December 11, 2014 Michael Bickerton
Contest planning is naturally the first step in ensuring a successful outcome. Which means that you that you have to have an OUTCOME, I mean what exactly are you trying to achieve? Social followers, email addresses, coupon downloads, website views or social awareness.
Developing a contest marketing plan takes some time, some early consideration and should always start with your primary outcome metric.
Depending on your business and your business brand voice you may wish to collect submission in various ways? User Generated Content (i.e. content provided by your followers) comes in three basic forms.
Text, you might ask for a 400-word piece on experience
Images, you might submit a picture using your product
Video, you might ask for a short 30-second video with your product in use
Contest marketing programs also gather data and you can determine what data you would like your entrants to provide. Our suggestion at Raven5 that you ONLY ask for information you are likely to utilize or that will benefit the users in the following two-quarters. Ask for what you need. Here is the basic list that our Raven5 programs ask for:
First, Last, Email, Gender, YOB, Postal
Other information that can be requested from a user:
Social media like follow, RAF, Data, ask a few questions (but let them know how many), Purchase, Donation
We run contests that run just a few days, and we’ve run annual campaigns, there is no hard and fast rule. Keep in mind the grander the prize you can expect creating a faster buzz and by contrast, a $50 voucher isn’t likely to capture or engage users (unless of course your product is less than $50). Standard Contest time frames:
Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, 121 days. Semi-Annual, Annual
Keep in mind the longer your contest runs, the more creative is required, Contest marketing requires a fresh look, fresh prizing. Contesting is quite visual, and the social sphere has little time for boring.
Contest marketing is sometimes referred to, as incentive based marketing, requires a value based offer, something of REAL Value. Winning a car, or trip has much more cache than an offer that is percentage based (i.e. SAVE $50 on all purchases over $200). So make it valuable, as an example, Starbucks is running a contest to win coffee for LIFE (along with a solid gold Starbucks card valued at close to $6,000). Prizing is critical, so speak to your audience.
Contest rules are critical and we all know that we’d like to keep them as simple as possible as nobody reads the fine print. That being said, there are laws and guidelines in every jurisdiction. Considerations Country, state, province all have rules. To make matters more complicated each social network has guidelines and rules. This is one of the reasons to hire a professional contest marketing agency (and we know one). Professional agencies can also provided contest specific rules agents as part of the process (a little-added cost for a little-added safety).
Here are links to the rules for Facebook & YouTube.
What I’d like to leave you with here is that contest marketing programs are fun (or as we say #funr), yet keep in mind that contests done right can provide great value to a marketer and even greater value to the entrant. Yet at the same time, there is some planning, some thought and some real expertise required to ensure a successful outcome.
Michael Bickerton Raven5 Ltd. December 2014