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Five Critical Pieces of Advice For Running A Great Contest


A contest can be an incredible way to promote your business, spread the word about your brand, and engage your audience. Of course, that’s assuming you run it effectively. A poorly-run contest probably won’t get many people interested – and could even damage your brand in the long run.

Aside from knowing your audience and promoting your contest on the right channels, here’s some advice to help you keep everything running smoothly.

Start With Very Clear Goals

First thing’s first – have a sit-down with your internal colleagues and stakeholders before you go any further. Talk to your public relations professionals and social media team, and ensure everyone is aligned on your specific goals. The question you need to answer is what you’re trying to accomplish with your contest.

Are you simply trying to get more followers on social media? Are you looking to generate some brand awareness and goodwill? Are you trying to build a network of prospective customer, or show off a key feature of your website or one of your products or services?

A contest built from the ground-up for a specific purpose will always enjoy greater success than one without direction.

Make Things Easy For Participants

People aren’t going to jump through hoops, even if it means they’ve the chance for some free swag. What you need to keep in mind is that these people are the ones providing value to you, not the other way around. You need to make things as easy as possible for them – a click of a button to share a post, entering a phone number, or typing out an email address should be all that’s required to enter.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean you can’t have contests or giveaways that require a bit of extra legwork on the behalf of your participants – provided you give them enough value. One example could be a photo contest on Instagram or a story writing contest on Facebook. In both cases, entering the contest does require a fair bit of work, but it also allows participants to engage in something they might find enjoyable – and it gives them the chance for some exposure on social media, which is always a great thing.

Test, Test, And Test Some More

If you’re running a giveaway, you can’t have things get derailed on the first day by a ton of technical issues. Test any systems you’re using for your contest extensively before it goes live – do everything in your power to make sure everything is in working order. Make sure everything is mobile-friendly as well, and that you’ve got plans in place for anything that could go wrong.

Preparation is the word here – the more prep work you do, the better your contest will go.

Ensure Everything Is Legally Above Board

There’s actually a great deal of legalese involved in hosting a contest. As such, you need to have a solid legal team backing you up if you’re running one. Work with them to put together a set of rules and regulations to help you manage potential liability.

Keep The Prizes Relevant

Last but certainly not least, choose a prize that your audience will actually enjoy – and one that’s also tied to your brand. If, for example, you’re a makeup retailer, you could offer winners a choice of beauty products. If you’re an auto parts supplies, you could offer free auto detailing for a set amount of time. If you sell electronics, offer a TV or the latest smart device.

You get the idea.

Closing Thoughts

Contests can be a great way to generate goodwill for your brand. Now that you know what’s involved in running a successful one, you can get started on it. And if you want to spice things up with some custom clothing, you can always check out BlueCotton’s design studio.

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