Preparing for Holiday Contests- Easy Ideas to Get You Started

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Black Friday

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Christmas/ New Year

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Key Takeaways

A holiday giveaway is a fantastic way to generate leads, especially during the busiest season of the year for most. Stand out above the rest with an engaging campaign. Use our latest templates and blogs to get started quicker than never!

Get engagement

Re-engage your customers for the holidays with a festive giveaway. Encourage sales, conversation, and social sharing with your chosen actions. Get a buzz started just in time!

Stand out

Be memorable, get noticed. Stand out above the crowd and stay at the top of your customers mind's by offering prizes, early, access, discounts, or even just social sharing. Grow your email list while you're at it so you can keep your audience informed and involved throughout the holidays. 

Excite your customers

The holidays can be a whirlwind for some, and there's nothing more exciting than winning something! No matter the size of the prize, the feeling of winning is extra special during the holidays.


You can use this as an opportunity to donate and share the giving spirit. Choose a non-profit or let your winner choose! This is a great way to give back, get referrals, and communicate with your customers on another level.

Launch Quickly

Use our themes, templates, and Canva downloadables to get started in no time. It really is as easy as picking an idea and prize from these blogs below, using the template, and dropping an already created Canva template photo into the editor. Get launched today for the holiday season!




Campaign Goal:

Engage your customers, grow your audience, and stand out above the crowd during the holiday season with a quick and easy giveaway!

Resources to look at

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Full Transcript

Hi everyone. Welcome back to the On Growth Podcast. My name is Josh Ledgard. With me today is Hannah Dunson from Marketing KickoffLabs. Hi Hannah.


In our last episode, we shared some prize ideas for running your giveaways. Because it's heading into the holiday season, we also included some bonus holiday prize ideas. It occurred to us that we hadn't talked about some creative ways to run a contest. So this would be the rules or the type of contest that you want to run and how you want to get that audience engagement out of a holiday contest.
So today that's what we're going to do. We're going to talk about why you'd want to run a holiday contest specifically from your story or brand, and then just give you some ideas to get yourself thinking about what might make the most sense for your audience as you think about implementing some of these contests. We've been in the middle of shipping a lot of holiday contest themes lately within the product at KickoffLabs to make this even easier. So we've got right now some great Halloween that just happened, some Halloween themes, some Christmas themes, some Thanksgiving themes. We should have Black Friday themes. We should have a bunch of additional themes by the time you look at this episode or by the time you hear it. So all that said, let's get into it.
First question, why would you run a holiday or any type of contest? And for me, the first one, when I think about the holidays and I think about the mail and the emails I get, every mail is about a discount or a sale, and it's just hard to stand out without creating a deal that's just like an insane deal where you're going to lose money on to bring customers. So it's just something to be different than the competitors and just a good way to stand out. All of the people that run our contests, they tell us they're growing not just their email audience, but their social media audience. So some of our popular contests, they've added thousands of people to their follower lists online. They've added thousands of email addresses and everybody knows that's the lifeblood to selling in your business.
I think most importantly, the thing we want to focus on is, and what I've always wanted to do with the product is make it so that it's a way for people to engage their existing audience in a fun activity, rather than just emailing them every week saying, "Here's the deal, buy. Here's the deal, buy." And engaging them to actually participate and share something with you. And because of that, then you'll learn more about your customers. People discover by running contests on KickoffLabs, who is influential in their product, who should be in a VIP group, who should get early access to their product? What products they like best, or what they like best about their products so that they can improve their marketing. So just the more you know about the customers, the better off you are and the better marketing copy you can write. I don't know if you had anything you wanted to add to that list, Hannah?

Yeah. What's great about doing a holiday contest, it's not even as much about growing your audience, which is a great plus, but focusing on the audience you have that hypes them up for the season. Especially if you start around Halloween or Thanksgiving because everybody knows this is your crazy busy season and standing out above everybody else or just being in other people's thoughts at this current time with your current audience is already hard enough. So doing something like this is just the nail in the coffin day after Halloween for setting that up for just a great engagement.

