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We’ve all seen them… we’ve all entered them, but can you even remember who the company offering the prize was? We’re talking about ‘WIN an iPad!’ competitions. Everyone wanted one when they first came out and now almost everyone has one. So why are some companies still offering something so ubiquitous and so irrelevant to their brand and (in most cases) their target market?

Answer: because it’s easy.

Here are 5 of the ‘easiest’ (translation: worst) prizes you can give away as part of your competition and how to upgrade your giveaway to get more engagement and smash your competition goals.

What not to give away: iPad/iPhone.

Why not?

Ask yourself this: who is your target demographic? If you had to conjure up your ideal entrant, who would they be?

OK, now, is this person likely to already have an iPad/iPhone or equivalent device? If yes – they probably don’t need or want another one, so although they’re your target audience, they’re already less likely to enter your competition. If no – firstly, make sure they are your target demographic and they haven’t just googled ‘free iPad’.

If they’re definitely your target demographic, ask yourself why they don’t have one, are they eco-warriors who pride themselves on living without unnecessary tech? Are they even tech-savvy? You need to offer something desirable and relevant enough to your target entrant that they are motivated to enter.

They’re cute… but are they your demographic?!
Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash.

What’s the upgrade?

Pretty much anything. Seriously, anything is more engaging.

Try one of your own products or services, they’re fans/customers for a reason, right? What about a membership to something they really care about? Maybe that eco-warrior would really love to win a WWF membership or for you to donate your time or money to a charity they care about in their name? Perhaps they would love to actually visit that sanctuary overseas that they donate all their spare cash to?

What not to give away: a travel voucher.

Why is it a bad idea?

If your competition is called WIN THE ULTIMATE EUROPE EXPERIENCE!!!*, then for the love of all things holy, give them an ultimate Europe experience!

Don’t give them a $1,000 voucher for a travel agency.

For starters $1,000 will get them to Asia if they’re lucky, not Europe. Secondly, you’re missing out on crazy-awesome, free PR and marketing material because let’s face it, who’s to say that your winner will actually take that voucher and book a trip to Europe?

You can’t exactly repost their incredible photos of them walking the Great Wall of China that they booked with your voucher on your ‘Ultimate Europe Experience’ competition page with the hashtag #ultimateeuropecompetition!

#ultimate…europe…compe… #nevermind
Thanks for the photo Sid Verma and Unsplash.

What’s a better solution?

This one’s easy – you already know the answer: either give them what you’re advertising or change it to ‘Win a $1,000 travel voucher’.

Sure, a voucher is less exciting, but by being honest, you’ll get more engagement and relevant entries, plus your marketing message will be stronger. Not to mention you can post those Great Wall pics to your heart’s content. You can always take your voucher budget and see what wow-factor travel prizes we can help you make a reality.

*actual example we’ve seen in real life…

What not to give away: ‘Win a trip to New Zealand!’

Hey! What’s wrong with NZ?

Calm down! There’s nothing wrong with New Zealand, our team have had some incredible experiences there – did you know our Chief Competition Nerd, Suki skydived over Lake Taupo and that our Chief Whip Cracker Ash is originally from NZ?

There is, however, everything wrong with the wording of this prize. It’s generic and gives no indication of your brand or what the prize has to do with it. Your competition is marketing material with a marketing goal, there’s no two ways about it. So marketing rules apply – you need to sell this prize in the most attractive and exciting way possible to get people excited and more importantly, involved!

What would be a better prize?

It literally is a case of adding in more descriptive wording relevant to your brand. Say you’re an adventure gear company, something like:

Win a high-adrenaline, once-in-a-lifetime, bucket-list week in Queenstown, New Zealand!

Summer or Winter, you get to choose your own Queenstown adventure with Adventure Gear Co!

Jamie Davies showcasing stunning Queenstown on Unsplash.

OK so it might be a bit over the top, but we know which one would get more relevant entries…

Nell Casey gave us some excellent copywriting tips for exactly this scenario.

What not to give away: a $10 gift card…

…for a shop/service where everything costs $30 or more and the minimum purchase required to enter the competition is $50.

So what?

In what universe is this an attractive prize?

This one’s so ridiculous you probably think we’re just being sarcastic, but in writing this article we did our due diligence and googled ‘worst competition prizes’… a common complaint was from grateful but bewildered winners who had spent more on the entry process than the value of the prize and had to spend yet more money redeeming their prize!

What to giveaway instead?

Do a simple calculation on your return on investment and up the prize budget accordingly.

You’ve got a fair few fans on your Facebook page and you expect a good number of entries as your audience is pretty engaged, plus they’re always sharing your content (who doesn’t love a good cat video share?). You know from experience that you’ve got a pretty high conversion rate (because obviously that’s the end goal here, right, generating revenue?) so work out what you can afford to allocate to the prize and still come out ahead.

Even if you only expect one conversion that’ll net you $400 clear profit, you can afford to give away at least $100 in prizes. Your winner will be happy and so will you.

Enjoying our competition tips?

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What not to give away: anything expired or a logistical nightmare.

Isn’t that obvious?

You’d think so. Aside from the fact that its expired, it’s just plain bad form.

A close second to low-value gift cards, people have complained about ‘winning’ (it seems unfair to use that term here!) tickets for events that are happening hundreds of kilometres away, within the next 24 hours; or worse, have already been and gone.

Seriously, this happens. Similarly, if you’re giving away tickets to an incredible concert in London but are not including plane tickets or accommodation; don’t expect a huge amount of entries.

What should I do instead?

Make it as easy as possible for them to claim their prize and send you amazing photos to use in your marketing!

If your budget won’t stretch, change the prize to something closer to home, but include transport and accommodation.

There are some seriously terrible competitions and prizes out there, don’t let yours be one of them! If you need ideas or inspiration, or just want to know what’s possible within your budget, book in for a free 15 minute strategy session with us.

… Otherwise, we would absolutely love to know, because we’re nosey, what’s the worst prize you’ve ever won?!