Benefits of running competitions

hWe’ve all been to events where there was a prize draw for a bottle of champagne with all the proceeds going to a local charity. Or taken part in a survey which promised a cool prize for one of the entries drawn out of a hat. Well, these are examples of competitions being run to support a good cause or to collect information which could be later used for marketing or PR purposes.

The strategy of running competitions can be used for a diverse range of purposes: from straight forward money generation to collecting important information for your user database, from raising awareness about a service or product to involving your users or audience in a fun event that can be mutually beneficial. With the availability of online resources including emails, e-newsletters, Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and many others, the possibilities for running competitions have never been brighter and easier. There are inspiring stories out there about what successful competitions have done for some businesses, such as this blog post on branded Facebook contests done right.

If you have not yet considered running a competition as part of a PR campaign, here are some of the benefits:

Generating interest
Running a competition will generate awareness and interest in a service or product or good cause. The possibility of winning a prize while taking part in a survey or doing something one loves anyway has strong pulling power for many people. The glitter of the prize makes people stop and pay attention. You can get many to read your information, visit your website, send in an email or entry, post a Twitter message, or take some other action to register their interest in the competition. This can create a buzz about your product or service that can be very beneficial.

Building your mailing lists
Running a competition can help you build mailing lists that you can later use in your PR efforts. So long as you are very clear in your communication during the competition that you will be contacting the people who enter again with more information, this is a legitimate thing to do. The people who enter the competition are in fact choosing to come into your database and have a connection with you that may continue long past the closing date of the competition.

Permission marketing
As a consequence of building your mailing list, you position yourself for permission marketing with your list. As the people on the list voluntarily opted to be in your database, it is very likely that they will be more receptive to your permission marketing messages than a randomly compiled list.

Appreciating your users
Running a competition can also be a way of genuinely showing appreciation for the people who use your services and to continue to build on your relationship with them. If you are a small to medium business, you may not be able to offer a discount to every single person who makes a purchase every time. But once in a while to tie in with key seasonal events such as Christmas, World Cup season like Brasilia 2014, or the Wimbledon tennis season if you’re in a sports-related business, you can offer a prize for a competition. Giving away something truly appealing to your core target customers not only creates publicity and helps to build your brand, but also offers an opportunity for you to engage with your customers.

We’ll discuss how to run an effective competition in a follow-up to this post in the near future. Watch out for it.

Photo: Dreamstime

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