Launch Your Contest Quicker: Our Checklist Overview

A breakdown of our own experience and advice using our latest quick launch checklist!

Download Below

Day 1


Decide on goals, prizes, and marketing ideas as well as the metrics you will use.

Day 2


Gather important images, colors, logos, and decide on the design direction you want.

Day 3


Choose a simple template and start designing with our easy-to-use drag and drop features.

Day 4


Time to implement your marketing strategy and double check your automated  features.

Key Takeaways

Use our simplified checklist to get your campaign launched in four simple segmented parts; planning, prepping, implementation, and of course- launch. Here we talk more about our own experience prepping a contest.

Read our Blog

We discuss the in's and outs of our quick guide example project throughout this podcast episode. If you want a visual and written version, we highly recommend taking a look at our correlating blog.

Use our Checklist 

We created a simple step-by-step downloadable PDF checklist for you to use on your next contest launch. that can also be found within the blog post.

Make Winning Attainable 

We wanted to encourage our current customers to take action, especially on Twitter. The most important thing to remember when planning prizes for that encouragement is to make it clear that anyone could win. We made sure to have several different tier levels for winning and a few of each prize (aside from the major one).

Your Marketing Efforts Make a Difference

We want you to take away along with this simple checklist to getting started, that your marketing efforts are incredibly important. Once your contest is ready for launch, it is vital to keep your audience up to date and engaged as well as provide an excitement to share your contest with others.



Campaign Goal:

Encourage audience engagement on Twitter and our website.

Key Features Used:

Contest Type(s): giveaway - bonus entry

View the Blog + Checklist 

Ready to. launch in just four days

Want to follow along with the checklist? Find the free download on our blog or download it straight from here!

Full Transcript

Hi, welcome to the On Growth Podcast from KickoffLabs. I'm Josh Ledgard and I'm one of the founders here. We do this podcast to provide education that helps you grow your business with KickoffLabs. Typically, we interview customers who've run successful contests, but today, we're doing a host-full episode with our new marketing hire, Hannah Denson. Hannah's been working on a quick and dirty checklist for anyone looking to get a contest up as fast as possible. Today, we walked through the important parts of that checklist, which we'll link to in the show notes and talked about how we applied it to our own boss marketer contest we're currently running. In the spirit of the checklist, it's going to be a quick and dirty overview of what you need to be doing before you launch your next contest. No fluff. Enjoy the show.
All right, we are now recording this interview. Hi, everyone. This is Joshua Ledgard from KickoffLabs. With me today, I've got Hannah Denson from KickoffLabs as well. Hi, Hannah.


What do you do at KickoffLabs?

I am the new marketing coordinator.

Awesome. We love having you. One of the projects that you started with that I was most excited about to have you start was running the first... I say "our first contest," we've run contests in the past. We haven't run our own contests in a long time with KickoffLabs. We, of course, used KickoffLabs to run an affiliate in our referral program, but an organized, actual giveaway contest. I was excited to have Hannah come on board and do this because she actually has used KickoffLabs outside of working for us. Then now that she came on board at KickoffLabs recently, gave her the opportunity to start this contest for us.
One of the cool things about doing that is it gave us an opportunity to go through, what are the things bare-bones, just to get a contest launched that we wanted to think about? We've got a really large, very exhaustive checklist that we publish that anybody can download from the KickoffLabs dashboard, which is great for a really large campaign that's long-running, but we realized we didn't have a checklist that was down and dirty, like, how can I get this thing going in a matter of days, not weeks, or months of planning? So, I'm excited. We've built out this four days to launch checklist and Hannah's done a great job putting that together that walks through now that we've launched our own contest, which you can check out at grow.kickofflabs.com/boss, and how and how we thought about it.
We'll do another follow-on episode later on where we talk about the results of the contest. So far, I think we're seeing the results that we wanted to get out of it. I won't get into the details because I want to spend today talking about everything leading up to the launch of the contest and go through this checklist that you can read the blog post about that you can download the checklist from, and of course, if you're listening to this, you already know that there's this audio explainer going on. Hannah, do you want to give your background on the contest and leading into the planning for the first day on the checklist, the planning angle of it?

