The group is mainly made up of new bloggers who have launched their blogs in the last 6-8 months and everyone is interested in expansion.
The results were great and I asked the bloggers four questions to share what they learned about holding competitions for website promotion. Introducing:
Andrea Fairbairn – Breast Cancer Nirvana
Manisha Lee – KLAW Club
Erin OBrien – Activate 28
Tracey Pederson – Life Changing Year
Q. What kind of competition did you run and how did you administer it?
Andrea “Initially, I did a bit of brainstorming to find some products that women would like – natural mineral make up : )
I ran a giveaway on my website page. People only had to subscribe to the page to be in to win. I thought about it and decided that was the easiest for me and ultimately, I wanted to increase my subscribers.
I asked a friend of mine Miranda Millen who is a make-up artist to donate products as a joint marketing venture. I told her that the completion would reach 5000 people. She got the products donated from Bella Vi cosmetics and Miranda donated a makeup lesson on top.
At the end, I had 58 people entered. Miranda and I did a draw and drew a name out of the hat so to speak.
However, I think the competition went out to around 7,000 people with twitter so it felt like it was a fantastic milestone for me. If the bar was not set to 5,000, I wouldn’t have even tried to spread the word to that many people.”
Manisha “I ran a competition with a choice of two prizes – people had to subscribe to my blog, like the Facebook page and answer the question: Which prize do you want to win and why? Most creative answer would win.”
Erin “I run a monthly photo competition called Photo28 Challenge. Until March, I ran the comp via Facebook (and was inadvertently breaking their promotions policy – oops!). In April, I trialled a third-party app called Wildfire. It’s definitely given my competition a professional makeover!”
Tracey “I ran a competition offering souvenirs from the first part of our world travels. I’d been suffering from withdrawal symptoms. No shopping because I had no room to carry any goodies in my backpack!! So I decided to have souvenirs as my prize. Someone would win some nice scarves, magnets, bags and books and i would get to try out my bartering skills and feel like I’d had some retail therapy!
My administration was very clunky!! I manually kept track of who was eligible to win. It has taken hours and hours to work out who was in the draw!! Time I could have spent on the beach!! Right now I can’t draw a winner as I can’t get into my software!! Anticipation is building!!”
Q. Will you run competitions again?
Andrea “Yes – it’s a great way to gain interest and it pushed me to get out there e.g. I finally joined Twitter. It forced me to think big and extend myself. I finally sent details about my website to my personal email group which I hadn’t done before.”
Manisha “Yes, I’ll definitely run them again – the competition significantly increased my subscriber base. Also, to have a competition was great motivation to cold call prize sponsoring companies and try to get them on board. I would have lacked the confidence to do so before. For me it’s a great stepping stone towards making money from my blog.
Erin “Definitely. I’ll continue to run the Photo28 Challenge on the 28th of each month. It’s a great way to promote my brand, to engage the activate28 community and for everyone to have a bit of fun and get creative.
Tracey “I will definitely run more competitions. We have only a small number of Facebook likes and the competition definitely helped to increase those, which was exactly what I wanted! The next prize will be a souvenir from Graceland for all those Elvis lovers!!
We are also thinking of another small competition where the prize will be postcards from us! I’m thinking about how to make this more appealing to our readers.
We recently bought a car for travelling the USA and are tossing up whether to make that the final prize in January!! I guess it will depend how poor we are at the end of our trip!!”
Q. What 3 tips do you have for other bloggers who are considering competitions?
1. Give yourself three weeks for entries. It gives you time to really send it out there in the world
2. A Facebook ad would be great and absolutely promote on Twitter. Stretch yourself beyond your comfort and safety zone.
3. Try and get your goods for free. It’s win, win and win.
1. Don’t be afraid to approach your hero brand to provide you with a prize
2. If you use your subscription form to also make people answer the prize question, people who’ve already subscribed won’t be able to re-enter their details to include a response to the prize question. I never really figured that one out – maybe it’s a Mailchimp setting or something. I got around it this time because only a few of my existing subscribers wanted a prize and they just entered new email addresses.
Serena’s note: It is advisable to create a new list in Mailchimp (or your email application) for a competition, this way everyone can enter and you can transfer the list to your main list afterwards. Just make sure you let them know that they are subscribing as well as entering (or give them the option to tick a box to subscribe too).
3. Don’t be afraid to approach other aligned bloggers asking for a plug – I wrote a few guest blogs in ‘exchange’ for building a mutual plugging relationship. This varied in success, some click throughs were better than others, but it’s all about making it visible to the largest possible audience, I guess.
1. Use a third-party app like Wildfire. Not only does it make the contest professional, it is pretty cost effective too. (It costs less than $20 to do a two week competition on the basic plan).
2. “80% out the door is better than 100% in the drawer”. Get your competition out there, even if it isn’t perfect.
3. Consider getting a guest judge on board – it takes the pressure off you to make a decision, and it can be the basis of a new partnership.
1. Be organized. Don’t take it on lightly. It’s a tonne of work but the outcomes are great.
2. Write all your posts at once. We wrote our initial post and got a good response but we’ve had sporadic Internet access since. This has meant we haven’t been able to remind people about the comp or promote it as much as we should have. Next time I would queue a couple of posts. Just in case. Time has a habit of getting away!!
3. Think carefully about what you ask people to do to enter. I offered an extra prize to the person who shared our comp with the most people in their network. In the end I had to rely on people to tell me how many that was!! Not great!! And how many people do you count when someone sends your post to Stumpleupon or Digg? This makes it really hard so ensure you have basic requests of the people who enter your comp.