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The last guide to competitions…


Welcome to the last guide to competitions.


The last guide to competitions is your one-stop shop for everything competition and giveaway – from strategy to promotion and everything in between. We’ve gathered everything you’ll ever need to know about competitions and giveaways in one easily navigable place, with practical, actionable steps and takeaways plus a healthy dose of sass, sarcasm and personality.

If you’re here, I’m assuming that you already know what a competition is, why you’d want to run one and that you have indeed decided you’re going to run a competition, so enough with the intros, let’s get to the good stuff.

Spoiler alert...


This guide gives you all of the processes, tips, tools and resources you need to run a successful competition, but simply reading this guide doesn’t make your contest or giveaway successful by proxy.

You have to actually implement what you learn here too.

Step 1 - Plan a competition.

The key to a successful competition is a well-thought out strategy.

The first section of The last guide to competitions is about preparation, strategising and planning for success. It’s the chunkiest section of the guide, but arguably one of the most important – so set aside an hour to read through this section and complete the activities.

Set your competition goal.


Why is setting your goal the first step to running a competition?

Because setting your competition goal is the single most important part of planning a competition.

It’s a small decision that has a huge impact on the success of your competition.

You wouldn’t set off on a road trip without a destination (and snacks, of course!) so why run a competition without an end goal in mind? Your goal is what you want to have achieved when the competition is all wrapped up and the winner has been chosen.

Goals usually fall into one of the following categories:

  • Promoting awareness of your business, product or service
  • Growing or engaging followers, likes or comments on social media
  • Getting feedback or input from your target audience
  • Generating leads or sales

But if yours doesn’t, awesome – you’re thinking outside the box and doing what’s best for your business! Having a clear goal will not only keep you, your budget and your marketing focussed; it will also determine everything from your entry method to your prize, so the good news is that all subsequent decisions will be much easier once you’ve set yourself a goal.

Find your ideal customer.


Ultimately, you’re only going to stay in business if you make money. Your ideal customer (or avatar, buyer persona, target audience, demographic) is the person who keeps you in business by giving you their money in return for your products or services.

For this reason, you need to design and run your competition to attract your ideal customer. These ideal entrants will give you their details or follow you on social media in return for an entry, details you’ll use for marketing purposes, to turn them into paying customers over time.

Craft your competition messaging.


Clear messaging creates brand awareness, familiarity and trust. It also helps to attract your ideal client. If your company has one, your tagline, vision or mission can be a great place to start when creating your competition messaging.

Say you own an adventure travel magazine with the tagline ‘Thrillseekers wanted.’ and your goal is to build an email database of adventure travel enthusiasts to market your newly launched magazine to. You give away the ultimate thrillseeker’s adventure holiday, bungee jumping and white water rafting through Victoria Falls, Africa.

Using your tagline in your competition marketing helps you get entries from your desired audience (and not lazy couch potatoes who’ll never buy your magazine…), whilst at the same time creating brand awareness for your new venture.

Work out your budget.


Being able to set (and stick to) a budget created in advance, is one of the HUGE benefits of using competitions over other marketing tools such as AdWords or remarketing campaigns – plus your return on investment is hella easier to see.

How much you spend is really up to you and your bank balance. The biggest cost is going to be the prize and the legals and licences, followed by advertising (if you choose to incorporate paid advertising). If you’re putting up your own product/service as the prize and you decide to run a game of skill competition with no paid ads… then really your only costs are your time and maybe the cost of postage if your prize is physical.

You could spend as little as the cost of the prize or as much as your bank balance will allow. The key is spending your budget wisely.

Establish a timeline.


You probably already have an idea of when you want to launch your competition, but before you lock it in, let’s take a look at a typical timeline:

  • 2 weeks before launch – prepare yourself by reading this guide, prepping your marketing materials and getting your audience excited about your imminent launch…
  • 2 weeks to 3 months competition duration – from launch day to close, make sure it’s long enough your audience have time to enter, but not so long that they get sick of hearing about it.
  • 1 week to a month for winner management – this includes choosing the winner, notifying them, announcing the winner to your audience, redeeming the prize and sourcing testimonials/images. If you can’t get hold of your winner, they refuse the prize (that’s never happened by the way) or they are ineligible (happens more than you think) then you’ll need to allow time to redraw and contact new winners.
  • Time to followup with your new audience – you have all these new followers/subscribers/sales, make sure you have time to nurture them!

