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When you run competitions all day every day for a living, you quickly learn which tools make your life easier and which tools help you get the best results.

So to make your life easier and help you get the best results from your competitions, we’re going to share with you our favourite tools for running competitions, contests and giveaways.

The best tools for planning a competition…

THE LAST GUIDE TO COMPETITIONS

First up is our very own guide to running competitions: The last guide to competitions you’ll ever need to read.

Yes, it’s shameless self promotion, but we’re not beating ourselves up too hard as it’s completely free, chock full of everything we know about running a successful competition and you’ll find our last guide to competitions here.

This is the exact process, start to finish, that we use with our clients, so we know it works.

OUR BLOG – THE FOLD

Another free OrigamiGlobe resource.

Our blog is chock full of guides , how to and there’s even a whole section dedicated to planning your competition .

If you can’t find it on the blog, get in touch with us to ask your question, we’ll get straight back to you with an answer. Then probably write a blog on it.

A CALENDAR

The simplest tools are the best, aren’t they?

One of the first (non-OrigamiGlobe) tools we reach for is a good old fashioned calendar to plan out the key milestones of a competition:

  • Planning (usually 2-3 weeks)
  • Countdown to launch (usually 10-7 days before launch)
  • Launch day (usually a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday)
  • Competition duration (usually 2 weeks to 3 months max)
  • Paid ads (usually a week after launch)
  • Promotional activities (usually daily or every few days depending on the duration)
  • Halfway (usually… well, halfway…)
  • Preparing to close (usually a week before close)
  • Winner draw (usually within a week after close)

The best tools for building your competition…

LANDING PAGES

Everyone knows we’re fans of a good old enter your email to win competition.

Whilst you can run a lead ad on Facebook to collect email addresses, we much prefer to direct all that valuable traffic straight to your site to enter (if you’re curious, here’s why ).

You don’t even have to be a whizz at website building, Ramp Champ ’s super simple landing page built in Shopify saw one of the highest conversion rates to entrant we’ve ever seen at 97.8%!

COMPETITION APPS

Using a competition app can make your contest life so much easier – especially if you choose a slightly more complicated entry method like submit a photo or video to enter or vote to win .

Most apps can run standalone as a landing page in itself (not recommended as you lose all that traffic you could be sending to your own site) or will allow you to embed them directly into your website landing page.

We’ve covered competition apps in detail in our ultimate guide to competition apps.

DESIGN PROGRAMMES

When it comes to creating promotional material  for our clients, we use Adobe Photoshop, but we understand it’s not exactly budget-friendly, which is why we’d also recommend a user-friendly and budget-conscious tool like Canva.

SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULERS

We create anywhere between 15 and 30 posts for our clients to help promote their competition, create engagement on social media and drive traffic and entries to their competitions… but with multiple clients and multiple competitions across multiple timezones, we can’t be everywhere at once to post organically.

To ensure the posts go out to the right people at the right times, we rely mostly on Facebook’s free Creator Studio tool. Whilst it’s not as sophisticated as some schedulers like Plann, Hootsuite or Buffer, it’s a great free tool – and perfect for running competitions on a budget.

EMAIL PLATFORMS

If you’re collecting emails as part of your competition, you’re going to need somewhere to keep them.

Whilst we use ActiveCampaign for our business, the vast majority of our clients use Mailchimp

Not only is Mailchimp a cost-effective option compared to other email platforms, it’s also got a fair bit of functionality that comes in mighty handy when running a competition.

We build our enter your email to win entry forms in Mailchimp and embed them on our clients’ website landing pages, so that every entry is automatically added to their email list. 

We then set up an automation that sends a thank you email to entrants as soon as they submit their entry and then keep entrants engaged with regular emails at strategic intervals throughout the competition. At the end of the competition, we simply export the competition list and we have our entries to conduct a random draw if we’re running a game of chance or our list of entries to make our shortlist and pick our winner from if we’re running a game of skill.

For those of you on Shopify, Klaviyo is a very popular choice of email management and can be used in a very similar way to Mailchimp, as described above.

The best tools for keeping your competition legal…

SOCIAL MEDIA RULES – QUICK REFERENCE GUIDE

Everyone knows we’re fans of a good old enter your email to win competition.

Whilst you can run a lead ad on Facebook to collect email addresses, we much prefer to direct all that valuable traffic straight to your site to enter (if you’re curious, here’s why ).

You don’t even have to be a whizz at website building, Ramp Champ ’s super simple landing page built in Shopify saw one of the highest conversion rates to entrant we’ve ever seen at 97.8%!

TERMS AND CONDITIONS TEMPLATE

Not so much as a recommended or best tool and more like a non-negotiable, essential ingredient for running competitions.

Our reusable terms and conditions template is the exact same template we use for our clients’ competitions and once or twice over the years it has saved our bacon when it comes to difficult winners and prize pigs.

PERMIT AND LICENCES GUIDE

By far and away one of our most popular posts of all time is our easy to understand guide to licences and permits.