Absolutely. Yeah. So let's get into some holiday specific ideas. So this is where we're going to talk about a specific holiday and just some contest ideas that you can create easily with KickoffLabs for to engage your audience. So I'm going to kick it off with Thanksgiving. I mean, when I say I'm going to kick it off, I mean I'm going to hand it off to you and you're going to give us, Hannah, some Thanksgiving contest ideas.

Yeah. So one thing I love about our platform is that you have the option to do polls just right off the entry form or you can set it up as an action to ask questions. So for a fun holiday idea, a lot of our different holidays you can ask fun questions. I mean, for Thanksgiving it's easy as what's your favorite dessert? Do you celebrate Thanksgiving? Very easy, fun stuff like that. Aside from the polls, which is just one of our cool features that I love, you can do more interactive things like we have the SMS options so people can text in their favorite recipe and they can do that as they're going. They can be creating the recipe right then and they're like, "Wait a minute, let me enter into this contest," and you can set it up or they can enter as many times as they want.
You can also increase your engagement by doing a similar thing where they can share their favorite fall photo or their favorite decor, or even a Pinterest mood board or something like that on social media. So you can set up, say your Twitter and have it say, "Share your favorite photo with us, be sure to tag us." And they can instantly share that with you. And that boosts your viral engagement, so others are seeing as well as you're just getting them to be engaged, which is cool.
And then when you have them sending in these recipes or these photos, it's always a fun thing to add into your email list so you're not only keeping them engaged, but they've got this each chance of being in the email once a week, which is just fun. And it's cool for your other viewers of your email list to see other people's ideas and maybe take on someone's recipe or if it's something to do with your brand, maybe if you are a cooking company and they have a photo of something really cool that they made in getting to see that step by step, that keeps both engagement on your part and it highlights your customers, which is awesome.
As well as you can do fun things that are really, really holiday related, like telling everybody what they're thankful for, spreading cheer and kindness. And you can do a giveaway that is a donation based, which is one of my favorite options where say either the winner gets something donated to their favorite charity or you can do, say the winner gets their favorite charity donated to, but also $50 towards a meal for their family or something like that, which is a double whamy win.

Yeah, for sure. And I like the idea that you're getting this content back and so in your first idea, like a poll or something, you should absolutely, if you do a contest with a poll, share the results of the poll back to your audience afterwards. So I just have to ask, if you were entering Thanksgiving contest, obviously you wouldn't be eligible to win a contest on KickoffLabs. But if you were entering some other Thanksgiving contest and they said your favorite pie, is it pumpkin, apple or other?

Other, for sure.



It's a good answer.

Blackberry all the way for me.

Okay. Good answer. Solid. So I'm going to talk about a couple things about Black Friday contests. So I'll start it off because I like this one that was in one of the posts you've been writing because like I said, we're going to take all of this content and these ideas, there's going to be up on our blog as post with an expanded list. But one of the ones I really liked on the holidays was the concept of a golden ticket because it takes a great feature of KickoffLabs where we can track purchases that people make and you can give them entries for making a purchase or even the amount of entries per dollar spent in their purchase where that's legal. So in most states it's acceptable to do that as long as you have a non purchase option to entry.
So you connect KickoffLabs to your Shopify store or your other site. And we track not just if somebody refers a friend to your brand, but we track the actual purchases and we can reward them with extra entries. And then the golden ticket is the thing that they could be winning. So it's like your golden ticket to a VIP party or your golden ticket to a shopping spree at our store or something like that. But it's just connecting that awesome feature KickoffLabs that we can track purchases as part of the contest to the actual contest itself and I mentioned that. I gave it away in that.
The next idea was the concept of a shopping spree on the store. So just Black Friday, Cyber Monday is a shopping religious forward holiday, I guess. So just something tied to that, say giving away a shopping spirit at your store for that weekend where people have to come into the store to spend the money, but you get the traffic you're getting them to take the actions ahead of time.
And then the another one that I liked was the Reserve No Line Rewards. So one of the great features of KickoffLabs was that we not just have a prize draw system for grand prizes, but we have a way for people to earn rewards just by getting a certain number of points. And you can say if you refer three friends, you are in a discount. But in this case, what you could do is say if you refer three or five, whatever your line is, then you'll reserve the right to purchase the best deals at your store without them having to wait in line. And you can say, "We want to limit this to the first 10 people that achieve this reward, we'll get it." And you'll create a frenzy around people trying to get that reward. So it's just a way to tie another feature of KickoffLabs rewards to an idea of the holiday or the shopping spree holiday and to your contest.

