Draw Customers With Contests

Contests can boost your customer database, including e-mail addresses. MarketingSherpa (www.marketingsherpa.com) shares a case study on how one company doubled the size of its e-mail list in eight months. The campaign, implemented by CoolComputerBags.com, was for a monthly computer bag giveaway. The strategy was to keep costs low while targeting top prospects with a relevant offer. Follow these steps to replicate this successful strategy in your store:

  • Choose a popular product as the prize. To attract your target customer, you must offer a best-selling product. If you use product you want to get rid of to clear inventory, the prize will lose its luster, and you’ll be less likely to attract new customers.

  • Promote at your Web site. Create a special contest page on your site, but keep it simple so that it doesn’t require excessive staff maintenance and is easy for consumers to sign up. The CoolComputerBags.com Web page had a photo of the prize, contest rules, request to enter e-mail address, a list of previous winners, and a privacy statement. Be sure to ask contestants to opt in to receive other product offers and information.

  • Attract entries online. CoolComputerBags didn’t use any paid promotions for the contest. Instead, they focused on “free stuff” Web sites (which highlight online giveaways and contests), included an ad on its own Web site, and included a link in the company e-newsletter.

  • Use social media marketing. Promote your contest on your Facebook and Twitter feeds.

  • Remind customers regularly. Send monthly notifications about the contest through e-mail communications. You not only can share the name of the winner but also prompt customers to enter the next contest and share info on current product (including promotions).

  • EXTRA TIP.CoolComputerBags.com included a coupon for 10 percent off the product that had been featured in that month’s contest.

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