About 40 percent of the world’s population has a presence on the Internet, and only around 10 percent of these users live in the United States. At these high rates, online communities have become an important market for any industry or advocacy.
As the Internet user population grows, online marketing is proportionately becoming a more tightly contested arena. Those who wish to get sizeable attention from their Internet audience have to come up with new, creative methods that will set them apart from the competition. One of the techniques that has been seeing much success in recent years is the implementation of online contests.
On Mashable.com, Young Entrepreneur Council founder Scott Gerber lists 10 successful online contests as given by 10 successful entrepreneurs. Gerber writes:
Online contests and sweepstakes can be great for business. Besides creating a fun customer experience, consider the lure of increased publicity, the spike in traffic to your website, and all those shoutouts on Facebook and Twitter.
But for every online contest success story, you’ll also encounter a story of doom. The angry emails, phone calls, tweets and Yelp reviews. The sharp drop in traffic following a so-so spike, the total lack of interest and participation. And worst of all, loss of money or reputation.
The key to a successful online contest is planning — you can’t wing it and expect to succeed just because you’re giving something away. Freebies come a dime a dozen. You know what doesn’t? Online contests that generate lasting sales.
Of the 10 successful contests cited in the article, some consistent characteristics emerge: simplicity of mechanics, ease of entry, and good entertainment value. The last one, in particular, factors greatly into the success of a contest as this is key to catching the attention and enthusiasm of contest participants. Therefore, successful contests begin with excellent contest ideas.
Coming up with the right ideas, however, is not an easy task. One has to look closer at the company’s target market, and the interests and activities of those that make up the market. To achieve this, a company can make use of the products and expertise of contest marketing services, like Skild, Inc. For example, good contest software will allow clients to go through a wide array of resources, including public forums and other Web based platforms, to aid in developing the right contest concepts.
In addition to inspiring a good idea for contests, excellent contest software can contribute to the success of a contest by facilitating other necessary factors. These include navigability, simple mechanics, easily accessible platforms, and an overall glitch-free process.
(Source: 10 Companies That Hit the Bullseye With Online Contests, Mashable.com)