Why Contests Freaking Rule

by Travis Ketchum · 2 comments

App Sumo's new iPad Contest

Everyone wants to control a big juicy email list for one simple reason.


It’s a huge asset to have a healthy email list and great social media exposure sitting in your back pocket for just about anything.

The first use case is the most obvious one, where you can email out an offer to your list and get an instand gold rush of commissions – but that’s really the light value in my opinion when it comes to having a big engaged email list.

In fact, we all know that if all you do is email out offers you will have a useless list because everyone will get sick being pitched 24/7.

So what about using a big list to fill events, give out value through free eBooks, webinars and other sources of value driven activities that can lead to a loyal following which can be indirectly monetized? At the end of the day, influence is power and profit so the more you have of it the better you are. Period.

There are many ways to generate leads and an email list, and while all of them are important to get a good mix of lead generation sources there is one type of lead generation that has completely blown the others out of the water in terms of instant effectiveness and deliciously viral results.

The Big Brand’s Secret Weapon

Major companies have been turned on to the effectiveness of contests for quite a while.

Take a look at App Sumo (pictured above), or look at almost any of the most successful campaigns across social media.

Fashion brands have arguably been some of the “worst” offenders when it comes to beating people down with contests, but guess what?

People can’t seem to get enough of them and so they continue to work. These big names have been spending thousands and thousands of dollars to develop their contest platforms and prizes to give the winners.

A perfect example actually hits close to home when my girlfriend recently won an all-inclusive trip for two (including flights) to one of Cabo’s premiere resorts for 5 days as well as an iPad 2. This was all in service of promoting their new iPad App – and it worked beautifully.

PopSugar (the sponsor of the contest) absolutely killed it with the number of new email subscriptions, facebook likes and new twitter followers.

They can now re-market to that audience over, and over, and over again.

Why People LOVE Contests

No matter what people tell you about how crappy contests look, they will say one thing and then do another.

What I mean by that is, people can tell you all day long that they don’t like contests and hate sharing opt-ins with their friends but then they will go and do exactly that.

People will do this consistently because as humans we are addicted to the prospect of free and it’s a great way to get introduced to a brand.

New entries into contests give you an opportunity as a brand to introduce prospects into your best content and showcase what you have to offer.

It gives you the ability to have a voice in the communication relationship between you and your visitors beyond just producing new content.

People secretly love this because it curates their experience and helps them find your best content without scouring the web.

Truly Astounding Results

Because people are incentivized by awesome prizes, the conversion rate of opt-ins on a unique landing page for a contests are amazing.

Beyond that – if you can offer low friction social sharing that gives a weighted change of winning for users you will kill it.

Here is a great example of a low friction social contest sharing page:

Contest Domination Social Sharing

In practice this format means that for every 100 original opt-ins you’ll another 20 just from social shares.

What’s even better, is that it lets you get your hooks into prospects across many channels too instead of just one.

Want people to like you on Facebook? Roughly 30% have been shown to do so on a structured contest.

Follow you on Twitter? That’s been even higher, sitting around 40% – social media addicts are the biggest fans of contests.

This isn’t just a theory about how effect contests are to dominate lead generation.

This is just the pure, yet amazing, facts of how effective contests really are.

Running Your Own Contest

Great information is nothing without the ability to put it into practice.

Many of you who have any sort of community or website, have a portion of it running on WordPress (the web’s most popular content management system).

This is the exact reason that I went out and spent thousands of my own dollars to make sure that people could benefit from my hard work and testing.

I wanted to make something that would let you quickly and easily setup a contest that ruled the roost when it came to results.

The plugin also had to be financially accessible to the masses, I didn’t just want a niche product that made me quick cash and then sat in the back room forever.

I wanted to make sure that thousands of people could afford to dominate their list growth and come back for more when they have an audience to work with.

For these exact reasons, I have opened the doors to a product called Contest Domination.

This is hands down the easiest way to get the best possible results of a contest on your WordPress site.

If you feel like giving it a spin, go check out my current contest (that’s a real prize btw) for a chance to win a year of DropBox Pro 🙂

About Travis Ketchum
A smart ass marketer who doesn't take no for an answer and always questions the status quo. Connect with me on Google+. Convinced yet? Get more tips and great content 100% free.

Follow me on Twitter · Visit my website →

Building a sustainable business is all about how well you can gather and maintain an audience. An email list is still one of the most viable ways to do just that.

We wanted to find a way to build an email incredibly fast, in a way that people actually find interesting, engaging and well - cool. It took a lot of testing to weed-whack through all the hype and find something that really worked.

The result? We ended up building our own solution, focused around the idea of contests and rewarding people for taking the actions that ultimately led to more leads on our email list. Everyone wins (and some literally do!), because as it turns out people love contests regardless of their market place.

Click to continue…

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

George L. March 12, 2012 at 11:52 AM

Contests aren’t always compelling enough, but in general, I think they work wonders for getting people involved with you more because of the excitement it ends up generating. The reason that so many brands are struggling with converting fans to actual activity and sales is that they don’t really get social media. Too many companies are of the mindset that all they really have to do to succeed is set up a Facebook page, throw a few bucks into Facebook ads, maybe use one of the types of companies at http://www.buyfacebookfansreviews.com and that will just automatically catapult them to success. Things don’t work out that way online. They have to be able to offer something to people that they value and listen to their customers. This is where contests fits in as a good way of engaging people and getting them to listen to your message in turn. This is the best way to achieve long-term success. The additional factor here is that while Facebook offers features to increase engagement, those features are really only designed to increase engagement on Facebook pages themselves. You have to go out and offer people something of value on Facebook to really find a way to get success and thats what I think more companies need to be working on.


Travis Ketchum March 12, 2012 at 12:33 PM

I totally agree that most business are so disconnected from the levers that create success from the world of social.

They need to understand that a push strategy gets them nowhere but wasted money on Facebook Ads with miserable conversion rates to likes (and even worse to sales).

Contests give companies a brief break in the pattern to lure a targeted audience into their conversation, feel the feedback and offer value. It gives them that very small window to actually EARN a customer by doing something amazing for them and THEN trying to turn them into a cash flow resources by solving tangible problems.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: