Cybher 2012: Running prize promotions on your blog
You can read a summary of the Spark and Fuse presentation on their blog here.
We were very tight on time at the event, so this post is an expansion of the points I covered in my ten minute slot. If you’re running competitions and prize draws on your blog then I hope there are some useful ideas here for you. I believe promotions should be fun for both the blogger AND the entrant. They should have clear Terms and Conditions, be run fairly, and make good use of social media channels – and that’s what my presentation is all about…
First of all: an introduction.
I’m Di Coke (yes, that’s my real name!), I’m proud to be a comper and have been for 15 years now. I’ve won over £200,000 of prizes and more than 40 holidays. I’m passionate about my hobby and started writing a blog because I wanted to share my experiences and tips with others.
Here at SuperLucky, I list creative competitions, share my own comping stories, write about controversial promotions and offer advice to both compers and promoters. I have a readership that extends to America, Canada and Australia as very few bloggers write on this topic. Since last Summer I’ve been working as Social Media Manager for Accolade Publishing – I run the Facebook/Twitter pages for Compers News magazine and The PrizeFinder, and I also blog about competitions at the PrizeFinder. I also write a monthly column for Compers News about online promotions.
All about compers
- Compers have a lot of contacts – and not all of them are compers! Many of us do play by the rules and only have one Facebook account, so often we share information with more than just our comping friends – I have 1600 friends and 150 subscribers on Facebook, and most compers have 1000+ Twitter followers. Compers can be a powerful networking tool as they love to Share Facebook posts and Retweet (even if it’s not a condition of entry!)
- Compers ARE consumers too – we do actually pay for things once in a while! If a company is memorable for their promotions and prizes then we are likely to remember and recommend them.
- The nicest compers are likely to give you feedback on the prize, and post a thankyou or photo on your blog or Facebook page.
- Unfortunately a few compers can be greedy. Many are at home full-time, and will enter to win anything and everything regardless of whether they want it. They are often regular visitors – though not contributors – to the www.moneysavingexpert.com competition forum
- Some compers can enter hundreds of comps a day and as a result are likely to spend no time reading your blog (or indeed, any website they visit) – if an answer is required, they will usually have copied it from the MoneySavingExpert post.
- Try not to get on the wrong side of a comper – word spreads quickly on Facebook and Twitter and some of the more vocal compers will be happy to join the mob
- There are several private forums on Facebook where compers moan about promoters, and if a prize hasn’t arrived or isn’t what they expected, they will gang up to complain. Many will even go as far as complaining to the ASA, even for something that may seem trivial – so be on your guard!
- If you get a public complaint about a competition or prize, try your best to settle it quickly – and ideally privately. Don’t delete Facebook posts and only block users from a page as a last resort.
A successful promotion will…
- raise awareness (and website/Facebook traffic) for the brand
- increase traffic and interaction on your blog
- result in positive feedback on social media channels
- reward a deserving entrant
- make your winner so happy they tell all their friends about your blog!
What can go wrong?
- People cheating – using multiple emails, profiles or Twitter accounts, or plagiarising others’ photos or stories (see my post about cheats)
- A winner who doesn’t want the prize and swaps/sells it straight away
- No response to a winning email
- Complaints or negative feedback
How to get the best results
- Ask a question that requires an answer unique to the entrant. eg.
– What would you spend the prize voucher on? (this will also send traffic to the brand website)
– Why would you love to win this prize?
– Write a poem about product/prize
- Use Rafflecopter – even though it’s ugly, it will save you time and effort. Don’t overload your widget with options: daily tweets are considered spammy, and perhaps you could choose different options for each of your competitions for variety, rather than adding all of them to every giveaway you do. Think about the weighting of the entries – awarding 25 entries for blogging about the competition might be a good option to get fellow bloggers on board.
- DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT using a voting mechanic. Trust me, you’ll end up in trouble.
- If you want compers to enter – and lots of traffic – list your comp on
– Superlucky blog comp linkys (don’t forget the closing date!)
– The Prizefinder
– Money Saving Expert (note: you can’t add your own comp, you need to hope that a comper will spot it and add it!)
– Facebook competition groups, eg. Free Things and Competitions
– Facebook pages relevant to the prize – OR tag the promoter in your status update.
