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10 min read

How to have a huge number of participants

It takes time

A well-executed contest campaign can have long-lasting impacts on a business on many levels. It‘s cheap, simple, and it takes up little time for a brand to deliver it. On top of that, its upselling potential is one among the highest in the area of dialog marketing services. But it take time and it rarely grow overnight. 

Attract new customers

Without doubt, an increase in product sales is the ultimate goal of a contest campaign, as much as it’s a tell-tale sign of its proper execution. A successful campaign has the power of attracting new users, reactivating passive current customers, and encouraging upselling—all of which are major drivers of sales. The best way to do it is to introduce some new methods and shake the old ones. 

Shake your current users

Brands often use contests with the primary goal of enticing user engagement, and rightfully so. Contests have a high rate of customer response. However, contests are equally valuable for engaging previous customers as well. For that reason, it’s important for each brand to put an effort into maintaining a customer database, to make way for an easy path to reaching out to customers via direct response channels, such as WhatsApp, Facebook messenger, etc.

Effective way of raising a brand’s visibility

When there’s a chance to win a high-value prize, participants are motivated to give their information and give answers to questions. It’s a great opportunity to gather important data about users and gain a better understanding about your customer base.


There are 7 factors that have a compounding effect on a campaign’s success rate:

1 The concept of the contest
The concept of the contest is the key to its campaign’s success. Before realizing any aspects of the contest’s concept, it’s important to define the desired goals and expected outcomes. A campaign focused on rewarding current customers with special offers and discounts will be entirely different from a campaign aimed at promoting a new product. The general rule: the simpler the concept for the end user, the more successful the contest will be.

The two most commonly used types of contests are competitions and giveaways.

A) Competitions
Contest competitions are based on a basic concept—participants compete against one another in order to win a prize. A winner is decided based on specific winning criteria: who is the fastest, skilled, creative, or all at once. There are countless ways for implementing contests, and it’s right here when a brand’s creative gets the opportunity to shine.

B) Giveaways
A giveaway is a type of contests where every participant gets the same chance to win a prize, and the winner is often chosen randomly. For example, a participant is required to answer a simple question via SMS. However, the entry requirements may vary drastically. In some campaigns it’s required to pay a certain amount for participation, while in others it’s necessary just to enter an email.

2 Target audience
Who would be the ideal customer? Building a contest marketing strategy without knowing your audience is like fighting a losing battle—defining buyer personas is a crucial factor in any modern marketing strategy. Establishing the audiences’ demographics, such as age, education, location, career, and lifestyle provides a solid foundation for building upon the following elements.

3 Participation channels
Once the target audience is specified, the next step is to decide on the most effective channels to use for participation. Today there truly is no shortage of communication channels. Let’s name a few: SMS, Chatbots, Web forms, WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Push notification. Each of them comes with its pros and cons. For instance, SMS is an effective channel when it comes to general channel applicability, reach, and open rate. But, compared to WhatsApp, is more costly and comes with less content possibilities. Choosing the most suitable channel entirely depends on the target audience and the campaign’s business goals, so it’s best to work over all the options during the contest concept definition phase. For achieving a greater reach it’s desirable to include additional channels. An example of that would be adding a voice channel, which is a suitable way for engaging an older audience who has difficulties with typing. Another example is adding web push, in case the brand has its own website.

4 Creative direction
A staple of a successful modern market strategy, creative direction is a make-or-break factor for brands today. It’s a powerful, often overlooked tool which allows connecting with an audience on a deeper level. Successfully transforming a campaign’s concepts into finished visuals and copies, aligned with the target audiences’ preferences, will positively impact the number of participants—as well as attract new users to a brand.

5 Contest promotion
Half of marketing is creativity, half is promotion. Once a contest is set up, it’s time to attract participants to enter with mobile and instant messaging online ad campaigns. Social media ad campaigns are the go-to promotional tool, although there are other effective methods. Here are some ideas: email campaigns, sharing on social media, and adding a CTA banner to a brand’s homepage. When it comes to contests, building urgency among participants is an especially effective method. To them, a special limited-time offer comes across as motivation to act fast, in the sense that if they don’t take the offer right away, they will miss out on something valuable.

6 Campaign management and result tracking
Putting all the efforts into a campaign is counter intuitive if you’re clueless about if it’s working at all. To make the most sense of any campaign—and identify the best options for future campaigns, it’s key to implement live campaign monitoring and keep track of conversion data in real-time. By doing so, you are able to measure the return on investment (ROI) of your campaigns. This allows you to determine the cost-effectiveness of your efforts and make informed decisions about future investments in this area.

7 Legal and regulatory frameworks
Organizing contests can be legally demanding, and it comes with certain risks. In most countries it requires writing the Terms and conditions of a contest, and the approval from the body of authority (e.g. Ministry of Finance). In some countries lottery is considered a form of gambling and requires paying a fee in order to participate, even a license to run a campaign.

Sweepstakes, raffles, free prize draws, giveaways…the definition of each of these varies from country to country. Robust terms and conditions are a must-have, and navigating the legal landscape can cause many headaches—especially in cases when prizes are of high-value, such as cars. However, when carried out properly, international contest campaigns can have a highly rewarding impact on a brand.