Online Competitions: Essential Considerations for Marketers
For many brands, online competitions are a great way of engaging existing audiences and customers, as well as building awareness further afield and driving inbound traffic.
But competitions aren’t necessarily simple. Trial and error is often the best teacher, but here are some pointers for the thought process you need to work through, when designing and running an online competition:
1. Objectives are all
Be clear about what you want to achieve, or you can’t accurately measure success. Do you want more newsletter sign-ups? To build awareness of a new service or product? Referrals? Or – equally important but trickier to quantify – to build brand loyalty and engage customers?
Once you’ve defined your overall objective, you can then agree some basic measures and design the competition accordingly.
2. The prize is right
You need a compelling reason for people to enter a competition. Let’s face it, we can get what we want pretty easily these days, so make it worthwhile. The prize or reward should also be commensurate to the effort required of the entrant to participate – lots of effort should equal pretty damn magnificent prize.
Which leads to…
3. User experience can make it or break it
To make a competition really fly, barriers to entering need to be as low as possible. The mechanism for winning needs to be thought out well, and should be informed by your objectives.
For example, if you’re building awareness and driving traffic, asking people simply to sign up at a dedicated space online to enter works best. And fortunately, this is quick and easy for the user.
To engage is a little more complex. You might be asking people to generate content (post pictures of customers using the product in question, write something, share something, make something). Again, keep it simple and keep the UX at the forefront: Are instructions clear? Is the platform for sharing up to the job? Are you asking too much?
4. Work your channels
Decide wisely where the competition should live. Facebook works well for engagement style competitions, as you can drive discussion and it’s a ready-made platform for sharing – posting comments, pictures etc is intuitive.
If it’s awareness you need, a blend of online channels works well. An e-newsletter could launch the competition, driving traffic to a dedicated webpage, which has sharing and bookmarking buttons. Announce it on Facebook and Twitter too.
Working with a partner for the competition increases your audience (and might give you access to a whole new audience), and can increase your punching weight when it comes to the prize, so it’s worth considering.
5. Rules is rules…
There are rules guiding online competitions and you must be aware of them. Factors such as timezones and jurisdictions (for closing dates), the Gambling Act 2005 (which demands that competitions should not be “illegal lotteries” – so skill should be involved and no payment asked) and the CAP code need to be adhered to.
Law firm Pinsent Mason LLP has created a great guide here.
6. Data! Data! Data!
A competition is a prime opportunity to collect data – don’t miss it. Think about which details you ask for in a sign-up style entry and consider an extra question, which might provide you with vital insight into consumer behaviour. But keep it light-touch – this should not compromise the UX.
Basic monitoring for competitions on social media platforms can provide good insights into key influencers and brand advocates.
And, of course, keep a close eye on your analytics, to observe traffic spikes, entry patterns and user behaviours – then work that knowledge when designing your next competition.
This entry was posted on February 17, 2011 at 1:25 pm and is filed under brand, marketing strategy, social media with tags CAP Code, competitions, social media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.