Online Contests are Smart Marketing for Small Business
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Online Contests are Smart Marketing for Small Business

Online contests are one of the easiest ways to find new customers and reconnect with the customers you already have. And as part of a comprehensive marketing plan, online contests are quick to set up, affordable to run and, when done right, can have an excellent return on investment (ROI).

Here are the most important things you need to know before you run an online contest for your business.

Reach More Customers

Online contests are an excellent way to build engagement and get more people to interact with your business. You can use an online contest to ask participants to follow your Twitter account or get them to interact with your Facebook page. It’s a simple strategy and it works.

Grow Your Email Database 

Online contests can be a rich source of valuable data. If you’re strategic with the questions you ask, you can use a contest to build your email database list, learn more about your customers and even test future product and service ideas. Just be careful to prioritize your questions. If the entry form is too long or too complicated, people will click away.

Advertise Your Products

When you use your own products as prizes, every contest mention is a marketing opportunity. Be sure to include the prize in the artwork for your online contest promotions so that you can advertise before a participant even enters in.

Drive Traffic to Your Site.

Online contests are an easy way to introduce new customers to your brand and increase the traffic to your site. The simplest way to do this is by hosting the contest on your own site. Once they’ve entered the contest, participants can look around and see what you have to offer.

Types of Contests

If you’re new to online marketing, a simple enter-to-win sweepstakes is a great place to start.  For the well-established social media maven, a more complex contest with user-generated content — one where participants submit photos and vote for their favourites — is an excellent opportunity to connect directly with your customers.

On Twitter, a retweet-to-win contest has a very low barrier of entry. Participants retweet your contest tweet to win and you can see the profiles of people who are interested in your products. On Instagram, a follow-and-hashtag-to-win contest will spread the word each time someone enters the contest. Comment-to-win contests work really well on Facebook and Pinterest.

Read the Fine Print

Whatever type of online contest you choose, there are a few rules about what you can and cannot do. On Facebook, for example, sharing the contest can’t be a requirement for entry. When you’re ready to set up your online contest, be sure to look for the rules that apply to the platform you’ve chosen. Each system is a little different, but the rules will be clearly laid out.

Small business owners know how important it is to get the biggest impact for their marketing efforts. Whether you’re working with a start-up budget or you have a more established brand, an online contest is a quick and effective way to increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your site, grow your email list and build engagement on social media. You can set it up yourself, or let an experienced online marketing agency take care of it for you.

With a great online contest, both you and your customers will have something to celebrate.

Learn More

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Plus, don’t forget that you can meet one-on-one with an expert to get specific information that applies to your business by booking an appointment with Small Business BC’s Ask the Expert service now.

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About Brent Purves

Brent Purves is a Canadian Internet marketing consultant and the Founder of Stir Marketing, a Vancouver-based digital marketing agency. Together Brent and his team at Stir specialize in online lead and sales generation to help businesses and non-profits grow through strategic use of search marketing, social media, online PR, inbound marketing and advertising.