budget!

PRIZE DELIVERY

The final competition cost consideration that’s worth a mention is delivery.

If you have a product-based business, make sure you have the budget to get the prize to your lucky winner. If it’s a weighty prize, there may be considerable delivery costs, so bear that in mind.

For service-based businesses, you may want to consider the cost of travel to deliver your services or budget for the fact that delivering the winner’s prize will take time and therefore may affect your availability for other paid work.

Bonus – take advantage of free competition resources.

The OrigamiGlobe website is a treasure trove of information for competitions, contests and giveaways. Take advantage of all the free competition resources we have on our blog, The Fold and The last guide to competitions you’ll ever need to read to help you DIY your competition and maximise your giveaway budget.

As you can see, running a competition on a shoestring doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of your competition. With a careful strategy that avoids costly tech setups, unnecessary licences, custom T&Cs and expensive prizes; you can run a successful competition on next to no budget – especially if it’s your first attempt at a competition and you want to see how it goes before going all in on your next one.

Don’t forget to check out our blog for more free guides like this one and our last guide to competitions for a complete walk-through of running a competition from start to finish. We also have a number of budget-friendly resources such as templates, guides and strategy sessions available here.