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Are you thinking about running a contest but feel intimidated by case studies, articles and reports which all seem to be offering thousands of dollars in trips to Tahiti, Rolexes or diamond rings?
I feel you.
It’s actually one of the most frustrating things for Wishpond’s marketing team, as (time after time) we’re up against possible clients who don’t think social media contests are for them because they don’t have the budget to give away a car, boat, or all-inclusive vacation.
But you’re wrong! You can find success with a smaller prize, so long as you promote intelligently and invest your time well.
This article will show you five of Wishpond’s recent contests, all of which have prizes valued at less than $50, and all of which had huge success.
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Hopefully you’ll leave this article with a few prize ideas of your own, armed to boost social engagement and generate hundreds of qualified leads.
1. Prize Idea: Seed Bank ( Value $15)
This is my favorite example of a low-value prize intelligently marketed. If I hadn’t included a screenshot of the contest below, would you believe a pack of 20 varieties of plant seeds would drive almost 1,000 email addresses?
No, I wouldn’t either…
Why This Contest Did So Well:
This contest tapped into what the merchant’s target market was thinking about: spring, gardening, and beautiful flowers. They promoted heavily with email, social media and even Facebook ads, driving traffic to this simple landing page. I also like that there’s the lowest possible barrier of entry.
Top Tip: It’s absolutely crucial that if you’re offering a prize of low value, you don’t ask your contest entrants to fill out much lead information. I recommend email address and first name only.
This contest’s prize idea is actually a good one, as they’ve expanded their target market by promoting seeds, instead of a geranium, rose or rhododendron (you’ve just seen the extent of my plant knowledge). If they’d offered a large plant, people in apartments wouldn’t have entered. If they’d offered plants that only work in the tropics people in the north wouldn’t have engaged. What seems at first like a simple prize was actually a well thought out marketing strategy to maximize their ROI.
2. Prize Idea: Purdy’s Chocolate’s Gift Card (Value $25)
Like the seed bank, Purdy’s chocolate ran their successful contest (which generated almost 400 email addresses) with a theme, this time based around Valentine’s Day.
Of course, Valentine’s day is a big one for Purdy’s Chocolates, and this contest was only one part of their overall marketing promotion.
Why This Contest Did So Well:Similarly to the seed bank, Purdy’s was smart in their prize (while keeping it affordable). I’ve recommended gift cards what seems like hundreds of times before, but this one really takes the cake (or chocolate, perhaps).
Most B2C merchants will be better off offering a gift card than a product, as you ensure you don’t exclude anybody.
For instance, in this contest Purdy’s prize of a $25 gift card means they capture everybody who likes chocolate (a sizeable market). Otherwise, they would have excluded someone who likes nougat (if they’d offered only truffles), or someone who loves strawberry creams (if they’d offered only caramels). Hungry yet?
Also, this contest has some great design elements. I recognize that not every business has Purdy’s design budget, but every little thing you can do to improve the look of your contest’s landing page will come back to you 10-fold down the line.
3. Prize Idea: 20 Piece Nail Painting Kit (Value $45)
I have to admit I don’t have a huge amount of experience with nail painting kits, but I can’t imagine that you can possibly need more than this merchant was offering:
Why This Contest Did So Well:
Yes, you are seeing that number correctly. This contest garnered 5,650 leads for the merchant. Imagine if even 5% of those leads converted for a final sale down the line (worth, say $20), and imagine if they were on the Wishpond annual plan paying $45/month? Depending on what they spent in advertising, their ROI would have to be at least 5000%.
Valued at less than $50, this contest’s prize is a niche one, and they promoted it in a niche way, targeting women between the age of 13 and 35 on Facebook with promoted posts and Facebook advertising. They knew their prize was only of value to a select group of individuals, so didn’t bother to target anybody else (this is a great way to avoid wasting your ad spend and marketing budget, by the way).
4. Prize Idea: O-Cedar Dual-Action Flip Mop (Value $40)
Almost 5000 people entered to win a dual-action flip mop from O-Cedar about a month ago, and even Wishpond’s cynical marketers were somewhat flummoxed:
Why This Contest Did So Well:Promotion to the side for this one, I’ll talk about the other cool elements of this contest. Firstly, they’ve used Wishpond’s simple contest landing page to its fullest. Their images, though simple, stand out and fit perfectly with the dimensions we recommend (I can’t tell you how many times I have to inform a client that, if they’d only shortened their secondary image on the left by 20 pixels their entire page would look 100% better).