Yeah. We do have a basic backup blog where you can read all of the details, too, so if you're a person that's not just lists, but you need explanations, we do have that. But I'm a list person and I really just like to check things off. I like to see it done in front of me. On here, we also linked that more in-depth version just because if you're brand new and you want to go through that more in-depth and see every single action that KickoffLabs recommends, go for it. But this is your go-to planning guide if you're trying to do this quick, if you're trying to be efficient, if your team is small, and you just don't have the time, or if you've just you've run these tons of times, and you just want to make sure that you're getting the things on your list done.
For our first day, pretty much, it's just set up simply. We have each day set for planning and implementation and you're going based on just that next process and we gathered it all together. Day one, you're just defining your goals. You're defining your prizes, what you want it to the outcome to be, what you want it to look like. Then thinking about your marketing plan, just how you're going to promote it. That also leads into what you're running on your plan, if you're adding a leaderboard, or a waitlist, your marketing is a big deal as well as your prizes that are going with it.

KickoffLabs contest day one example

Cool. Tell me about for the KickoffLabs contest. Can you give me a sample goal for the KickoffLabs contest that we came up with?

Yes. Our goals, we focused a lot on our Twitter, actually. When we were making up our desired results and our marketing plan, we wanted them to go hand-in-hand, so we wanted to gain the followers. We wanted to engage our current audience. We wanted to grow our audience, but we focused a lot on the current audience, and one of our big goals was having people just send over their Twitter, or we had them tweet to us their landing page design. We wanted to interact with them. We wanted to also have that for future use, so say they tweet their landing page and we give them all of these recommendations on there, we can later use that and make a live YouTube demo using that, so other people can learn from them.

Exactly. A big part of our goal with this contest wasn't necessarily acquiring a new audience, although that is nice to get, we wanted to get engagement with our existing audience, a chance to communicate with the audience that's out there, get them to tweet at us, get them to like participate by sending some of their pages to review. It's been fun reviewing some of the pages we've gotten on, on KickoffLabs so far. Can you give an example of how we thought about the prizes for the campaign?

Yeah, so we focused on because we preach make your campaign attainable for anybody, so if you have 6,000 people who enter a campaign and there's one big prize, it makes it a lot less enticing to try, so we decided to pick several different options, and we do have our big enticing winner, which is the MacBook Air, but we also have our two winners that get the business subscription to KickoffLabs, which is awesome because it redirects them to continue to use us and to tell their friends about us, and it just means that they like us, right, if they're wanting to win a business subscription with us.


Then we've got our branded mugs just for something fun, something that says, "Hey, I entered KickoffLabs' campaign. I'm a boss marketer. This is me. This is just something fun I have on my desk." I wish that I had mine sitting right here.

Actually, I was going to see. You have the mug there?

Yeah. It's somewhere.

We'll screenshot it and we'll put it up in the video of the recording.

Perfect. I do have a box with 20 of them beside me. Then, of course, the tweeting, making that literally obtainable for anybody, sharing that, we will respond to anybody.

Cool. Then obviously, for the metrics we're looking at, I mean, you walk through that already, which is that we're going to be looking at, are we getting followers on Twitter? Did we get people adding us over the course of the contest? Are we seeing people sharing? Those are the obvious metrics. So, the planning stage is really, is really cool because everything else will flow from that. Once you have, this is what we want to get out of the contest, then you know how to motivate them, then you know how to design the contest.
So, day two, which I'll talk about, is prepping the contest. We say "days." This could be all done in the same day if you've already thought about this in advance, but just breaking these steps up. Now that you know the prizes and the goals that you have of the contest, what we recommend people do is make sure they grab some great images of the prizes. Make sure that you've got your brand assets ready, like your logo, the colors, some images you might want to use gathering any, and thinking about then the actions because KickoffLabs allows you to set up actions for people to take after they've entered the contest to earn more entry.
For us, that was that, "Tweet at us. Follow us on Twitter." That was going to our Facebook page. That was, "Hey, check out this podcast episode," just a set of actions we wanted people to do. It's gathering, everybody's got already, hopefully, some analytics scripts that you're running on your website, whether that's Google Analytics, or Facebook pixel, some other marketing pixel to do retargeting, and just making sure you've got that stuff together because you can add that to your contest and campaign at KickoffLabs.
Then thinking about the type of giveaway that you want to do, I think the simplest thing that everybody thinks about for a giveaway is what we're doing, which is just you have a set of prizes and you've got X number of winners for each prize. KickoffLabs makes that real easy, but you could also think about adding, "Hey, there's something where if you get X number of points, everybody can get this." The something for everyone in our competition was that we're doing this reward level giveaway, we call it, where you get four points and we'll review your landing page online for free, and you'll get a lot of high-quality feedback from people at KickoffLabs about your page.
There's other mechanics as well. If you've got a store, you could think about running it as a purchase rewards, or people are earning points for purchases. If you're running it, as I just talked to somebody who's running it as a waitlist, then they want to run it where there's the mechanics of what place in line are you and moving up in line, that's another contest mechanic we enable, and so just thinking about the types of contest mechanics that make the most sense for your audience. So, once you've done that and you've hopefully gone and watched a video of KickoffLabs and maybe watched one of our specific videos about that contest type, it's time to implement the contest. This is where the guide gets really prescriptive for giveaway. Hannah, do you want to talk about the implementation?


