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When is the best time to run a competition? Yesterday. Oh and today… and tomorrow… pretty much always, but I would say that I’m a nerd for competitions.

Seriously though, you don’t need a Nobel prize-winning formula to calculate optimum conditions for competitions nor do you need to wait until Venus is retrograde in your twelfth house, because there is no perfect time to run a competition.

If you have a clear goal you wish to achieve and you’re willing to give competitions a go; get started today. There’s no time like the present. I do discuss timing much more seriously (but not necessarily with less sarcasm) in the rest of this post.

Photo by Daria Shevtsova from Pexels.

The perfect time to run a competition.

First of all, as with everything in business and indeed life, there is never a ‘perfect time’.

You need to work out when is a good time for your business to run a competition. If you’re in the middle of a big pitch for an important client – not a good time. If you’re just about to go away for the Christmas break and won’t be online – not a good time.

If you’re looking for the next boost of engagement or new followers – good time. If you’re launching something new or promoting a new social media channel you’ve just become active on – great time.

As well as making sure you have the time, resources and mental energy to dedicate to your competition’s success; you need to think carefully about the aim, or goal, of your competition – does your goal align with where your business is at right now? Does it align with where you want to take your business in the next 6 to 12 months?

The more aspects of your competition (such as your demographic, messaging, timing, prize and entry method) you can align with your goal(s), the easier you will find it is to achieve the results you’re hoping for.

So, when is a good time to run a competition?

Competitions can be like a boost of rocket fuel for your business, but they feed on momentum, so don’t wait until your business is struggling or you’re down to your last dollar to launch a competition.

Here are a few signs it’s a good time to run a competition:

  • You’re just starting out and are looking to build an audience
  • You have a specific marketing or business goal you want to achieve
  • You want to generate enquiries, leads and/or sales
  • You have an existing audience (subscribers, followers, customer base) you want to engage and convert
  • You want to thank and reward your existing customers
  • You want to create brand awareness for your business, product or service
  • And you have the time to dedicate to making the competition work (cough promotion cough)

There is a direct correlation between the amount of time and effort spent on a competition and the results that competition achieves.

OK, so this isn’t a real graph showing time and effort, that would take too much time and effort… but it is a photo by Markus Winkler, found on Unsplash.

What about the best time of year to run a competition?

There is no completely perfect or absolutely terrible time of year to run a competition.

There are some obvious timing issues with competitions – such as launching a ‘Win a trip to the Melbourne Grand Prix’ competition a week before the event. Besides being a logistical nightmare, it’ll be seriously expensive to boot. Similarly, promoting your bikini range in the depth of winter isn’t going to drive a huge amount of engagement or sales either…

If you use your head and put a little thought into it, you can really use competitions to your advantage. For example, if you know that January – March are super busy months for your business but April is traditionally a slow month, then launching a competition around the start of March that continues through April, may just give you enough momentum to get over the April slump and boost your bank balance too.

Finally, October through to January is of course a popular time of year to run competitions. With Black Friday, Cyber Monday, the seasonal holidays and ever popular January sales; more people looking to purchase gifts or grab a bargain, it’s a great chance to generate sales. Just bear in mind that it is a highly competitive time, so you will have to have an extremely compelling prize on offer and potentially a substantial ad budget, as well as plenty of time to promote your competition.

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If you have a goal and a prize, you’re ready to run a competition…

When all’s said and done, the best time to run a competition, contest or giveaway really comes down to two things:

  1. Having a goal.
  2. Having a prize.

Running a competition without setting a goal is like spinning around in circles – you’ll go nowhere and probably get dizzy. Competitions are not set and forget, they require work to get real results, so setting a goal for your competition is going to ensure the time, money, effort and brain space you dedicate to your giveaway is going to pay off for your business.

Why you’re running a giveaway is just as important as what you’re giving away. A prize does not need to be hugely expensive and lavishly extravagant, it just needs to be relevant, attractive and desired by your ideal entrant. You should know by now that the best prize is always your own product or service so as long as you’re in business and have stock (or time if you’re a service-based business), you have a prize.

Whilst there may not be a perfect time to run a competition, there are certainly factors that will indicate whether or not it’s a good time to run your giveaway or launch that contest. Essentially, as long as you have a goal you want to reach and a prize to give away, now is the best time to run a competition… So get planning.

Don’t forget, if you’re too busy to run a competition yourself or it all sounds like too much hard work, we’d be delighted to do the heavy lifting and get the awesome results for you. Book in a time to chat through your idea with our competition experts, or get in touch via our contact page. We also have DIY resources to help you plan the perfect competition if you’re ready to get cracking on your competition.