Competition timing is a balance between giving yourself enough preparation time, giving your competition time to gain momentum, but stopping before competition fatigue hits your audience as well as leaving yourself enough time to manage the winner make the most of the results from your competition.

Decide your prize.


Some would argue the most important part of a competition is the prize. In a way I would agree; if you don’t have a strong prize you’re not going to get many entries. On the other hand, a modest prize suddenly becomes incredibly appealing with the right marketing and promotion. In truth, it’s about offering a relevant and valuable prize for your audience – not necessarily dollar value, but perceived value.

When starting out or growing your business, keep the focus on your own product or service; creating awareness for your brand and amassing a following of people interested in what you do or sell. You can always create a package based around your business and include other brands in there, but make sure yours is the star attraction!

Work out your entry method.


There are hundreds of different entry methods, which is both a blessing and a curse. The key is choosing the entry method that best fits your competition and business, this depends on a whole bunch of things:

  • What you want to achieve by running your competition.
  • The type of entries you want (e.g. long-form answers or likes).
  • Whether you want to run a game of chance or game of skill.
  • How many entries you want to get (more difficult entry process means fewer entries).
  • Who your target audience is.
  • To some extent, your budget too (can you afford to develop a game for the entry process?!)

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, but don’t worry, I’m not the kind of person to leave you hanging to make the decision all by yourself. Check out the flowchart below for a quick decision or our ultimate guide to competition entry methods, for a thorough review of each competition entry method.

Step 2 - Build your competition.

This is the fun part – making your competition a reality!

Now that you’ve worked out the why, who, what, how, when and where of your competition; it’s time to put it to practice and create the collateral you’ll need for your competition.

Think of your plan/strategy as the solid foundations on which you’re now creating your competition structure.

Decide where to host your competition.


Now you’ve decided your entry method, you need to decide where you will host your competition – where people will actually enter the competition.

The two main contenders are on your website or via social media. Obviously, if you’re running a ‘like to win’ competition, hosting your competition on social media is a no brainer, but if you’re looking to collect emails you could use a competition app on your social channels or set up an entry form on your website.

Where possible I would always encourage you to host your competition on your website as you ‘own’ the data (as opposed to the social media platform ‘owning’ the likes and follows), you’re not at the mercy of unpredictable algorithm changes, you’ll see SEO benefits from the extra traffic and increase awareness of your brand whilst they browse your website.

Set up the entry page/post.


Now it’s time to create your entry page if hosting on your website, or entry post if hosting on social media.

Like the ultimate life partner, you want your entry page or post to have both brains and brawn, good looks and substance. Whether you’ve decided to host your competition on social media or on your website, your entry page/post is going to need:

  • An engaging image – preferably of your prize. Social posts with the words ‘competition’, ‘giveaway’ or ‘win’ on the image tend to convert higher, stopping thumbs as they scroll through busy news feeds
  • Convincing copy that encourages them to enter your competition (what’s in it for them, even if they don’t win?)
  • Clear and dummy-proof instructions on how to enter (including an entry form if required)
  • A summary of your key terms and conditions and a link to the full T&Cs

Design is a key element to successful engagement and conversion. If your ‘enter now’ is a tiny line of text right at the bottom of your landing page or your entry post copy is confusing and all over the place, it’s going to put potential entrants off.

Getting people to your entry page is half the battle – the other half is convincing them to enter once they’re there.

Design your marketing material.


Now that you have somewhere for your entrants to enter, it’s time to create some promotional and marketing material to help get them there! When creating your marketing material, use your company’s usual tone of voice and keep your messaging consistent. For example, if you usually use a little humour and sarcasm (ahem), don’t be all stuffy and official in your competition posts, as boring doesn’t fit your brand and it’ll confuse your entrants. Similarly, stick to your regular branding – colours, fonts and styles and please, for heaven’s sake, use spell check!

