How To Craft Catchy (But Not Salesy) Copy For Social Contests

Isn’t it hard to create the right copy to your contests?

Something that sounds good, tells all the details and isn’t all salesy?

There is so much competition out there. Read these tips so your voice will be heard.

engaging-copy-social-contest

The Power of Words

The pressure is on to produce a contest that not only brings in the traffic, but converts visitors into loyal customers and motivates them share their email addresses.

Though many are happy to consume a product, nobody likes to feel obviously manipulated or like they’re being sold something they don’t want.

Bad copy will turn people off, even if they’re in the market for the product you’re selling. No matter how big the prize or great the idea behind it, if it’s not communicated with good copy, it’s not going to bring the public to your site or make them want to stay.

So what is “good copy”?

  • Catches the public’s interest with a pitch-perfect headline
  • Clearly communicates the rules and regulations of the contest
  • Makes the contest sound like fun and worth taking the time to engage
  • Goes beyond simply asking participants to fill out a form
  • Gives credibility to your site by demonstrating how good your content is
  • Does NOT sound gimmicky or smack of used car salesmanship (Ex: YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS OUT ON THIS INCREDIBLE OFFER!!! SIGN UP TODAY!!!)

Okay, so how do you create copy that matches these criteria? Here 9 tricks.

#1. Find Words That Bring Traffic

There are a ton of services out there dedicated to analyzing what’s trending on the web. Content guru Neil Patel offers a useful graphic that tells you which words to use and which ones to avoid specifically when running a contest. The words to avoid all sound too “salesy”: “contest”, “promotion”, “sweepstakes” and “coupon”. Instead, the words that got people to engage were “winner”, “win”, “winning” and “events”.

petbarn-facebook-share-stay-tuned

This pet shop included the word “win” in their copy. They emphasized what people can gain with entering and therefore engaged those who were interested.

#2. Nail Your Contest Headline

The headline is the first thing people will read when introduced to your contest. It should be short, simple and capture the essence of what you’re promoting. Dove hosted a very successful Facebook contest called “Real Beauty Should Be Shared.” This headline is perfect for what the contest represents and doesn’t sound like it’s trying to sell you something.

jamie-front-page copy

This contest’s headline has two strong engaging characteristics: first, highlighting the grand prize and second, catching those fans’ attention who seek uniqueness.

#3. Emotions Work Better Than Gimmicks

Participants in Dove’s “Real Beauty Should Be Shared” contest submitted photos of a friend or family member explaining why they thought that person was beautiful. This type of strategy takes the gimmicky edge off by making the contest personal.

It makes people feel good about participating because they get to share their feelings about their loved ones. It also engages them more than simply filling out a form because it requires a higher level of commitment and participation.

video-contest

This trainer made his contest personal by asking participants about what if he was their friend. This encouraged people to show how much they like him and also created a great opportunity for promoting him as a good trainer.

#4. Ask Participants to Share Their Experience

By asking participants to share their experiences with your product or service, you’re recruiting valuable feedback. Participants will feel that their opinion is important to you. You may earn greater brand loyalty from those who already use your product.

Also you may experience increased sales from members who are using your product for the first time in order to participate in the contest. When you share the results, you’ll have a great pool of authentic advertising from real clients.

This service asked for customer’s feedbacks. The ice on the cake would be that if they offered a free month of use of their service. However, this way of questioning in contests can be used by any business regardless of their sizes or fields.

This service asked for customer feedbacks. This way of asking questions in contests can be used by any business regardless of their size or field.

#5. Games Make People Click

By engaging participants in a game, such as asking a trivia question, you’re triggering their curiosity and entertaining them. Instead of making them feel like they’re being lured into a sales trap, they’re willing to engage and participate in your fun and creative game.

The shop here hosted a guess the picture game. It made the contest a real puzzle instead of a winning-orientated poll.

This shop asked customers to guess what was on the picture. It made the contest a real puzzle instead of a winning-orientated poll.

#6. Ask a Question

A question naturally begs an answer and many people will participate in order to give their two cents. Ask them something relevant to your product such as what new flavor ice-cream would clients like to try. For example, Nissan asked participants to tweet about the technology they would like incorporated into their newest version of the Juke NISMO.

You can use contests to learn more about your customers and their preferences. Involving them to product development increases their loyalty and makes them engaged.

#7. Give Something Relevant

If your contest gives away prizes to winners, give something that’s relevant to your company. A free meal from a restaurant, a bottle of wine or a tour from a winery, a piece of jewelry from a jewelry store. Get the picture?

Don’t choose something like an iPad. You’ll get lots of participants, and then watch them run through your fingers like water after the contest is over and you realize they all just wanted a free iPad. The point of contests isn’t just getting people to visit your site, but attracting the right people – the people who are into your product. Customer loyalty isn’t built on bribes.

feather-black-front-page

The best prize for a contest comes from your own stock. This shop sells bedroom furniture and accessories, that’s why they decided to give away a free bedroom makeover.

 #8. Keep The Party Going

If you’ve tried one of these ideas and had good results, do it again. If they enjoyed it, customers will look forward to repeat contests and events and will stay clicking to find out about the next one.

This freebie site engages its Facebook fans from week to week by offering them free product samples. This also creates regularity which motivates fans to check the organizer’s page on every week. This freebie site engages its Facebook fans from week to week by offering them free product samples. This also creates regularity which motivates fans to check the organizer’s page on every week.

This freebie site engages its Facebook fans from week to week by offering free product samples. Such consistency motivates fans to check the organizer’s page every week.

#9. Easy To Follow

Every contest will have rules and instructions. Overly complicated or unclear instructions will cause participants to abandon the contest or make them angry when they don’t win something because the instructions were poorly worded.

Instructions should be simple and easy to follow. Use friendly language that’s inviting and not too bossy or formal. This page’s example of a Pinterest contest by Anthropologie is a great example of clearly worded, yet friendly instructions.

sahara-retreat

The rules were clearly communicated at this contest: the condition of entry, the winner selection method and the date of announcing winners.

Conclusion

Contests are undoubtedly a great way to increase traffic and sales for your website.

But only if done well.

Good copy will catch people’s attention, engage them, entertain them and keep them coming back for more.

Bad copy will alienate potential and current clients and diminish your site’s reputation.

Which of these results do you want for your site?

How To Craft Catchy (But Not Salesy) Copy For Social Contests by
The following two tabs change content below.
Steve Aedy is a professional writer and content manager at Freshessays.com. He consults bloggers and freelance writers, and shares effective content marketing tips. Follow him on Twitter.

Latest posts by Steve Aedy (see all)

GET FREE EMAIL UPDATES
Get the latest content first. Unsubscribe any time.
Email address *
* Required Field