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Janet Roberts

Giveaways and Contests: Momentary Booster or Long-Term Strategy?
By Janet Roberts

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Everybody wants to get something for nothing. You can even argue that contests, sweepstakes and freebie quests helped build the modern commercial Internet.

Many publishers use contests and giveaways to promote their email newsletters and build subscriber numbers.

It's not foolproof, however. How successful you'll be using contests or giveaways as a promotion tool depends on how you use them, what kind of incentives you offer and how well they match your audience.

Should you run a contest to build your numbers, or should you run a rewards program? These are two different strategies, with different benefits and pitfalls.

We'll look first at running contests. In future Ezine-Tips, we'll consider referral-reward programs and games. If you have an experience to share, good or bad, send the details.

Nancy Kamp is an old hand at the contest game. In today's Ezine-Tip, she outlines her contest strategy; in the next Tip, she'll suggest five factors in contest success.

"We've found contests to be the most economical way possible to increase our newsletter circulation. Here's why:

"My Web site began as one writer's showcase -- sample articles and a huge quotation collection. But things evolved quickly when I brought my sister, Gracious Jane Marie, on board and starting buying domain names that each point to rather diverse pages within the site. ...

"In the meantime, as a work-at-home mother, I began my handmade jewelry business last year as a way to keep my younger daughter amused. It turned out the kid just wanted to get new jewelry while I discovered my own hidden passion for semiprecious gemstones and shiny glass beads. ...

"Everything simply evolved for us, but it's beginning to hang together beautifully. For example, our general target market is middle-class women over 26. Though not every woman in this vast group likes teddy bears and recipes and nostalgia, etc., most of them like some of the things we offer and most of them like jewelry.

"Our current contest, 'Win a Handmade Necklace & Call Your Mother', will run through the end of May and has already almost doubled our newsletter circulation."

In the next Ezine-Tip: Nancy's five rules for contest success.

Ezine-Tips for April 08, 2003

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