And the Winner is….

The winner is…the marketer who uses contests, polls, and trivia as promotions!

If you’ve been looking for a way to draw visitors back to your site, to get users engaged and to build or strengthen a community of customers, you’ve got to try a contest. Set up a poll to capture votes, have users submit photos, questions, or stories, or you can hinge the contest on niche-related trivia. Contests are a great way to build interest, excitement and connect with your audience.

Elements of Success

First, you should know that in some states, sweepstakes are actually a form of illegal gaming. Just in case your hometown frowns on that form of promotion, you should know what constitutes a sweepstakes contest.

There are three elements to a sweepstakes: Something of value is given away, the winning is selected by chance, and the contest entry must provide consideration. Only if all three elements are present is the contest a sweepstakes.

You can make sure your promotion isn’t a sweepstakes by including ‘Free Entry,’ or ‘No Purchase Necessary,’ in the conditions.

Reward Sharing

You can also use a different form of contest completely. Polling, voting, and trivia are great ways to engage your audience and reward users for contributing, and they aren’t considered sweepstakes as the winner is not selected by chance or at random.

You can set up a poll for your users to vote on brand preferences or product uses. If the user’s selection wins, they get a prize. Polling and voting is used by big brands like MTV, Pepsi, and Levi’s.

Personalized Promos

You can also ask your users to submit their stories or photos as a part of the contest. Maybe it’s the top five best uses for your product, or it’s an inventive photo of the customer and the product, or an imaginative ad campaign suggesting a new way to see the product. Whatever the setting, you are asking users or customers to connect with you, your product and your company. This will give you a better sense of what your audience is thinking and enable them to connect with your business in a meaningful way.

You don’t have to worry about this promo being a sweepstakes because any winners won’t be chosen at random. You don’t even have to select just one winner, if the feedback is fantastic, you can pick a weekly winner, or award the prizes to as many contestants as you’d like.

Prize Ideas

You can give away all sorts of things as prizes; coupons, discounts, reports, eBooks, products, etc. Be creative and resourceful, but consider the level of engagement your contest requires and try to match that prize-wise. This is a chance to build up your brand and business reputation, so make sure contestants get something they deserve.

What contest will you be testing out?

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