Getting Started with Online Contests, Sweepstakes and Giveaways

by Jamie Stevenson (Google+)
Posted on December 05, 2014 in digital-strategy-business-consulting.

I’m not sure about this, are people even that into giveaways?

Have you ever seen a crowd react to a t-shirt cannon? There is jumping up and down, screaming, and other expressions of excitement – just for a t-shirt. In short, people love free stuff. Which is why giveaways are such a great way to get your name, your product, and your message out there. Taking it online can be even more effective if planned and executed well. Contests and giveaways are great, scalable mechanisms to engage your audience, amplify your message, and curate content. 

Sure, but do I know it’s working?

An online contest shouldn’t start when you post it and simply end when you’ve received your final submission. Our closed-loop approach starts with assessing how we measure success. Establishing KPIs and planning how to track, monitor, and report on the performance of any contest or sweepstakes is crucial to the overall success of the initiative.


Can we be in market quickly or is this a big investment?

We run contests efficiently, using out-of-the-box solutions (like Woobox or Wildfire) when we can to keep clients’ costs low and implementation quick. With our expertise, we can ensure that these platforms deliver the reporting we need to assess in real-time when we need to make adjustments to the ask, the layout, the fields, or the flow in order to increase results and achieve those KPIs.


What, specifically, can I accomplish with giveaways?

Online contests are an organic, engaging way to accomplish many things paid media can do, like:

  • Amplify social media reach 
  • Grow your social media likes, followers, subscribers
  • Reach more email subscribers with better incentives
  • Get your company placed on highly targeted sites that will run contests for you


But they can also do more! Such as:

  • Collect email addresses to grow your remarketing database
  • Gather audience information:
    • How do they want to be contacted?
    • What are they interested in?
    • What do they think of a new product?
    • How’s your customer service doing?
  • Invite users to submit their own content: photo, video, artwork… you name it!
  • Like with SEO, you should be taking steps to get your content seen more often in more Facebook news feeds with better engagement


So where do we put this contest stuff?

There are so many platforms that can be leveraged as a place to run contests. It all depends on where your audience is and what you can offer them – we want to hit the right audience at the right time with the right content.

Is your social media stagnant? Rally your fans and your brand advocates to spread your message, expand your reach, and attract new fans. Contests can be made to work for just about anything: sports teams, video games, local news, scuba diving, and so on.

Is your target audience active on online forums? Are they avid blog readers? By providing bloggers with an exciting prize to give away and the tools to make running it easy, they’ll use your brand and product to rally their readers – your target audience. For our client MoviePass, entertainment bloggers in our network gave their readers the opportunity to win a full year’s subscription just for entering their email. In return, MoviePass got good online PR, inbound links (great for SEO!), and a list of over 500 emails of people who were interested in their product!

Have you been itching for a creative, low-cost way to generate additional marketing content? Use these tools to collect user-generated content (“UGC”) and compile all your customers’ wonderful thoughts and work. You’ll be blown away by your audience’s talent and creativity. Check this out, from GE’s fans:


Here’s the tl;dr version: contests can be integrated seamlessly into just about any content marketing channel if you’re clever enough!


I’m in! How do we get started?

Talk to us about your audience and let us work with you to determine the positioning and channels that will get the internet fired up to t-shirt cannon excitement levels.

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