Top 7 Tips for Running a Successful Online Competition

Running online competitions is a great way to drive traffic towards your site and convert potential customers into buying ones. Giveaways, online exclusives, promotions and competitions are key for brand exposure and sales growth in the age of social media and digital marketing. Letting your target audience know about online competitions will incentivise interactions and introduce them to your company.

Most of today’s biggest and best companies are using online competitions to drive new business and increase brand awareness. The reason is that they work. However, it is important to choose the right marketing strategy that aligns with your larger business goals. Small, medium and big organisations can all benefit from the increased interest in their brand through well-crafted and intentional online competitions.

Here are the top 7 tips for running a successful online competition:

  1. Set Your Goals and Identify Your Target Market
    In order to run a successful contest or competition, you will need to understand your goals and your target market. There are endless strategies for how to run an online competition, but finding the right one requires you to define your ideal outcomes. Identify your target market by demographic, location and social media use. Once they are defined, use your competition to drive traffic, generate new leads, create buzz around your brand or whatever your business goals might be.
  1. Choose the Right Contest Type
    You have to choose the right kind of competition to run in order for it to achieve your business goals. Video and photo contests, sweepstakes, random draws, voting contests and online giveaways are each useful for different reasons. You will need to decide what the prizes are and key details like when it starts and ends, how to enter and how often it runs. Driving content that talks about your business and starting conversations around your brand are guaranteed to increase site traffic and generate new leads.
  1. Build and Deploy Your Competition
    Once you are ready to create your online competition, you will need to establish the logistical, administrative, digital and platform requirements for running your contest. This is the trickiest part of the marketing campaign and you should consider getting experts in the room. By using a digital marketing agency, you will make this job so much easier. They will help you align your competition plans with your desired overall brand image, business goals and organisational message.
  1. Promote Your Online Competition
    Creating the perfectly-designed competition is all good and well, but you need to entice online consumers to enter it. From website banners and email blasts to social media posts and Google Ads, there are many ways to promote an online competition and you need to choose which to use based on what will help achieve your business goals. For example, increasing social media interest around your brand offers an opportunity to spread the word about your business’s products and services.
  1. Track and Monitor the Results
    Analysing the data and tracking the results of your competition-driven activity will give you actionable insights that can be used to create a more interesting and effective competition in the future. Monitoring your key performance indicators will ensure that you have an appropriate return on investment for the work put in. Whether your goals are more followers, an uptick in sales, brand exposure or site traffic, you will need to follow the performance of your online competition to ensure their future success.
  1. Post-Contest Follow-Up
    This is the most exciting part of your business running an online contest. Competitions will give your business an opportunity to pick winners and celebrate their victories. However, they also give you access to a large pool of potential customers. After sharing the prizes and celebrating the winners on social media, you should follow up with all entrants through email blasts or targeted posts. Make sure that all those entrants become future supporters and loyal customers.
  1. Learn and Repeat
    Once your contest is complete and you have done the requisite follow-ups with your contestants and social media following, you will need to learn from your online competition and do better next time. Analyse what did and did not work in terms of achieving your desired outcomes. Learn from your failures and repeat your successes. Look at your marketing strategies, competition rules and target audience metrics to create even better competitions to promote your brand and increase sales going forward.

Final Thoughts

It is important to remember not to overdo it. It may seem tempting, once you have run your first successful contest, to keep reverting back to that marketing boom over and over again. However, this can become expensive and tedious for you and uninteresting to your target audience. Keep the cadence of your online competitions to bi-monthly, monthly or longer to keep the public interested. Make the rules, terms and conditions, prizes and details clear and design a competition that aligns with your business interests and gets your followers excited.

Cognite Marketing is leading digital marketing agency in South Africa with extensive expertise in social media, digital and online advertising. If your company is looking to drive site traffic through online competitions and other digital marketing tools, take a look at the incredible services we offer at Cognite Marketing.