- Use bit.ly to shorten and customise your link – for example, my current comp is bit.ly/PinterestWishlist – read my post on Using Bitly
- Try and use quirky, funny Tweets that will stand out in a Timeline rather than long-winded ones – people will be intrigued and click for more information!
- A Facebook page for your blog takes very little maintenance (all you need to do is use Networked Blogs to post automatically) but can be really great for spreading the word about your comps. Facebook is very visual, and interaction is greater if a status update is accompanied by a photo rather than just a link thumbnail. Use a photo of the prize (if you’ve got the software and time, add your blog name to it) and post it on your Facebook page along with a link to the competition. Compers can’t resist sharing a competition – even if it’s not actually a requirement of entry!
Take time over your Terms and Conditions
- If you don’t want to see your prize end up on eBay or Swaps forums, you could add ‘The prize is as stated and cannot be transferred, sold or exchanged.’ – this may make compers think twice about whether they really want the prize.
- To keep cheats at bay – or at least to give you a reason to disqualify them – add ‘One entry per person. No third party or automated entries’
When the competition is over
- Rafflecopter will choose a winner at random for you – make sure they HAVE done the required action, and do check that they haven’t entered multiple times from the same IP address. If you’re not using Rafflecopter, Random.org is the number generator of choice!
- Email the winner…and this is where the trouble usually starts! If your winner is a regular comper, the likelihood is that they get 500 emails a day and may miss yours. I recommend to compers that they should set up filters on their incoming mail – or at least search regularly – for the phrases ‘Congratulations’, ‘You’re a winner’ or ‘You have won’. As a subject header I would suggest putting “CONGRATULATIONS Di, you’re a winner with Blah Blah blog!” so it stands out. IPM guidelines state that you should allow 28 days for a response, but 2 weeks is reasonable – include a line in your email saying ‘Please respond with your postal address by (date) or another winner will be drawn’
- If you get no response from a winner, you can try and contact them via Facebook – put their email address into the Search box and if they used that address to register for Facebook, you will find their profile and can send them a private message. This works well for Rafflecopter winners, as most entrants use Facebook Login for the widget so you will have the correct email address for their Facebook account. Don’t forget that messages from non-friends will go to their ‘Other’ inbox so they may not even spot them!
- Check they’re eligible for the prize (eg. a UK address) then you can announce their name on the blog and Facebook /Twitter. Let them know how the prizes will be sent – most winners will presume you’re the one posting them, when it’s usually the PR company. Make sure you add in the email ‘allow XX weeks for delivery’ just incase there’s a delay.
- Ask politely for feedback on the prize – you could ask the winner to Tweet or post a photo of the prize on Facebook – or ask the PR company to insert a comp slip asking the same.
Unusual and inspiring competitions
- Competitions are a great way to raise awareness about charities. Mummy Mummy Mum! ran an excellent competition for Operation Christmas Child last year – entrants had to fill a shoebox with toys and either blog about it or post to Facebook (although emailing it would get around the Facebook rule breaking!) before dropping it off at a local charity collection point
- Photo competitions – I ran a comp on the Prizefinder blog where entrants could email a photo and caption. I collated these into a Facebook album and chose a winner at random. This also works well for recipes.
- Video competitions are gaining popularity – ask people to make a video and either leave a YouTube link as a comment, or email a video to you which you can share on your blog or Facebook page.
- Appliances Online ran a series of competitions asking for kids drawing, photos or recipes. The downside was that they were restricted to bloggers – but it was a great idea, and a blog hop linky would be perfect for it! Be aware that if you’re JUDGING a winner (rather than picking at random), you should keep the entries private until the closing date so there’s no advantage for those that entered first or last!
- Ask your entrants to comment on a certain topic and you could get useful feedback or content for future blog posts
- Ask your blog readers to Repin photos or posts on Pinterest as a method of entry – or even ask them to start their own board (see my current competition).
There are lots of rules and regulations surrounding promotions. You don’t need to know them all, but it IS a good idea to get a standard set of Terms and Conditions set up that you can adapt for every promotion you run. Get those right and it will help to protect you if anything goes wrong! If you have any questions about running your prize promotion, you can contact me at email@example.com or the Spark and Fuse team at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’m also happy to spread the word about your competitions so feel free to send me your links.
|Me & @petitmew after a few après-Cybher drinkies!|