How To Make A Successful Contest To Promote Your Business

Okay, so you want to try having a contest for your business. Not only that, but you also want this contest to result in giving your business more reach and profit.

It’s a proven strategy and a profitable business model when done right. A well-run contest can increase your audience, and thereby your potential customers, by 34% on average (according to Hubspot).

Thanks to the internet and smart information technology we now have several platforms to launch contests. Not just one platform, we have many within the world wide web.

From blogs to Instagram, it’s easier than ever to get the word out about your contest. Our specialty here at Elevare is creating online marketing plans to get you more clients and sales.

Contests run online is a great way to build your online presence and get your product in someone else’s hands. People are more likely to buy from your product if they can see, real-time, how good your products are.

Your winner will also hopefully become a spokesperson for your business. From their perspective, winning a contest will make them feel special.

If your business can give these feelings to someone, they are more likely to remember you and talk about your business to others.

The “I won a contest once” conversation is one you want to get in on in a positive way. Don’t be afraid to give away a truly good and useful product, it will pay you back if you do it right.

Timing Matters

A healthy contest typically runs between 25-60 days. Try to stay within this timeframe so that you can gain enough traction to fill your audience potential. If you make the contest too long, people will lose interest.

You can start a contest whenever you want or need to. If your business needs more leads, more mentions, or if you want some instant sales, it’s a good time to start a contest.

Contests are a solid way to increase your audience, sales, and get more engagement from the audience you already have.

Who Is Your Target?

Who is your audience and what will interest them most in a contest?

It’s crucial to ask yourself this question before you start to plan your contest. Your business is looking for results, not just a fun way to pass the time. To see results, you need to create a contest that speaks to the people you are actually trying to reach.

Set A Goal

Another key question to ask yourself is “what is your goal?” You need to clearly describe the purpose of your contest.

There are a few reasons why most businesses start a contest, these are to:

  1. Create excitement around a new product or service
  2. Get Email subscriptions
  3. Have instant sales
  4. Increase engagement with your audience
  5. Get a bigger audience

You then need to think of contest awards. Cash prizes and prize money are great and always incentive participants. But giving away a product or service with your company name attached to it is always a better option.

Know Your Budget

Know Your Budget for a contest

Before you can start your campaign, you have to set your budget. You will have to invest to make this contest work, but you need to know exactly how much works for you right now.

Decide now how much you want to spend on the prize, and don’t forget to include packaging and marketing for your campaign. That means evaluating how much money you want to put into social media ads, PPC ads, and any content that you may need to pay for.

What Kind of Contest?

Now for the fun part. It is time to decide what kind of contest you want to have. This entails finding out what kind of prize you want to give as well as the format of the contest.

If you just want a lot of people to enter, you should try sweepstakes. Vote contests are engaging and also easy for a lot of people to enter too, so it’s worth comparing these options.

Photo and video contests provide a lot of user-generated content and marketing. They do require more work to be a part of though, which often results in fewer participants.

Essay contests are more involved as well but can help to bring more awareness to a certain aspect of your field or philanthropic projects such as working with high schools and colleges.

Set clear guidelines for your contest as well as the start and end date. Know how frequently you will run contests and how people can enter (through Email, etc).

You will need to set up a specific landing page for your contest as well, through Facebook or website, as a way to host your contest and keep things simple.


Your marketing strategy is what will make or break your contest. You need shareable images and well-timed content to get the word out about your contest.

Use PPC ads and write blogs about the content. Make sure that wherever you put contest-related content, you also have an easy way for people to enter the contest.

You should also put a banner on your site that leads to your hosting page for the contest. Send out Emails, posts, and print ads.

Don’t hesitate to promote this contest in any way you can. Make it fun and personal, but get the word out! For a collaborative and more personal approach, contact influencers your target audience can relate to so that they can also promote your contest.

Announcing and Thanking

Announcing and Thanking Contest Winner

Once your contest has come to an end, it’s time to announce your grand prize winner. Remember that this is a fun time and you should keep the excitement going for everyone involved.

First of all, let the winner know that they have won your contest. Put some personalized effort into your packaging of the product with confetti or something else that is fun and lighthearted to make it memorable for them.

Share your winners with the world on social media and on your Email newsletter. This is your opportunity to share the customer-generated video, photo, or essay with your audience.

If you didn’t require any submissions for the contest, still share a fun graphic to congratulate the winner and let everyone know what happened. Make sure to thank everyone for playing along and invite them for the next one.

Ready to Host Your Own Business Contest?

Want to create and start a business contest of your own? Need help creating and executing another business idea?

Schedule a free consultation with us now using the form below so that we can help you create your own contest and with other areas of your digital marketing efforts.

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