What Prize Promotion Should You Run

Hopefully you have some idea of why you want to run a prize draw, but what kind of promotion should you run? A simple rule is "the harder you make for people to enter, the fewer entries you'll receive". For example, a creative image competition won't build up your mailing list; a simple prize draw or competition advertised freely on your site may not be ideal to reward your user base, and a simple enter your email to enter draw won't get users purchasing items on your site!

Thanks to the arrival of social media most promoters opt for a simple prize draw. Back in the day this used to be confined to enter by email or a web form. These days you can create free prize draws on pretty much every platform plus use tools such as Rafflecopter, Gleam and Rafflepress to make your life easier. By the way there is a disctintion between a prize draw and a competition. A prize draw is something that requires a user to enter their contact details or like/tag/share on social media. A competition requires a bit more effort and may include judging of the entries.

Prize Draw Or Competition

In fairness we're guilty of mixing the terminologies but it does seem a bit olde worlde to us. No one ever says "I like entering competitions and prize draws" but instead always opt for "I like entering competitions". Competitions encompasses everything surrounding prize promotions and in our view it'd do no harm if the definitions were updated and modernised. To demonstrate how confusing things are Pick My Postcode (formerly The People's Postcode Lottery) isn't a lottery - it's a prize draw!

That said, the most popular type (and cheapest to run) promotion is the simple prize draw. These often require a user to submit their details and perhaps answer a simple question (based on the visible promotional text or about a sponsor or about part of your website). On social media this may become like, share and/or comment. At the other end of the spectrum are competitions that require creative input from your users. Photo competitions for example can be fun to run and Instragam is the perfect platform.

Prize Promotions V Prize

Whatever type of competition you decide to choose, make sure that you choose something that will be fun for your visitors whilst being easy for you to maintain. For example, slogan/tiebreaker competitions will require judging, whilst long quizzes may require someone to check all the answers. As mentioned tools like Rafflecopter and Gleam make managing promos a lot lot easier. Some promoters do offer prizes across multiple social media platforms but we think these can be hard to keep tabs on entrants.

Your prize selection will also influece the type of prize promotion you run. Why? Well if you have a 25 gift card to giveaway then plenty of people will happily like and comment on your Facebook page. However a lot less will be happy to create a five minute video promoting your brand for the chance to win the same prize. When it comes to asking for entrant creativity do make sure that the prize you're offering justifies the effort required. That doesn't actually apply in reverse! You can run a simple prize draw to win a car!

Types of Competition - Advantages & Disadvantages

Type Description Advantages/Disadvantages
Prize Draw User sends an email to enter a competition Quick and easy to set up but open to abuse from automated services if not managed properly.
Twitter User has to tweet a message, leave a comment or follow you! Watch for multiple accounts/entries. People just follow you whilst you give stuff away.
Facebook Entrants have to interact with your posts in order to enter the draw. Easy to run but FB comps can be targeted by spammers who target your entrants.
Instagram Entrants have to interact with your posts in order to enter the draw. Easy to run but entrants can end up being banned if you ask for too much tagging.
Gleam/Rafflecopter Useful tools for running prize draws that offer entrants multiple ways to participate. Promoters can sometimes go over the top with options but they are good tools for managing promos.
Creative A user has to for example upload a photo or movie in order to enter the competition. Will attract limited entries of varying standards. Requires Judging!
Registration User has to register for your site or mailing list to enter the draw Easy to set up and you're getting people signed up to your site or newsletter!
Caption User has to send in a funny caption for a picture. Tends to attract fewer entries than a prize draw. Requires judging but can be fun and generates content!
Tiebreaker User has to complete a sentence in x number of words. Needs fair judging and attracts fewer entries! Can be time consuming.
Trivia Quiz To enter the competition all questions need to be answered. Can be time consuming to set up and answers may be shared around the web
Refer A Friend A user has to tell their friends or post links to gain entries. A good way to attract more users, but can be seen as spammy. Popular with Gleams.
Surveys Entrants need to complete questions about a subject or your site. Useful for getting feedback or user data but make sure entrants are regular visitors!
Treasure Hunt User has to locate items around your site in order to enter the draw. Time consuming to set up. Your hard work may be lost if answers are posted online.
Blog User has to post a comment on your blog to enter! Tends to attract less entries as users have to register to take part
Game User plays a game to enter the competition. They may have to get a high score. Expense required for the game, plus it's open to cheating if not checked. Can attract viral traffic if done properly.
Purchase Customer has to buy an item to be entered into a prize draw May attract limited entry levels but can be an effective promotional tool. Check NPN rules!
Vote for Me Users submit an entry (e.g. video or photo) and other people are asked to vote for them Can attract cheats galore and can result in a lot of bad publicity for you. Avoid if possible.
Review Entrants need to post a product review to enter the competition. Limited entries and you may get varied quality. Entries may need to be screened and judged for competition to be fair.
Raffles Customers purchase to qualify for a prize draw where there limited tickets available. These are pay to enter prize draws and not actually raffles. Tickets don't always sell and NPN routes may be required.

The key is to run a competition that best suits your aims and prize.

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