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What makes a successful contest? An excellent question and one that we were asked recently. We thought it was such a good question in fact, that we decided to dedicate a blog post to it and let you in on exactly what you need in order to run a successful contest or competition.

A clear competition goal.

Running a successful competition is only possible if you know what ‘successful’ looks like.

For us, we define a successful competition as one that has achieved the competition goal it set out to achieve – whether it’s collecting emails, encouraging engagement, generating sales or gathering essential feedback.

Setting a clear competition goal not only keeps you, your entrants, your competition and your budget on track, but it also provides some kind of measure that tells you when you’ve achieved your goal and therefore that your competition is a success.

Want to know more about competition goals? Learn how to set a competition goal here.

Obeying social media rules.

A good competition always follows the rules.

I know, I know, we go on and on about rules and it’s dry and boring. Do you think we like saying the same thing over and over again?

Well, maybe a little bit…

We don’t constantly remind you to obey social media rules for our own sakes, we do it because the last thing we want to happen to your competition, is for your page to be shut down for ignoring the rules.

There’s really no excuse, because we’ve laid the social media contest rules out clear as day in our post ‘Social media competition rules – a quick reference guide.

Obeying state competition permit and licensing laws.

A successful competition is a licensed competition.

We know, more boring legals. It’s important to apply for a competition permit or licence if your competition requires one. Not doing so leaves you and your business open to fines and potential jail time if caught running a competition that should have a permit or licence, without one.

How do you know if you need a permit or licence? Excellent question.

It just so happens we answer that in our aptly named post – ‘Do I need a licence or permit for my competition in Australia?’.

Having an iron-clad set of competition T&Cs.

A good competition protects its own backside.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, terms and conditions (or T&Cs for short) don’t just exist to make your life an administrative nightmare, nor are they designed only to protect your entrants and winners being conned by dodgy competitions.

They also protect you and your business from being conned by dodgy winners.

Sure, they look cute now – just wait ’til they ask for the cash. Photo: Kenneth Schipper Vera on Unsplash.

Yes friends, prize pigs exist and they’re after your money (well, some of them are, anyway). Essential clauses such as ‘not exchangeable for cash’ protect you from truffle-snuffling prize pigs who are looking to make a quick buck by demanding the cash value instead of the prize.

But it’s not just prize pigs who are after your truffles though, you’ve also got to protect your truffles (probably stretching the truffle imagery a little far now) from the likes of Facebook who demand in their ‘Pages, Groups and Events Policies’ that you release them from liability when running promotions on their platform.

Guess which set of competitions terms and conditions protects you from prize pigs and social media giants alike? This guy…

Invest in a reusable, lawyer-written terms and conditions template.

We’ve paid the expensive legal fees to draft a comprehensive set of terms and conditions so you don’t have to. Grab your competition T&Cs template for a fraction of the cost.


A great prize.

Phew, we’re back to the fun stuff.

Yes, a successful competition always has a great prize.

What makes for a great prize? Almost always, the answer is your own product or service. There are a few exceptions to the rule, such as travel prizes and prize packages where you partner up with like-minded businesses to create an irresistible and extremely valuable prize package.

It’s also important to note, that a great prize isn’t always an expensive prize, it just has to be compelling, relevant and valuable to your ideal competition entrants.

If you’re still lost when it comes to picking a prize, check out our post that explains exactly ‘How to choose your competition prize’.

An easy way to enter.

A successful competition, contest or giveaway must be easy to enter.

Forget 20 page surveys or forms with 50 fields to fill in. Stick to the basics and don’t ask too much from your entrants or you won’t get any entries.

The entry method that you choose should help you achieve your goal – there’s no point asking for likes if you’re trying to build your email database or vice versa.

We’ve got the ultimate guide to entry methods right here, so you can pick the best entry method for your next competition.

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Some serious promotion.

The seventh and final essential ingredient for a successful contest or competition is promotion.

If you don’t tell people what they can win, why you’re running a competition and where and how they can enter – you won’t receive a single entry for your competition (except maybe from your mum… Hi mum!).

Use every available space you have access to and promote the heck out of your competition.

I mean every space.

Without promotion, we guarantee, you will not achieve your competition goal.

Wondering how you promote your competition? So was everyone else, so we wrote you (and everyone else) a little blog post called ‘How to promote your competition.

You’re welcome.

So let’s recap what makes a successful contest, giveaway or competition: a clear goal, obeying social media rules, obeying state licensing/permit laws, having a great set of T&Cs (preferably written by us of course), a great prize, an easy entry method and some serious promotion. Take it from us, we’ve run a lot of competitions, so you can trust we know what it takes to run a successful contest.

If you’re after more tips on running successful competitions or you have another question for our team of competition nerds, you can get in touch with us via our contact page or book in a BS-free strategy session with us here.