Contests are some of the easiest things to promote and to grow your audience and engagement by leaps and bounds. The two elements of a contest are:
What does the contestant have to do?
What can the contestant win?
This can be one of the greatest ways to collect user generated content that you can then turn around and use in your own advertising, marketing and promotions, while also growing your email list and social followers. Just make sure that in the contest terms and conditions that you state entrants will be added to your email list and their submissions can be used in your marketing and advertising as you see fit.
If you really want to get people to participate, the prize has to be really worth it. In order for you to offer a great prize you have to know that you are getting enough value from the contest to justify the prize. This means that you have to figure out how you plan to monetize from participants, what your conversion rate will be, what the revenue per conversion will be and then set a minimum participation requirement for the contest to ensure that you will bet 2-3 times more value from the participants than the cost of the grand prize before the grand prize is even eligible to be won.
You can also create lower tiers of prizes that are easier to give away to ensure that your contest is “legitimate” and people are able to win something even if the minimum participation requirements ultimate grand prize are not met.
Example: Here is an example contest that could be great for a travel insurance company:
Contest: Submit your worst story about an unexpected disaster or inconvenience that happened while you were traveling or on vacation. A 200 word story = 1 entry. A story plus a photo = 2 entries. A story plus a video = 3 entries. Submit your email address here, then post your story to your own FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ social profile with the hashtag (then make up a unique hashtag for the contest).
Note: The submission of the email and agreeing to the terms and conditions of the contest is vital. Then you also want people to post to their own social profile with a specific hashtag. This way you will maximize the viral spread of the contest through the social network. You can also include an MLM element where people can get additional entries by inviting friends.
Here is an example prize structure:
1 Grand Prize*: Win a $10,000 all expense paid vacation for 2 to Tahiti. (sounds like a huge Grand Prize and this is important to grab attention and make people want to take the time to participate. But, you can include terms and conditions that virtually guarantee the Grand Prize will not be won.)
5 Second Place Prizes: Two nights for Two in a Luxury Suite at a Marriott Resort. (The key here is that you could potentially pick a prize partner who will donate the prize, so you don’t actually give away anything… but they will likely want to share in the email list.)
Terms and conditions: It is very important that you meet all of the legal terms and conditions required by the social network where the contest is being promoted, and consult your attorney for further legal advice. But, this is also where, in the fine print, you note that the grand prize is only eligible if the contest meets a minimum of 500,000 entries.
Once the contest is over, make sure to publish and promote the results of the contest and winners of the prizes. You should also have a lot of new user generated content to feed your content creation, advertising and marketing and promotions, as well as a nice big new list of people to market to, and last but not least… a bunch of new links pointing to your website.
All of the new links will likely be pointing to the contest page on your website, so make sure to either keep that URL active (just changing the content), or 301 redirect that URL to another appropriate page on your site. This will make sure that the new links continue to benefit you long after the contest is over.
So, Start Using Contests To Expand Your Audience
And Generate A Bunch Of Links!
Next In the past few lessons we have really jumped back into discussing various types of content in order to highlight some of the most effective content for link building… but, in the next lesson we are going to show you how to climb onto the shoulders of your competitors and win the link building battle every time.