Online contests can be unusually hard. You’d think that wanting to win things is a no brainer, but you’d be surprised at how few submissions you get when you’re running a giveaway. The average consumer is so bombarded with “Chances to Win!” and so few actual wins that it doesn’t even seem worth the time to enter. If you want to avoid playing Eenie Meenie Minie Mo between your only two entrants, here are a few ways to ensure your contest will be effective.
1) Consider the tech savviness of your audience.
Most of the time, you’re not just giving away free stuff because you’re feeling generous. You’re hoping that the contest will be a vehicle to spread the word about your show, new product, tour, whatever. So your first inclination is likely to choose a contest format that is as shareable as possible. Unfortunately, this may not be a method your fans are familiar with.
For example, I frequently run ticket giveaways. For a long time, I ran Facebook RSVP contests, thinking friends of fans would see their friends going to a Facebook event and think about going to the show as well. Simple, right? Wrong. Oftentimes I’d find myself choosing a winner from the six fans who had already RSVPed before I even started the contest. Choosing “Going” to a Facebook event is just not commonplace behavior for some fans. Particularly among older audiences, I’ve had much better luck with contests where fans can enter by emailing their information (and then you can add them to your mailing list).
2) Put yourself in the fan’s shoes.
If an artist you follow was running this same contest, would you go through the trouble of entering? You’d be surprised at how much your perspective will change from taking five seconds to think of yourself as a fan.
As a second example, I have run ticket giveaways by posting an image with the show information and asking fans to share it. Unfortunately, fans don’t usually want to feel like they’re spamming their friends with this image by posting it on their own Facebook walls, so I wouldn’t get a lot of entries. However, they’re not often thinking about how liking or commenting on the image will show up in their activity feeds, so this seems like much lower risk behavior. I have since opened up such contests to make likes, comments, and shares all valid entries.
3) Make the actual entry process fun.
How many times a day do you have to type out your own name? Most contests require this mind-numbing information. Instead, ask the fans to do something more creative, like leave a comment with their favorite song.
4) Make the package legitimately enticing.
Seriously, this should be basic, but it’s not. I’ve tried to run many a “contest” where I tried to give away a “prize pack” of merch we were trying to get rid of … trust me, there’s a reason no one wanted that stuff in the first place.
Next time, we’ll talk about the close cousin of contests— user submissions!