Yeah, absolutely. Especially for Black Friday, that's such a good one, especially the no waiting, getting out of the line, that's the worst part. So you feel really exclusive with that.

Absolutely. Hannah, do you want to move into the Christmas season?

Yeah, sure. So I know Christmas is one of the most difficult times. It is your heaviest traffic. It is the time that you're trying to stand out above everybody else the most. It is constantly stocking your shelves and releasing things and just keeping people updated. So making it as simple as possible is the best way to go using whatever templates we've made for this, especially once we get the blog out and we have the ideas just listed, it can be as easy as just grab the prize idea, grab the actual giveaway idea, however you're going to do it. But we do have some more engaged versions.
So the classic 12 Days of Christmas, a gift that can be won every single day. And the best part about that is that you are bringing in that every single day engagement along with the people who didn't win one big prize, feel like for the next 12 days or 11 days or whatever it is that's left, they still have the chance of winning something big. So that keeps not only the engagement from even the winner that you just had, but from new people and it gives them the time to engage with you.

And that keeps your email open rates up too.

Yeah. People will actually be checking their email, especially if that's the way that you say you're going to announce the winners first. If you announce it in the emails and then let them know they are more inclined to be excited about that. You can track your purchases with that as well. I do think that the golden ticket idea is great for Christmas, especially if you do it where there is a specific limited item. Maybe you have an ornament in your store that's Christmas themed, or you sell shoes and they have Santa Claus for a run on them or something like that. Whatever that item is, people that are purchasing that specific item also have the chance to win something in store. So it's encouraging them to be in store and using your giveaway platform and being social about it, communicating that they're winning, sharing it with you, the way that they can collect their prizes to share it, things like that.
Because in the holiday season it's all about that engagement. I mean, it's always about the engagement, but when you are in your chaotic work mode, that engagement is so important for you, your brand, and just keeping that morale up while you're getting through the season until New Year's. And then also we do have the ideas again of more photo sharing. So I mean the photos of lights at people's houses. If you have a funny terrible Christmas sweater, your Christmas tree, having a creative Christmas tree challenge, things like that.
And then using all of the options that we have for sharing, whether that is using Facebook or Twitter, your actions, setting up a poll or just having that as part of the entry where they can just tweet you and let you know how they feel about something. It's great to ask a question, especially for the busier one like Christmas, where you're giving them the opportunity to answer something for you and then you're sharing what they're answering so that they feel more important and they're talking to you and you're able to, again, have that content to share later on and next year.

