How Contests Increase Brand Awareness and Generate Leads

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contests increase awareness

Fun fact: Contests increase brand awareness. And they can generate leads!

No matter the size of your business, you’re definitely interested in increasing the size of your audience, right?!

While this task may seem quite challenging, it doesn’t have to be.

Our advice? Try a contest.


You should view a contest as a solution as it gives a lot of benefits both for contenders and for the company.

Design Contest UK knows how to increase brand awareness, market presence, customer loyalty, and conversions with contests.

And they strongly recommend each and every entrepreneur try a contest at least once.

By conducting a contest properly, you should be able to:

  • Generate additional leads and sales
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Effectively promote your service or product

And move from the bottom of the awareness funnel below towards the top.


But of course, nothing happens on its own.

Since a contest is just one component of a marketing strategy, you should plan accordingly.

Despite all the fun of the competition, focus on the main marketing levers you can use to make the event as profitable as it can be.

When designing a contest, follow these 6 rules to maximize success.Click To Tweet

Step 1: Define Your Goals

The very first thing you should do is to set your goals.

The best way to define your contest goals is to make a priority list and incorporate one or several of the following:

  • Lead generation: Define your target customer and create an appropriate entry form that would entice your most-wanted customers to join.
  • Increase current clients’ loyalty by ensuring your contest also includes your current fans, followers, and customers.
  • Grow fans/subscribers/likes. If you want to limit your contest among fans only, you may create a fan-gated campaign. This means you just limit the access to the contest for unsubscribed users or those who don’t follow you. Actually, it’s a controversial strategy, because it may alienate some of the principal buyers, but it generally works. And even though Facebook now bans like-gating, there are measure marketers can still take.
  • Increase interaction and brand awareness. If you want your contest to really be interesting and relevant to your audience contest, make sure the prize is relevant to what you do (rather than giving away a tired iPad).

Though contests increase brand awareness and can generate leads, you want to make sure the leads and looks you’re generating may also materialize into sales one day!

Step 2: Focus on People

When creating your contest, every single step should be done with a focus on audience.

Disregarding this component of a contest can cost you too much.

To better understand whether you’re audience focused, ask yourself 3 simple questions:

  1. Is your contest externally or internally oriented? With an external contest, your goal is to generate new leads, in the second (internal) – you’re trying to engage current customers.
  2. Who is your target audience and what do they need? You must be sure about the motivation of your would-be clients.
  3. In what way will your contest interact with its participants?

Make sure you can answer these questions before you pass to the next step.

Step 3: Research of Current Web and Social Platforms

Whether you conduct the contest on your social platforms or internally on your website, evaluate the weight of each platform and define the logistics needed.

Sometimes using several channels makes sense. The better the balance – the better the results.

And don’t forget about the opportunity of integrating your contest with social platforms using third party applications!

Step 4: Choose Your Promotion Strategy

Let the audience not only compete, but also interact somehow.

You can do this by using:

  • Comments
  • Ratings
  • Or other similar opportunities that will drive engagement 

Here are a few essential contest tips:

  • Constantly publish contest content. While conducting a contest, don’t forget to keep content fresh and remind users about the campaign.
  • Drive social traffic. Use social media sites to redirect traffic from social platforms to your contest.
  • Promote your contest regularly. You should find a right balance between spamming and useful advertising.
  • If you have a large budget, you may also use paid promotion
In other words, with contests, 'if you build it they will come' is a poor strategy.Click To Tweet

Step 5: Follow the Unwritten Rules

While there aren’t too many hard and fast rules around contests, there are a few things you must consider:

  1. Do not ignore national and local regulations and laws; be sure you act within requirements of a particular social platform.
  2. Do not ask for too much personal data. Include only necessary information for identifying and contacting the participant on your form. To do otherwise means potential contenders might be confused and refuse to participate in your contest … and your marketing contest may REALLY SUCK!
  3. Use eye-popping graphics. The graphic component is incredibly important, but if only it’s relevant to the concept of your campaign, and is on brand.

Step 6: Pick a SMART Prize

A worthy prize is an advantage that makes the people want to participate.

You should focus on two things:

  • Creating a connection between the brand, the consumer, and the prize.
  • Finding an optimal ratio between prize cost and perceived value. The award should not “eat” your budget, but it should be of high value to the audience.

If you have sponsors, ask them for support.

How To Tell If Contests Create Brand Awareness & Leads

Even before a winner is determined, you will have the opportunity to evaluate the success of the event with the following metrics:

  1. Shares: number of reposts, social shares, or email forwards.
  2. Growth: likes, new followers, and subscribers.
  3. Lead generation: number of new entrants.
  4. Conversion rate: % of contest entrants that become your subscribers or customers.
  5. Loyalty: % of current audience/customers who participated in the competition.
Use these 5 metics to determine the success of your contest.Click To Tweet

Now you have a strong base to launch your own contest and turn it in a strong business tool.

Are there any contest tips we’ve left out? Let us know in the comment section below.


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Brian Jens is a freelancer, buzz writer and blogger of Design Contest. He loves all modern stuff, from catchy design to the latest technical innovations.

Latest posts by Brian Jens (see all)

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Category: Contests, Small Business
Tags: contest, contests, marketing with contests
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