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Transforming Contest Participants into Lifelong Customers: The ESG Approach

Nobody knows this better than ESG: Hosting contests and sweepstakes has become a popular strategy for brand promotion. However, what sets a successful contest apart from a costly endeavor with little return is the ability to turn contest participants into long-term customers. ESG specializes in creating contests that not only boost brand visibility but also nurture lasting customer relationships.

The Pitfall of Empty Recognition

It’s a common misconception that spending a substantial amount on contest execution will automatically guarantee brand recognition and customer acquisition. ESG knows that a large number of participants doesn’t always translate into meaningful brand engagement or customer conversion. To truly benefit from a contest, it’s essential to attract participants who are genuinely interested in your brand. This requires a brand to have consistent messaging and the ability to differentiate its products/services from other brands

Choosing the Right Contest for Your Brand

Selecting the right type of contest is paramount for your brand. A contest should align with your brand identity and values to attract participants who share a genuine interest in your products or services. Instead of drawing random crowds, your contest should resonate with potential customers who are more likely to become loyal patrons. Counting the sheer number of entries shouldn’t be the single measure of success. Instead, you need to tap into the key traits and hobbies of your customers that make your brand stand out to them. This is one of the ways for you to avoid brand blindness. If you don’t know about your customers, then use a series of promotions to conduct market research in a way that your customers will enjoy. Offering a prize that your customers want will entice them to answer a few survey questions as a condition of entry. Contests are designed to take a more “carrot’ than “stick” approach when it comes to getting onto a brand’s bandwagon.

The Influence of Prize Selection

The choice of prize is a crucial factor in attracting the right entrants. Offering prizes that directly relate to your brand or products increases the likelihood of participants having a genuine interest in what you offer. ESG’s expertise in prize selection ensures that the rewards are not just appealing but also aligned with your brand, resulting in new consumers who are more likely to convert into customers. The prize you give away should also appeal to current customers and help solidify their actual lifetime value for your brand.

Smart Contest Conception: A Hypothetical Example

Imagine a smartphone manufacturer, “TechMaster,” running a contest in which the grand prize is the latest model of its flagship smartphone. This smart choice not only attracts tech-savvy individuals but also ensures that participants have a genuine interest in the brand and its products. Should you feel this kind of prize is too “on the nose,” other prize options for technophiles that would also elevate your brand could be a subscription to a tech magazine or a set of high quality headphones or smart home devices.

Setting up the contest so that people participate using their smartphone is also a good way to zero in on relevant participants. Someone who is tech savvy isn’t going to enter via postal mail, and they may not enter if your contest microsite isn’t mobile friendly. If you are trying to appeal to a young tech savvy audience, then you might forgo the landing page and entry form entirely and run the contest on a social media platform.

ESG excels at helping companies make such strategic choices that align their contests with their target audience. Segmentation of your audiences will also enable you to select a prize that can appeal to the target market (or markets) you are trying to reach with a contest. As you plot your marketing tactics for the year, do pepper a few contests throughout. It is naive to think one contest will reach all of your customers and fully engage them as time goes by. You need to plan on executing several contests a year to make sure you are achieving your goals. Alternatively, also consider running a sweepstakes which requires less from an entrant to participate but will still provide a meaningful form of outreach to your customer base. Click here if you don’t know the difference between a contest and a sweepstakes.

Dumb Contest Conception: A Hypothetical Example

Now imagine the same smartphone manufacturer runs a contest where the grand prize is a recreational vehicle. Or a sewing machine. Or a lifetime of candy bars. You can see how the first two options don’t jive with their brand, and while candy bars are appealing the problem is that they are too appealing to generate the type of customers who can be converted.

In contrast, consider a clothing brand, “AffordableStyle, Co” offering an extravagant vacation package as the prize for a contest. While this might attract a large number of participants, it’s unlikely to generate meaningful customer relationships for the brand. Don’t just give away prizes in contests; give away prizes that resonate with your target audience.

Now consider a clothing brand called “Elegant Threads,” might be able to make some meaningful customer conversions by offering an extravagant vacation, but it is wise to also offer their own shopping spree to ensure they are gaining consumers who are genuinely interested in their brand. ESG’s experience can help businesses avoid such pitfalls and craft contests that lead to brand loyalty.

Crafting Smart Contests from Scratch

ESG’s expertise in conceiving and executing contests is rooted in years of experience. We understand the importance of aligning your brand with your contest strategy, prize selection, and target audience. ESG knows how to design contests that not only create a buzz but also turn participants into lifelong customers, ensuring that your investment in contests is both worthwhile and profitable. The value add of working with a promotional marketing agency like ESG is ensuring your brand steers clear of compliance mishaps like the one Hershey’s is having for failing to have the appropriate language on their call-to-action.

With ESG by your side, your contests won’t just make a splash; they’ll leave a lasting impression on your audience, turning participants into brand advocates and lifelong customers.