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If you’re considering running a competition, you may be wondering how you create a competition that will attract the right people to enter. Whilst there’s no crystal ball that I’ve found (yet) that predicts exactly who will enter a competition, there are a few aspects of your competition that you can reverse engineer to deliberately appeal to and attract the right people to enter.

Still looking for my competition crystal ball.
(Image shows a crystal ball with hands wrapped around it by RODNAE Productions via

The first step is knowing who the ‘right people’ are that you want to enter your competition in the first place. Once you’re clear on your ideal entrant, you can then choose a prize that will most appeal to them. When you’ve got your prize sorted, you will then want to make sure the entry method you choose (or how your audience will enter) is matched to who you want to enter your competition. The final step of designing a competition for your ideal audience is to launch it and see who enters

Following these steps will stop you guessing whether the right people will enter and make sure your competition actively attracts the right people for your business.

Know who the ‘right people’ are.

This is a step that many people skip when planning a competition. A common mistake is thinking ‘everyone’ is an ideal entrant, or the more entries, the better – but that is definitely not the case.

The right person for your competition is one that has the highest chance of turning into a paid customer either during or after your competition.

Aiming for a ‘viral’ competition or prioritising quantity of entrants over quality of entrants is the fastest way to boost your ego… but drain your bank balance.

Number of entries is not a sign of a competition’s success – you could aim for quantity and have 100,000 entrants who all unsubscribe the second you announce your winner because they have no interest in what you do or sell.

On the other hand, you could aim for quality and ‘only’ get 10 perfect entrants who all make a purchase from you as a result of the competition… which do you think sounds like a more successful (and profitable) competition?

That means you need to look at your existing customers or clients and understand who they are, so you can design your competition to attract more people just like them as they are the ones purchasing your products or services.

Knowing *who* the right person is for your competition and your business, not only makes it easier to design your competition to attract them, it also gives your competition the best possible chance of generating sales and giving you a great return on your competition investment.

“A common mistake is thinking ‘everyone’ is an ideal entrant, or the more entries, the better…”
(Image shows a shocked Suki on a pink background with the above quote.)

Choose a prize that best fits your ideal entrant.

Knowing who your ideal entrant is, means that you can choose a prize that most appeals to them.

Let’s say you’re a beauty salon that offers a number of different treatments ranging from one hour facials to six hour full day pampering packages. If your ideal entrant is a busy mum in need of some time out to herself and a little indulgence; a six hour prize package is probably going to be an unrealistic prize – between school drop off, pick up and the million and one other things a busy mum has to fit into a few short hours whilst the kids are at school. For this ideal client, the one hour facial is going to make a much more appealing prize and gain more entries.

However, if your ideal client is a bride to be looking for something a little quieter and more luxurious to do with her bridesmaids or hens to celebrate her upcoming nuptials, a six hour, full day pampering package is going to be the perfect fit for this ideal client.

Remember – when it comes to prizes, more expensive does not necessarily equal more appealing. This is another common misconception. The most valuable prize, is the prize your audience values most and most wants to win.

“When it comes to prizes, more expensive does not necessarily equal more appealing (or more entries)…”
(Image shows Suki leaning on a chair looking to the right and the above quote.)

Match your entry method to your audience and your prize.

There are a myriad of competition entry methods out there – how do you know which one is best for you and your competition?

A great place to start is with the information you’ve already got – with your ideal entrant and your prize.

Let’s take another example – this time a busy city coffee shop. You know that your ideal entrant is an upper-level manager who works in the city centre. They come in for coffee every single morning without fail and most afternoons for a three o’clock pick-me-up. You know their coffee order by heart and know they’ll likely hold their weekly team meetings at the coffee shop too.

You’ve settled on free coffee for a month as your prize and now you’re tossing up different entry methods. You thought it might be really valuable to get some feedback on the new lunchtime sandwich range you’ve recently introduced and you’re considering printing off some surveys as your entry method, as an alternative, you’re considering a simple card drop into a bowl next to the till.

Knowing that our ideal entrant purchases multiple coffees a day, but rarely eats lunch with you and is very rushed in the mornings when they collect their coffee; asking them to fill out a survey about food they rarely purchase when you know they’re busy and they’re entering to win coffee, not lunch, it makes much more sense to opt for the card drop entry method.

Another handy tip to help you weigh up entry methods is to consider the value of your prize – not the dollar value remember, but how much your ideal entrant values the prize. If the prize is something they really want, they will consider it more valuable and do much more to win it – even fill out a survey when they’re busy!

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Launching is the only way to find out for sure…

If this is your first competition, you’re a new business, or you’re still weighing up whether or not you’re going to go ahead and run a competition; it’s possible you might not have a lot of information to help you make these decisions or know for sure who your ideal client is or what the perfect prize is.

In that case, the only way to know for certain whether your competition will attract the right people is to go ahead and launch your competition.

It’s only by launching that you’ll gain incredibly useful and vital insights about your audience, your prize, your entry method, competitions as a marketing and lead generation tactic for your business and a bunch of other insights about your business too!

Until I find that magic crystal ball that answers curly questions like ‘will my competition attract the right people?’, we still have to do it the good old fashioned way – reverse engineering a competition for the best possible chance at attracting exactly who we want to enter. First, we need to know who that is, then we can design every aspect of our competition from the prize to the entry method to attract them. 

If you need help getting to know your ideal entrant, coming up with the perfect prize or choosing the best entry method, there are a number of ways I can support you to create a competition that attracts exactly the right people:

  • If you prefer to DIY, you can grab a copy of the last guide to competitions – which has dedicated sections that will give you a crystal clear picture of your ideal entrant, show you how to pick the perfect prize and guide you through choosing the best entry method for your competition.
  • If you like a little support and guidance, you can join the competition mastercourse, where together we’ll profile your perfect entrant, decide and create the perfect prize package and ensure your entry method is designed to attract exactly the right people for your business.
  • Finally, if you want me to get it done for you, check out my competition concierge service or get in touch with me and I’ll do the hard work for you!