Contests have been around since the beginning of time, and they’re still among the most effective ways to engage with customers and generate leads. People love to be given the chance to win prizes, especially when those prizes are something they’d like to own or do anyway. But not all contests are created equal. There are many different strategies you can use to host a successful contest that generates leads in the long run.

1) Choose a Platform

There are three basic places to run contests: Facebook, Twitter and your own website. Each offers its own benefits. With Facebook, your contest can be found by a large audience of potential fans and friends. One thing to note: on Facebook, you’ll be charged a fee based on how many entries your contest gets. With Twitter, you’ll pay per each entry – but only if your contest goes viral and ends up on one of Twitter’s internal pages. If not, no charge!

2) Set Up Your Contest Rules

First things first, you’ll need to have an idea of what your criteria for winning will be. Will you be giving a cash prize? A new product? What about free memberships or access to a VIP section on your website? You’ll also want to decide how long you will run your contest and how many winners you will choose. There are several strategies that can help you find success with contests: Quantify Your Goal: You should know from day one exactly what it is that you want from running a contest. Is it brand awareness, sales leads, social media followers or some other goal.

3) Define Entries & Categories

You need to clearly define how contestants can enter and what kind of information you’ll collect from them. Is it just an email address or are you collecting other data? If you want to collect additional information like home address, age range, hobbies, etc., then make sure your contest rules and disclosures make that clear. That way contestants know what is expected of them when they participate in your giveaway. Also be sure to list any specific dates or deadlines for entry as well as any requirements for participation that are required by law (for example age restrictions). This will ensure there is no confusion about what is expected of participants in order to win your giveaway prize.

4) Reward Winning Entries and Award Prize

A key strategy for making your contests successful is by rewarding winning entries. People are more likely to enter a contest if they know they’ll be rewarded for it. If you want people to use your product or service, make sure you reward them accordingly. The best way to run a contest is with two prizes: One small prize awarded at random and one big prize given to a single winner chosen from all of the entries.

5) Promote Your Contest

You’ll need to get a little bit creative with your promotion. Are there bloggers in your niche who could feature your contest? How about industry groups you could reach out to? Consider any other audience who would be interested in entering your contest, and reach out to them. Getting creative with how you promote your business can be a tricky balancing act. For example, social media is great for engagement, but sometimes results in negative feedback if you come across as spammy or self-promotional. Now might be a good time to let it go and hire someone from another country to do some of that promotion for you.

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