The best way to attract attention to your business is to routinely offer a contest or giveaway. It’s a great way to get more traffic and visibility to your business while also offering something in return. However, you don’t need to give away top-notch prizes to get in on this marketing idea. Here are some simple and creative solutions you can apply to your business.

Is a Contest or Giveaway Right for Your Business?

Businesses are already spooning up this strategy, which tends to have the most successful yields among a female demographic. Yet I’ve seen all sorts of companies hold successful giveaways. Your success really just depends on your approach.

For Service Industries – It’s tough to give away services, but it’s not impossible. Consider your service and how often it’ll be needed. Also consider the time of year it’s most likely in demand. If you’re seasonal, then offer your contest with a reward for 20% right before or at the start of the season. You can also offer a free assessment or consultation, which you may have always been offering for free (but no one needs to know that).

If you’re in design, consider yourself lucky. You can give away a consultation or a small service without any sweat off your back. It also opens up a ripe opportunity to get your foot in the door.

For Product-based Industries – Consider yourself lucky if this is you. You can give away your own products at wholesale cost and without spending any more time (as service professionals might need to). You may also be able to afford giving away a few items in one go.

For Idea-preneurs – This may sound odd to you but enough businesses and many professionals are now in the idea business. If this is you (maybe you have a popular blog or are branding yourself), you still have some options. You can partner up with a vendor, offer an e-book, offer speaking services, or offer some minimally priced item associated with your industry (such as a book or DVD).

How to Hold a Contest

Recently launched Operation Survival offered self-defense gear for 10 out of the first 100 Facebook likes. Since then, they’ve offered free patches and smaller kits for tweets and Facebook comments. Their goal was to get traffic and build engagement, so they continued holding smaller but frequent contests.

On the other side of the spectrum, stationery company Modern Greetings was looking to attract engagement, increase their number of Facebook followers and increase visibility. To get this three-fold benefit, they offered something worth the attention: A second honeymoon. Participants had to like Modern Greetings’ Facebook page, upload a funny photo of their wedding, add a caption to explain the photo, offer complete contact details, agree to a lengthy contract I’m sure no one read and push their profile by getting their friends to vote on it.

These are just some ideas to help spark the imagination. You can also hold a poll or survey and offer rewards for both participation and circulation. How about a Twitter contest to boost hash tag association and followers? You can also hold a similar Pinterest contest. You’re only limited by your own imagination.

Don’t Be a (Cheap) One Trick Pony

No one likes a person who gives cheap presents or just gives them once. This said, makes sure your giveaway doesn’t embarrass you and is worth the time it takes for someone to submit their entry. The bigger the prize, the more you can ask of in return. However, you’ll get fewer entries if you make it complicated or a hassle – and that really just defeats the purpose.

On that note, it also defeats the purpose to offer just one giveaway or contest. Now that you know it costs you next to nothing to offer a giveaway, set it on your calendar as at least a quarterly event. Ideally, you should be hosting a monthly giveaway. If you’re lucky enough to have partnered with a vendor or two, you can offer them as often as once a week. Whichever you choose, make sure you stick with the plan and be consistent.


作者 Shireen Qudosi

Shireen Qudosi is Benchmark Email's Online Marketing Specialist and Small Business Advocate. An Orange County based writer, Shireen specializes in online marketing and public relations. She has written for over 75 publications and has launched nine successful new media campaigns to date. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Denver Post, the Oklahoman and Green Air Radio, among others.