Yeah, absolutely. We were also researching ideas too, one idea I came across that I liked is it was more of the prize related one, if you were a restaurant, giving away access to a free private event for a group. It doesn't have to be huge, it doesn't have to be taking over the whole restaurant, but just a free private event where you give some amount of food for free. And it's like, "Hey, you don't have to pay the hosting fee and you can have your holiday party here or your group with your friends eat in a private space instead of the rest of the restaurant." I thought that was a great idea to help people get together and offer that as a reward for people entering your contest.
The next one I'm going to talk about was New Year's. So there's no end to what you could do with New Year's and some of the traditions that people have. I couldn't think of a way to make a polar plunge contest that would be entertaining. Maybe it's the best photo of the polar plunge but some of the ideas that come up a year's supply of, so it's like people are thinking about the next year. So if you were a food company or grocery store, maybe a year supply of healthy foods delivered once a week or something as a grand prize. Or a year supply of something unhealthy like peanut brittle every week, something delicious that you might want to get. Obviously we can tie into that sharing your story and sharing what you're thankful for concept that comes from that we came in the Thanksgiving part where you can share your resolution where they don't have to share it publicly, but they can just post it like, "Hey, what's your resolution?"
And another one that I like is to get people engaged in social media is with KickoffLabs, you can have an action where you ask people to comment or view and comment on a specific post, whether an Instagram post or a Facebook post. So running a caption contest on the photo, so you have people enter that comment, they'll be entered to win, they have to give you their email address and then you select. It could be a voting thing where it's like the most upvoted comment or it could be a comment that you select is what you think is the best caption for the photo for New Year's. Just a fun idea to get people laughing and also get some additional engagement there. Do you have any other ideas that you wanted to share, Hannah?

Yeah. For any of them, honestly. I personally love the idea of giving an experience away. So you can of course get your ideal clients by sharing your products and things like that, but something like New Year's where it's just fun, it's a brand new year, you're starting over. The whole idea it's, I'll do that Monday. It's do that New Year's, start over and starting the year with something really cool. I mean, it could be just a New Year's party, but you could go past that. You could do... A lot of the ones that I would, would be like a getaway cabin and you get a three day stay and an experience for a wine and food pairing or something like that. Tons of companies will do that and pair with other companies and you can run your contests together, which is really cool. It doesn't have to just be you providing all of the experiences because that can be expensive.
But I think that people naturally get that just really good feel from a company if they're like, "Wow. That company is so great. They sent my family to this place. Or I got a really great getaway escape from them." Especially with it being just that brand new year, that excitement of like, man, "It's been tough. Let's try in 2023 and escape for a bit and then come back fresh and try again."

Yeah, I like that. And you brought up interesting point that I think people should consider just, I mean all year round especially in the holidays. It can feel daunting to set up these contests but if you're dedicated, you say, "We're going to set one up for our business and we're going to do it." It's a good opportunity too, because everybody's busy, every store is busy, every company is busy to reach out to related businesses and say like, "Hey, do you want partner up with this?" And all we're going to ask you to do is just email your audience too and we'll co-brand it for you. Because the effort of adding that additional brand to the contest you're setting up is minimal.
So once you've decided you're going to run a contest and go through the steps we have, and we've got a great entry and checklist for running a contest that we'll link to in the show notes. But once you're going to go through that and have that process behind it, it's easy to invite other companies along in exchange for sharing the audience and sharing the ultimate lists that comes out. And you get double the benefit, three times the benefit because you're just exposed to a very different audience. And selfishly it's because they might not have the time to do it and they look, "This is a great email idea. I didn't know what to send for email that week, and we'll just send this and we'll partner on the contest," and you're saving them work around the holidays, which everybody loves in exchange for you getting access to some of their email audience as well. That's my bonus tip that I didn't anticipate bringing up until you mentioned it.

Yeah. You're boosting everybody's engagement. It's one of the best things, especially if you're doing something like follow all of us on Instagram, something simple like that where all of your engagement just goes up automatically by accident.

So in conclusion, I think this is a great list of ideas. In the show notes, we'll link up a couple of the blog posts as well as this podcast when the email goes out and in the show notes for this podcast. You'll also find links to a more complete set of ideas, templates, themes, things that KickoffLabs to make running a contest like one of these that you heard about, really easy for your brand as well as that step-by-step guide or the four day guide to running a contest, which I think is really helpful. Just like, "Just check through the list and go through," and you've got your contest set up with KickoffLabs. Go ahead, try building it out in KickoffLabs. You can sign up for a free account today and I'd love to hear about your experience of running a holiday contest. Thanks for joining me, Hannah. This has been fun.

Of course.

All right. We will talk to you guys in a couple weeks.


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