Running sweepstakes and contests is a classic method of getting more people to your newsletter list. The real challenge though is to turn the subscribers to paying customers! And this is where most marketing professionals fail.
You had a bunch of people entering your contest, you might have emailed them with custom offers and so on, but things went wrong before they get to your email list…
The problem is, that the contest attracted the wrong people. Entrants have never been interested in the product or service, they just wanted to win the grand prize offered in the contest.
Prize hunters are not potential customers
The wrong people on your list won’t buy, it messes up your metrics, makes you pay the expensive emailing tool, and after all, it’s just disappointing.
Turning email subscribers to customers start with having relevant people on the email list. In this post I will show you how to attract the right people, but first, let’s see when a grand prize is wrong.
Working hard on the wrong thing
Your contest’s grand prize is wrong, if…
- it is not specific to your target audience
- everyone wants to win it because it’s an awesome product
- it’s an expensive gadget or another company’s gift card
Typically giving away gift cards from known vendors or an iPhone will not attract your customers. Everyone would want to win it. Unless you define your customers as everyone, the grand prize attracted the wrong people.
How to give away relevant grand prizes?
First, you need to know who your customers are (customer segmentation) and what is your marketing goal (recruiting new customers, engaging with the current ones, making current customers upgrade).
Keep this in mind:
“If I give away a _____, then I will find people who are ______, and they are exactly my potential customers!”
Okay, so let’s put it to practice.
#1. Your own product or service
If you give away for free what you sell you can be sure that entrants are actually interested in your offering.
You can also offer samples of your own products – multiple, smaller value prizes are better than one higher value. Let’s say you sell skincare products, so 20 pieces of a 5 g lotion is much better than a single 100 g lotion.
You can think about that, what’s more attractive? “Win a lotion!” or “Experience a new fragrance new every day in the next month. We have 20 types of lotions and you can try all of them.”
- Pro: subscribers are interested in your offering
- Con: you can’t be sure that they would actually pay for it.
#2. Gift card
Give away a gift card that people can spend in your shop. This way you can ensure that they are interested in your offering. Pay attention to the value. If your least expensive product starts from $100, then give away at least a $100 dollar gift card.
Also, it’s a very nice gesture if you pay the shipping too (in case of an online store).
- Pro: subscribers are interested in your offering, and prepared to pay if the chosen product is more expensive.
- Con: people may find that the grand prize is not a gift, but an obligation to buy, so they don’t enter at all.
Interesting that so few companies do this.
Give personalized advice as a grand prize. It also lets you introduce your offering and gain trust.
Let’s say you have a shoe store. You may have the opportunity to give away something to drive people to the store, but instead, you can take advantage of the skilled personnel already available in the shop. Offer a 30 minutes sessions that help to figure out what shoes to wear.
Or you sell supplements. Instead of giving away your latest protein product, offer consulting so they get custom advice.
Consulting as a grand prize works wherever skilled sales personnel needed. (If sales personnel needed, then it means that a special knowledge needed to choose / use the product hence consulting is valuable.)
At services consulting is often the service itself. Fitness instructors can give away 3 sessions for free for lucky winners. (At services you can call this grand prize as scholarships.)
The more winners you have, the better foot traffic for you.
- Pro: inexpensive (you have sales people and customer service anyway), also perfect opportunity to introduce your product offering.
- Con: at web shops it may be trickier, however feasible. Giving fashion advice on video chat is less engaging, but still give a lot of value.
#4. Complementary goods
Attract those people who know you or your competitors already – you can encourage them buy again or upgrade. Talking to those who already know you and need your product is different than talking to someone who has never felt the need to buy something that you offer.
Give away a complementary product to your main product. Those who want to win the complementary product are certainly target customers.
Let’s say you sell cameras in a store. Instead of cameras that anybody would love to win, you give away a tripod. It helps to recruit those who already have a camera, and would like to take better pictures. These people are more likely to upgrade to a better camera later, so you can start sending them offers.
If you sell contact lenses, then give away a contact lens cleaner. If you sell watches, give away free watch battery change for the next 25 years (very good PR!).
- Pro: the subscribers you recruit will be super relevant and you can target them with a pitch.
- Con: the promotion may be less viral
If you already have a large community, you can offer visibility as a grand prize. Those who want to be visible in front of your community are certainly good customers, moreover, ambassadors.
Those companies can take advantage of this grand prize whose customers are extrovert – typically within entertainment or beauty. Also strong brands (read a long study about status consumption here) with clear vision.
A bar or a night club can run a contest to find their “new face” who will be on every poster in the following year as an ‘ambassador’.
Or if you offer cosmetics then you can choose a makeup ambassador who publishes new makeup ideas every week. Gyms can also make such contests (almost beauty contests) to choose features customers. These ideal customers can help prospects to get to know you.
You may want to have a committee of judges who would make the final decision about the winner.
- Pro: fans want attention, and they get it!
- Con: you need to have some authority (customers, readers) to use publicity as a grand prize, and it does not work when privacy is important.
#6. Exclusivity and VIP feeling
The grand prize should be some extra service on the top of the known service. Those, who appreciate the extra service are certainly relevant customers.
Offering such prizes do not cost much, but attract people who already know the base service and can appreciate the added service.
- If you organize conferences then meeting with the speaker behind the scenes is a great grand prize.
- If your company has a factory / workshop / bakery / any large volume production facility, then going behind the scenes is a great grand prize. People like to see production lines, and be a VIP.
- If you build video games, then having a contest winner testing your game is a real treat for the winner.
Plus, you can take nice pictures, and publish later on your channels (see #5.).
- Pro: you offer something that can’t be even purchased (meeting with a speaker at a conference), and really unique. Subscribers are interested in your offering.
- Con: you can’t know that if they would pay for it.
Own or buy
Based on these examples above you can see that there is a difference between people who would want to own something (e.g. win it) and buy something. You need to target those people, who would buy, to be even more precise, buy your product.
What do you think?
Have you ever gave away an iPhone-like gadget? How it worked? Would you add something to this list? I would love to hear your opinion!
Please share this post with fellow social media managers, B2C marketing professionals, event organisers, and those who are into fashion, beauty and fitness, online and offline retail.
- How to integrate email and social media marketing – Tips on Jeff Bullas‘s blog.
- 21 ways to build your email list – One of them is running contests, but many other tips from the smart Ana Hoffman.
- 12 reasons why your promotion campaign is not working – Including stories about wrong grand prizes on SocialMouths.
- Strong premise, targeted grand prize and spreading the word about your promotion – Tips from Nathalie Lussier.