Advanced Tips & Tricks For Hosting Successful Competitions

Competition tips, top tips for running competitions with Gleam

Now that you've created some of your own Competition campaigns and you're seeing the potential for traction, we're going to share with you some advanced tips & tricks we've picked up over the years when it comes to running successful sweepstakes & contests.

We hope the tips here will help you get more value out of your Competitions subscription and help you build the perfect campaign for your business.

Partner Up

If you are running campaigns for a new product or service, chances are you haven't got an existing audience to promote to besides your family & friends. Instead of relying on paid advertising to drive entries (which is not the most efficient promotion method), we highly recommend partnering up with another brand that's serving the same niche.

It goes without saying that you should seek out for partners that can complement your product or service, rather than compete against yours.

Image showing website

There's lots of different ways that you can partner up with others to increase your reach:

  • Do partner giveaways where you include products from others (then ask them to promote it to their audience also)
  • Ask publishers to run your contest on their site (and expose it to their audience)
  • Consider reaching out to a group of bloggers with individually crafted giveaways of your product.
  • Sponsor an influencer and have them review your product while hosting a giveaway.
  • Have multiple clubs compete against each other with individual competitions for a grand prize.
  • If you're a musician then you might let promoters run their own individual campaigns to sell more tickets.
  • If you're an agency then you can use existing partners to increase your reach for clients.

Align Your Prize With Your Target Audience

Image showing competition with multiple partners

To get high quality entries and drive truly impactful actions from your entrants, you'll need to research the type of prize your potential entrant is most likely to engage with.

One of the biggest mistakes we see beginners make is not putting enough thought into the kind of prize they offer and how it could attract the people they most want to connect with.

Imagine you are running an online soccer store, which of these prizes would you offer?

  • Win a $250 Visa Gift Card
  • Win a signed David Beckham shirt + $100 to spend in-store

The former prize is fairly generic, so you'll likely attract many entrants who are just looking to win a prize (we call them sweepers). The latter prize, on the other hand, speaks to your target audience directly.

Try to incoporate something unique into your prize, this will greatly help you drive more referrals & entries.

Create A Scavenger Hunt

If you want to drive more traffic to your social media channels, or get visitors to pay more attention to your content, an organic & engaging approach would be to run a scavenger hunt.

Use our Competition widget as a gateway for users to seek out Secret Codes hidden in your social media channels, blog, online store, or website.

Here's an example for promoting an Instagram scavenger hunt, but you can re-purpose this template and use it for various channels too.

   Use this Template

Filter Out Unwanted Countries

We know it's tricky to run legally-compliant promotions on an international scale. If you find yourself needing to keep entrants to a specific list of countries, our platform allows you to include those countries during setup.

If the inverse is true, you can also conveniently exclude a list of countries with our platform.

This is how the campaign would look like for someone who can't enter your campaign:

Gleam widget showing competition not available in region

Use Previous Competitions As Templates

Gleam interface showing copy or edit previous competition template

One reason that makes Gleam unique is that for each campaign you run, you can freely test the combination of actions that work best for your business. When you've found your winning combination, you can capitalise on that and replicate a previous campaign's success.

To copy an older campaign, go to the campaign page and click on Copy — we'll copy across all your actions and configurations, all you have to do is add a prize.

Use Custom Actions To Your Advantage

Gleam allows you to create your own custom actions, these can be anything you want — but they allow you extreme flexibility to ask users to perform actions that don't (yet) exist on our platform.

You could create actions like:

  • Create an account on your platform or website
  • Enter your Order ID, or membership ID
  • Complete a form (fill a survey, leave a review, testimonial, feedback, etc)
  • Add your event to Google Calendar
  • Download an app (like Zoom)
  • Schedule a consultation on your Calendly page
  • Leave a Review

Style Your Actions

On the Pro plan and above, you can customise the colours & icons for all your actions. You'll be able to access 5,000+ icons from FontAwesome. You can make the actions unique, fit in with your branding, or create a new action that has never existed before.

Offer Free Entry Alternatives

Some countries are governed by sweepstakes & promotion laws, as well as anti-lottery laws. If you intend to ask for purchases or donations from your campaign, you'll need to get acquainted with the No Purchase Necessary laws in your country.

Gleam widget showing free entry alternatives action

To avoid turning your sweepstakes campaign into an illegal lottery, in certain countries you are legally required to offer an alternate method of entry (AMOE). Our platform allows you to automatically offer AMOE to entrants in any country where a free entry alternative is required by law.

To enable AMOE, make sure you select A purchase or donation is required for users to complete this Action in the individual entry method settings.

Be Mindful When Using Mandatory Actions

Gleam widget showing competition with visit instagram page to unlock 13 more entries

When you set an action to be mandatory, we gate that action so that entrants complete it before attempting your other actions. This is useful for ensuring everybody completes your most important action, but be mindful of sending entrants to a platform they might not use.