Types of marketing material you might want to consider for your competition:

  • A landing page on your website (even if you’re hosting on social media) with all of your competition info
  • Countdown to launch/teaser posts and countdown to close posts:
  • Social media posts reminding people your competition is open, what they can win and where to enter
  • A banner for your website’s homepage linking to the entry page/post
  • Blog posts to give your competition a shout out and point readers to your entry page
  • Guest posts to publish on partner blogs to drive traffic to your competition
  • Copy and images for your email newsletters to encourage subscribers to enter
  • A strong image and convincing copy for any ads you decide to run
  • Videos to post to social media to encourage entries – if a picture says a thousand words then videos would surely say a million
  • A thank you post for your social media/your email list to thank everyone for their entries and let them know the competition is closed.
  • Winner announcement post to let your audience know who the lucky winner is. You’ll be surprised how awesome your audience will be in joining you to congratulate the winner which is also great engagement for your posts/account!
  • After your competition you might want to do a bit of a roundup of your favourite entries or a shoutout to any ‘runners up’.

Create a promotion schedule.


You’ve done the hard work and created all of the necessary content for your competition, now it’s time to make sure your adoring fans, competition entrants and future customers actually see it. It’s time to make a promotion schedule. Your schedule is going to be your best friend during your competition; so you know exactly what to post and when and more importantly, maximise competition entries. Personally, I print mine out and stick it on the wall so I never miss a post or an opportunity to get entries to my competitions or my clients’ competitions!

Step 3 - Keep it legal.

Nowhere near as scary as it sounds, every bit as important as it sounds…

But don’t worry, I’ve made it easy.

There are three main legal considerations you need to be on top of when running a competition: social media platform rules, terms and conditions and licences or permits.

I’ll walk you through each of these legal requirements in this section, so you know your competition isn’t going to land you in hot water.

Obey social media rules.


If I had a dollar for every time I heard ‘yeah but everybody does it’, specifically in relation to tagging and sharing competitions on Facebook, I would be a very rich lady.

I sure as hell wouldn’t be writing this from my pokey office, I’d be on a private yacht… but most likely still writing this guide. I frickin’ LOVE competitions, in case you hadn’t guessed.

If you think you’ll be fine because you’ve seen some huge clothing brand do it, think again.

Who do you think Facebook will shut down to make an example of? The huge brand who spends hundreds of thousands in advertising on a weekly basis and has millions of followers who would be very pissed off if their favourite page was shut down… or your page with 1,000 likes and a tiny ad spend?

Yup, you guessed it – little old you.

Here’s an in-depth look at the rules for each social media platform and below is a super quick summary of Facebook and Instagram as these are the platforms I receive the most questions about.

Facebook contest rules:

  • Link to your rules/terms and conditions in your post.
  • Get your licences.
  • Include the sentence “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.” in your post.
  • Do not ask people to tag and/or share your competition to enter or to get extra entries. I repeat. NO TAGGING, NO SHARING.

Instagram contest rules:

  • Link to your rules/terms and conditions in your post.
  • Get your licences.
  • Do not ask people to tag themselves in photos they’re not in.
  • Include the sentence “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Instagram.” somewhere in your post.

To be clear, on Instagram only, you CAN ask people to tag friends in the comments and/or repost your competition post to enter or get extra entries.

Write your terms and conditions.


The next step is to protect your business with watertight terms and conditions, or T&Cs. I know what you’re thinking – ‘yeah yeah, but do I need terms and conditions, though?’. In response, let me ask you this – ‘but do you really want to be able to cover your arse if anything goes wrong, though?’.

Let’s say you’re giving away consulting package worth $3,400AUD and you don’t have T&Cs. If your winner decides they’d rather have the cash value, what protection do you have? Little to none. You might just find yourself forking over cash for something that was just going to cost you your time.

From extensive experience, a good set of T&Cs usually includes:

  • Who your competition is and isn’t open to
  • When your competition starts and ends
  • What your audience have to do to enter
  • How many entries they are allowed
  • Exactly what the prize includes (and doesn’t include)
  • When, how and where you will draw the winner
  • When and how the winner will be announced
  • How long the winner has to claim the prize
  • Any specific T&Cs relating to the redemption of the prize
  • Liability releases (see above)
  • Your contact details
  • The licence numbers for your competition (see below)

Apply for relevant licences.


