Boosting your customer list with online competitions

Online competitions can be a very cost-effective way for small companies to boost their customer lists. In principle, they are very simple to run, but in practice, there are some key points you should always remember before you launch one.

Decide on your channel before you do anything else

It may seem strange to decide what channel you are going to use to promote your competition before you even decide what sort of competition you are going to run, but the reason for taking this approach is because every channel has its own set of rules, and behaviours that are perfectly acceptable on one may be banned on another.

What’s more, these rules can and do change. Therefore, it makes sense to start by choosing your channel and creating a competition that suits it rather than coming up with a brilliant idea for a competition only to discover that you can’t actually run it on your choice of platform.

Create fair and workable terms and conditions

Your chosen social media platform may offer guidance on what to set as terms and conditions and there is certainly plenty of advice on the internet, but it is down to you to double-check this and, if necessary, adapt it to your needs and wants.

In particular, remember that the internet is global but you may prefer your competition to be at least reasonably local and if you do then you need to specify this in the terms and conditions, otherwise you may find yourself needing to post a heavy parcel to Australia.

You also need to be very clear about how many entries each person is allowed and how, exactly, they can go about entering. Depending on your aims, you might have people enter directly on the social media platform or you might want them to go to your website. If you’re taking the latter approach, you might want to use a third-party service such as Rafflecopter to collect their details so as to provide reassurance that you are operating legitimately and not just illegally collecting emails for spam.

Scale the barrier to entry to suit the size of the prize(s)

Assuming the aim of your competition is to build your customer list, then you may well find that your best approach is to have a low barrier to entry and one or more low-value prizes. You might even want to consider offering everybody something for entering. Obviously this would need to be something which could be automatically delivered digitally and would, effectively, cost you nothing (except maybe the cost of producing it), but it would provide an extra incentive for people to provide their details. Discount codes are one example of this that is often effective at getting additional entries for your competition.

Another thing to bear in mind, when choosing your prize, is how focused you want your list to be. If you advertise a prize for a £100 Amazon voucher, then anybody and everybody would want to enter. If you want new subscribers, however, who are likely to be dedicated to your brand then a pet company might offer a personalised dog collar as a prize, or a stationery could offer a beautiful pen. There will be fewer entrants to win such a specific gift, but they would be primed and targeted to suit your brand and products.

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