This year I had the absolute pleasure of presenting at the DMA Conference 2020 in Melbourne alongside some amazing and incredible digital marketers including the hilariously honest and delightfully insightful Naomi Simson of Red Balloon and Shark Tank fame.
The actual topic of my talk was ‘How to run competitions that have an 11x ROI and drive thousands of leads for less than $1 each’ – a bit of a mouthful.
Essentially I covered the three most valuable things I know about competitions:
- What a successful competition is and how to run one.
- How to maximise your return on investment from competitions and giveaways.
- How to reduce the costs associated with running a contest or competition.
I thought I’d share the top-level outline of my presentation here on OrigamiGlobe’s very own blog, The Fold.
How to run a successful competition.
First of all, let’s take a quick look at what a successful competition is. For the OrigamiGlobe team, a successful competition is one that makes your business more money than it costs to run, but a successful competition can be defined as one that:
- Builds a targeted audience
- Meaningfully engages your customers
- Rewards and thanks your existing clients
- Collects valuable leads for your business
- Generates all-important revenue.
SO HOW DO YOU RUN A SUCCESSFUL COMPETITION?
There are six steps to running a successful competition:
- Get legal
- Follow up
These are the exact same six steps we follow with all of our done for you clients.
Our blog post What is a competition strategy? covers competition strategies in detail, so I won’t rehash that here, but basically it boils down to ensuring you know why you’re running your competition, who you’re running it for, what your key message is, how much you’re planning to spend (mighty helpful for the next section – maximising ROI), when your key competition dates are, what your prize is and where your audience will enter your competition.
We have an entire section of our blog chock full of resources dedicated to helping you build your competition , but the executive summary is this:
- Build your entry page/social post/use a competition app
- Create your marketing material to promote your contest
- Put together a promotion schedule to ensure you publish said marketing material.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you know one of our favourite topics is competition legals (yes, we’re nerds and we’re not afraid to admit it).
Running a legal competition protects you, your entrants and your business – so don’t skip this step.
- Ensure you have terms and conditions. Here’s why you need them and here’s where to get them.
- Obey social media rules. That means no tagging and no sharing on Facebook.
- Apply for the relevant licences and permits. We’ve made is as easy as possible for you.
- Check if there are any other legal obligations you need to abide by.
If the competition legal side of things are daunting to you, let us help. We can manage everything from creating your competition terms and conditions, checking you comply with social media rules and completing the licences and permits applications on your behalf.
If you were lucky enough to be at #DMAC2020 this year, you’ll be very familiar with this acronym from my presentation…
For those of you who weren’t, it means Just Frikkin’ Do It.
There’s no secret sauce to launching a competition, it’s literally a case of launching it and then quickly submitting an entry to test it works OK.
If you haven’t already read it, our blog post How to promote your competition has got you covered.
The TL;DR version is this: shout about your competition everywhere and often. Promote it across your owned assets such as your website, blog, newsletter and in person; across earned spaces such as social media, asking people to share just not as part of the entry process, in groups (if permitted) and through guest posts and finally leverage paid ads especially if your existing audience is small or you want to reach new people and consider reaching out to influencers or doing paid features both online and offline.
If you’re too busy to create your promotional material, don’t have an eye for design or just want to hand it over to experts who truly know what they’re doing, we have a launch and promote package just for you.
This is the step most people forget to do, but it’s the most rewarding step that pays you back for the time, effort and money you’ve invested in your competition.
- Close your competition to further entries.
- Draw and manage your winner.
- Convert your new adoring fans into paying customers.
You can grab the first chapter for free below, which covers…
- setting your competition goal
- finding your ideal customer
- crafting your competition messaging
- working out your budget
- establishing your timeline
- deciding your prize
- and working our your entry method
How to maximise your return on investment from your competition or giveaway.
At the conference, I talked through how we maximise return on investment (or ROI) for our clients using real life examples and case studies. We already cover a good amount of case studies on our blog, so instead of repeating the details here, I’ll share the key takeaways of each case study I covered.
DO THE WORK, GET THE REWARDS
There’s a reason I dedicated an entire third of my talk to the how of running a successful competition and share the exact process we use to get amazing results for our clients.
We don’t just create competition strategies for fun (though we do seriously love our jobs). Your competition strategy is designed to carefully map out every key element of your competition so it’s optimised to get the best possible results. Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle, every element of your strategy is a piece of the puzzle that contributes to the satisfying end result and big picture.