When it comes to running competitions outside of Australia, our go to tool is DLA Piper’s amazing (and free) guide to prize promotions around the world .

The best tools for promoting and managing your competition…

FACEBOOK ADS MANAGER

Whilst we recommend an array of promotional activities across owned, earned and paid channels, the channel that we leverage most for promoting competitions is Facebook Ads Manager.

We use Ads Manager to run ads to warm audiences, lookalike audiences and colder interest-based or behaviour-based audiences throughout the competition in order not only to drive traffic and entries, but to learn about our clients’ audience – who they are, where they come from, what they like and what creative and copy makes them convert.

If you’re new to Facebook Ads or find the platform intimidating (don’t worry, so did we at first!) then you might want to check out our guide to running Facebook Ads on a budget and our interview with Facebook Ads expert (who taught us a metric tonne about Facebook Ads) Dahna Borg of Bright Red Marketing .

Facebook Ads Manager gives you a lot of data about your audience which enables you to make intelligent decisions about who you reach and how you do it – and who is most likely to not only to enter your competition, but purchase from you too.

GOOGLE ANALYTICS

One of our favourite tools in the world.

If you don’t have Google Analytics set up yet, do yourself a favour and take five minutes to set it up now and thank us later. You’ll gain access to a world of useful and vital information about your audience that will save you time and money attempting to discover on your own.

We’ve written an entire post on how to leverage Google Analytics to maximise your competition or giveaway results  (no really, that’s the actual title). So once you’ve set up Google Analytics, be sure to give that post a read.

THE ORIGAMIGLOBE BLOG

Speaking of blog posts, you’ll want to check out our blog, The Fold for posts on promoting your competition in particular, we recommend the aptly named How to promote your competition .

YOUR ENTRIES

During a competition, we check daily to see how many entries a competition has received.  For us, this is usually in the client’s email provider as we primarily run enter your email to win competitions for clients.

Monitoring entry numbers is like checking the pulse of a competition – if entry numbers drop, we look at the promotion to see what’s happening, if entry numbers spike, we look at potential causes and see if we can take the learnings to create more entries.

Note that it’s perfectly normal for competition entry numbers to drop or sag slightly in the middle of a competition when the initial novelty and excitement of the competition has worn off and the close date deadline is still far enough away not to be a factor.

YOUR WEBSITE OR APP

The data from Facebook Ads Manager and Google Analytics is only valuable if you translate it into tangible actions you can take to improve your competition’s results.

We know you know what a cute puppy looks like, but we’re still showing you this cute puppy by T.R Photography via Unsplash.

 If, for example, your Facebook Ads results show that the user-generated photo of that cute puppy is driving more entries at a cheaper rate than the professional photographer’s photo of the equally cute puppy; you may wish to use the most popular image on your website’s competition landing page, then monitor Google Analytics to see if switching the image increases conversion to entry.

Using the data and insights gained during your competition can improve both the volume of traffic you drive to your competition and the conversion rate at which people enter your competition.

YOUR EMAIL PLATFORM

On average, we’ll send four or five emails to a database during a competition.

The first will be announcing to existing subscribers that the competition is live, then there’s the obvious winner announcement email at the end of the competition… but during the competition we’ll send a number of emails designed to keep entrants engaged whilst they wait to be crowned the winner and make sure that their opens and clicks ensure future deliverability of a client’s marketing emails.

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The best tools for closing your competition and converting your entrants.

THE FOLD

Once again, our blog, The Fold contains a wealth of information on closing and converting.

When it comes to closing a competition, the process usually looks like this:

  1. Close the competition – here’s a checklist for close day.
  2. Pick a winner (or winners) – with this guide to picking competition winners.
  3. Announce your winner – you can read all about why this step is important here.
  4. Calculate your return on investment – with this guide to competition ROI right here.
  5. Make a plan for what to do with your entries next – you’ll find a guide to what to do with your entries after your competition closes here.

RANDOM NUMBER GENERATORS

If you’re running a game of chance, you’ll need a random number generator to fairly and legally pick your winners. Our favourite tool for this is randomdraws.com.au by TPAL.

If you’re running a like to win or comment to win competition, there are various online tools that can pick a post liker or commenter at random from all likes or comments on a specific post. We outline some of those tools in our ultimate guide to competition apps.

AN IRRESISTIBLE OFFER

If you want to convert your entries into customers, be sure to make them an offer they can’t refuse soon after your competition closes. When you announce your winner, take advantage of their attention and engagement to make the offer – and stand the best chance at turning them into loyal, paying customers.

So there you have it, all of our not-so-secret tools of the trade in one useful post, to help you run your next competition, contest or giveaway. Whether it’s our guide or blog or tools created by others, these resources and tools are the exact ones we use to run incredibly popular and successful competitions for our clients .

If you need a hand planning, building, legalising, promoting, managing, closing or converting your competition, there’s one more tool you should know about: our free 20 minute strategy session, where you can pick our brains, get our recommendations and learn how to run a successful competition.

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