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5 Reasons Why Contests are Critical for Your Small Business

Consumers are often familiar with the common caveat, “Only one lucky winner!” attached to the official rules of contests they enter. Sure, they might be the one who snags the prize pack or scores tickets to the big game. Yet, there’s always another winner involved behind the scenes: the company hosting the contest!

Contesting is critical for promoting your small business - it puts you on the map of a consumer’s mind. For starters, pick the proper platform to host your contest based on the goals you’re trying to achieve and the desired audience you’re targeting. From radio and social media to retail or your website, the options are diverse and endless. But keep in mind that the key to a successful contest is hosting it on a singular platform. You’re still able to cross-promote it via other platforms, but this helps eliminate confusion as your consumers are entering the contest and you’re collecting data from it.

Once you’ve settled on an ideal platform, hash out the details: tackle a timeline, write the rules, and pick the prize. Contests work best when they’re engaging and fun. Plus, it’s personally created by your company based on your capabilities, meaning you don’t have to break your budget to see results.

Contests are a tried-and-true method for getting your small business noticed, so here are 5 reasons why contests are critical to your company’s success:

1. Contests Build Your Fanbase

When running a contest, especially online, you’ll likely see a spike in the number of likes and followers you have. After consumers initially “like” your page, they’re encouraged to enter the contest and discover what the page or your site has to offer. The right type of contest can turn into a promotional tool and help build the brand franchise. Once potential and existing followers see the content you create on a regular basis, and how often, they’ll keep sticking around if they like what they see. It’s important to make your content count.

2. Gain Consumer Data

Contesting would be a bust without data. First of all, you wouldn’t be able to contact your winner without their name, number or email. But more than that, data offers you the chance to increase interactions between you and your participants. For instance, vast amounts of data came through with our  live, interactive, fan-driven trivia contest and secondary text-to-win contesting campaign called Prairie Farms Brain Freeze during St. Louis Cardinals games. Spread out over 26 games and reaching an estimated 39,000 fans, the text-to-win trivia segment played during the 7th inning was a great way to collect consumer data and feature the brand’s newly sponsored concession area.

You can also offer to use consumer contact information as an opt-in for additional content, like with a newsletter, or get the scoop on how they heard about the contest or what they know already about your products. Data is also so useful for reviewing the new followers you’ve gained in the process. Gathering data is like uncovering a gold mine of insights. Make the data work for you!

3. Engage with Your Audience

A majority of contests have participants complete an entry in order to compete. Rather than simply entering their name and email, which is similar to a sweepstakes, entries get your business involved with the contestants as individuals.

For instance, contests through radio stations or another medium where there is a personal interaction allows your business to connect with real people, in real time, to establish a real relationship. Engagement also increases during the time a winner is announced when someone in your company calls or emails them personally.

4. Drive Online and In-Store Traffic

Contests are an effective way to boost your business’ recognition among consumers, especially when the contest itself is worth their time. For example, this year we teamed up with Dierbergs Markets for the Kids B.E.E Healthy program, where kids could enter an essay contest to win an assembly for their school with Fredbird and a Cardinals player! If it piques their interest or benefits them in some way, curious consumers will take action: they’ll check out your website, visit your store or pick up your product.  

Set the bar high for your contest and keep up with creative content after its done running. Both the contest and your content should be a memorable experience they can’t ignore.

5. Cultivate Brand Equity

With great contesting comes even greater brand equity.  It’s about recognizing the effect on sales in the long-term because of how your contest empowered your consumers. It’s about that fabulous feeling someone gets when they actually win and want to share their experience. That experience is worth much more than the prize. The winner feels the impact of your recognition towards them, and they’ll carry around a positive outlook for your brand long after the contest ends.

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