Starting a blog or building a website for your small business requires more than a unique idea, entrepreneurial ambition and quality products. From reliable Web hosting and content management systems to a superior-quality and optimized content, a website’s composition for success is extensive.
If you want to attract visitors to your blog and grow your business online, you can’t afford to not run a contest and offer giveaways.
Driving Traffic Strategy
Whether you’re promoting a graphic design services blog or establishing an ecommerce website, driving traffic to your online content can create a following—which turns into a strong readership and profitable sales. Regularly hosting an online sweepstakes attracts new visitors and increases a website’s traffic because people love to win freebies, but they love the chance to win more. Bill McIntosh explains on online his business blog, OpportunitiesPlanet.com, that his viral marketing contest brought in more than 40,000 unique visitors, including 20,000 additional visitors and inbound links to his website. Using the WordPress plugin, Contest Burner, he gained about 400 participants for one contest.
To make your contest go viral and “off with a bang,” McIntosh suggests:
- Reward social-networking users who share the contest and spread the word in exchange for getting entries
- Select prizes that users and customers would find valuable and relevant (e.g. as a style blog, offer a gift certificate, to a fashion boutique, to the first 10 people to like a post.)
- Partner with another business and create a joint contest; e.g. in exchange for a boutique’s gift certificate worth free merchandise, agree to provide free promotion on your blog. With cross-promotion, businesses can also share email lists for business marketing expansion.
- Make participants fill out an opt-in form and sign up for a newsletters in order to be eligible to win; by increasing newsletter signups, you’ll reach a wider audience for direct mail marketing and other promotions.
Builds Relationships & Customer Loyalty
“Contests are a great tool for building your fan base,” says Mashable.com’s Ben Pickering. Running a contest is a proven solution for increasing Facebook fans and Twitter followers. Use verbiage such as “weekly sweepstakes” or “monthly freebie”—indicating that you’ll run a contest or host a giveaway on a regular basis. Fans and followers that connect with your business through social networking can further establish a solid business-customer relationship, thus creating customer loyalty. Once a user uploads a picture for a photo contest or fills out an online entry form, they experience a sense of investment with your brand. There are social marketing platforms like, Votigo and social campaign platform Offerpop, you can use to access campaign analytics and consumer data so you can learn more about the needs of your target audience.
Promotes & Extends an Online Presence
Don’t limit the promotion of your contest or giveaway to traditional forms of entry. Rather than providing an online entry form, get creative with how participants enter to win.
- Ask entrants to make a YouTube video and have fans vote for their favorite. (Voting fans can also be eligible to receive a prize.)
- Host an Instagram campaign; photos that tag a particular hashtag are entered into a drawing or have the opportunity to be featured on the blog.
- Run a contest that requires participants to comment or share the contest via their own Facebook or Twitter page.
The more creative and fun your contest is, the more enthusiastic participants will be to promote it on their own social media pages, websites, and blogs.
Author Bio: Kristine Poole
Kristine is a social media strategist and tweeting fiend. She’s aware it’s a problem, but it’s one she’s happy to have. She can be found experimenting with the newest social media tools or tweeting about them.