For example, not everybody has a Twitter or Instagram account, so making it mandatory for entrants to visit you on Instagram or follow you on Twitter might cause some potential entrants to drop-off, which harms your conversion rates. In this case, it might also help to set your social media pages to public.

Most Important Actions Go Up Top

If you plan to include multiple actions in your campaign, then be prepared for entrants partially completing them. Not every action is going to be relevant or attractive to the entrant, and that's okay. Just make sure your most important actions are always up top.

Give Weight To Most Important Actions

You can further sweeten the deal by offering extra entries for your most important actions.

For example, our customer OK Media was using their giveaway campaign to launch a new business, so the most important actions for them were to collect newsletter signups & drive traffic to their brand new Instagram account. They put those actions up top and offered extra entries to incentivise entrants, which bolstered their mailing list and earned them 4,000+ followers on Instagram.

Single Mandatory Action Auto Expands

Gleam widget showing competition with subscribe to newsletter action with fields to enter name and email

The Competition widget will automatically expand if you're only using one mandatory action, which allows entrants to immediately see what they have to do in order to enter.

This is particularly useful for driving newsletter signups or allowing entrants a speedy entry.

Award Entries For Logging Into The Widget

Gleam widget showing entry confirmed

By default, Gleam only awards entries to users who have completed at least one action. In some scenarios you may want to award entries to users for simply logging into the widget.

For example, when an entrant logs in through a social media account you'll be able to see their social media handle, allowing you to contact the winner via DMs on social media. If that's all you need from users then you can consider enabling automatic entry.

To do this, enable Require login before actions & Automatic Entry under the User Details tab.

Use Bonus Entries to Keep Users Coming Back

Gleam offers a unique Bonus action type that allows you to award bonus entries to entrants when they come back each day.

You can use this trick to drive more visits & engagement on your site, particularly if you introduce new content daily then you encourage users to spend more time on your site.

Actions Required + Bonus Entries = 100% Completion

Gleam widget showing bonus entries

Another trick is to award Bonus entries to users who have completed all your actions — you can gate this by setting the Actions required setting to match with your total number of actions. Here at Gleam, we've used this trick to great effect and so can you.

Incentivise Entry Completion With Coupons

Gleam widget showing unlock discount coupon code

With a Rewards plan, you can nest Coupons into your actions list and further incentivise entrants to complete your actions by unlocking intermediate discounts in your campaign. In our template below, an entrant could complete all the actions you ask for and earn themselves a sweet deal.

   Use this Template

Use The Promote Action

Gleam widget showing promote action

Gleam offers another unique Promote action type which allows you to cross-promote other Competition campaigns. This could be another one of your own, or you could partner up with other brands to promote each other's campaigns.

Create Chained Giveaways With Partners

If you have multiple partners, you could even create a chained giveaway where each brand sets up their own Gleam campaign and cross-promote one another, so everyone gets to setup their own actions and own their list of entrants.

We'll only award entries to users once they successfully enter the campaign you're promoting.

Did we mention we also award referral credits when you recommend Gleam to a business partner? 😎

Import External Entries With CSV

Don't want to use the Competitions widget? No problem. You can still manage every aspect of your sweepstakes or giveaway campaign by importing entries into our platform.

Our customer Pestily ran a huge fundraiser and imported a list of donors from Tiltify into Gleam to draw his winners.

If you're managing an audience off social media, this could be the perfect solution for managing your contest entries.

Offer Multiple Prizes

If you're giving away a prize bundle, consider setting up multiple prizes so you can draw winners separately for each prize type. You can even enter the prize value for your own reference, which comes in handy for calculating the ROI of your campaign afterwards.

Gleam interface showing setup multiple prizes option

The multiple prize setup makes it easier to draw your winners once the campaign ends.

Gleam interface showing multiple prize winner drawing

Offer Daily Winners

Image advertising giveaway

If you have lots of business partners or lots of prizes to offer, consider running a large scale promotion where you offer a daily prize over an allocated timeframe. Offering daily prizes really encourage users to come back and check on your campaign frequently, and if your campaign is hosted on your own website then visitors will surely spend more time browsing your site.

Gleam interface showing draw winners action

With Gleam it's really easy to draw winners randomly or manually, and you can also draw winners daily while the Competition is ongoing.

If you're interested in running this type of campaign, the holidays season is the perfect time to run campaigns with daily winners. Here's a 12 Days Of Christmas template from us:

   Use this Template

Use Feature Images

Using eye-catching images can really impact your clickthrough & engagement rates on social media. The same is true for Competitions campaigns.

Competitions that use feature images typically get over 100% more engagement than those that don't.

On the Hobby plan, you can add a feature image to any Competition you create, which allows you to completely brand & drive the experience for your entrants.

Gleam widget showing competion with image

On the Business plan, you can add up to 4 feature images to create a slideshow.