Permits, licences and social media rules are the most common questions we receive. The government websites are a maze of redirects and double negatives, so I don’t blame people for getting confused.

The need for a licence depends on:

  • Whether you run a game of chance or a game of skill
  • Which states your competition is open to (not where you business is based – a common misconception)
  • The value of your prize

The long and short of it is this: a game of skill (winner picked based on the quality of their entry) won’t need a licence in any state in Australia. A game of chance (winner picked at random) with a prize or prize pool over $3,000 may require a licence in ACT, if your prize value is over $5,000 you may need a licence in SA and/or NT and if your prize value is over $10,000 you may require a licence in NSW.

All of the above information is taken from each state government’s website, but you should also check for yourself on a regular basis in case the rules change:

NSW: Fair Trading
ACT: Gambling and Racing Commission
SA: Consumer and Business Services
NT: Northern Territory Government
QLD: Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation (scroll to Category 4)
WA: Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries
TAS: Department of Treasury and Finance 

In our spirit of making your life easier, based on the facts found on each state government website above, we’ve put together a handy little flow chart to help you work out whether you need a licence for your competition or not:

The 2020 NSW licensing update.

NSW Fair Trading have finally changed the laws around the permits required to run a competition or trade promotion. As of 1 July 2020, you will only need to apply for a permit (or authority) to run a trade promotion competition open to NSW if your prize or total prize pool is valued at $10,000 or more.

You can read in full about the update here.

Step 4 - Launch and manage.

Today’s the day!

By now, you should have finalised the following aspects of your competition:

Hopefully you should also have been running a competition countdown for the last few days, teasing and preparing your audience for your competition’s imminent launch.

There are just a couple more things to take care of before you go live…

Benchmark your current stats.


The final thing you need to do before you go live, is benchmark your current stats. This is your yardstick, a point against which to measure your progress so you can calculate exactly how many likes/follows/tags/mentions/emails etc you gain as a result of your competition. Not only is benchmarking important to see if competitions are worth your time, but it’s also going to act as an indication of the value of running a competition and its return on investment for your business.

For example, if you previously got approximately one direct sale from your Facebook page per month which costs you $10 to acquire (the cost of a boosted post for example) and makes you $30 profit, but during your competition which cost you $100 to set up, you make $1000 worth of profit, it’s pretty safe to say competitions work for your audience and are a wise return on investment and worth investing in again.

It’s launch time!


Your hard work and preparation have paid off and it’s launch day. You’re excited and also nervous, will anyone enter? What if they don’t like the prize? Argh! I don’t feel ready!

Calm down, these are all normal questions and reactions. You are ready, you’ve been following the last guide to competitions you’ll ever need to read. You couldn’t be more ready.

Hit publish on your page, post your competition post, hit send on your email and send your competition out into the world!

What do I do now?!

Don’t worry, I didn’t bring you this far only to abandon you now. Here’s what you need to do now:

  • Launch it – I’m talking to you, the one who read ‘go live with your competition’ and thought ‘nah… not yet’. How are you going to get any entries if it’s not live?
  • Test it – I know you’re probably sick of testing, but just humour me and make sure it actually works now it’s live.
  • Tell people about it – promote the hell out of your competition! There’s more on that in the next section…
  • Watch it – keep your entry page open in case of any comments or questions.
  • Tell some more people about it – don’t be shy now, you’ve put all this work in and you’ve tailored your competition to your audience, so stop stressing that your competition/you/your business is not good enough. It’s fabulous, so tell people about it.
  • Keep the momentum up – with regular updates/tweets/reminders that the competition has gone live. Especially if your audience is scattered across time zones, make sure you’re right there in front of the right people at the right time with the right message… right?
  • Celebrate! You deserve a very large celebratory beverage.

Oh, one final thing… don’t forget to keep reading this guide, there’s still a lot more giveaway goodness coming your way!

Keep an eye on your analytics.


