Lesson One

Your target audience has to care about what you’re offering them.

It’s so simple, but it’s amazing how many contests fail at this The truth is that it’s a pretty easy mistake to make, but it’s 100% avoidable with a well-thought-out contest strategy. Here are three things to keep in mind when deciding what the winner wins.

1. Do they already have one?
iPads have been on the market for two years now. Apple sold almost 23 million of them last quarter. The people who want one already have one, which means they’d be far less likely to care about winning another one.

Many a contest strategy will default to something generally popular like an iPad or an mp3 player, mostly because they’re easy to get. And that’s the problem.

If you’re looking for something easy, the best place to look is your backyard. You could offer up a specialty item from your exclusive collection, a year’s supply of product or even a free lunch. Speaking of free lunch…

2. Can they experience it?
Our lives are full of stuff. Most of it eventually goes out of style and ends up in the corner of a closet. But a great memory of an amazing experience never loses its value, which is why it’s a far better place to begin thinking about a grand prize.

Your contest strategy could include a trip, a private dinner, tickets to an event or anything else you think your target audience might enjoy. And while experiential grand prizes are generally more expensive, the additional interest in the contest and subsequent fan base growth will more than make up for the investment.

3. How does it represent you?
We saw a promotion the other week being put on by a dentist’s office where the grand prize was an iPad. Putting aside the previous iPad argument for a moment; what does an iPad have to do with pearly whites, bi-annual checkups or anything else related to oral health for that matter?

Again, a great place for their contest strategy to start would have been their backyard. They could have offered a year’s supply of floss, maybe some teeth-whitening, or even a free visit. If none of those were viable, they could have started thinking outside the box. If it was a product they wanted to give away, maybe it could have been a device that prevents teeth from grinding at night. If it was an experience, it could have been a trip to Disney World during a Dental Association Annual meeting (without having to attend the meeting of course).

Need some ideas?
We’ve run a lot of contests for a lot of brands. We’ve seen what works and what really works. And we can help you come up with the right contest strategy and the right prize at the right cost. Let’s chat.