Contests are a staple of social media. They generate leads, opt-ins, sharing, comments, and virality. The conventional wisdom in the marketing world is that contests are a simple, cost-efficient way to drive customer engagement and make people happy.
They work because consumers are comfortable with the give-to-win proposition. They will happily give up bits of personal information, share, tweet, upload a photo, leave a comment, vote, take a survey, or refer a friend in return for a chance to win. Few calculate the odds.
Most contests and giveaways are designed specifically for lead generation, and with good reason. A study by landing page specialists Unbounce analyzed 3 million visitors to 100 different websites and came to a powerful conclusion: contests with prizes of $500 or more generated 700% more subscribers than landing pages without contests. Here’s how they did it.
Set an end date. People don’t respond to open-ended contests because they figure they have plenty of time to do it later. Contests with a definite start and end date, however, create an immediate sense of urgency. Consumers understand that the clock is ticking.
Use the word “giveaway.” “Promotion” sounds like it might be a sale. “Sweepstakes” feels too chancy. But “giveaway” resulted in 27% more conversions than sweepstakes and 50% more than promotion because it connotes a freebie.
Like gating sucks. This trick has been played out. Widgets that asked for email addresses drove 80% more subscriptions than the request to “like” a page. The like gate has become a signal for consumers to bug out.
Bottom right, brand names, and photos win. Placing the contest sign up box in the bottom right corner of the page drew 125% more subscriptions than bottom left. Similarly, when the promotion box had a picture — almost any picture — conversion increased by 22 %. When a brand name is attached to the giveaway details, conversions saw a 28% spike.
We have trained consumers where to look and what to look for. Don’t swim against this tide.
Signal ease of entry. Site visitors are lazy. They want all the goodies but don’t want to work for it. When directed to an “enter in seconds” versus a big honking “enter” button, opt-ins increased by 33%. Tell them how easy it is.
Optimizing giveaways and contests is a always matter of tweaking and re-tweaking. These simple tips suggest, as Michael Aagaard suggests, “value plus relevance equals more conversions.” This is true for contest rules and prizing strategy, as well as the subtleties of constructing effective landing pages.