Build your database with contests

Contests and giveaways apply to every business differently, but they are always an excellent way to build your customer database.

A common way to get involved in contest marketing is to sponsor a giveaway being run by a company that already has a large audience. But some brands take a more traditional approach and simply run a contest themselves. Lets run through some things you need to know about using contests to grow your audience and making use of the entries.

Only ask for the info you need

The main advantage of running a contest is to research current and potential customers. There are a few ways to gain insight into your customers using contest entry forms. Aside from gathering basic personal information like names and addresses, you can also look at user habits. 

You want to use your contest to learn as much as you can about your audience. But remember that the purpose of providing free goods via a giveaway is to encourage the customer to be open to giving you their info.

Most companies use contests to grow their email list for future communications. If that is all the information you feel you need, then just ask for a name and email address. Keep it as simple as possible in order to maintain the trust of the user. 

Luckily, the person entering has the assumption that you will need their email address in order to contact them if they win. So it’s not always obvious that you are just adding them to another marketing list. 

If you are looking to learn more about your audience, you can include a brief survey in your giveaway.

Driving new leads and learning from them

The winner of your contest will be a valuable lead for future sales opportunities. Hopefully they enjoy your free product or service enough to eventually come back for more. But you should be more focused on the rest of your entries and how you can turn their interest into transactions

There’s also a great deal of information that can be taken from the contact info that you gather. You can get a deeper look into how certain types of customers engage with your business. Customers that enter into a contest might be leads that are interested in your business, but will need more nurturing before they purchase. 

You can take a look at where the customers live and if you operate a B2B operation, you can better understand what types of businesses to market to. Use this information to analyze what products or services are more desired.

Contests are a great way to use value to persuade audiences to hand over their precious contact information. It can be challenging to get this info from users when they’ve already seen all of the tactics before. Whether its a popup to download an ebook or a media kit that can only be accessed by filling out a contact form, people don’t always give in to those offers anymore.

Claire Linney – Emerging Media Manager

We have seen great success through giveaways involving VIP festival tickets. The Post and Courier’s contesting expert Claire Linney helped a client reach a wide audience interested in a local festival.

“Who doesn’t love going to a fun concert?  We gave away tickets, which engaged 2,000 Post and Courier followers who entered to win!  The client received opt-ins from the giveaway of people who would like to be contacted by the festival directly, which led to increased ticket sales for the festival.”

Reach a local audience

Contests tend to bring strong growth to local businesses who sponsor or run them. On the local level, you have the ability to build the promotion around the target audience.

Promotional advertising is a multibillion dollar industry. Borrell research shows that local promotions and marketing are generating 2.5 times more revenue than traditional local advertising.

With the holiday season approaching, local contests are a good way to reach shoppers. Stores can give away discounts or promotional products, as well as sponsoring holiday-themed giveaways that connect buyers with any kind of local business.

“We run holiday giveaways in December, engaging thousands of readers entering to win our giveaways with holiday gift ideas from our clients,” Claire explains.  “This promotion directly connected our clients with local shoppers ‘bottom of the funnel advertising’ around the holiday season, helping bring holiday shopping business to the local stores who participated.”

Getting more eyes on your contest

The greater the value proposition of what you’re giving away is, the more likely you are to get entries. So you need to find a balance between what you’re willing to provide in exchange for user information. 

If you take the approach of sponsoring a contest, you’re likely already reaching a large audience through the company running the contest. But if you need to promote a contest you’re running yourself, here are ways to drive entries.

Social media can be your best friend when it comes to explaining the value of your giveaway. It’s one of the leading ways to grow your business and connect with customers. Engaging in conversations with users gives you the chance to talk up your contest in a personal way. It shows that you are currently invested in giving customers the chance to win something cool. 

Static advertisements, while useful, can feel lifeless compared to an actual social media interaction. You can make a post on your Twitter that mentions the giveaway. If you get comments on that post, the door will be open for you to have a conversation with your audience about what makes the prize so great. Put the focus on your customers and what you’re doing for them.

You can also pose the contest as an exclusive offer for those that have already shown interest in your business. Even if you’re just starting with a list of emails that determines who can enter, you’re still going to be able to gather more info for your database. Similarly, you can offer extra entries to customers that have already spent money with you or that just start following you on social media. 

In the end, steps like these will reinforce that your identity is a customer-focused one. In the age of consumer privacy concerns, the relationship between businesses and customers is a delicate one. Contests help to break down that barrier by making consumers more willing to share their personal information.

Get your contest rolling

Claire has a team of contest and promotion specialists who are here to help!  The team will meet with you and come up with a custom promotion that meets your individual business needs.  We design the creative and create the promotion plan to reach the audience you desire.  Contact us and we’ll walk you through the process step by step.