How to Host a Succesful Web Contest

Dive off!Everyone loves to be a winner, receive recognition, and get things for free. As such, if you are searching for ways to increase your website’s traffic, consider hosting a web contest to appeal to those basic human desires.

If developed correctly, the contest could even boost the company’s sales for months to come. However, if planned incorrectly, a contest can create the opposite effect and leave you regretting taking on the project. Here are five tips for avoiding the most common web contest pitfalls:

1. Determine Contest Purpose

Every contest your company hosts should have a predetermined purpose. Before starting the contest, establish a few goals. A few common contest goals are increasing website traffic generating public awareness of your company. Then, when the contest is finished, you can measure whether or not it was a success based on the outcome of that goal.

2. Choose Appropriate Topics

If your company sells camera equipment, it won’t make sense to host a contest testing the cooking skills of contestants. As such, the second way to help your contest be a success is to choose appropriate topics.

It’s certainly appropriate to be a little off-beat with the contest topics at times. However, ensure there is always some tie-in to the products or services you offer.

3. Offer Incentives

Contestants must be compelled enough by your incentives to enter the contest. If the contest’s grand prize is only honoring the winner on your website’s homepage, you likely won’t generate the entrant pool you desire.

Instead, make the incentives both relevant to the contest topics and things that are typically desired by your target audience. One example of a well-developed contest with worthwhile incentives is the Everglades Nation Logo Design Competition.

4. Generate a Buzz

No one will enter your contest if they don’t know about it. Before opening the competition for entrants, generate a buzz about it.

Online social media networks are great free outlets to spread word regarding the contest and build some excitement surrounding it. A great method for generating a buzz is to be vague about the competition by only specifying the grand prize or providing hints on the contest’s topics.

5. Create a FAQ Page:

As entrants begin developing their submission materials, many will generate questions regarding the contest details. The best way to save time for both you and the contest entrants is to create a website FAQ page with answers to the most common questions. Make this FAQ page clearly visible from the contest homepage so entrants will know where to go with questions.

Also provide other methods for contestants to contact you if they don’t find answers to their questions on the FAQ page. Elance’s FAQ page for their Cloud Commute Contest is a great example of a well-developed FAQ directory.

Hosting a web contest can be a great way to showcase the talents of your valued customers and increase your company’s recognition. By keeping the contest topics relevant, providing entrant incentives and tending to other contest details, you can ensure the success of your next web contest.

This is a guest post by Aimee Sway, blogging for PrintExpress.co.uk, the premiere booklet printing company. Follow her on Twitter @PrintExpressUK and like on Facebook!

Ideas and concepts from Damian Davila, Ecuatoriano thriving in Hawaii. Pro marketer and blogger.

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