5 Keys to Creating a Successful Online Promotion

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Dave Kerpen



In order to accelerate your brand’s growth, you have to increase online awareness and engagement. And online promotions such as contests, giveaways and sweepstakes are one of the best marketing tools you can use to create excitement around your brand and build relationships with your customers in a remarkable way.

Here are five key tips to ensure your next promotion’s success:

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1. Make It Super Easy to Participate

The easier you make it for consumers to engage with your promotion — and the better the prize(s) — the more likely they will do so. For optimal participation, remove as many barriers to entry as possible. Giving consumers extra, tedious steps like having to log in to access your promotion or having too many fields on the entry form decreases the likelihood they’ll enter, so just keep it simple. A complex promotion may seem more compelling to you, but for consumers, the clearer and more concise the entry process, the better.

2. Get People Sharing Photos

Integrating photos into your promotion is an easy way to increase the engagement of your audience. In fact, a 2012 study by ROI Research found that consumers enjoy pictures the most when engaging with friends on social media, and 44 percent of respondents were more likely to engage with brands if they posted pictures more than any other form of content. Not only do consumers love looking at pictures, but they also love showing off their own skills. Increase engagement by asking participants to take action by sharing a photo as part of entering your promotion.

3. Make Your Promotions Mobile-Friendly

Right now, 66 percent of promotion views are via mobile. Given the fact that consumers are increasingly accessing your promotions on their phones, it’s time to consider how these promotions will look and feel on mobile devices. But don’t just shrink it to fit — making a promotion mobile-friendly means actually adapting it to the device. One of my clients, social media marketing platform North Social, uses smartlink technology that detects browsers and optimizes the promotion for any individual device.

4. Have Your Customers and Staff Seed the Promotion

In a case study from Extole, for every one person who entered a sweepstakes, an additional 3.6 additional people entered as a result of social recommendations. So why not ask your customers and staff to share your promotion with their networks? Twitter contests that require users to retweet to win allow frictionless sharing. Offer click-to-tweets for your staff to easily spread awareness. Or, if you’re running a Facebook promotion, encourage word-of-mouth with a simple share button. (Remember to include a disclosure if you have employees share a promotion.)

5. Use Paid Media to Supercharge the Promotion

Invest in the success of your promotion. Leveraging the power of Facebook’s promoted posts, ads and sponsored stories is an effective and affordable way to reach beyond the people who already like your page. Promoted tweets, LinkedIn ads and StumbleUpon ads pay also drive increased participation. In one case study, paid media increased promotion participation by 55 percent and reduced cost-per-entry by 42 percent.

Social promotions are a key instrument in any marketer’s tool kit. Make the most of them by ensuring they are simple, engaging, shareable, promoted and mobile. Of course, optimize your reach to increase your chances of being talked about. More importantly, be worthy of being talked about.

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