4 Inspiring Contest Ideas to Engage Your Audience

Luke Carlino
|
January 5, 2023

There are plenty of online shoppers in this day and age, but there is also increased competition! If you are looking for a way to stand out from the crowd, increase engagement, and say thank you to your customers, get into the spirit of giving with competitions and giveaways.

Here are our top four favorite competition strategies to incentivize shoppers to get involved with your digital communications, boosting sales in the process.

Competition idea #1: Video submissions

Improve your brand awareness with a themed video contest that asks customers to perform a specific task or show off forms of customer appreciation via video. User-generated content is a great way to spread the word about your products or services.

Some popular video contest ideas include:

  • Sing your favorite trending song
  • Show off your best product idea
  • Demonstrate how fast you can perform a certain task relating to your product (speediest submission wins)
  • Send some before/after shots of an area of your home the product improved

Always set a time limit for the video submission, and be sure to share the user-submitted videos and tag your customer's social media accounts (with their permission). You can choose the winner by the highest customer votes; be sure to follow a strict deadline and shout out the winner on your website as well as your social channels. 

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Competition idea #2: Refer a friend

There are plenty of ways to get your content in front of people who do not already follow you, such as hashtag marketing and refer-a-friend competitions, which both work in a similar fashion. An effective way to cut through the competitive noise is by getting recommendations people will trust; and who better than their personal friends.

Get in front of new customers by running a referral contest and generate organic word-of-mouth while boosting brand awareness and minimizing customer acquisition costs. This approach can also help to retain existing customers by offering a discount for the person doing the referring.

Some referral contest best practices to consider include:

  • Offering a reward to the person who refers, and their referral
  • Setting a purchase limit to earn the referral reward
  • Ensuring you have social sharing buttons available to share the referral link
  • Providing a dynamic referral link for individual customers
  • Setting a contest deadline 

When promoting your competition, don't forget about using offline channels, especially if your business has a physical presence. Make your storefront a feature with posters, props, or other forms of visual communication that grab the attention of new shoppers.

Competition idea #3: Run a sweepstakes contest

A sweepstakes contest is a little different from a standard contest, but is still a valuable engagement-boosting activity. As all participants receive some form of prize, people are more likely to enter as they are not off-put by high odds. Prepare to receive a high number of entrants, all of whom require a prize, so keep your prize budget in mind when choosing rewards. The lowest level prize can be as simple as a small discount off the next purchase (encouraging purchases in the process).

As sweepstakes have many winners, these can all be selected by chance, like in a lottery. This is a great way to acquire valuable information which you can use for future business marketing strategies and growth with data mapping. Think about the type of data you would like to gain about your customers, and use these as question prompts to enter the sweepstakes.

Sweepstakes are very easy to run, as all you need is a simple landing page that collects email addresses for people to enter. The key with sweepstakes is promotion, and it is important to consider the following before running one:

  • Ensure you have enticing visuals and prizes to grab attention
  • Make it easy for people to enter
  • Set a predefined probability for choosing the winner
  • Include attractive social sharing buttons
  • Give bonus entries to people who complete short surveys
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Competition idea #4: Gamification 

If you can make your competition fun, you'll likely get more participation. This is where a gamification contest can be an effective tool; simply play a game to win a prize! Incentivize unique actions and then reward customers, gaining their business and loyalty in the process.

Gamification contests can include any of the following:

  • Spin the wheel
  • Scratch and win
  • Enter a quiz or raffle
  • Scavenger hunt
  • Play trivia

Make sure the theme of the game is relevant to the season and that it is easy and fun to navigate. Promote the game on your site's homepage and social channels, and keep the prizes a surprise to increase interest.

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Creating fans of your brand

People who enjoy your brand’s output are more likely to become repeat customers. Rewarding followers for their loyalty is a great way to keep them coming back to your business. Consider the cost of your competition, how much the prize you are offering is worth, and if the cost is viable when considering the potential spend of a new, loyal customer. The marketing return of a contest should also come into consideration, as the exposure it gives you to new segments can often be more cost-effective than some other marketing methods. MarinOne can also help with this by supercharging your paid search, social, and e-commerce advertising, so reach out to meet with one of our expert consultants today.

Luke Carlino is a guest contributor for Marin Software.

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