3 Must-Have Elements for a Killer Contest

Contests are a great way to engage your brand’s customers. It appeals to the inner competitor in everyone—plus, everyone loves a good prize. But, to get the most out of your promotion, keep these three things in mind to guide your contest management.

1—Make the Contest Brand Relevant

Part of the strategy for running a marketing promotion is to raise awareness for your brand. Therefore, make sure the contest you design ties into the brand you’re promoting. A sports drink company could design a contest centered around sports or their favorite sports star. A great example of a somewhat wacky, but very brand relevant, contest from this summer is Frito-Lay’s Cheetos Museum contest where they empower every snack-lover to become an art curator and share their Cheeto that looks just like ____ for the chance to win a chunk of change. (We didn’t have any part in running this promotion; we’re just appreciating it from the outside looking in.)

2—Cough Up for a Compelling Prize

Contest entries are largely driven by what participants might win. Think about it, would you go through the effort of taking a potentially embarrassing selfie with your favorite snack if the reward wasn’t compelling? Therefore, as a contest manager, it behooves you to not chintz on the prizes. Cash is king in all things, including contest prizes. Trips and fancy gadgets are also popular. However, make sure to do your homework, or partner with an experienced contest management company, because high-value prizes will trigger more paperwork with Uncle Sam and the rules vary by state.

3—Figure out the Fine Print

 The last step to creating your brand’s perfect contest is to protect the whole promotion with carefully crafted official rules. Though most entrants will never read the official rules, if a challenge should come up about why someone did not win, the rules are the guiding document to resolve that challenge. Think of the official rules as your contract with entrants. You want to make sure that contract protects your business and the customers you are trying to engage with during your marketing promotion. Also, beware of any templates for official rules that you find online. While it’s much better than nothing, templates do not include promotion-specific variances such as types of prizes, if participants enter online vs offline, or other program nuances. In addition to rock-solid official rules, one way to protect yourself from any potential legal liability is to engage with a third-party contest administrator. This accomplishes two things: first, the best contest administrators know the laws governing marketing promotions very well and can help you navigate common pitfalls; second, should your promotion run into any legal hot water, a third-party administrator can provide you with an argument of plausible deniability.

Now, budding contest managers, go forth and create greatness in the form of a killer contest. Should you a need a hand, give us a shout.