3 Reasons your Online Store Should Run a Contest

Posted by Alicia Doiron

Traditional contests and sweepstakes have been utilized by brands for years and for good reason; customers love them. Think about it, who doesn’t like free stuff?

However, today’s modern contests can be used for more than just customer satisfaction. Digital contests provide marketers with data on customers they weren’t able to collect in earlier years. In addition, this data can be beneficial for sales teams and is especially helpful for teams where sales and marketing are closely linked and goals are aligned.

So if you’ve yet to run a contest on your online store, and perhaps need a bit more convincing as to why you should, we’ve put together a list of 3 compelling reasons to do so.

Build an Email Marketing List

Email marketing is still one of the best ways to engage potential leads and convert them into customers. According to Monetate, email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel, including search and social. But of course in order to get started you need to build an email list. One of the easiest and fastest ways to do this is with a contest.

My Pooch Face increased their email list by nearly 30,000 subscribers thanks in part to a pet portrait giveaway and a photo contest. In turn, they were able to nurture those leads through an automated 5 week email campaign. Beyond that, subscribers were placed into My Pooch Face’s newsletter. That way, leads are receiving emails on a regular basis, reminding them of My Pooch Face. So even if they aren’t ready to buy just yet, there’s a chance they’ll return to make a purchase at some point.

Build an email list with a contest

Build User Generated Content

Google loves to see fresh new content being published on a regular basis. But quality content usually takes quite a while to prepare. Solution? Run a contest! User generated content is built by your audience, which means you can sit back and relax while your customers do the work for you. Well not quite, you still need to set the contest up, but you get the picture.

An example of an exceptional user generated contest is “The Messy Desk” by KISSmetrics. KISSmetrics asked entrants to send them a picture of their messy desk, which KISSmetrics then promoted on their Pinterest board and Messy Desk Gallery. The participant with the messiest desk would win an iPad mini. They kept the contest rules simple:

  • Send a picture of your messy desk to messydesk@team.shoeboxed.com.
  • We’ll post the messiest desks in our official Messy Desk Gallery and on our Pinterest Board.
  • Get your friends, family and co-workers to repin your messy desk. The most repins wins!

What made this contest great was that the more repins a messy desk got, the better the odds of winning. This meant the contest would prompt entrants to ask their family and friends to participate, widening the amount of views to the contest and ultimately KISSmetrics.

User Generated Contest Ideas

Gain Customer Data

An often overlooked but awesome perk of running a contest is the data you collect on your audience. With a contest you’re offering customers, and potential customers, something of pretty significant value. This presents an opportunity to ask them for information they would usually be reluctant to share.

While you don’t want to present too many obstacles for your audience to dodge, you can ask simple questions such as how they heard about the promotion, what their favourite product is, if this is the first time they’ve heard of you, and if they’re repeat customers.

You can also try adding a non invasive pop up with the option to fill out a quick survey. If it makes sense for your contest you could even incentivise visitors to fill out a questionnaire by offering more entries by doing so.

Start an Online Contest

A strong digital marketing strategy for online stores should include some sort of contest at least a couple of times a year. The return on investment is huge considering just one contest can build your email list, encourage user generated content and yield valuable customer data. In addition you’ll be pleasing your current audience and building brand advocates. How awesome is that?

Get started with Strutta and reap the rewards!