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Competitions – They’re not about the winner…

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Competitions are a great asset for any business. Figure out the right style, prize package and all important runners up offer and you’ve got an asset to pull out off the shelf as and when you need it. What you use a competition for is up to you. However! A competition should have a clearly defined goal and benefit to your business rather than being a PR stunt. It seems obvious but I’ve seen a few times people jumping into running a competition with no real goals or any specific offering for the runners up.

Why would SMEs, like me and you, want to run a competition? There’s different styles of competition that fit different business types. For example a ‘buy in’ would be used by online retailers to increase average sales. By offering an entry into a competition when a spend threshold is reached. The simplest type that can be used in any industry, an ‘opt-in’, is also the one with the most risk to you as there’s no barrier to entry. Pick a winners prize that only appeals to your target market. And the modern version being the social media ‘like to enter’ style competition. These can be useful for upping your social media presence. ‘Like to enter’ competitions should always be followed with a strong and well planned social media campaign to get those new Likes engaging with your content.

Let’s go through those in a little more detail:

  1. Buy Ins
    As I mentioned before buy in competitions are best used by online retailers. The main mistake retailers make is giving an entry to anyone who buys a product. In reality a competition in retail should be designed to encourage a higher average transaction value. So for example you would give an entry to anyone who spends over an amount higher than your ATV. Of course, you need to ensure that the competition not only increases sales but is also capable of still being a profitable campaign taking the cost of the prize into account.
  2. Opt Ins
    If you’re running a competition with free entry you need to ensure the prize is something relevant to your market. If you’re an accountant and offer the chance to win an iPad in return for someone’s name and email and you’ll get people who aren’t in need of an accountant entering your competition. Not good. Sure, it’ll build you a big list, but it’ll be a list of irrelevant contacts who are never going to buy from you.
  3. Like to enter
    Generally run on Facebook these are designed to, quite clearly, give you more likes and followers. I’m not a big fan of these unless you’ve got a solid social media strategy. We can get the same results (more likes and follows) on our Facebook page from Buy and Opt in competitions as we would with Like to enter style comps.

This is going to be quite a short article. The reason is that every company can run a successful competition, how that competition will work will depend on what you do, what you’re looking to achieve and other factors. For example an affiliate would run competitions in a different way to a B2B/B2G company such as an accountancy, an online retailer would run a competition in a different way, and NGOs can also run competitions too!

Here’s the deal. Comment below with what your company does, your website URL and I’ll give you an idea of how you can run a successful competition.

P.S. Competition case studies coming soon!

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