The holidays are approaching quickly! It seems like just a few months ago we were celebrating the 2016 holiday season, and now we're into November and almost into the biggest shopping season of the year.
By this time, you probably already have your holiday inventory set, and your marketing strategy for getting customers to buy from you this holiday season. But have you thought about incorporating a contest into your marketing strategy for this year?
An online contest is a great way for you to not only connect with your customers and reward them with something fun for the holidays, but it's also a key component of growing your brand awareness.
The first thing you need to decide is the purpose of your contest. When running an online contest, whether on your website or on social media, you always need to have a greater purpose to it than just to give something away.
Are you trying to grow your reputation? Your brand awareness? Get more social media followers? Generate more leads?
Figure out what the purpose of your contest is first, and then build the contest around this set goal.
Oftentimes, you want to give away something that is either one of your own products, or if you're going for a large scale prize, something that lots of people want.
For example, if you're a boutique, you could give away a gift basket filled with some stylish accessories, and maybe a shirt or two. Or, you could also opt for a gift card giveaway.
If you're looking to give away something that you don't make or sell, you could also go for a tablet (like an iPad or Kindle) or a TV. These are usually clear winners for getting people involved in your contest. Everyone loves to win expensive entertainment products!
Now that you've decided your purpose and the giveaway prize, it's time to figure out where you want to run your contest.
Social media is one of the most popular places to conduct giveaways these days. For Facebook, many businesses encourage followers to like, share, and comment on their giveaway status to be entered. On Twitter, it's retweets, and on Instagram, it's either comments or reposting pictures with a specific hashtag.
If you want to do a non-social media contest, you can look into different tools that allow you to do raffle-type contests embedded on your website, with contestants entering their email or other information to be entered. This type of contest also works great as a lead generation tool.
After running your contest, selecting the winner, and awarding them with their awesome prize, it's time to measure the results of your contest.
Social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, make it easy to measure the success or failure of your posts through insights and analytics.
A good indication of how well your contest succeeded depends on what your goal was when you started out. If you were looking to increase your brand awareness, you'll need to look at your post reach, engagements, new likes and other important information.
If you wanted to increase your lead generation, see how many new leads you picked up through your raffle contest.
The holidays are a prime time for running online contests to get your customers excited about your company and help you generate new leads, brand awareness, and more.
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Contributor Caleb Hennington is a 25-year-old writer, who manages the Atwill Media and FGmarket blogs. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
When not writing, Caleb enjoys camping, running, collecting comic books, and spending time with his fiancee and his dog.