Everybody loves a contest. As a matter of fact, “FR*EE” is still one of the most potent words you can include in any advertising message… so overused, you have to “mask” it to avoid being labeled as spammy. Fr*ee is followed closely in popularity by the word “Win”… because something for nothing has a timeless appeal.
Brian Gardner has gained real fame in the world of WordPress with his exceptional themes. He recently launched an affiliate program and has announced a March Madness Contest to promote the sale of his premium themes.
Then, I stumbled across another promotion being run by WordPress Theme developer Small Potatoes (a.k.a. Tung Do). In 20,000 Accounts Giveaway, the prize is 20,000 free memberships in his WordPress Theme club. The thing is, many people are going ahead and signing up for the membership because the price is definitely “right”. For $5 you get access to a new theme each month. OUTSTANDING!
Then, I see that another site (which I’m going to rip it pretty hard so it will remain nameless) announced their March Madness contest…with a cash prize of $500 thanks to the blog’s author’s tax refund. (Note: Getting a tax refund means you over estimated your earnings and over paid your taxes for the previous year. I on the other hand am DREADING my appointment with the CPA because I SERIOUSLY under estimated my 2007 financial success in a very substantial way. Oops! Lesson learned. It pays to be an optimist in more ways than one!)
Take a look at the three promotions above. Look at the prizes offered:
- Bahamas Cruise + $500 cash
- 20,000 free accounts for your readers
- $500 cash prize
I think have the prizes listed in descending level of “attractiveness.” A Cruise PLUS $500 cash!
It’s March… everyone who lives north of Orlando is sick of winter… palm trees and blue seas is a positively INSPIRED prize!
Sign me up!!! How many themes do I have to sell to win?
(Actually, I live south of Orlando but a cruise still sounds MIGHTY appealing!)
Next, come the 20,000 free accounts for my readers…. wow! That’s a lot of winners… which means it sounds like even someone who isn’t exceptionally lucky should have a good shot at winning one of them. (The fact that they’re $5 accounts really doesn’t dilute this at all… I mean, I got thrilled YEARS ago when I won a magnet that barely stuck to my refrigerator from a web site contest!)
Then comes the final horse in the race… this one is an emaciated nag compared to the two thoroughbreds above… $500 cash… as a result of his tax refund. You’ve seen my comment above. Let’s see… I’m supposed to subscribe to your newsletter to learn how to succeed on the web and you’ll pay this from your tax refund. Hmm… not sounding too tasty, despite the fact that he’s rounded up about a dozen “sponsors” who are also giving away their products and services as ancillary contests on his site.
It’s important to note that the final promotion is one in which you must not only sign up for his email newsletter, but then follow 4 steps to “enter” the contest including a complex linking schedule to two other sites in addition to the links to his site.
If I were “packaging” the final contest, I would have:
- Created the initial blog post title to include the word “contest” or “give away”. (Let readers know up front what’s going on.)
- Advertised the prize as a cumulative figure. For example, “Cash and prizes valued at $1500.
A quick glance through the prize list shows that is a ball park figure for the total value of what’s being given away on the site through the promotion. Instead of hyping a $500 cash prize, hype the higher value of the combined prizes.
- NEVER mention that the cash prize is being paid as the result of a nice tax refund.
Creative packaging of your contest is essential in it’s success. Both Brian Gardner and Tung Do have done a GREAT job of packaging theirs!
If you’ve got a contest you’re running, be sure to leave a comment.