Why Run a Contest?

Contest Marketing Promotions can kick-start and accelerate growth for your business. Offering your audience a chance to win prizes can incentivize them to complete designated goals for your brand. In addition, promotions can be the perfect way to thread together shopper marketing experiences.

Sweepstakes, giveaways, and contests are the main types of prize promotions that marketers can utilize to support their goals. Contests are different from sweepstakes and giveaways, as entries are judged on skill or criteria and winners are selected based on their merit.

For example, contest promotions may ask entrants to submit photos or other forms of user-generated content (UGC) to be judged. These games of skill are effective at driving marketing goals without violating any promotion laws involving consideration.

"Something that social media does better than any other marketing medium is encouraging user-generated content. Use this to your advantage by running a contest across your social platforms. Prompting your followers to share your company’s social media post in exchange for a contest entry will increase brand awareness, boost your engagement and expand your leads into your followers’ social networks" - Adam Binder, 13 Tips To Help Businesses Boost Sales Conversions Through Social Media Marketing (Forbes).

Be sure to check out our PromoPick and Custom promotion services that include full-service solutions including legal administration, a dedicated project manager, and flexibility.

Contest Laws in the United States

No Purchase Necessary Laws help regulate prize promotions within the US and prevent illegal lotteries from forming. These laws typically outline that random winner drawings (such as sweepstakes) are forbidden from asking users to make purchases or provide considerations.

Because contests winners aren’t drawn randomly and are selected by skill or merit, no purchase necessary laws are not applicable to contests. You can ask users to purchase or photograph products, write testimonials, or other forms of user-generated content that would otherwise fall under consideration.

Your official rules should outline how a winner (or winners) will be selected on skill or merit. We suggest consulting a legal administration team to service your contest rules to ensure your promotion is compliant within the United States.

Contest Official Rules: What to Include

There are several key points to outline when considering laws and regulations when administering a contest. Your official rules should cover:

  • The general parameters and criteria for the promotion.
  • Start and end dates of the promotion.
  • When and how winners will be selected.
  • When prizes will be distributed and awarded.
  • How and when winners will be contacted.
  • Any and all exemptions, such as state or age.

Legal compliance is a critical piece of running a contest. As noted, there are contest law experts available ensure your promotion is compliant with federal and state laws in the United States.

Social Media Guidelines

Secondary to legal aspects of running a contest, it’s important to understand how social media platforms govern promotions by businesses. Most businesses use Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram as popular networks for social media promotions, and each has their own set of guidelines regarding sweepstakes and/or contests, found below:

Winner Drawing and Prize Fulfillment

Given that contests are games of skill, winners can be chosen numerous ways. How winners are chosen is up to the discretion of the sponsor, and often can depend on the type of contest.

For contests where points or other value systems are involved, winners can be decided based on who has accumulated the highest score or number of votes. Community voting has been a popular way of choosing winners, as it invites your entrants and other fans to engage with your contest further.

Judging of entrants is another popular choice, such as having a panel of business members or a third-party decide what entries are the best, such as quality of photos for user-generated content contests.

Examples and Types of Contests

Contests create a great cycle of engagement with your audience. They work well for promoting products, boosting reach, and driving action toward your marketing goals. In addition, they’re great for layering as a final touch on your existing advertising or marketing campaigns.

Our PromoPick solution can offer a low-cost option for launching a contest. Our basic full-service package includes a dedicated project manager, customizable templates, galleries for User Generated Content, legal administration, and more!

Below you’ll find some quick examples of contests you can run. In addition, we offer custom work and API-integrations, such as in-app promotions.

[caption id="attachment_11497" align="alignleft" width="200"] Explore how Budget used a UGC contest to host an effective photo contest![/caption]

Photo and Video Contests

User-Generated Content (UGC) is one of the most effective marketing trends that delivers a wonderful return on investment. Asking users to submit photos or videos with your products is great for curating content for your social media.

In addition, your product will reach the followers of your audience, generating brand awareness and word-of-mouth marketing. UGC gives your brand an authentic outlet that works powerful alongside brand-created content.

For these types of contests, be sure to have an effective prize strategy. Creating high-quality content takes time and it’s important to not only award entrants for their work, but also give them a prize that inspires them to create.

Feedback Contests

Asking users questions invites them to involve themselves with your brand. You can reward the best answers prizes, and gather insights from your consumers. These types of contests work well with any social media engagement strategy.

For example, you could ask your audience about your products to inspire new product changes or developments. Or even something simple, such as asking them why they’d like to win your prize.

[caption id="attachment_11498" align="alignleft" width="200"] Netflix and LG partnered up with us to create their B&Binge Campaign, featuring a long form writing contest with an amazing prize incentive![/caption]

Writing Contests

Much like feedback contests, writing contests are great for getting users to take actions such as short tweets or long-form content creation. Writing contests fall under the UGC realm, and offer a great outlet for entrants to engage with brand storytelling, testimonials, and reviews.

Referral Contests

Despite that platforms such as Facebook have policies regarding asking users to take certain actions for sharing contests, they are still an effective means for expanding your awareness.

Referral contests can be used to spread your reach with the audiences of your entrants, and you can even layer Instant Win incentives, such as discounts or special code for each friend or family member referred.

Contest Administration Companies: What Do They Do?

Before diving into this guide, it should be noted that there are agencies available that can handle full-service of contests and other promotions. These services often include managing every component of contests covered in this guide, including:

  • Legal compliance of promotions in the United States.
  • Drafting of official rules and other legal materials.
  • Prize fulfillment and prize strategy
  • Winner drawing and verification.

Our company operates as a sweepstakes and contest administration company, offering these services and assigning a dedicated project manager to your promotion.