How to Generate Buzz with Online Contests?

The key to succeeding in digital marketing is to trade value for value. What we mean by that is to create a situation where you generate something of value for your audience (even if it’s not material value we’re talking about) and offer it in order to make a good impression. Still, it’s somewhat difficult to determine what is perceived as valuable enough for your audience in this day and age. Instructional and entertaining videos are always great, yet, the rate at which this appeals to your audience may be fairly difficult to predict. So, why not go for a bit more comparable trade and make a contest with an actual, material reward. Here are several tips that will help you achieve this
enerate Buzz with Online Contests

Set your budget

The first thing worth keeping in mind is the fact that an online contest is a marketing technique and, as such, needs to have a budget. Sure, giving away a 4K Ultra HD TV to every contestant would make your numbers skyrocket, yet, how cost-efficient would this method actually be? Think about it, you need to get the best ROI, which means that the reward needs to be both compelling and fit your budget.

Of course, the more valuable the prize is, the better; however, handing out a single item to a single winner might not be the best of solutions, regardless of the value of the prize in question. Therefore, you might want to make a contest with multiple winners and tiers of prizes. For this to work, you need to properly set your budget.

Choose the right platform

Once you’ve set your budget, you should decide which platform are you going to use for your contest. Sure, you can create a landing page on your website and promote it on all your social media channels. But sometimes, it’s better to focus your efforts on one platform. Ask yourself if your audience uses one platform more than the others. If that’s the case – just stick with it!

Also, keep in mind that different platforms offer different options for running online contests. Maybe you want to create a special Snapchat filter and reward the ones who make the best photo using it or simply encourage your audience to mention their friends in comments of your Facebook or Instagram posts. Consider these things when choosing the right platform for your contest.

Pick the type of your campaign

Contest is an umbrella term that can mean a number of things and while to your audience all of this can be the same, you need to know exactly what you’re dealing with. First of all, you can start with a promotion where everyone who refers enough of their friends becomes eligible for the prize or even wins the prize straight away. Then, it could be a contest in a traditional sense (a league format), where every person fights for points which later place them in a bracket. This is particularly useful when you aim to get some UGC (user-generated content). Finally, you might merely start a giveaway, which is the simplest, perhaps even the most common form there is.

Choosing the right prize

At the end of the day, you need to understand one thing – the prize will determine the appeal of the contest. However, if you pick a gift that’s too valuable, it may attract an audience that shows no interest in becoming a client whatsoever. Remember the TV we discussed in the set-your-budget section? A person doesn’t actually need to be a potential customer in order to want a free TV.

That being said, you should choose something that will not only act as a reward for the participants but also encourage them to become your regular customers. For example, you can offer loyalty points as a reward, but be careful – a research by the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School suggests that customers are more likely to actually redeem the points if the process is simple, so you should opt for an easy and universal solution, such as a prepaid card in Hong Kong.

Contest landing page

Unless you want to display the information about your content on the homepage of your website, you might want to make a specific landing page that you can link towards while promoting your contest. Here, you need to display some basic information like the instructions about the contest (prize with images, as well as start and end date). Apart from this, you also need to present your visitors with an entry form by including a call-to-action.

What you also need are some social sharing buttons, especially in a scenario where you’ve picked to make a campaign revolving around referrals. Overall, people tend to be suspicious towards contests (because of all the popups), which is why your landing page will determine just how trustworthy your contest appears to your audience.


In order for your contest to become a resounding success, you need to A) have a compelling reward and B) find a way to maximize your reach. The latter might require some additional investment in form of SEO or paid social media marketing promotion. Regardless of the industry you’re in, the purpose of the promotion or your long-term goals, focusing on the above-listed four items needs to be your top priority. Only in this way can you ensure that your business is on the right track.

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