Keeping an eye on your stats not only highlights any potential issues with your traffic and conversion, but also gives you valuable feedback about marketing tactics that work really well for your business. For example, if you notice one promotional post gets heaps more traction than others, ask yourself what was unique about it? Did you post at a different time of day or day of the week? Did you use/not use hashtags and mentions? Did you use/not use imagery? Did you change from your usual imagery/messaging? Try to recreate that – the spike in your stats is telling you your audience liked it, so keep on doing it!

Checking in regularly with your analytics allows you to get your competition back on track if it’s not heading towards the goal you set, or reassure you that you’re doing a great job – so schedule regular reminders to take a look at your competition stats.

Maximise your entries.


There are two key things to keep an eye on whilst your competition is live: traffic and conversion. Traffic refers to the number of people seeing your competition or visiting your entry page/post and is heavily reliant on the amount of promotion you do. Conversion refers to how many of those visitors who see your competition actually enter the competition and is heavily influenced by the design of your entry page and the prize on offer (among other things). You need to have a good balance between traffic and conversion to make the most of your competition, so keep a close eye on your reach/visitors versus actual entries.

Troubleshoot problems.


Just be thankful you’re not Jay-Z, he’s got 99 problems, though granted I’m sure none of them are competition-related. OK, enough with the dad jokes. We all have the occasional competition hiccup or giveaway stuff up and it’s totally OK to ask for help. As you can imagine, I’ve seen a fair few competitions in my times, so I’ve listed a whole bunch of potential problems your competition may be having and matched them with a whole bunch of answers and suggestions for overcoming them. You’re welcome!

  • How many entrants can I expect to enter my competition?
  • Why am I not getting any entries?
  • I’m getting entries, but they’re not my target audience! What do I do?
  • Why am I not getting any traffic?
  • I’m getting entries, but they’re not following my entry criteria! What do I do?
  • Help! I’m receiving entries but I’m not achieving my goal!
  • My entries have totally dropped off, how do I get the momentum going again?
  • Why is no one engaging with my posts?
  • No one can find my competition! How do I fix this?
  • I tried promoting my competition but no one entered! Why didn’t my promotion work?
  • Why didn’t my competition make me any money?!
  • I’ve got one of those difficult entrants/winners you talked about… How do I deal with them?
  • People are cheating! How do I stop cheat entries?
  • How do I know if I achieved my goal or not?
  • I didn’t achieve my goal – what now?
  • What do I do if I need to change the competition whilst it’s live?
  • What if I need further support?

Need a hand?

If you can’t find an answer to your question, please feel free to email me. I promise there’s no such thing as a stupid question; in fact, there are probably others out there wondering the same thing, so you’d be helping them out too by asking!

Step 5 - Promote your competition.

A successful competition is 20% strategy, 80% promotion.

The only way to achieve your competition goal is to get people to enter your competition. To get people to enter your competition, you need to find out where you can reach them and get your competition in front of them.

If you don’t promote your competition at all, you will be disappointed with your results. There’s no two ways about it. It’s the equivalent to opening a bricks and mortar shop, then keeping the lights off and the door locked. Your customers can only enter your competition if they know you’re running one – so tell them!

Get people to enter your competition.


I’ll cut straight to the chase. We both know that the only way to achieve your competition goal is to get people to enter your competition. How do you get people to enter your competition? By shouting about it from the (virtual) rooftops, of course!

Entrants will come from two main channels: free and paid. We have a dedicated article on promoting your competition, but here’s my top picks…

  • Use the marketing material we created to connect with your existing audience
  • Make the most of your social media accounts, that includes your descriptions, links, header images, bio images and pinned posts to promote your competition entry post/page
  • On that note – make sure you cross-promote across all of your social channels
  • Add a banner to your website’s homepage, linking to your competition
  • Email your existing list, you’d be surprised how many people forget to tell their existing subscribers they’re running a competition…
  • If you have the budget for paid promotion, consider ads on social or Google, sponsored posts or guest blogs or even a reputable influencer.

If you don’t promote your competition at all, you will be disappointed. There’s no two ways about it. It’s the equivalent to opening a bricks and mortar shop, then keeping the lights off and the door locked. Your customers can only enter your competition if they know you’re running one – so tell them!

Don’t do these things.


We’ve just been through the ‘dos’ for your competition, now let’s take a look at a few ‘don’ts’ to make sure your competition runs smoothly and people leave with a fantastic perception of you and your company.