Yeah. This part was a little bit harder to narrow down just because you could be going any route. We focused on, "This is a quick, easy template. Choose one like this. Here's a recommendation, go for it." Before the implementation, too, we did recommend watching a demo video just so you can see an overview of how everything works.
With the implementation, you are going to start with, just start up your trial, and as you start the trial, it's pretty straightforward. It'll tell you exactly what to do from there, so we can put that in the steps, you'll name your contest, and then you'll start working on it. You've already got everything from your planning ready, so it's all there for you. It's a simple drag and drop from there.
You will want to make sure that your logos in place, and you've got a really clear headline, and you're really descriptive, but you're also very clear and concise with everything that you're putting on there, especially if you're looking for a really simplistic, quick campaign. Also, this would be a great time for you to screenshot that implementation and then tag us on Twitter and we can give you the feedback before you ever launch. But from there, that's when you're going to go in-

KickoffLabs prize graphic

Nice plug.

... Yeah, right? Just a subtle one, but we'd love to say something back before you implement, and we can do it within the day. From there, you're going to go in and you can go into different areas to find the actions, but from the template itself, you can click on your actions. You can edit those. You can make sure, like what Josh was talking about, leading them where you want them to see. We even have one that says, "Why is this contest right for you?" So, when you're entering our contest, you can see why making a contest is right for you. If you have something that you've written that just, it describes your product and why it would be great, that would be awesome to put on there, too. This is where you're going to set up your tracking pixels. Those are super important if you're looking for retargeting later.
Then, of course, you're going to go into your settings. You're going to finalize all of that. KickoffLabs makes this really simple. There's actually different areas. That'll show, "This is checked off. You've already done this." But go through and set up your terms and conditions, your start and end date, make sure you have a start and end date, that's really, really important. Then go ahead and set up those automatic reply emails. So, you're going to set them up for having points earned, you can have them for encouragement throughout, and then, of course, your initial entry one. You can even set up one that is like a, "Hey, congrats for entering. Can you please confirm this?", which is just another added advanced fraud detection, if you want to add that in as well.
But you do want to make sure that you have those reward levels, terms and conditions, and then go ahead and set up that contest domain. We've got a link in our checklist. You can see how to do it. Then you can configure a contest box to have a popup on your website from there. That's all really straightforward. I know that it sounds like a lot, but when it's listed out, you can see a link to every single one of those steps, and it is absolutely straightforward and easy to do.

Yeah, it's super clear. It's like you've done a great job coming up with basically a on-paper checklist, Wizard-type thing going through and creating the contest. The thing I'll add, because I was just talking to a customer earlier today about what works for their competition, is the section in the copy that we say, "List how it works," and just to describe that for your competition, being crystal clear about, "This is what we're rewarding you for, and this is how we're tracking it, and this is what you could get out of it."
In the example we have, we're really clear that, Hey, once you've signed up, if you tweet at us a screenshot of your landing page, we will give you feedback," and just being super clear, not just assuming that people read a one-sentence description on the action and understand why that's important, but just explaining it to them because to you, as somebody who's building this contest, it might seem crystal clear, is like, "Oh, yeah, everybody's going to want to do these three things," but to actually write it out and say, "Here's why it's important, here's what we reward, here's what we're going to give you is a reward for doing it, and here's, and here's what we're looking at for the contest," and just making that crystal clear to your audience be, so it becomes a no brainer for them to take these steps and actions throughout the process.

Yeah, I always think about when you're building something, even when you're marketing something, you're like, "This is awesome. This makes sense." But if you think about you as a consumer, are you paying attention to that thing in the 10 minutes that you saw it? Focusing on just that quick information with that closer to instant gratification, too, where they're seeing, "I got points right now. You email me to remind me. I've already forgotten by your contest next week. Thank you for emailing me again. I'm going to go and try again," just being as, I don't know, as much attention that you can give to them because they're busy, they're not really giving the full attention. They just want to win a prize, and we want them to be engaged, so you want to do both sides when you're thinking about it.

