Promote your competition for free.
Zero budget required
Entrants will come from two main channels: free and paid. No surprises that free promotion is where most people start. Here are 18 ways to promote your competition with zero budget.
1. Update your social profiles. This means your pinned post on Facebook, your bio on Instagram, your description on Pinterest, your header images and even bio images.
2. Go live… with video, or at the very least images. If a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a million. They don’t have to be Oscar-worthy, just you, your phone and a pre-rehearsed message.
3. Use your marketing material. We didn’t spend time creating it for nothing, make sure you use those posts and copy you have created and don’t be afraid to wing it and change up the schedule or add posts in if relevant.
4. Tag people you’re pretty sure will want to enter – these may be followers and clients you know pretty well or you’ve spoken to about your competition face to face. Don’t just randomly tag your whole list of followers. That would be a very bad move.
5. Ask your entrants to share your competition*. < Notice this handsome little asterisk? There is a BIG but that comes with this promotion idea.
*If you’ve been following along with the guide, you will know that asking your entrants to tag and share on Facebook as a way of entering or gaining extra entries to your competition is strictly forbidden. Some people get around this with a separate message, which is very much NOT a part of the entry criteria, mentioning to your entrants that they’re free to let their friends know about the competition. If your audience interpret that as sharing and tagging then so be it, but you haven’t directly asked them to, so technically you’re not breaking any rules. Do this at your own risk though, it’s a grey area.
6. Use a hashtag. Not just to help you find your competition entries, use (and encourage others to use) a unique hashtag for brand awareness too. Just make sure it’s not already in use and doesn’t spell anything offensive or embarrassing…
7. Cross promote across your social media channels. Just because you’re running an Instagram tag competition, doesn’t mean you can’t tweet out the link to the post with instructions to enter or pin a whole bunch of images of the prize with a link to your entry post on Pinterest.
8. Update your website. Put a simple but visible call to action on your homepage which links through to your entry page. Bonus points if you created this already back when we covered marketing material!
9. Write a blog post or three. A great alternative if you don’t have the access or know-how to edit your homepage – post a blog post or even a series of blogs – about your competition. Showcase your prize, the reason for running your competition and of course all the details on how and where they can enter.
10. Email your list. They’re already subscribed, they like what you do enough to hand over their precious email address, so make sure you include them in your competition and if relevant, ask them to share with their networks or refer a friend.
11. Pop your competition in any groups or communities you belong to. Spread the word in your Facebook groups, forums, meetups etc – just make sure self-promotion is allowed first.
12. Reach out to any partners. If you work with other businesses who share your target audience, ask if they’ll give your competition a shout out – and don’t forget to return the favour for them.
13. Publish guest posts. Some blogs and websites accept guest posts, so if you’ve got a good relationship with another business or have a contact to pitch a guest post to, leverage it.
14. Give mentions to get mentions. If you feature any other businesses in your prize packs, are partnering up with any other businesses, or have had help from others with your competition, give them a shout out and nine times out of ten, they’ll give your competition a shout out in return.
15. Tell your family and friends. Ask them to share your competition with their friends – your family might not be your target audience, but chances are they’ll be connected to those who are.
16. Plan a ‘pitch’. Nothing salesy or sleazy, but an elevator pitch-style, quick description of what they can win, how to enter, why you’re running it and of course what’s in it for them. This will come in handy when you meet with clients, run into your ideal client by chance on the train or someone simply asks you a question about your competition.
17. Write a press release. If your competition has a unique angle or interesting back-story, you could pitch it to relevant media outlets and run a featured story on your business and/or competition.
18. Go old school and meet your customers in person. If you’ve got a bricks and mortar shop or run a market stall then this’ll be easy for you. If you’re predominantly online, you might want to run an event or at least make sure you attend events your target audience can be found and chat to people about your competition in person.