Tuesday, January 7, 2014

You could win a Cat! From a Chinese Restaurant?

As a consumer I've noticed a trend in social media marketing that is starting to make me crazy. The competition with the pointless prize. Many social media people will say that having a contest is a good way to get attention for the brand or company. And it is.

The problem comes when the person who is designing the contest picks prizes without understanding the product they are trying to sell or the audience they are trying to reach. This disconnect leads to some very bad decisions, like a Chinese Restaurant offering a prize of a cat for a cat photo contest.

There will always be the people who are looking for something, anything, for free. These people will never really translate into customers. Worse they can give an inexperienced business owner the impression that the contest was a success because of the number of entries, when in fact it was a failure.

To have a truly successful contest base it on things that are relevant to your audience. This will attract the type of people who are more likely to become customers, even if they don't win the contest. Here are a few examples:

  • Restaurants can offer discounts on food or catering for a "new menu item" contest. 
  • A book store may offer a coupon to a poetry slam for a poetry writing contest.
  • Gyms may hold an annual fitness competition with a grand prize of an active vacation package. (hiking, skiing, etc) 
Focusing on the brand's audience and their desires will make the contest more appealing to the potential customers. Because that is the end goal of any contest. To get the word out about your brand and your business to the people who are most likely to need your services or products. What types of contests and prizes have you offered?