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So you’ve planned the perfect competition, built and launched it… now what? What do you actually do during your competition or giveaway once it’s live?

As I always say, competitions are not set and forget, when the competition is live is when the real fun begins (especially if you’re a competition nerd like me).

During your competition, you need to make sure you get enough entries to achieve your goal, keep an eye on your conversion rate from visitor to entrant, keep track of how many sales your competition generates, take a look at your social media and email engagement and check your competition promotion is working. Definitely not set and forget.

Let’s walk through the exact steps I follow for my Competition Concierge clients, during a competition or giveaway, to ensure it’s a huge success.

Make sure you’re getting enough entries.

In the initial stages of a competition, the total number of competition entries is a metric I’ll check every day or multiple times a day, to ensure entries are flowing as they should.

You should be checking your entry numbers on a daily basis at least for the first few days of your competition to ensure everything is working and deploy fixes if you’re not receiving the entries you expected.

Keeping track of your entry numbers on a daily or weekly basis will also help you see if you’re on track to receive your desired entry numbers and will therefore achieve your competition goal.

If you’re ahead of where you thought you’d be, don’t slow down – especially at the start of a competition. Typically, a competition will launch with a flurry of entries that will start to taper off after the first week, finding a steady daily entry rate in the middle of the competition and then pick up again at the end of the competition as the close date draws near.

If you’re not quite where you need to be in terms of entries, consider upping your competition promotion game – try more organic posts, add links throughout your website, tell your email list, reach out to third parties who can help promote your competition or consider paid ads.

Whilst compiling weekly reports for clients, I’ll also look for any spikes or dips in entry numbers to try and pinpoint the cause and then either fix it (if entries dipped) or recreate it (if entries spiked).

Keep an eye on your conversion rate.

You can find more information on how to calculate your conversion rate here, but essentially, you’ll want to take your total number of entries and divide it by the total number of people who have seen your competition (or the number of page visitors if you’re running a landing page competition). Then you multiply that by 100 to get a percentage.

Let’s say you’ve got 65 entries and you’ve had 100 page visitors – 65 ÷ 100 = 0.65, multiply that by 100 and you get 65% conversion rate from page visitor to competition entrant.

A good conversion rate for a competition or giveaway is between 60% and 90%. That means that for every 10 people who visit your competition, you’ll get 6 to 9 entries depending on your conversion rate.

If your conversion rate is below 60%, you’ll definitely want to pinpoint why people aren’t entering your competition so you can fix it – especially before you start running any form of competition promotion or paid ads, otherwise you’ll be wasting your time and money promoting a competition no one will enter.

Keep track of sales generated.

Not every competition will be set up to drive sales – but most competitions will generate sales even if that’s not their aim, simply as a result of increased traffic and engagement.

Leveraging UTMs in conjunction with your back end sales tracker (for example Shopify analytics or Google Analytics) for your competition is a great way to keep track of the sales generated specifically as a result of your competition.

A UTM is a string of unique identifiers at the end of a URL that helps tracking software differentiate where traffic has come from. It might look like this:

Using unique UTMs or links for your competition or giveaway means you can track how many sales your competition generates and helps you monitor your competition’s return on investment (or ROI).

Take a look at your social media engagement.

Whether you run your competition via social media or simply leverage social media to drive entries to your competition, you’ve got a vested interest in how well your posts perform, as it’ll directly impact the number of visitors (and entrants) your competition will receive.

It’s best practice to pin your competition post to the top of your feed, not just to drive traffic to your competition and keep your giveaway top of mind; but also to help monitor engagement with your competition.

What you want to see is a your post accumulating likes/reactions, comments and shares:

Pedder Wilderness Lodge‘s competition post showing 32,000+ people reached and 3,412 engagements.

The reactions will give you an idea of the sentiment of your audience about the competition – obviously you want to see thumbs up, hearts and ‘wow’ reacts rather than crying or angry reacts; but if you do get a number of negative reacts, it could be an opportunity to investigate further – perhaps these people just spent a fortune on your site and missed out on a competition entry?

The comments in particular, are a great place to gather intel about your competition – and your audience. Seeing a number of comments that say ‘the link doesn’t work’ or ‘I don’t understand the entry question’, tell you that you may have technical difficulties or you may be asking too much of your entrants in exchange for an entry.

Seeing comments like ‘I’ve just entered, can’t wait to see if I win!’ Or ‘Wow, your products are beautiful, I just ordered one for my sister in law’s birthday’ are what you want to see.

Often, you’ll also see people tagging their friends and family to enter or sharing the post to their profile. As long as sharing is not part of your entry method, this is a-OK. Remember that requiring people to tag and/or share your competition for an entry or an extra entry is prohibited under Facebook’s competition rules and could land you in Facebook jail.

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Take a look at your email engagement.

When running competitions for clients, I’ll schedule a number of strategic emails throughout the competition period, to not just to keep the audience engaged, but to ensure future deliverability of marketing emails too.

You should at least be sending an automated email after people enter your competition, thanking them for their entry and telling them what to do next.

Your competition emails should get anywhere between 55% to 75% open rate and 5% to 10% click through rate, so make sure you do include a ‘call to action’ in your emails to take advantage of how engaged your entrants are with your emails.

If your open rate is lower than expected, try editing your subject line – words like ‘competition’, ‘win’ and ‘prize’ can end up in the spam folder, so stick to something simple like ‘Thank you for entering our [name of] competition’ – and go easy on the emojis and exclamation marks!

If your competition email open/engagement rates are higher than expected, then kudos to you, you’ve clearly written a very attractive email and should definitely use a similar format for any additional competition emails.

Check your competition promotion is working.

Facebook and Instagram ads form a huge part of a competition’s promotion strategy here at OrigamiGlobe, so the majority of my time checking competition promotion is working, is spent between Facebook Ads Manager and Google Analytics.

I usually keep a close eye on…

  • Results (how many entries we are getting from the ads)
  • Cost per acquisition (how much it’s costing to get an email address/entry)
  • Reach vs Link clicks (or conversion rate from seeing the competition to engaging with the competition)
  • Link clicks vs Results (or conversion rate from engaging with the competition to entering the competition)

I’ll also closely monitor which creative/copy is performing best, which audiences are performing better than others and who is entering our competition from the ads (demographic breakdown) and adjust the ads regularly according to what’s working and what’s not in order to get the best possible results for the competition.

So there you have it, an insight into the work that goes into managing a competition once it’s live – or what you should be doing during your competition or giveaway. From entry monitoring to conversion calculation, engagement rates to sales figures, the work doesn’t stop once your competition is live. If anything, the activities you do during your competition can make or break it in terms of whether it achieves your goal or not – hopefully this post gives you a great place to start.

If you want OrigamiGlobe to do the heavy lifting during your competition, you can get in touch with me to find out about custom competition packages or take a look at the Competition Concierge Package. Alternatively, you can always get in touch with me via the contact page or book in a free strategy session to chat through your competition plans.