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5 Tips to Running a Killer Online Contest

I’ve mentioned in previous posts how running a contest or giveaway can do wonders for your business, whether you’re looking for ways to market on a budget or ideas to optimize your company Facebook page. So maybe you’re ready to take my advice, but you’re not really sure how to go about launching a sweepstakes that’ll get the results you want (added exposure, lead generation, etc.). It’s not as complicated as you may think. Here are five tips to get your contest off the ground and make it a smashing success.

Choose the Right Prize – Put yourself in the position of your potential contestants – would you be motivated enough to fill out an online entry form to win what you’re giving away? If not, then the prize isn’t right. To really generate the attention and interest that a good contest is capable of the prize must be in demand. If you’re giving away an item, consider some hot new tech product (like an iPod or a Keurig), or a gift certificate that people could really use (like a massage). The more attractive the prize, the more entries (a.k.a. leads) you’ll get out of it.

Consider Legalities – It’s important that businesses carefully consider any and all legal concerns prior to launching a contest. For instance, did you know that every state in the U.S. has its own laws and regulations governing sweepstakes and giveaways? Unless you’re up to date on all of these legalities your best bet is to have a lawyer draft up a contract containing the contest rules and contestant agreement so there won’t be any surprises down the road.

Utilize Sweepstakes Websites – Sure Facebook and Twitter are fantastic places to promote and manage a contest, but there are a lot of other sites available that can further enhance the experience for you so that you achieve maximum results. There are plenty of online contest sites to choose from so take your pick. Just be sure to carefully read all the rules and requirements of each before you make a decision.

Keep it Transparent – Nothing turns people off more than a shady business transaction. Sure, your contestants will be disappointed when they find out they didn’t win but as long as you’re transparent in the criteria with which the winner is chosen and the method you will use to do so you’ll still come out smelling like roses. If you’re going to select a winner randomly use an online tool to make it fair and unbiased (try If your contest involves judging to determine the winner, introduce the judges on your website and explain how they will be making their decision.

Additional Option – While you can certainly run a successful contest online without having to pay a dime (aside from the prize, of course), there is also the option of paying to advertise your giveaway. Keyword advertising on Google or Facebook can be extremely effective, particularly if you’re concerned that you may not be able to reach enough people through traditional methods.

I know I probably sound like a broken record but as I’ve stated (many times) before, people love free things. Launching a contest is an excellent way to get people talking about your business and generate leads through word of mouth marketing. Follow these tips and you’ll be well on your way to running your very own killer contest!

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posted by Rebecca Daneault @ 9:15 AM