If you’re no stranger to running competitions, you’ve probably come across a few ‘prize pigs’ in your time. Perhaps you’ve even reluctantly had to award your prize to one? It can be really disheartening to see a flood of entries to your competition, only to realise that none of them fit your ideal competition entrant – and what’s worse, they all hit the unsubscribe or unfollow button as soon as your competition is over, leaving you with little to show for your time, money and hard work. Fortunately, we’ve been there, done that and got the T-Shirt and we want to show you the dos and don’ts for avoiding those pesky prize pigs.
What is a prize pig?
Prize pigs – or professional ‘compers’ – are people who enter competition after competition, often on fake Facebook profiles or through buying or bartering entries and votes. Their sole aim is to win, not because they really want the prize on offer or are loyal customers of the company running the giveaway, but for bragging rights and often for income. Some professional compers win enough competitions that they can earn a living from reselling the prizes. They are wolves in sheep’s (or should that be pigs’?!) clothing. They may boost your entry numbers, but beware that most have zero intention of ever becoming a paying customer.
How can I avoid them?
Unfortunately, there are a huge amount of compers out there, which means the chances you’ll encounter the occasional prize pig is fairly high. Fortunately, there are also plenty of things you can do to protect your competition from professional competition entrants and ensure you attract genuine entrants who are sincerely interested in your products or services.
Do protect yourself.
Having adequate terms and conditions goes a long way to protecting your competition. Most importantly is a ‘not exchangeable for cash’ clause. We were once involved in a $20,000 travel prize competition and upon phoning the lucky winner to congratulate them on winning a trip to Costa Rica, they replied
Thankfully, we were able to direct them straight to the T&Cs and the clause which stated the prize could not be taken as cash. The ‘winner’ confessed they’d entered so many competitions that they lost track. It was incredibly frustrating, but that simple clause in our terms and conditions saved us from an expensive cash payout.
Don’t offer generic, high value prizes.
High value prizes such as cash, gift cards, vouchers and generic holidays are prime targets for a prize pig; as are our pet hate when it comes to prizes: iPads (or any iProduct for that matter).
Many prize pigs are professional compers and make a living from entering competitions so cash pays their bills. Whilst you may be tempted to think that a more expensive prize will get you more entrants, this simply isn’t the case. A truly valuable prize is one that is relevant, compelling and desirable to your target audience, regardless of dollar value. We’ve seen competitions with $50 prizes that have been more successful than competitions offering $50,000 prizes – it’s all in how much value your target audience get from the prize and how well and to whom you market your competition.
Do make your competition specific to your audience.
The key to attracting the right entrants is running the right competition. Running a ‘like our page’ competition on Facebook and giving away an iPad as your prize when you are a salon specialising in blue rinses for pensioners is clearly the wrong competition. Offering a year’s worth of blue rinses and getting them to pop their name and contact number on a slip of paper at the front desk – that’s the right competition for your audience and prevents prize pigs. From your prize to your entry method, your messaging to promoting your competition – tailor it all to attract your ideal competition entrant.
Don’t post to competition sites.
Finally and most importantly, never ever post your competition on a competition site/forum. These sites are truly a thorn in our side. We spend weeks and months crafting carefully tailored and targeted competitions for our clients and occasionally (it’s happened twice over the last three years) our competition ends up on a competition site.
We’ve seen people share links to the entry page, copy and paste T&Cs highlighting any relevant parts that may exclude them and even give others the answers to entry questions. Yes, you may experience a high volume of entries, but as soon as they find out they haven’t won? Your professional compers will be unsubscribed and unfollowed quicker than you can say “and the winner is…”
What do you do if you draw a prize pig as your winner?
First of all, don’t panic, it’s not the end of the world. You can do everything in your power and follow all of our advice and still end up drawing a professional competition prize pig as your winner. Though you may be tempted, you must not redraw your winner. Legally you are obligated to run a fair and legal, above board competition. Even if your entrants don’t play by the rules, you must.
Talk to your winner and ask them a few questions about why they entered, what they love about the prize, if they’ve purchased from you before and what they’re going to do with the prize. They may surprise you by telling you they’re going to give it to their sister who has had a tough year, or that even though they found you through a competition site, they’ve bought from you before.
We always ask for a testimonial, review or photo of the lucky winner with their prize, so ask if they’d be able to send you one. Show them you’re the person behind the business and you care about your products or services and your clients. It then becomes about the humans giving and receiving the prizes rather than the dollar value of the prize itself.
Though the thought of ending up drawing a prize pig as your winner may make your blood run cold, there are plenty of ways to make sure you never end up in that position. Protect yourself with terms and conditions, avoid generic and high value prizes, tailor your competition to your audience and avoid competition sites like the plague. If you still end up with a prize pig, be human.
Have you had experience with professional compers? Do you have any tips to offer? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.