10 Things to Avoid in Contest Marketing

Finding 10 things to avoid in contest marketing isn't hard, but it all comes from experience and if you're just starting out, these things are not obvious.

Many first timers think that because the word in many tools is “viral” that it is so easy to just dive in, set up the tool and the leads will roll in! Those who have tried that quickly learn that contest marketing is like everything else, it takes time and experience. These are the top 10 things to avoid when you run your next contest/giveaway/sweepstakes:

  1. The wrong offer
    If you're picking the wrong prizes, two things will happen: a) your leads will not be targeted and b) your new leads won't be incentivized to share the campaign.
  2. Being fake
    Worst thing I've seen is campaigns that appear as scams because they don't have rules spelled out, links to who is sponsoring the campaign, etc.
  3. Rushing thru contest marketing campaign design
    Make a plan! You plan your business, so of course you're going to plan your marketing campaign. Yet too many times I see campaigns that are slopped together without a lot of thought. They usually do poorly.
  4. Not using your existing assets
    Think about every possible asset you can use to develop leads and traffic.

    1. If you have product ambassadors, use them! They're there to promote you right?
    2. An existing list? Use that as free seed traffic.
    3. Partners that have a list? Find them if you don't.
  5. Using the wrong tool
    There are a variety of great contest tools on the market. Each has their own unique benefits and target audiences. Find the one that works best for your campaign.
  6. Rushing into the next campaign without doing post mortem on the previous
    We all make mistakes and every campaign will have one to many. Make time to analyze the results; find out what worked and what didn't. Improve the next one!
  7. Thinking you can do it all yourself
    Many entrepreneurs (and I put myself in this bucket) think they have to do everything themselves. Use your network to review your plans. First, find an expert to review your campaign before you launch (early is better but even last minute is good).
  8. Not getting testimonials from clients or winners
    You're marketing, you should know this right? But we often forget that these success stories are fantastic tools for the next campaign.
  9. Not developing a relationship with new leads after the campaign
    The whole point of building the list is to sell to them… but don't just start selling. Provide value. Build trust. Earn the sale. Can't tell you how many clients I've served and then seen their emails to their new list and all they do is sell, sell, sell. Yes, hopefully you have new fans, but provide some value, TEACH them how to use what you're offering.
  10. getting caught by the authorities
    One of the last things we typically think about are the laws that regulate the industry. Especially worldwide campaigns. Actually, they're rarely completely legal everywhere. “Void where prohibited” doesn't always cut it either. I'm guilty of this as well. Ignorance of the law doesn't get you released when in front of the judge.

Avoiding as many of those things as possible will lead to a successful contest marketing campaign.