Everyone Wins with Contests
I don’t know about you, but I love to win stuff. Ever since I won a big, fat chocolate cake with white coconut butter cream frosting all to my 7-year-old self during an elementary school carnival cake walk, I’ve been hooked on the thrill of winning. Be it lottery winnings or Cracker Jack prizes, I’d wager that most people love taking a chance against the odds at winning a contest. If you are seeking to increase links to your site, a contest is an excellent way to encourage link love. Ah, but, how exactly does one hold a contest with online? That’s where we come in. Our biggest suggestion is to know your audience when planning a contest that will inspire linking.
To pull off with a contest that inspires some really great one-way links, you’ll want to do research. The audience for the site that you own or the people who go to that site are the people you’ll want to target. It pays to know who the audience is because you don’t want to make the mistake of marketing, oh…say a PETA-endorsed organic yogurt to Ted Nugent fans. Knowing who the audience is crucial to creating a contest that gets the link building job done. Market research into the age, income bracket, preferences and tastes of your clients will give you a jump on creating a contest that will encourage the kind of buzz, and generate the site traffic that you are looking for.
Appeal to Your Audience
Contest Follow Up
The contest appealed to my ego, my interests and promised a payoff. Within two minutes, I had entered my contact information, uploaded a photo and forgot all about it. Two weeks later, they contacted me and sent a gift certificate for $50 in dance apparel for my prize-winning photograph. The company didn’t stop there, however. After being invited to the winning announcement, and my photograph, along with the other winners on their Facebook page. From there, I could also “share” it on my Facebook page, and blog and tweet…and can you say bragging rights? Because the photo included one of my kids, I also had to send it to friends and relatives via email.
You get the idea… for a $50 pink leotard and a pair of ballet slippers, that company received lots of links, social media influence, and web traffic from me, and all the other dance moms with cameras just like me. It was a great contest, it was fun to win, and I’ll honestly head to that website first for a new tutu. (What, you don’t wear one?) Wether you want to hold a small scale contest to increase your website traffic and likes on your Facebook page or get your company brand to have global awareness, there’s a contest out there for you. The trick is to play to the crowd, and you can’t play to the crowd if you don’t know what they want, so be sure to follow through with using your research.
Great Prizes=Great Results
If you know your audience, and know what will appeal to them, the next step to creating an online contest is to do it the right way. You want to engineer your contest in a way that will help build brand awareness, trust and will leave a positive impression with the entrants. This is important because even casual people browsing the internet may come across your contest and the response to it, and that impression is one that could potentially last. Even though it has been five years since I first heard of it, one of the biggest online contests that comes to mind was for a resort in Australia. It was a contest that had massive appeal, and it went viral…worldwide. The idea was that you enter a video of yourself explaining why you should win, and those videos were posted on the company’s YouTube website. That alone was a stroke of genius, since the prize was so tied into the contest, that the resort literally ended up with thousands of video testimonials on why the resort would be such a great place to visit. Can you say lasting, positive brand awareness?
Next, the company used social media, its website and subscription-only email blasts to grow the contest. By avoiding a hard sales pitch, politely asking for likes, links and shares, the company increased the overall sense of trust from the online community, and its website was all-but-drowning in links. There were so many entries, that there website crashed once or twice, If I remember correctly. Because the media for the resort holding was so effective, the company increased its sales dramatically. The images and videos of white, warm sun-soaked sandy beaches and teal water lapping at the edge of a boat filled with young, happy people were enough to entice thousands of people to enter.
It pays to have a prize so fantastic and unique that everyone wants it. Finally, (and this is the pièce de résistance) the prize for the winner of the contest was a year-long, all-accommodations paid stay at the resort. Not only that, but the prize came complete with a salary for the winner…they were paid to post photos, write on the resort blog and upload videos of themselves vacationing at the resort. It was a link building contest coup. The contest was viral, it lasted for months, and the winner effectively became the next year-long advertisement for the resort.
Contests, Trust and Winning
When done correctly, a small or large scale online contest can really pay off as a link building strategy. Keeping your audience in mind, doing your homework into their likes and preferences and tailoring your contest accordingly will work. If you come up with a contest that isn’t pushy, but encourages linking and social sharing you can build brand awareness and trust, two things that are the easiest to mess up in a contest. But, if you do it correctly, a contest can be a fun way for your company or clients company to grow it’s online reach. The net result are quality links from sites that appeal to the market, and ultimately leave contest entrants with warm, fuzzy perceptions of you company.
How’s that for winning?