As a business owner you want to increase your following and engage with your customers. A perfect way to do this is to run a contest. Give a way a prize, get people spreading the word of your business, every one wins right? Unfortunately this isn’t always the case. Here are 7 points you need to consider before running a contest to help avoid consumer backlash.
1. Avoid Voting Contests Or Apply Strict Rules To Them
If you have a voting contest, there are sites / Facebook pages out there that let you post your entry link and get heaps of votes from random strangers. Then you also go and vote on all the other entry links on these pages. A reciprocal exchange of votes from random strangers.
People get REALLY angry about this and this actually tends to be worse when you are in a predominately women focussed business (e.g. homewares or fashion).
You can either avoid voting contests, put in place strict rules forbidding people to post on these pages and if they are found to have done so, they can be removed from the contest, or do a vote for a chance to win.
Vote for a chance to win is a slight variation on a plain voting contest. Each vote they get is a chance to win, but not a guarantee, hence it limits the effectiveness of gaining votes from random strangers. This type of contest is available on the Binkd Promotion Platform.
2. Ensure Your Prize Is Highly targeted And Valuable
If you give away a cheap or not applicable prize to your audience not only will you lose credibility, you will anger your customers for wasting their time reading your contest or making them feel devalued and not worthy of your time.
A highly targeted and valuable prize will gain you more entrants and greater trust with your followers. They are also more likely to keep coming back.
3. Monitor Your Contest Very Closely
There is always the potential for things to go wrong in your contest. Maybe you made an error in the terms or setup the contest incorrectly. These errors normally surface in the first few hours hence it is best to launch a contest early in your working day. This gives you the ability to monitor your contest and correct any errors during the day, rather than waking up in the morning to discover a PR nightmare.
4. Don’t Change The Terms Once The Contest Is Running
Apart from being illegal in some countries, changing the rules of the contest after it has started never goes down well with entrants. If you think you may need something in the terms, write it in now and don’t add it in later. Your terms should be well crafted and looked over by a lawyer to ensure it is valid in the countries you are running the contest.
5. Avoid Humorous Prizes Or Language
While something may be funny to one person, it generally isn’t to others. To avoid negative feedback and have the best chance of people spreading the word, stick to widely accepted and wanted prizes in your niche.
6. Don’t Run A Contest For A Good Cause
If you run a contest with “I will donate $X to a charity or the latest global disaster, if I reach a thousands entrants” or something similar, you will get entrants who buy into this but you will also receive a fair bit of backlash. Generally people will say, why don’t you just donate the money now, people are dying over there you (insert expletive).
7. Make Clear Any Out Of The Ordinary Terms.
A lot of people don’t read the terms of the contest and then have a go at you when they realize it wasn’t what they expected. If you have any terms that are slightly out of the ordinary, make sure you put them in a place where people will read them as well as the in the terms and conditions. The more upfront you are about them, the less likely anyone will question you later after they have entered.