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Perhaps this blog post should have been called ‘how to get entries’ as that is, effectively, what promoting your competition is about – getting entries. You know how my favourite phrase is that a successful competition is 20% strategy, 80% promotion? Well. this article is about that 80% promotion; what to do once your competition is live to get those entries flooding in.

Here’s a checklist of things you can do to promote your competition. The more items you check off, the further your message spreads, and the more entries you’ll get! It’s not rocket science, but it does require a little work on your part. Remember how my other favourite phrase is that a competition isn’t set and forget?

 

Feature your competition on your homepage.

No budget required – if you have access

Add a banner to that juicy piece of prime real estate on your homepage, just underneath your menu, but above the scroll line. If you have a slider, add a new slide promoting your competition and link directly to your entry page. If you don’t, you could add an image or text which hyperlinks to the competition page. Remember that images are more compelling and have better click-through rate than text to get traffic to your competition entry page.

If you don’t have access to make these changes yourself, you may need to ask your developer how these changes can be incorporated.

 

Leverage your email list.

No budget required

If you’ve already started building an email list, no matter how small, make sure you send them an email letting them know you’re running a competition, what they can win and how they can enter. You could reward subscribers with early access to your competition or offer incentives to encourage them to share your competition or follow you on social media. Your email list is an important tool you can leverage before, during and after your competition.

 

Write a blog post (or a series of blog posts).

No budget required – if you write them yourself

People love stories – tell them the story behind why you created the competition, tell them the story behind the prize, let them know what you’re trying to achieve with your competition and why – and link to your entry page. Blog posts are a chance to get your potential entrants emotionally invested in you, your business and your competition.

 

Maximise your social media.

No budget required

There are so many opportunities to convert visitors to entrants on social media:

  • change your header image to one that mentions your competition
  • change your call to action button to ‘enter now’ and link it to your entry page
  • update your ‘about’ tab with details of the competition and a link to the entry page
  • pin your competition announcement post to the top of your timeline
  • and most importantly, make sure you reply and like any comments made on your photos and posts – engagement is a great way to convert people to entrants.

The key to promoting on social media is consistent, regular and purposeful posts reminding your audience your competition is open, letting them know what they can win and how they can enter. Your images need to be eye catching and give just enough information to pique their interest and your copy must be compelling and convincing enough to encourage your audience to enter.

If you need a hand putting together and creating your social media promotion, we’d love to help!

 

Promote in groups you belong to.

No budget required – just make sure it’s allowed!

Promote your competition in forums, groups and meetups you belong to, both online and in person – just check self-promotion is permitted first. You’ll also need to be strategic about the groups you choose to promote your competition in, ensuring your target audience is actually in that group. There’s no point promoting a Footie Legends competition in a hair and beauty Facebook group…

 

Get yourself some partners.

No budget required

Think about businesses you could partner with to help promote your competition. Aim for companies that share the same target demographic but are non-competing and provide complimentary products or services – for example a photographer could partner with a videographer.

Trade in all your favours with relevant partners who ‘owe you one’ for help you’ve given them in the past or ask for an introduction to your auntie’s neighbour’s brother who can promote it to their audience.

 

Ask family and friends to share.

No budget required

Family and friends may not be your target audience, but they may be connected with those who are via social media. Tag them in a post and ask if they wouldn’t mind resharing. You never know who might see, enter and even reshare your post.

 

Leverage any potential ‘influencers’.

No budget required – unless you use paid influencers…

These may not be official, paid influencers, but people who have a reasonable following and a good reputation in your industry or amongst your target audience. They may have a blog or social media account you could ask to be featured on.

There are businesses that successfully leverage paid influencers for their competitions, though the market is getting crowded and is unregulated so be careful what you pay for. If you choose your influencer carefully and set out clear expectations in advance, it could be a fantastic way to reach engaged and targeted audiences.

 

Get in touch with customers.

No budget required

Your current customers are your biggest fans – ask them if they will help spread the message to their friends. You can even offer an incentive such as free delivery or a discount, even additional prizes for those who share the competition the most. There are even apps that allow additional entries for sharing the competition. Usually though, avid customers who love what you do will be more than happy to help, regardless of the incentive.

 

Give mentions to get mentions.

No budget required

If you mention or plug another brand or business on your social media or website, make sure you bring it to their attention. Tag, tweet or mention them. If you build up a good relationship with them, they may be happy to plug your competition to their audience.

This is a great tactic to use if you’ve partnered with any businesses to offer the prize or you created the competition together or used their software etc to create your competition. Brands love mentions and often they’ll be happy to repost any mentions to their social media accounts, getting your competition in front of a new audience.

 

Pay for ads on Facebook.

Requires a budget

Beware of boosted posts which mostly target your existing audience and choose to create ads through the ads manager instead. Carefully tailor your target audience and put time and thought into the image and copy for the ad and monitor performance and conversion from the ad to judge its effectiveness.

You can always A/B test your images and copy by running multiple ads and changing one element at a time to see which performs better – e.g. keep the text the same in both ads but test two different images and keep the most popular ad running.

 

Try Google Adwords.

Requires a budget

Depending on your product or service, Google Adwords may also be a great way to advertise your competition – just start small and be very specific on who to target with your ads. Invest a small budget and monitor performance to see how well the ads work for your business.

I’m going to be honest, Google Adwords is a science these days if you want to get a decent return on the money you invest, so I would only recommend experimenting with Adwords to promote your competition if you’re already experienced with them, or you pay someone who knows what they’re doing to manage them on your behalf.

 

Try retargeting/remarketing.

Requires a budget

Several ad providers will offer retargeting, which is where people who have already seen or engaged with your business are retargeted with your ads on third party sites to help bring them back to your site to enter your competition. It’s a bit of an artform, but used correctly, they can be much more effective than targeting ‘cold’ traffic. Again, just make sure you know what you’re doing with retargeting otherwise it could get very expensive, very quickly!

 


 

As you can see, there are so many ways to promote your competition. The good news is, the vast majority of promotional channels are free, so even if you’re running on a tight budget you can still leverage plenty of promotional channels. I would always recommend to try the free channels at the start of your competition so you can gauge organic interest before you shell out for paid promotion. That way you can compare paid vs free and put your resources into the channel that gets you the best results!

Have you tried the promotion methods above? Maybe you’ve found a new channel that works wonders for attracting entries for your competitions – let us know in the comments below! We always reply to every comment we receive. Unless it’s spam. No one replies to spam.

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