Looking for a unique way to bring more traffic to your site with your next post? Want to create content that will be highly share-worthy and even possibly encourage media coverage? Then consider running a competition.
Running a competition on your website might mean that you are inviting visitors to answer a question, submit something creative, like your page or even just enter their name into the hat with the promise of a great prize at the end. This way you’ll have to give something away for free most likely, but you should find that the return on investment makes it more than worth it.
The Benefits of Running a Competition
If you run a competition on your company site or blog, then immediately you’ll find that you strengthen the relationship with your existing customers. That’s because you’ll be offering them something for nothing – which is always a good way to ingratiate yourself and because you’ll be encouraging interaction and therefore engagement. Even if nobody enters, a competition can still actually be good for your reputation.
But hopefully people will enter and in fact if you offer a good enough prize, then you will likely find that people not only enter – but also share the link with their friends in order to give them a chance to win. Because you’re giving something away, you have created a very good incentive for sharing. In fact, the way you enter some competitions online is simply to ‘like’ a Facebook page. If you announce that you’ll draw three lucky winners out of a hat once you get to 5,000 likes, then you create lots of incentive for sharing – and you won’t even have to give anything away if the campaign isn’t successful.
Better yet, if your prize is good enough and your industry is relevant, then you can even get some free media coverage for a competition. Crafts magazines for instance will often run stories listing competitions relevant to their readers, because this is a good way of providing value. Run a competition that involves writing a short story, then contact a few creative writing magazines and you may find you get a lot of exposure that way.
And these are just some of the reasons why running contests can be so effective.
How to Make Your Competition Work
The success of your competition is going to be dependent on several factors though and it’s important you provide enough of an incentive if you want people to actually enter. If you offer a free iPad to one ‘lucky winner’, then you’ll likely get no attention at all. Why? Because it’s not particularly different or interesting and the chances of winning are tiny. Furthermore, we have all seen so many competitions to win iPads that we’re pretty much desensitized to them by now. Really, you need a good idea.
For instance, if you were to run a competition offering a free trip to space (a couple of companies have already done this!) then you would likely get some attention. Likewise, featuring someone’s creation in your products or just on your site is another good way to add some real incentive. If you are going to make your prize very small/uninteresting, then you need to increase the chance of winning and make the entry requirements much easier.
As mentioned, targeting specific groups (such as writers) is actually more effective that running a competition with a very broad appeal, as it allows you to choose specific media outlets to promote yourself through.
Of course, you also want to stay relevant to your industry or niche and this strategy won’t work for every business. If you can create a compelling competition though, then you might just find it’s a fantastic way to drive visitors to your business.