  • Don’t just promote, interact. Reply to comments, ask questions, thank people for their entries and just generally interact with your audience.
  • Don’t be that guy/girl who drops into a group they don’t give a flying fig about just to promote their own stuff and then leave again. If you’ve ever been a member of a Facebook group, you’ll know this type well. They never post or comment on your posts unless it’s a sales pitch. We all hate that and it leaves a really bad impression of the business.
  • Don’t expect – if you ask friends and family to help you promote, don’t expect them to do all the work for you. In fact, the opposite is true, you need to do the work for them, make it easy for them to help you promote your competition.
  • Don’t launch it and walk away. The success of your competition directly correlates to the amount of effort and promotion you put in – remember a successful competition is 80% promotion. If you launch it and leave it, don’t come crying to me when you don’t have any entries…
  • Don’t spam! You’ll only piss people off. You hate spam, so does everybody else. Be human and be respectful, it’s so much better for your business in the long-run.
  • Don’t forget to say thank you… chances are you had a little help with your competition – or at the very least – support from some very patient partners, colleagues and family members. Also don’t forget to thank your entrants for taking the time and effort to enter.

Step 6 - Close and convert.

You made it! Now for the payoff…

Your competition may be closing, but there are still a couple of last steps to complete before your competition is wrapped up.

You’ve done the hard work, now it’s time to check whether it has paid off for your business. In this final section, we’ll take a look at your results and what you’ve achieved with your competition.

Close your competition.


Hopefully you’ve really enjoyed learning to run a competition, have a tonne of new subscribers/likers/followers etc and have learnt a lot about marketing your business along the way. Your competition is drawing to a close now, so let’s look at what you need to do.

  1. Get those last few entries in. Tweet, post, mention, do what you need to do to get those last few entries in! Let people know exactly how long they have left and make it easy for them to enter.
  2. Know how to close your competition! As closing time approaches, check you know how to turn off commenting or check the time someone liked your page, for example. If you’re using an app, you may have already pre-set the competition to close automatically.
  3. Double check it’s closed. Log out, reload the page and check it is closed properly by attempting to enter.
  4. Post your thank you message across your channels thanking people for entering and letting them know when they can expect the winner to be announced
  5. Download a copy of your entries. If you used a competition app, you should be able to download a spreadsheet or CSV and if you ran your competition on social media, copy and paste your entries into a spreadsheet.
  6. Now create a copy of these entries so you have two separate copies of the raw data, just in case you accidentally mess anything up (may or may not be a tip from experience…)

Finally, do a little happy dance (note: this step is not compulsory). Well done on running a kick arse competition!

Choose and announce your winner.


The big moment is here, you’re about to make someone’s day – or year, depending on the prize – I once won a business class return flight to London and 2 nights in a 5* hotel, I don’t think they had ever seen a more excited winner in their lives! It’s up to you to ensure that the drawing of the winner is all above board and legal, as per your T&Cs. I normally screen-record the drawing process if I’m working with apps and spreadsheets or film myself drawing the winner if I’m choosing from paper entries at a trade show for example. It’s not legally required to record the draw, but it helps keep your clients’ confidence in you and I feel happier knowing I have a video of the process should anyone dispute the winner or accuse me of favouritism. It’s never happened, but I’m a back-up plan kind of girl.

Here’s how to choose and announce your winner:

  1. Prepare your entries. Gather all of your entries in one place. This could be business cards from a trade show, or simply compiling entries from multiple social media posts into a single spreadsheet. Just make sure they’re all in one place.
  2. Draw the winner. Depending on your entry method and whether you used an app or not, it could be as simple as hitting the ‘pick a winner’ button in your app, or using to pick a winner from your spreadsheet. For games of skill, you may be choosing your favourite entry or one that best fits the entry requirements. Just make sure you do it fairly and legally.
  3. Notify your winner. Instead of just plastering their name across social media and asking them to contact you, make an effort to get in touch with them before you publicly announce their name. If you collected emails as part of your goal/entry process, email them. If they liked your page on social media, try sending them a message to let them know.
  1. Announce your winner. Once they have officially accepted their prize, let the rest of the entrants know who the lucky winner is. You can do this via email (hot tip: combine with an offer to generate some extra revenue!) or via social media, or both. Announcing your winner helps people see your competition is legitimate and trust your brand. Usually people are gracious and offer congrats to the winner too, which is great for engagement.

