Everything You Need To Know About Running Promotional Contests

Everything You Need To Know About Running Promotional Contests

Find out exactly what contests are, what makes them different from other online promotions, and how you can promote and grow your business with regulation-compliant contests.

Running a promotion that gives users the chance to win a prize by completing designated actions is one of the most powerful strategies you can implement to drive massive amounts of engagement and growth.

There are several unique types of prize promotions you can run, each with their own sets of advantages and rules that they must adhere to. The four types of prize promotions you can come across are raffles, lotteries, sweepstakes, and contests.

A contest is defined as a promotion where entries involve an element of skill, and winners are chosen on the merit of their entry.

A contest may require entrants to submit a photo, answer questions, respond to short writing prompts or complete any other action or task that can be judged on performance.

A contest is essentially a game of skill, and alongside sweepstakes they are the ideal type of promotions for businesses and brands to run.

The key difference between contests and sweepstakes, which are often referred to as giveaways, is that a contest is a skill-based promotion where winners are chosen on merit, while a sweepstakes or giveaway is a luck-based promotion where winners are chosen at random.

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Contest Laws & Regulations

Prize promotions in the US and most other countries are regulated by no purchase necessary laws that essentially state that if promotion winners are randomly drawn you cannot ask users to make a purchase or provide other forms of consideration in order to enter your promotion.

Since contest winners are drawn based on merit instead of randomly, no purchase necessary laws are not applicable to contests and you are free to require the purchase of your product for entry. This includes getting users submit photos of themselves with your product, or write testimonials about their experience with it.

So if you're running a contest in the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and most other countries you are able to require or incentivise purchase as a part of your contest. Just remember that for this to hold true you have to ensure that you are selecting winners based purely on the merit of their submission.

You should also note that there are some exceptions to this rule inside the USA. Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota and Vermont all prohibit purchase requirements, even in contests where winners are chosen on merit.

When you run a contest, there are a few other laws and regulations that you must adhere to:

  • You have to announce opening and closing dates for submitting entries.
  • You need to disclose when and how winners will be selected, and when prizes will be awarded.
  • You must contact all winning entrants. If a winning entrant doesn't respond to you within a disclosed period of time you can disqualify them from your sweepstakes and redraw a winner.

Types of Contests

Running a contests is an outstanding way to boost exposure, engage your audience, promote your products and drive a wide range of powerful actions. Plus, you can do it all at a fraction of the cost of running a traditional marketing campaign.

If you want to run a contest that allows you to drive the actions you want and manually select winners based on the merit of their submissions then you should take a look at Gleam's Competitions app.

Here are just a few types of awesome contests you can run with Gleam:

Question Contests

One of the quickest and easiest types of contests you can run is one which asks users a simple questions, and awards a prize to the best response. You can run these contests on just about any social media platform, but if you want to drive entries from multiple sources and easily administer and monitor entries it's worth using a 3rd-party app like Gleam.

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   See More Question Templates.

You can use this type of contest to ask any type of quick, engaging question you want. This could be asking for product ideas, getting your audience's opinion on relevant topics, or even just finding out why they want to win your prize.

Photo and Video Contests

The most powerful type of contest you can run is a photo or video contest that tasks users with submitting images and videos. This can be photos of customers with your products, videos of your product in action or any other type of content that is engaging and relevant to your brand.

These contests are an outstanding way to engage your audience and encourage the creation of high-value user-generated content that will help you promote your products, reach a new audience and bolster your own marketing material.

With Gleam you can easily create photo contests that can accept submissions from Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, or even file uploads.

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   See More Photo Contest Templates.

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"Tell Us In 25 Words Or Less..." Contests

Another great type of contest you can run is one which gets users to answer a question or respond to a prompt within a designated word count.

This is a great way to get users to share engaging stories, generate product ideas, provide you with feedback and insights, or even submit valuable customer testimonials.

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   See More Fun Quiz Templates.

You can use the same approach to generate more long form submissions as well. This can help you run essay contests and other campaigns that encourage your users to submit more detailed pieces of writing.

Referral Contests

If you want to use a contest to boost awareness and maximise exposure you should consider running a referral contest. They're simple, easy to set up and highly effective.

You can use a referral contest to get users to share your contest with as many friends as they can, with the prize being awarded to the user who refers the most users with Gleam's Viral Share action.

   Learn More    Use This Template

   See More Referral Templates.

This is a great way to put your brand in front of a huge new audience. Plus, you can even require entrants to sign up with their email so you can use your contest to convert all these new users into email subscribers.

Ready To Run Your Own Contest?

Check out our documentation on setting up your own Competition with Gleam or check out the app now!

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