Use Feature Videos

Just like using feature images, perhaps an even more effective way to promote your campaign is through video. If you really want to get entrants excited and have their eyes on the prize, you can embed videos from YouTube,, Vimeo or Wistia directly into your Competition widget.

Gleam widget showing competion with video

Be Descriptive About Your Campaign

Like any other marketing campaign, good copy can really persuade visitors to enter your Competition.

When someone is browsing and considering to enter, they're essentially looking for a reason to say no and bounce. Don't let them do this! Use the prize description area to dispel any hesitations an entrant might have, in particular the logistics of your contest and their eligibility to enter.

By design our widget already surfaces the most important campaign details, you can do your part by making it clear how many winners there will be and who is allowed to enter.

Gleam widget showing competion with image and description

Avoid Embedding Below The Fold

Gleam widget shown on website

Some times we see customers include their campaign below the fold, or at the bottom of an article. This could hurt your conversion rates if visitors don't know there's an event going on your site.

Here are some tips to overcome this:

  • Host & embed your Competition on a dedicated page which includes information about the prize and how to enter (check out our in-house example above)
  • On the Business plan and above, you can use a tab overlay to run Competitions across every page on your site. A visitor could just click on a tab in the corner of your website to access your campaign.

Gleam widget shown on website

Host Campaign On Your Own Website

Gleam widget shown on website

Thinking about the ideal place to run your campaign? The best place is without a doubt on your own site.

We highly recommend setting up a reusable landing page with a memorable URL like:

The advantages of doing this are:

  • Sending users to your real site instead of a third party
  • More chance to convert these users after they enter
  • More control over your campaign analytics
  • You can funnel users from other parts of your site into your contest easily
  • Become platform agnostic — you own the customer relationship

Run Ongoing Competitions

Website with multiple giveaways shown

While Competition campaigns work perfectly well as a customer acquisition tool, many of our customers also run ongoing campaigns to retain existing customers and reward their loyal followers.

Running campaigns regularly also means that visitors will come back and check on your site more frequently.

Show Off Your Prize Winners

Website with previous winners shown

Announcing your winners publicly and having them show off their prizes is a great way to give your campaigns a credibility boost and make entering even more enticing. Just make sure you ask for permission before posting photos, or mention in your terms & conditions that winners are obligated to take photos and appear on social media.

If you don't have the resources to create a Winners Gallery, you can easily re-purpose social media content by embedding your announcement Tweet on your website. That's two birds with one stone! 🤙

Use Secret Landing Pages For E-Mail Marketing & Paid Ads

Gleam widget shown on website

Each Competition you create comes with its own hosted landing page, which means you can promote your campaign as soon as it's created. If you haven't got a website, or if you interact with your audience primarily via newsletter, you'll find our landing pages highly presentable and convenient for sharing.

Since our campaigns are not immediately available to the public (unless you embed them), you can test running different campaigns to serve highly targeted audiences, making it the perfect ally for your e-mail marketing or paid advertising.

Strengthen Your Promotion With Tweet Threads

Social media feeds are elusive by nature, but that shouldn't stop you from making sure all your followers know about your campaign while it's happening. While you're sticking to a regular promotion schedule on social media, make sure you're also piecing messages together using the Thread feature on Twitter.

Followers who are seeing your Tweets for the first time will get up to date instantly, plus the added context will strengthen your messaging and drive more hype.

Promotion Is Everything

Contest promotion tops, key strategies for promoting your contest

Building the perfect campaign is only half of the effort, the next half is to follow a solid promotional strategy for your target channels.

To get started, have a look at our comprehensive promotion guide which covers strategies specific to new or existing businesses. We also cover promotion strategies for major social media channels.

View Our Contest Promotion Guide

Fine-Tune Your Campaign When It Goes Live

Just because your campaign is live doesn't mean everything is set in stone. If you're seeing low conversion rates from the actions you've set up, don't fret because you can still troubleshoot and make changes to your campaign.

Maybe you received some feedback from entrants that your actions are too difficult to perform or they don't have a particular social media account to enter; you could always fine tune your campaign and switch them out for more suitable actions.

Gleam widget with answer a question action

Our customer Business 2iC used the Question action to gather feedback from her customers for product development. Once she received satisfying feedback & insight from her entrants, she changed the questions halfway through the campaign to get different responses from her audience. This allowed her to pivot her campaign at the right time while maximising the quality of her customer relations.

More Industry-Specific Tips

Depending on which industry you work in or what kind of audience you interact with online, chances are no two customers are using Gleam the same way. For more industry-specific tips, we've released Industry Guides to help you get the best of Gleam no matter the occasion.

Ready-made templates are also available throughout our Guides, including this one. Watch out for the 'Use This Template' button to instantly grab a copy of our Competition templates.

use this template

Use Our Battle-Tested Template

So that was a lot of great contest marketing advice, and we've packaged the best of Gleam into our tried & tested signature template. To grab your own copy just click on 'Use This Template' below 👇

   Use this Template