Yep. That leads into day four, which is, talking about engagement, is your own engagement with the audience launching and marketing the contest. So, in step one, you talked about the marketing plan. Did you have things to think about? We gave examples on the blog post, "Are you going to market it on Facebook? What are the social channels and groups you're going to tell the contest to?" Do you have a telegram group? If you do, maybe tell the people on the telegram group about your contest. I'm surprised how often people just forget to tell certain audiences that they already have about the competition and the cool thing they're doing. We all have this sometimes assumption that, "Oh, they already know. If they're following me here, then they already know." No, tell them again. Tell them about it and go through that marketing plan.
Then we link to a great set of resources we have on kickofflabs.com about things that have worked in ways that people have marketed KickoffLabs campaigns in the past. It doesn't need to be a ton of money on advertising. I think what everybody's called out is really important is that concentric circle marketing, you start with your friends, you go on to people you're connected with, you go on to your existing large audiences, then you start adding on cold audiences. Each level just kind of up-levels what you're doing.
Then it's important to think about what is your plan to keep the audience engaged and updated in the contest by setting up some emails that are going to go out the contest, or at least planning to send them throughout the contest, both to people. We're sending two sets of emails throughout this contest, so once a week, we're reminding our larger audience to come participate, and then get engaged in the contest. Then once a week for the four weeks of the contest, we're sending out an email to specifically the people who've already been engaged and enter the contest to remind them, "Hey, here's the person who won the mug this week, and here's how you can improve your odds of winning the math book, or the KickoffLabs business plans as part of the contest."
Then it probably should be on the checklist. I talked to somebody yesterday who said, "The most important mail to think about is the one after you've chosen a winner and thanking the participants is the people that are engaged," telling them, "Hey, there was a winner, here's the real person," so they know your next contest actually will have winners, it's not a scam, "By the way, as a reward for engaging with us in the contest and entering everybody now has an opportunity to have 20% off the product."
From the people I was talking to, their perspective was that there was a huge benefit to that because those people had been engaged for four weeks. They were learning about your product. They were, in our case, maybe tweeting at us, or reading our tweets on Twitter about it, and then, "Oh, here's a discount," and then that became a huge buying opportunity afterwards, and so I think maybe before we get this published, we'll add the winner mail where we offer a sales message after the choosing a winner in there, but that was just an extra little tip I wanted to throw in there.
Cool. That is the checklist. Like I said, we've gone through day one, planning, where you're defining your goals, giving your audience a reason to join, thinking about the prizes, thinking about how you're going to market it, and what you're going to measure. Day two is taking those things and turning them into your campaign, so you're starting to turn it into the campaign is gathering everything you need, the images, getting prepped on KickoffLabs, watching a demo, gathering your tracking pixels. Day three is now the implementation is turning that into the campaign. KickoffLabs, as Hannah said, we get really prescriptive. We say, "Here, use this template within KickoffLabs because it's one of our most popular and it works for contests and giveaways like this."
Then the launching and marketing is all about communication, over-communicating to the point where you think you're over-communicating, but to your audience, they're not, so it's the emails you're going to send, the groups you're going to post in, and then how you're picking winner and what you're offering them after the contest is over, and then, hopefully, taking what you've learned from this first attempt, and planning for your next contest, right, Hannah?

Of course, yeah, especially if you win our giveaway and you get the enterprise, or the business plan. I think, too, just separating it like this, it doesn't really matter what day, like you said, that any of it's being done, but separating the thought process makes it more palatable, separating just in your brain, not thinking of the end goal at the beginning, and mixing everything together, but just thinking, "I need these things right now," and once I have those things, then I can move to the next things, and I think that actually speeds up the process, whereas some of us want to think of everything all at once, and we think that's making it go faster. Having everything collected and ready and thought out like that just makes it much easier in the end.
I know that as busy-busy, like most of our customers are entrepreneurs, small business owners, and I know that is exhausting and busy from my previous campaign running I was doing, all of our campaigns, and I was working every hour of the day. I remember being like, "This is going to be a lot." Then when I started it, I was like, "Nope. You know what? Let's just..." I did a very similar thing, made a checklist, and got through it. I think that is the most simplified way that anybody starting off with very little time can just get this done in a week and then start generating leads and start communicating with their audience the same way they already are, just with more going on.

KickoffLabs contest box

Cool. That's a great wrap-up to this. Thank you for pulling together the checklist for us, and for our customers, thanks for coming on the podcast to talk about it. I'm sure I look forward to talking with you in a couple weeks to see what we've learned from this first contest.

Yeah, I can't wait to see how it goes.

All right. Thanks, Hannah.

Thanks. Have a good one.

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