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Fidelity Business Blog: Post

3 Missteps to Avoid Before You Launch an Online Competition

  • Posted September 7, 2021

Online contests are an effective way to not only grow engagement but get your customers to interact with your business quickly. Whether it’s to win a $50 gift certificate or a year’s worth of earrings, these are words that will trigger a person to take action immediately. Additionally, online contests produce results. According to Wishpond.com, the CTAs for contests have a 3.73 percent higher conversion rate compared to the other CTAS.

To ensure your online competition is a success, make sure you avoid these three missteps.

Misstep 1: Undefined Goal
What is the purpose of your online competition? For many businesses, the goal is to increase customer engagement. Regardless of the plan, define a clear objective and identify an outcome you can measure. You may have at least one goal but aim to keep it at no more than two. Here are some examples:

  • Driving more traffic to your website
  • Get more followers for your business social media pages
  • More sign-ups of subscribers to your monthly newsletter
  • Repeat sales by existing customers
  • Generating leads or referrals
  • Creating excitement around a new product launch

Setting goals will assist you in the design of your contest. For example, post the winner of the daily drawing on your website if the goal is to increase the number of visits—this way, people will need to go to your website to claim their prize.

Misstep 2: Choosing an Incompatible Format
Competitive promotions may be in the form of a contest or giveaway. Determine what format works best for your goals. Contests bestow prizes based on performance. Meanwhile, giveaways don’t require skill, and therefore winners are selected at random. You will likely miss your goal if you use an unsuitable format for your online competition. The point is to modify the form to complement your plan. Here are some examples.

Contest – XYZ Bookstore runs a daily trivia contest, “Name That Author.” Their goal is to drive engagement on their Facebook page. Every day, the bookstore posts an image of a quote from the author, and followers try to identify it by posting a comment. Award a prize to all who answered correctly that day or for the first correct answer. This way, you'll get customers to visit the page frequently to enter (and find out who won the previous day).

Giveaway – ABC Coffee and Tea Shop runs a night-out-with-the-starts giveaway. The prize is tickets to a movie of their choice. The goal is to increase repeat business. Each visit to the shop entitles them to register the code from their receipt on their website. Repeat customers are rewarded (and website traffic rises). The contest runs for six months, with the winner randomly drawn and announced on their website.

Misstep 3: Offering Undesirable Prizes
Even if you choose the right goal and format, your giveaway or contest will fail to get your target audience’s attention if you’re offering the wrong prize. Motivate your audience with a reward that spurs action. Consider these factors:

Customer demographics: Research your customer demographics to choose an appropriate prize. The younger demographic may participate for a chance to win a gift certificate to a music service. Customers with children will probably be more excited about a trip to a water park. Another option is to consider prizes that help resolve customer problems. For example, an automotive repair shop may offer a free oil change.

Relationship to business: If you can, connect the reward back to your business. However, ensure that it remains meaningful. For example, a tax preparer may offer an app that will scan and organize receipts. A computer-repair business may offer an e-book with tips about best practices for cybersecurity.

Limited funds: As a small business owner, finances are always top of mind. When it comes to rewards, consider partnering with a supplier if you’re working with a limited budget. For example, a nail salon could work with one of its suppliers for free samples. As you’ll be promoting their product, the supplier gets the benefit of exposure.

If you need more inspiration to select the right prize for your online contest, check out Rafflepress’ 105 Proven Contest Ideas. The site categorizes the ideas by industry, making it easy for you to find one that works for your business.

Online contests can be a valuable tool to encourage your customers to engage with your business. By identifying the missteps that may potentially derail your efforts, you’ll be able to carry out a promotion that gets results.

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