THE BEST PRIZE IS ALWAYS YOUR OWN PRODUCT OR SERVICE
If you give your own product or service away as your prize, I hand-on-heart guarantee you, you will sell more of your own product or service, especially if you push people to your website to enter via a competition landing page.
I will detail this case study as it’s one we haven’t posted about yet and involves a nerdy graph, so I love it.
The nerdy graph maps site visitors (the blue line) against promotional posts on social media (the pink arrows at the top of the graph) against cold, hard sales (the teal-coloured bars).
Site visits, posts on social and sales mapped out on one nerdy little graph.
The more we posted on social media, the more visits we drove to the website – 10,000 visitors over a 6 week period, to be precise – and the spikes in website visitors specifically correlate to sales made on the website during the competition – 15.7% more sales during the giveaway, to be exact.
What’s even more cool, if you’re a geek like me, is that the sales consisted primarily of the exact products we were giving away; not only that, but the average order value increased almost 10% during the competition too.
Again, I’ll repeat, the best prize is always your own product or service. Do not, under any circumstances give away an iPad unless you have stocks in Apple and want to increase sales of iPads.
MAKE THEM AN OFFER THEY CAN’T REFUSE
Read that again in The Godfather’s voice.
I’m not talking about putting horse heads in your customers’ beds, but literally making them an offer at the end of your competition. If you don’t tell your customers you want them to purchase from you, they won’t.
The best way to do this if you’ve run an enter your email to win-style competition, is to combine an offer with your winner announcement email.
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How to minimise your competition costs.
I again leveraged our case studies and previous work to demonstrate how to bring costs down when running a contest, competition or giveaway, so I won’t detail each case study again, but summarise the key takeaways for you.
ENSURE THE RIGHT PEOPLE ENTER FOR THE RIGHT REASONS
Viral competitions are great. I’ve totally been sucked in to refreshing a post to see thousands of comments being made in a single minute… but if you remember back to our definition of a successful competition, likes are not the answer.
My question to viral competitions is this: where are the sales?
If you’re not from Australia, this will probably make ZERO sense to you, sorry…
I honestly don’t care if you get 10 million likes on your competition post, I care if it made you 10 million dollars worth of sales. That’s our reason for being, it’s what a truly successful competition is.
So think carefully about your ideal competition entrant, the person who is actually going to buy from you – then build your competition for them and only them.
Doing this will not only reduce the cost of running your competition (and especially advertising your competition), but will increase the chance they will actually convert to paying customers once the competition is over.
WITHOUT CONVERSION, TRAFFIC IS NOTHING
Badge mockups to the rescue…
I want to make this into a nerdy badge.
If you have a competition post or landing page that’s crap at converting your visitors into competition entrants, there is no point pushing more traffic to that page or post. It would be like pouring more water into a bucket full of holes and wondering why you have no water in your bucket.
Optimise the heck out of your competition landing page (or post) to ensure you have a conversion rate well above 50% – that means for every 10 people that see your competition, at least 5 people enter – before you even think about ramping up your promotion efforts and driving more people to your competition.
Here are some handy tips for optimising your page for conversion and troubleshooting why you might not be getting as many entries as you’d hoped for: Why no one is entering your competition – and how to fix it.
Competitions are an insanely powerful tool to achieve your marketing goals… if you know what you’re doing. Once you’ve created the foundations for a successful giveaway with a solid strategy, a high converting entry page or post, you’ve sorted your competition legals, promoted the hell out of your contest and put a plan in place to follow up with your clients and make them an offer they can’t refuse once your competition is closed; you’ll have an insanely successful competition on your hands.
Sound like too much work? Overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Here’s what to do next…
- If you’re not sure running a competition is for you and your business, check out this post here.
- If you’re pretty sure you want to run a competition and want a little help getting started, download the first chapter of our epic last guide to competitions you’ll ever need to read for free.
- If you’re ready and raring to go and want to do it all yourself (especially if you’re on a shoestring budget) check out our DIY Competition in a Box which gives you the tools to do absolutely everything I’ve covered in this post.
- If you’re ready to run a competition but want the experts on your side, check out our done for you options or get in touch for a custom quote.
- If you’re still totally confused, book in a free chat with our giveaway geeks, we’ll talk you through your options and point you in the right direction to run an epic giveaway of your very own.