Secondly, I like the language they used, both in the headline and body copy of the contest landing page. “Enter to win” is a tried and true headline which tells people exactly what they need to do and what they need to do it for. The first line of the body copy is fun and engaging: “For floors so clean you’ll FLIP!” and the rest is informative, specific, and (if I were interested in a dual-action mop) sells me fully.
5. Prize Idea: Hardcover Vampire Novel (Value $25)
This merchant has been using Wishpond’s contest tool for a couple years now, and never fails to generate buzz around a newly-released book or promotion. They know they’re market, and know exactly what they’d like:
Why This Contest Did So Well:Again, this contest proves the rule of targeting your existing market to find success. In this case the merchant (a book publishing company) focused primarily on email marketing to promote. They had a sizeable segment of contacts who had purchased or engaged with this author’s work previously, so knew exactly who might be interested again.
Many people think that online contests are only a way to drive new clients and social media Fans, but this isn’t the case (though it’s true). The fact of the matter is, contests are a great way to re-engage with your existing or previous clients. What better way to encourage loyal customers than to offer them something you know they’re interested in?
Hopefully that’s given you a little confidence about running your own low-value contest. Imagine if you could get 5,650 leads from a prize valued at only $40! Hell, that’s worth a shot even if you get a couple hundred.
These contest prize ideas are by no means fancy. In fact, they’re the opposite. But they are things that real people are really interested in.
To be honest, if you were to offer a $2,500 Rolex you’d get a bunch of contest entrants (sure) but how valuable would they be to your business down the line? Unless you sell Rolexes, you just have a bunch of people who don’t actually care about your business. They’re just waiting for the next time you’re giving away something for free.
Think about it.
$13 000 In Prizes Design Options And A New Theme Gallery Ideas
Acumen Fund Business Plan
Water, Health, Agriculture, Energy, Housing, Education, in East Africa, India, Pakistan & West Africa.
Acumen Fund invests in businesses that bring essential goods and services, such as access to clean water, reliable health services, or formal housing options, to “base of the pyramid” (BoP) customers.
Ashden Award for Renewable Energy
The Ashden Awards bring to light inspiring sustainable energy solutions in the UK and developing world and help ensure that they are spread more widely.
The Awesome Foundation
Technology, Arts, Social Good and Beyond.
The Awesome Foundation is a global community advancing the interest of awesome in the universe, $1,000 at a time. Each fully autonomous chapter supports awesome projects through micro-grants, usually given out monthly. These micro-grants, $1,000 or the local equivalent, come out of pockets of the chapter's 'trustees' and are given on a no-strings-attached basis to people and groups working on awesome projects.
Buckminster Fuller Challenge
Design, Material, Process, Service, Tool, Technology, Innovation.
The Buckminster Fuller Challenge is an annual international design Challenge awarding $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems.
Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation
Education, Emerging Markets, Arts, Policy.
The Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation identifies programs that embody its vision, and seeks to assist those programs in a meaningful way. The Foundation supports a wide variety of innovative programs in the cultural and performing arts, the sciences, academics and public policy.
Empowering People Award
Water & Sanitation, Energy, Agriculture, Health, Waste Management, Housing & Construction, Information & Communication Technology
An inititative of Siemens Stiftung, the “empowering people. Award” aims to identify simple and appropriate technological innovations and make them visible and accessible to everyone.
Energy Globe Award
Energy, Environment, Water, Youth
The Energy Globe Award is presented annually to outstanding and sustainable projects in the area of environment and energy. Awards are presented on the national level and the international level for the five categories of Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Youth.
The Fresh Prize
Innovative ideas that will change the world.
A $15,000 award to support brilliantly simple solutions, the Fresh Prize is seeking fresh ideas that will change our world.
Grand Challenges in Global Health
$13 000 In Prizes Design Options And A New Theme Gallery Page
Grand Challenges in Global Health is modeled after the grand challenges formulated more than 100 years ago by mathematician David Hilbert. His list of important unsolved problems has encouraged innovation in mathematics research ever since.
The Hult Prize encourages the world's brightest business minds to compete in teams to solve the planet's biggest challenges with innovative ideas for sustainable start-up enterprises. Annual Hult Prize winners can make their ideas reality with the help of USD $1 million in seed funding.
