For a long time I thought running an online contest was something I’d never be able to manage. How do you promote it? How do you get people to share it? How do you pick the winner? Then we started seeing people use KickoffLabs for contests and working through these issues.

We’ve learned a lot partnering with these customers and wanted to share some of their secrets.

Leverage your existing audience

It’s a great chance to get them engaged by sending them a link to the contest and encouraging them to enter and share.  Publizice it in your newsletter, Facebook, Twitter, or even to your Google + account… hey someone has to post something there right?

Partner up

You’ll get a lot more out of a cross promotion with a related service.  This way you also get to extend your reach to a new audience. It could be as simple as you both agreeing on a similar level of prizes.

Optimize for Sharing

Include remarkable pre-filled copy in the social share boxes so that as part of the entry, people share your message and link back to your contest page. It helps to write in a natural, conversational tone.

Offer an amazing prize that is relevant to your audience

 Time and time again we’ve seen contests giving away something like an iPad or something. Sure that’s great and all, but does it provide real value to your audience? We think not. Spend time thinking about your users personas. What would motivate them to do business with you? Remember this: the higher quality the prize (not necessarily in $); the higher quality your leads will be.

Okay, we’ll say it flat out… you need to bribe people in order to get their email addresses. Maximize sign-up rate and extend your reach by offering a great incentive (that can be early access to a beta, an e-book, an infographic, etc.).

Have a reward for sharing

For choosing the winner, a random drawing is probably the least biased way, though you can always encourage sharing by offering a prize to the person with the most signup referrals. The goal here really is to leverage your current subscribers social network and reward the influencers.

Don’t let people feel left out

When the contest is finalized, email your entire entry list to notify about the winners. So your subscribers don’t feel left out, you can include a promotional offer. You already have one of the most valuable assets a marketer or startup can have; their email address. Some people may take you up on the offer, but many will not… yet. It’s up to you to keep them engaged until they’re ready to make a purchase.

Want to learn more about how to bribe your audience? Read our past blog post here.

Do you have any great tips to share? Just reply and let us know.

BTW – We just released a great new contest theme called “Three Step”. You can learn more about it here.

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