At Binkd we have hosted thousands of contests through our contest platform and through this we saw a large variance in contest performance, some received 10 entrants others 1,000′s. So I went digging to find out why that was and in particular, photo contests. At first I thought it would be due to the number of fans on Facebook. Have 1 million fans and you will see more entrants. While the correlation was there for most contests there were a few who didn’t fit in this model. They exceeded what was expected, sometimes over 10 fold.
Here is what I discovered.
A Valuable Prize (Get $1,000′s of dollars of prizes for $0)
This one seems obvious. A large prize value will attract a large audience, which it does without fail, however I noticed contests running large prize pools that didn’t pay big dollars for them. They did this in the following ways.
1. Retail value is higher than wholesale, hence if they were offering their own package or service, it costs them far less. But you always list the retail price of the prize.
2. Get sponsors. It sounds easier than it actually is. To rapidly increase your prize pool, all you need to do it speak to other business, even run the contest together. Most businesses are happy to provide a product for a contest to help increase their exposure. In fact I will let you in a massively valuable resource by Brendon Burchard in securing sponsorships. Watch the video.
What is the minimum total prize pool you should be offering?: At least $1,000. But if you follow the tips above you should be able to secure this for $0 with a bit of time invested.
Every exceptional contest always had a prize pool of over $1,000.
Don’t Rely On Existing Fans
Now if you took the above advice, you instantly have many other businesses all with marketing channels of their own. It is instantly a huge marketing opportunity at your disposable. They would be more than happy to distribute your contest to their list if you have one of their products as a prize. Just make sure you don’t have multiple sponsors that are competing with each other.
To further enhance this, start a marketing budget to perform things such as a Facebook Ad Campaign. Facebook Ads are great for giveaways and contests. However Google Ads generally are not.
You have a website, you have an email list, you have a Twitter account you may even have a retail presence or catalogue going out. Use every channel at your disposal, sometimes people won’t enter your contest until they have seen it mentioned numerous times.
Every exceptional contest is always marketed over multiple channels.
Give Everyone A Fair Chance
Voting contests normally have 1 major flaw. The person with the highest vote count wins. At the beginning this starts off with everyone on level ground and people contact family and friends to get votes. It soon becomes clear who has more family and friends and it turns into nothing more than a popularity contest. If you are lucky the top people will have a similar vote count hence they will continue to battle it out. However for everyone else, they just get angry, contact us with accusations of cheating and leave a large entrant base not participating because they believe they will have no chance in winning.
You have a few ways to solve this.
1. You can have a limited positive impact by offering multiple prizes. Hence people with lower vote counts still feel like they have a chance of winning one of the lower end prizes.
2. Use votes as an extra chance to win and not the highest vote count wins. Binkd’s Photo Contest App has a way to select winners in a fairer option, while still enticing people to continue sharing their entry to collect votes. Instead of the highest vote wins, each vote is counted as an entry into the contest. At the end, the winner is picked at random, however the more votes someone has the higher chance they have of winning. This gives everyone a fair chance to win, regardless of popularity and still gives a large motivation to share their contest with friends and family.
Every exceptional contest always had a prize pool or random drawing based on votes.
Lower The Barrier To Entry
Photo contests always attract less entrants than sweepstakes because it takes more effort to take a photo, then upload it. Sometimes contests remove large potential audiences just because of the way they set up their contest. If you own a sports gear store and setup a photo contest saying, upload your pic with you performing a move on your skateboard, lets see who you just removed.
1. The people who are thinking of starting skateboarding who don’t have any gear. They certainly want it and need to purchase a lot of things but they can’t enter your contest.
2. Who honestly has a load of pictures of themselves performing certain moves on their skateboard, a few, but most would have to go out, with someone else and get them to take the pic. That just removed a large number of potential entrants who will forget about your contest within a few minutes. They can’t take action there and then.
3. Those who are new to skateboarding might not feel comfortable entering a picture of themselves on a skateboard and sharing it with all of their friends to get votes.
To me that contest just wiped out a huge entrant list and all of people who are likely to become great customers. To open this contest, all that is needed to be done is:
Change the photo requirement to just any picture related to skateboarding, that doesn’t even require the entrant to be in the photo and one that is already likely to be on an entrant’s phone or computer.
Every exceptional contest always made the photo contest as easy as possible to enter.
Provide The Emotional Connection And Create The Viral Effect
I do think people greatly underestimate the need for enhancing emotional connections, even over a very non-emotional medium such as the internet. The real key to getting people to enter a contest and get them to share it is requiring a photo that they have an immense emotional connection to. Have you ever seen baby photo contests? Let’s run through why they always go so well.
1. In relation to the last point, which mother doesn’t have 1,000 photos, some professionally taken, sitting on their computer. Very easy to enter.
2. The mother’s pride is at stake with sharing a baby photo. Who doesn’t think that their baby is the cutest?
3. They will share it with everyone, as they always have. It is appropriate to send to family and friends and most will also be eager to see your baby win.
While baby photo’s are at the high-end of emotional connection, you can do this just as easily with photo’s of other things people have created. People are proud and emotionally attached to their creations and skills, let them show it to the world.
Every exceptional contest always requires the uploading of a photo with an emotional connection.
There are many other ways to ensure your contest performs well however these just mentioned are the lesser known and far more crucial factors.