International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA)
Design Strategy, Design Concept, Product Experience, Research.
Started in 1980 by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), the International Design Excellence Awards program (IDEA) fosters business and public understanding about the impact of design excellence on the quality of life and the economy.
$13 000 In Prizes Design Options And A New Theme Gallery Ideas
Innovation, Sustainability, Promoting Prosperity in Low-Income Countries.
The Legatum Center administers a fellowship program for incoming and current MIT students, across all academic and professional disciplines, who demonstrate the potential to create innovative, sustainable, for-profit enterprises that promote prosperity in low-income countries. Students who are committed to implementing business plans upon graduation are encouraged to apply.
MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Region - Arab Startup Competition
Global Development, Startups, Innovation.
Now in its 10th year, the MITEF is calling for applications for its Arab Startup Competition. Three focus areas: Ideas, Startups, and Social Entrepreneurship, with total prize money on offer totaling USD $160,000.
MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition
Emerging markets, Energy, Life Science, Mobile, Products & Services, Web/IT.
Now in its 22nd year, the MIT $100K Entrepreneurship Competition is a leading-edge forum for students and researchers in the MIT community to act on their talent, ideas and energy to launch tomorrow’s leading firms.
$13 000 In Prizes Design Options And A New Theme Gallery Page
MIT IDEAS Global Challenge
The MIT IDEAS Global Challenge connects students with the passion and talent to improve the world with the experience and resources of the MIT community worldwide. They support innovation and entrepreneurship as public service through an annual competition that awards up to $10,000 per team for the best ideas to tackle barriers to well being.
MIT Water Innovation Prize
Water & Sanitation
The MIT Water Innovation Prize is a solutions-to-market competition focused on water startups. Through the competition, MIT seeks to establish a platform to foster water innovation at MIT and in the surrounding community, while also supporting the commercialization of breakthrough, scalable water technologies and processes across a range of domestic and global sectors. The prize includes $20k in innovation grants.
The Roddenberry Prize
Innovation, Technology, humanitarian.
The Roddenberry Prize awards a total of one million dollars to five bold ideas that put humanity first, to benefit a large and diverse population. Fifty years ago, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry envisioned a boldly better future, full of optimism, driven by exploration and strengthened by diversity. Yet urgent challenges today threaten humanity and the infinite possibilities of tomorrow. The Prize seeks solutions that are feasible and replicable, with potential to scale the magnitude of their impact; and are strategic, to alter the status quo by addressing systemic needs for a boldly better future.
Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship
Environmental Sustainability, Education, Economic Opportunity, Health, Peace and Human Rights, Sustainable Markets
The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select group of social entrepreneurs whose proven innovations are disrupting an unjust and unsustainable status quo and have demonstrated impact on solving some of the world’s most pressing problems.
Stockholm Junior Water Prize
The international Stockholm Junior Water Prize competition brings together the world's brightest young scientists to encourage their continued interest in water and the environment. The competition is open to young people between the age of 15 and 20 who have conducted water-related projects focusing on local, regional, national or global topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance.
The Tech Awards
The Tech Awards is an international awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.
Virgin - Got a Big Idea?
B-Corps, Start-Ups, Entreprenuership, Climate Change.
Virgin is always looking for the next BIG thing. Especially if it builds on our exciting businesses or creates brand new ones. All of the Virgin companies live and breathe their core brand values and all new proposals or ideas need to reflect these values.
World Habitat Awards
Housing and Shelter
The World Habitat Awards were established in 1985 by the Building and Social Housing Foundation as part of its contribution to the United Nations International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. Two awards are given annually to projects that provide practical and innovative solutions to current housing needs and problems.
X Prize Foundation
Energy & Environment, Education & Global Development.
An X PRIZE is a large-scale, monetary award given to the first team to achieve a specific goal, set by the X PRIZE Foundation, which has the potential to positively impact humanity. So rather than awarding money to honor past achievements or directly funding research, an X PRIZE incites innovation by tapping into our competitive and entrepreneurial spirit.
Zayed Future Energy Prize
Climate Change, Energy Security, Environment
Hemingwaymr. becker's classroom. The Zayed Future Energy Prize represents the vision of the Late Founding Father and President of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan al Nahyan, who championed environmental stewardship.