Manage your winner.


Once your winner has claimed their prize, you need to actually send your prize out if it’s a physical product; or contact them to arrange when they will redeem their prize if it’s a service-based prize. I advise you to do this ASAP, the last thing you want is your winner chasing you for their prize! Licensing bodies advise you to deliver the prize within 6 weeks of the draw date, however, that doesn’t mean they need to have completed their prize within this time frame. For example, if you are giving away a city break, you need to contact them to book it in within 6 weeks but they could have up to 12 months to actually complete their travel – these are the standard terms we offer in our travel prize packages.

Once they’ve received or redeemed their prize, ask your happy winner to send a couple of photos along with a quick sentence or two about how stoked they are to win. This makes for great material for social media and another brilliant chance to create engagement with your audience.

Celebrate your achievements.


Back at the beginning of this guide, you set a goal for your competition. Now it’s time to check if you achieved that goal and what else you learnt along the way. If you set yourself a SMART goal, you should have a measurable element to your goal – e.g. to increase Instagram followers by 1,000 or gain 10% more followers on Facebook – so you should know pretty much straight away whether you achieved your goal. You can also use your benchmarked stats, to compare your results to and see if you achieved the results you set out to.

If you didn’t quite achieve your goal or feel your competition didn’t go the way you had hoped, don’t feel downhearted. I promise you it has happened to the best of us. You might want to check out this video but also, remember not to be too hard on yourself – you will have achieved something with your competition, even if it was just gaining one page like. If you’re really upset or puzzled by your outcome, get in touch and and we’ll go through a competition SOS and look at what you did well and where you can improve.

Grab your key takeaways.


So how did you go, did you nail it? Perhaps you were really, really close but didn’t quite get there, or maybe you completely missed the mark. Either way, I guarantee you would have learnt a few incredibly valuable lessons about your business and how to market it.

Maybe you were aiming for subscribers but ended up generating a surprise amount of sales? Is this something you can explore further with special VIP discounts? Perhaps you thought your audience was on Facebook but actually, your Instagram followers tripled during your competition. Maybe you should spend more time nurturing your Instagram followers? Look for surprising trends or unexpected side-effects of running a competition, look at the types of people who entered your competition and see how they compare to your ideal demographic. All of these findings from your competition can help you with your future marketing efforts.

Use your results.


So what should you do with the data/leads/entries/insights you’ve collected? Well, you can never have too much data and insights into your target audience and you can use this information gathered for ongoing marketing long after your competition has closed. Here are just three of my favourite ways you can use your results post competition.

  • Create a ‘consolation offer’ – you know how everyone at school got a prize for participation? You can offer everyone who entered an exclusive discount or offer to help generate revenue or convert leads to paying customers. BONUS: combine with your winner announcement for maximum reach.
  • Use your entries for marketing material. If you asked for new T-Shirt slogans as their entry, or have some interesting stats from your customer survey – share the results with your audience. User generated content gets great engagement, you can even have a ‘runner up’ gallery of your favourite entries.
  • Run another competition. Keep the momentum you’ve gained by announcing your next competition – especially now they’re engaged with your brand. Your next competition can continue the work you started with your last competition or you can try something totally different to compare competition results. You’ve got all the tools in your arsenal to run infinite competitions now!

Whatever you decide to do with your competition results, incorporate them into a larger, overall marketing plan or strategy for your business. Competitions should form part of your marketing plan, not be isolated events unrelated to your business and marketing goals.

That's all she wrote...

That’s all from me! I sincerely hope you’ve gotten something valuable from this guide or at least learnt something new about marketing and social media. I’d absolutely love to hear from you (good or bad!) so send me an email if you have comments, questions or you’ve just spotted a typo. Your emails make my day, even the typo ones.

If you’re not quite ready to part ways just yet, why not take a look at how we can work together on your next competition or share this guide with your community?

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read this guide!