Advent Competition Advice For PRs & Promoters

Posted on: October 17th, 2012 by Jason 4 Comments

As well as offering advice to compers, we also like to use our blog to help promoters. This blog aims to give promoters, PRs, siteowners etc who are considering running advent comps some useful tips. Some of our comments may not be appreciated by compers – but hopefully most will understand where we’re coming from.

An advent giveaway is essentially like an advent calendar, except behind the doors are prizes rather than snowflakes, baubles and other Christmas scenes. This year will be the first year in over a decade that Loquax will not be running an advent competition. When we first started running an advent giveaway there were maybe 30 to 60 similar promotions running. Last year we think there were 200 to 300, perhaps even more with Twitter and 12 Days of Xmas types promos.

There are multiple reasons why a site/promoter would run an advent prize draw. For us it was simply as a “thanks” to our users for their support during the year gone by, whilst for others it may be part of a marketing strategy in order to boost sales or build brand awareness in the run up to Christmas. Our decision not to run one this year is based on workload and also that our reason for running it has gotten a little lost amongst the madness.

So, are advent competitions – either your own or through sponsorship a good deal?

The answer of course will vary from site to site, PR to PR and promoter to promoter, but we thought we’d try and offer some advice from our perspective to try and help you when it comes to making decisions about advent style promotions.

1. Decide The Purpose!

Most prize promotions have a purpose – advents included. For retailers it may be to get sales during the hectic Christmas period, whilst for brands it may be just to build awareness. Bloggers and other sites may run them to reward their readers – so sponsors of these promotions may pick up backlinks and extra sales or traffic.

2. Remember Compers Love Advents

We love compers and we know compers love advent competitions. However promoters, especially those who have thought of a purpose for their promotions may not like being swamped with prize hunting traffic. It’s not always a bad thing (see point 3) but it can have an impact on your aims if you’re not aware.

For example, if a promotion is being run to boost sales but the main entrants are compers – who often do 150 to 300 advents a day – then perhaps sales are not necessarily going to come immediately from those quarters. The entrants may go on and purchase at a later date, but it’s not guaranteed. If you’re a promoter or PR looking to boost sales with prize sponsorship then make sure you have other traffic sources. For example cashback and voucher code sites tend to run big Christmas promos – it may be good value to get involved with them.

Now some compers may wonder why we’ve mentioned this – well our philosophy is to help promoters as much as compers. Sales boosts and comping don’t often go hand in hand (at least not in our opinion). It’s far better for a promoter to get value for money with regular prize promos than go “all in” on an advent, lose out and not want to do another competition ever again.

3. But Don’t Dismiss Compers

Despite the above, we know compers do shop online and do like discounts, offers, deals, money saving etc. If you’re sponsoring a prize on an advent promotion and you’re a retailer consider offering a special discount code. If you’re a retailer and you’re running your own calendar – use the “thanks for entering page” or perhaps even a cleverly crafted email to communicate with entrants – perhaps offering a discount code or free delivery on a future purchase.

Of course as a promoter or competition organiser you can use entrants to boost a social media message about your Christmas offers. This can help get offers, discounts and even word about your prizes out to a wider audience. We appreciate that not all promoters “love” the comping community, but as with all campaigns they can be utilised.

4. Does The Advent Day Matter?

If you’re being asked to sponsor a competition or are running your own – it actually pays to think about the best time to offer your best prize. Over the years we’ve found that interest in advents starts off high, tails off at weekends and reduces as folks get busier towards Christmas Eve. A retailer may for example think offering a star prize on the 24th December is best for business – but it might not be unless you’re pushing your pre-Christmas January Sale. You might prefer to have a big traffic boost on Mega Monday for example.

Sponsors should ask for details of traffic – especially from cashback/voucher sites – for specific days from their previous Christmas campaigns. It’s our opinion that when it comes to advent promotions some days will be much better than others!

5. Big Prizes Or Little Prizes

The prizes you offer can matter – especially if you’re competing for visitors who have lots of choice in front of them. Bizarrely we’ve had more entries for a Loquax Mug (worth £10) than we’ve had for prizes worth £50. Of course that may just mean that for many the Loquax Mug is priceless! In essence there’s no hard and fast rule for advent prizes – but obviously the better the prize and the more global appealing it is, the more interest it will generate.

If you’re sponsoring competitions then the value of prize on offer really should offer value for money in terms of your reason for getting involved.

The following tips are aimed at those who intend running their own advent promos.

6. Test The Mechanic!!

So you’ve decided to sponsor a competition or run one of your own – great stuff! However, before the clock strikes and kicks off a month of madness on December 1st do make sure things work. It’s amazing just how many advent promotions fall foul of glitches on the first day of Advent because not enough thought has gone into checking. Oh, and if you ran an advent in the past – make it clear it’s ended – you’ll be amazed how many folks will try and enter a comp from 2009!

7. Keep It Simple Santa – Well Ish!

Advents should be fun – the more fun you make it the better in our opinion. In the past we’ve seen some graphically appealing advents – as long as they’re simple to use then great. Make it too complicated or force your entrants to jump through hoops to gain an entry however is not a great idea. Keep it simple, but try and have some festive fun with your advents!

8. Normal Rules Of Promotions Apply

Just because it’s Christmas doesn’t mean you should take your eye off the ball with regards to rules, terms and preventing people cheating. Automated entry services still operate and will try and flood promotions that aren’t thought out properly. If you’re choosing to use Twitter or Facebook then remember both of them have guidelines that should be followed.

9. Is Social Media The Best Choice?

Last year Facebook had loads of daily Christmas promotions – but not everyone is that keen on operating on the behemoth social media site. If you’re looking to do sales then as a retailer you might be better running your promotion on your site and not via Facebook. Likewise if you’re a sponsor check to see if will you be picking up traffic/likes etc from an FB based competition.

10. Promote It!!

Hopefully our advice above sparks a bit of thought and consideration with regards how PRs, promoters and siteowners go about doing advents. If you don’t mind a fair bit of traffic to your site then do let us know about anything you’re doing advent prize wise (as a sponsor or running your own) – preferably well in advance as our team expect to be busy.

We hope the above has given food for thought. If you have any questions then feel free to contact us.


Join The Conversation

  • elainelane

    Just a thought on point number 3, if you email offering a discount code PLEASE don’t call it a win! It isn’t and it’s very annoying.

  • paperbackbutterfly

    I had three advent wins last year and went on to buy from two of the companies that I won from so i expect it was good promo as well as loads of fun

  • Tanyar

    Although I don’t always buy from the advent ( or other comp wins) sites – I do tell all my friends – parade prizes in front of them etc.. I do know a few friends who then bought from the site and recommended it to other ‘real customers’. I only enter for things I would like to win so my friends tend to like the same things. A well run competition with a quick delivery can be a great PR exercise to a larger customer base than first apparent.

  • bridgegal

    I often buy from sites I’ve entered a competition from, a discount code is also a great idea as it makes you (as an entrant) feel appreciated.

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