Tuesday, November 16, 2010

How to Enter the World of Online Contests

Online contests and sweepstakes are a great way to build excitement about your products, increase traffic to your website, boost sales and obtain valuable customer information. After coordinating several recent online contests for our client Eureka, I have amassed a few rules that should be followed when coordinating and conducting online contests:

  • Dot your i’s and cross your t’s. Planning a contest can be fun, but because marketers are subject to numerous state and federal laws, there are many aspects that need careful consideration. Be sure to check with your legal team when drafting contest language, especially rules and regulations, to ensure that all guidelines are being followed. Don’t forget to secure permission from the winners to use their names and likenesses – and any other elements from the contest entries – that you may want to use in the future.
  • Know your goals. Consider the entry method when coordinating an online contest. When determining the structure of the contest, it’s important to first take a look at your goals. If the overall goal is to increase traffic to the site or spur sales, an easy entry and sweepstakes format may be best. On the other hand, asking for a tip or written essay will encourage engagement and could provide you with valuable insight and communications information.
  • Offer excitement-worthy prizes. It goes without saying that a great prize will generate excitement about the contest and the brand. Keep the value of the prize relative to the amount of effort needed to enter the contest. For example, a video contest that requires time, energy and creative skills should offer a larger prize than a sweepstakes. To offer an added incentive for entrants, offer a gift card or other monetary prize. Also, many people love to see their names publicized, so plan to post the winners’ names – and get extra attention by distributing media materials announcing the winners.
  • Incorporate the contest into other brand elements to get the word out. Use all of the tools at your disposal – from websites and consumer newsletters to press releases and social media channels to publicize the contest. Finding a way for entrants to share information about the contest through Facebook, Twitter and e-mail is a great way to build excitement and increase the number of entries. Last but not least, blogs are an effective way to spread the word – and on that note, check out the Eureka AirSpeed “Make the Switch” contest, now through Friday!

Online contests can be a great way to set your brand and product apart from the pack. Just make it fun and cover all of your bases!

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