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Today Gaz Copeland of Stoked SEO takes us through the prize-winning world of online competitions, with all you need to know to run your first online draw. If you like the post then please send your answers on a postcard… or leave a comment below.
I’m a huge fan of running online competitions because if done correctly they can be incredibly effective with very little outlay. Let’s face it, everybody likes winning things, right? Competitions and giveaways are one of the key tactics I use when looking for a quick traffic boost, which can lead to more sustained traffic levels over time. I use them so often because, to be blunt, they work.
If you are looking to generate extra traffic to your website look no further, competitions can do that, but there are few important points when your goal is specifically to bring traffic to your site:
The first question to ask yourself is why are you running a competition at all? What is your goal? What you are hoping to achieve? Although I am specifically going to write about running a competition to increase traffic to your site, the basics of running a competition are very similar with just minor tweaks to achieve different goals. Other reasons to run competitions:
What are you going to give away? The prize is a vitally important component to any successful competition and will be heavily influenced by the above reason for running. For the purpose of increasing traffic there are no real limits to what you could offer. That said, there are a few top tips I would give for selecting a great competition prize. I’m not a huge fan of the extremely obvious – money, iPad/Pods etc, etc so try to do something different:
After running numerous competitions in various industries, above all I have found that a prize highly relevant to the website you are promoting almost always brings the best results.
When should you be looking to run competitions to increase traffic? There’s never a bad time to run a competition, people are always on the lookout for a freebie! Competitions should be a serious part of your overall digital marketing strategy and if possible I would be running them on a regular basis.
Particularly great times to run competitions are whenever you’re launching something new, it might be a new site, a new product or new resource. Competitions have the potential to drive a huge volume of traffic in a very short space of time ideal if your site needs a quick shot in the arm.
It’s not enough to put together a great competition, set it live, hope that it’s picked up and hope the entries come flooding in. Even if you are an established site with a good following, in order to maximise the traffic boost you will need to actively promote your prize through various channels.
Social: The right competition can spread like wildfire through social networks, especially if there are incentives for the entrant to share with their online buddies. Offering additional entries or secondary prizes for shares is a great way to get more people involved. Social networks usually have guidelines around competitions so make sure you check these out.
Competition sites: There are literally thousands of websites dedicated to competitions on the net, many of which will allow you to add your giveaway’s free of charge for an extra bit of promotion. Chances are these sites won’t bring you highly targeted traffic, but if you’ve selected the right prize you will attract people interested in your niche along with those battle hardened compaholics. Here are a few of the more well known competition sites:
Email: If you have an established email list make sure you include the details of your competition (with a link back to it) in any newsletters you might send out. If you don’t have any communications planned then make sure you drop them a short note with the details.
Niche Blogs: No matter what industry or niche you are working in I can guarantee you somebody is blogging about it. Bloggers can be invaluable for helping to promote your competitions and, with the right outreach, will spread the word of your amazing competition.
So you get to the closing date, review the entries, let them know and forget about it right? Nope, you’re not done yet! If you want to sustain the boost in traffic from a competition there are a couple of things you can do even after you’re closed for further entries:
The Consolation Prize: It’s always a great idea to have something up your sleeve for those not fortunate enough to win the grand prize. Discounts or a cut down offering of the prize are both ways to attract people back to your site after the closing date.
The Gold Mine: Your list of entries is a potential goldmine in terms of networking opportunities with people who have already expressed an interest in your site. These could be future customers, advocates, partners or even bloggers in your niche. Always set some time aside to review who has entered and follow up on any opportunities.
So that’s it, my thoughts on running competitions to increase website traffic . If you’ve never tried running one for your website what are you waiting for?? It really does work.
The views expressed in this post are those of the author so may not represent those of the Koozai team.