5 contest promotion ideas to get more entries

03/29/2019

Do you have a great contest in mind but no idea how to promote it? Turns out, creating the contest is often only half the battle; the other hard part is getting people to participate. With so many things vying for our time in a normal day, it can seem impossible to capture people’s attention. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of ideas to help you stand out from the crowd and get more entries for your contest.

1. Social Media

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great tools for promoting a contest, and they’re a great way to share bite-sized pieces of information. One of the best things about social media is the level of involvement you can get from strangers. All it takes is the inclusion of a commonly-searched term and you’ll potentially be on the radar of millions of people. When you’re advertising your contest, don’t re-use the same phrases. Vary them so you can engage as many people as possible.

If you’re running your contest through Submittable, links to contest forms are easy to share in social media posts. Because there’s so much information on social media, you’ll only have a couple of seconds to get your message across. By making it easy for people to access, you’ll convince more of them to sign up for your contest.

2. Word of Mouth

Depending on the type of contest you’re promoting, word of mouth can be an effective way to gain more entries, especially if it’s a local contest. Get the community excited to enter by putting up flyers and showing up to events that are similar to your contest. For example, if you’re giving away a signed copy of a book, it would be a good idea to advertise at local bookstores. Most businesses have community bulletin boards, and if your contest is for a charity, you may be able to convince a local radio or news station to give you some free promotion.

3. Network

If you’re using a platform with a submitter network that provides the opportunity to engage with their base, that’s a bonus. Utilize this network to connect with other like-minded people and boost your entry number. If you’re advertising a creative opportunity, Submittable also offers a free promo to its members, which includes a small blurb in a newsletter that’s sent to over 240,000 readers worldwide.

4. Paid Promo

Paid promotion may not be your ideal first solution, but it could be worth the money. Some paid promotions, like Twitter ads, allow you to choose the demographic your ad will target. Plan ahead and make sure that you’re not too close to hitting your maximum entry number (if you’ve set one) since you’ll want to get the most out of your money.

5. Email

Email blasts take a little more forethought since you will need time to gather email addresses, but the advantage is that you know the people who signed up are interested. They wouldn’t have given you their email if they weren’t, so your level of engagement can be pretty high using this tactic. If you have some time before the contest begins, start compiling an email blast list then. Or, if it’s too late, collect emails during the time of entry for the current contest to use for the next one.

You can also put your contest details in the signature of each email you send. That way, even if you forget to mention it, everyone you email will still have the information.

Contest promotion isn’t always easy, but if you stick with it, your efforts will pay off. It may take some time to see results, so try some combinations of the above ideas to give yourself the best shot at success. Note the ideas that work and you’ll soon have a game plan for each contest you create.