What happens when your competition ends up on a competition site and you notice an influx of entries from suspected prize pigs? That’s exactly what happened to one of our Launch and Promote clients, The Friday People.

Despite our perfectly planned promotion schedule and carefully crafted copy and creative,  just after the halfway point of the competition, The Friday People’s founder noticed a strange jump in referral traffic from competition sites. Having your competition appear on one of these sites is, unfortunately, an inherent risk of running a competition – but hope is not entirely lost.

In this blog post we’ll walk through a real life example of what happens when your competition makes it to one these prize pig sites and what to do about it.

How do you know if your competition is on a competition site?

Every business should have Google Analytics set up. It’s a truth universally accepted.

It takes minutes and gives you incredibly valuable, ridiculously insightful, hugely useful information… such as when your competition has been posted to a competition site (or prize pig site as we call them).

If you have Google Analytics already set up, log in and head to Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals for a list of sites that have referred traffic to you. Be sure to set your date range to your competition period in the top right-hand corner.

If you see this, chances are, your competition has been posted to a competition website:

This can be found in Acquisition > All Traffic > Referrals in Google Analytics.

Take it as a compliment.

Huh? Have we lost our minds?

No. We promise we’re still sane. It can be really hard in the heat of the moment to see your carefully planned competition winding up on a competition site as a good thing; but it means that you’re offering a great a prize that people want to win. So much so that prize pigs think other people would want to win too, so they spread the word.

Your competition is clearly well-designed and easy to enter with a desirable prize, which makes it perfect for prize pigs. Silver linings.

Think twice about contacting the site.

Your gut reaction may be to contact the prize pig site in question and ask them to remove your competition. That’s just what The Friday People did.

They contacted one of the the competition sites and politely explained the negative impact their competition being listed on their site was having and asked whether they would kindly remove it.

Instead of removing the listing, the prize pig site decided to actively promote the competition, resulting in over 1,000 visits from the site in the hours following the request to have it removed.

Some people are reasonable. Some people are just plain mean.

The moral of the story is think twice about contacting these competition websites. At the end of the day, they trade in competition listings and it’s not in their best interest to remove a listing – especially a popular one – so they may tell you to take a hike.

… Or worse, promote your listing.

Get to work.

You may be thinking – ‘what’s the big deal? Entries are entries, right?’.

Well, for this small business paying per entrant/subscriber with their email platform, the financial impact was pretty significant. The number of subscribers jumped from the hundreds to the thousands, increasing plan costs with no way of knowing who was just in it for the freebies and who was genuinely interested in purchasing their products.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to identify which emails on your database have come from competition sites and which are genuine entrants, so this means you have to be clever about tagging, segmenting, funnelling and nurturing your entrants during and after your competition to work out who’s a genuine subscriber and who’s a freebie hunter.

UTILISE TAGS

Unless you’re funnelling your competition entrants to an entirely different list from your main subscriber list, you’ll need a way to identify competition entrants so you can easily pick a winner.

The cleanest and easiest way to do this is with tags.

Every time someone enters or every time you upload your latest list of entrants if you’re using a competition app – tag them with a tag such as ‘entrant’, ‘competition’ or the name of the competition if you run multiple competitions and giveaways.

This allows you to easily see who on your list is a competition entrants as well as making life easier when it comes to picking your winner.

SPOT THE OBVIOUS

Some prize pigs are more obvious than others, email addresses like ‘luv2win’, ‘pickmetowinplease’ or ‘angelascompetitionemail’ are a dead giveaway.

Tag these types of email address to monitor their stats to see if they’re opening and engaging with your emails or planning to jump ship as soon as the competition is over.

Remember that if they’ve met the entry requirements in your terms and conditions, then their entry is still eligible to win and you must treat them like any other entry, you cannot simply delete them.

SEGMENT, SEGMENT, SEGMENT

This should be a normal part of your marketing process anyway – segmenting your list based on buying signals, engagement and activity.

You should also be sending regular emails during and after your competition to encourage opens and clicks from your new subscribers to ensure future deliverability, dodge the spam filters and to drive conversion to purchase.

If you notice certain subscribers never open your emails, don’t keep them on your list post competition – send them through a funnel or filter attempting to reengage them before reviewing for deletion.

This is exactly what we advised The Friday People to do and helped suggest some automations they could implement to do the sorting, segmenting and funnelling for them, so they didn’t have to do it manually.

CELEBRATE UNSUBSCRIBES

Seeing quite a few unsubscribes from your competition entrants? Excellent.

The prize pigs are doing your hard work for you by opting out. Yes, at first the unsubscribes hurt, I used to take every unsubscribe to heart and cry into my coffee… but now we dance.

If someone unsubscribes, they’re telling you they’re not likely to buy what you’re selling, so they’re opting out. They’re taking all the guess work out of you trying to decide if they’re a good contact or likely to purchase or not.

Opt-outs or unsubscribes from a competition that has been posted to a competition site is always a good thing.

NURTURE YOUR ENTRANTS

The end of the competition doesn’t mean the end of the competition work.

The only way you’ll sort the potential purchasers from the prize pigs is through careful nurturing, regular emails and calls to action that will show you whether your entrants have any intentions to purchase or not.

TIP: Don’t just chuck them into your regular welcome automation or funnel. Personalisation is key to ensure engagement and conversion to purchases. Instead of your standard ‘Welcome to our email list, thanks for subscribing’, tailor your regular welcome funnel to ‘Thank you so much for entering our [name of] competition, we’re really excited to have you here.’

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Don’t make assumptions.

Don’t assume that since you had 2,000 visits from prize pig sites that 2,000 of your entrants are going to be prize pigs.

For a start, that would be one hell of a conversion rate and secondly, just because they came from a competition site, it doesn’t mean they won’t purchase.

They may be prize pigs, but they have bank accounts and wishlists and family and friends to buy gifts for.

Conclusion? They can therefore still turn into paying customers.

Again, read their buying signals. If they open your post-competition emails even though they know they’re not the winner, if they engage with your social posts, if they click through to your shop link, if they browse your services on your website – all of these are signals that they’re interested in what you sell.

Your job is to convert them into paying pigs.

Treat all entrants equally.

The final and perhaps most important point I’d like to make is that you cannot exclude entrants simply because they came from competition sites or you suspect them of being prize pigs.

If they meet your terms and conditions and eligibility criteria, they must be given a fair and equal chance of winning the prize.

Yes, we understand it’s difficult to give your prize to someone who may sell it or who may not appreciate it, but you are responsible for running a fair and legal competition – and that means treating all eligible entrants equally regardless of where they came across your competition or their intent to purchase your products.

Competition sites are a pain. There’s no two ways about it. But dealing with the consequences of your competition ending up on a prize pig site, doesn’t have to be. Get to work identifying, tagging, segmenting and nurturing your entrants and it will quickly become clear who’s interested in your business and who’s just interested in winning.

If you’re panicking about prize pigs or need help working out how to sort the wheat from the chaff of your competition entrants, why not let us help?

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