People love getting free stuff. And you should love giving it away, because contests, giveaways and comparable promotions are a fantastic way to benefit your website. Benefit it how? The impact can be quite extensive.
There are different ways to go about running a contest. You can have people visit a page, enter their name and contact and be done with it. You can get a little more in-depth and ask that people make videos, or send out tweets, or compete in some way (like making predictions, or taking the best photo with your product).
Any way you go about it, a contest has the potential to yield both short and long term benefits. Here are five things an effectively run contest, giveaway or promotion can do for your website.
Collect Emails for Later Use
An email collection database is a quick way to acquire leads. Ideally, the contest you run will have some relevance to your industry, and the people who sign up will therefore have some interest in your company.
It’s not always a perfect match; just because someone wants free stuff doesn’t mean they will be willing to pay for your service. But if you’re able to collect a few thousand emails by running a contest, chances are some of them are potential customers.
Of course, collecting emails is just step one. In order to make it count you’ll have to reach out to contest participants with content, or an offer of some kind to encourage them to return to your website. You'll also have to make sure the subject line doesn't come off as spam.
And remember, your contest rules should clearly indicate that by signing up, a contestant agrees to let you contact them with future promotional material.
Use the Landing Page to get Links
A contest can open your site up to a ton of link-building opportunities. Not only is your landing page a reasonable target for any related website, you can also reach out to domains that list freebies, discounts and draws. The latter double as a great way to generate signups for the contest as well.
Contests can also draw in links from a wide pool of sites, depending on its focus. If you’re an insurance company, you could plausibly offer a travel gift card and tie it into travel insurance. Now you have a legitimate connection to every travel blogger on the web. If you do design and offer a free Mac Book, suddenly tech bloggers have a page they can easily target.
A contest doesn’t suddenly make link-building easy, but it provides numerous opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist. Plan ahead by looking into potential fits before launching your promotion. That way you’ll be able to reach out at the earliest stage of the contest.
Boost Direct and Referring Traffic
If you promote your contest with links and paid ads you will see a spike in traffic. However, the increase will probably be superficial; most people will arrive on the landing page and bounce. Ideally, some people will look around after signing up for your contest. But even if they don’t, they might return at a later date. It’s not realistic to expect any uptick to spark significant sustained growth to visitors, but some small percent may be back.
Generating a long-term increase to traffic shouldn't be the goal of your contest. Or, if it is, you should understand that the contest is only the first step. Long-term increases can be achieved, but it will take retargeting efforts, like email outreach.
Bolster Social Presence
Depending on how you choose to generate interest and set the rules for your contest, social platforms can play a major role. At the very least, you'll want to tweet about your contest, which can gain you some retweets and shares if you already have a bit of a presence.
To really strengthen your social accounts, consider making social action part of the sign up. Make the call to action following your account on Twitter, or retweeting a post about the contest. This can lead to a nice boost for a lot of different metrics.
To avoid sacrificing email collection, you can make social sign ups a way for contestants to earn a second entry.
Increase Brand Awareness
Traffic, links, emails and even social presence to some extent, offer tangible ways to measure the success of a contest. Brand awareness is a little different.
When you promote a contest through link-building and/or paid ads, people will see your name and visit your website (assuming the contest is hosted on your own domain). In many cases, this will be the first time the person has heard of you.
Inevitably, many people will sign up and forget about your site and the contest a few minutes later. But some will remember, and if they get a good impression, they’ll return when they need something you offer.
Social engagement is important. If people tweet you about the contest, wish them luck. If they ask questions about it, answer those questions. Nothing will encourage interaction like free stuff, so take the time to build a relationship where you can.
The landing page is also important. Even though it should focus on the contest itself, as opposed to your regular offerings, a professional and well-designed landing page communicates competence to readers. It will not only help them to remember your name, it will help them do so in a positive light.