How To Use Contests To Get Your Business Rolling

by Courtney Gordner


When launching a new product, it’s important to understand the basics. A good understanding of both your product and your consumers allows for a much simpler decision making process. It also helps you to come up with the best way to entice your demographic. Of the many, many options that are available, a contest is one that you can use over and over again without it growing stale.


Having a contest is a simple idea that is sure to draw attention to your product(s). After all, who is going to turn down free stuff? If you’re considering a contest to either launch a new product or to breathe some life back into an old one, there are a few key points that you should try and consider before you charge ahead.


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What Is Your End Goal?

If you can keep the end goal of your contest in mind throughout the planning process, you’ll have a much easier time deciding which way to go with it. The most popular type of contest today is easily the Facebook contest. They’re an easy decision to make, and, if nothing else, they get your name out to hundreds of people in one shot.


However, if your goal is not to get your name or product description some face time, a Facebook launch may not be the way you want to go. Perhaps you are looking less for brand recognition and more for getting customers into your store. In that case, perhaps an in-store contest for your local community could be a better option.


Who Are Your Customers?

Understanding who your customers are and what motivates them to buy is key to creating a successful contest. For example, Apple or Google are going to have much better luck creating an online contest, because that’s where they’re customers are. However, the local farmer’s market is going to have a very difficult time making the same kind of medium work.


Not many companies will take the time to do a print contest, but they can be extremely effective. Take Havahart, whose print contest worked perfectly for them. They weren’t interested in generating customers nationwide, but rather focused on a particular area of Lititz, Pa., where their consumer base lies. This cut their cost and gave them a greater ROI.


How Will You Launch Your Contest?

This is where you start planning the actual contest. There are many different avenues to take here. You need to choose where customers will see the contest (online, in the store or in the local paper). You also need to choose the tone of the contest.


Additionally, you need to keep in mind what kind of tone is likely to work with your customers. A contest geared towards small business owners is going to have a very different tone from a contest focusing on teenagers, which is also going to be vastly different from a contest for new parents.


When working towards a contest launch, there are plenty of different things to keep in mind. In addition to how to go about it, who your consumers are, and what your end goal is, you also need to consider all the rules and regulations.


Facebook, for example, continually updates their rules for companies posting contests. Of course, for some contests, laws may limit what you can and cannot do. Shipping a bottle of wine from California to Maine may be done, but unless you know what the laws are for passing alcohol though each state, you may find yourself in a heap of trouble. As such, a Facebook promotion might not be the way to go, unless you’d rather send a gift card.


Whatever method you choose, it’s important to consider all aspects. If a contest seems like a quick, easy way to bring some attention to your brand, remember that you need to plan well in order to make it effective.


Courtney + PageCourtney Gordner is a blogger with a passion for all things internet, social media and SEO! Read more from her on her own blog, Talk Viral.




Photo Credits

Steve Snodgrass | Courtesy of the author