Competitions – why they are so good for business?

Jun 10 • Marketing & PR • 6007 Views • Comments Off

Thursday 15 June 2006 sticks in my mind as if it was yesterday … At 12:20 the phone rang – It was the Daily Express calling to tell me I’d won a £30,000 convertible car via a competition I’d entered the previous week. I was 30 weeks pregnant with my first child at the time, and this sparked a two year ‘competition addiction’ to see what else I could win.

That’s the thing about competitions – they become addictive. There is a huge sense of excitement and anticipation when you enter, hoping to receive a winners letter or email.  Over two years I won more than just that fab car – a £1200 Currys voucher, 2 x coffee machines, a crate of wine, a range oven, a weekend at Gleneagles in Scotland, a toaster, kettle, Kenwood food mixer, a camera, a camcorder, lots of baby goodies, hair care items (brushes, shampoo, straighteners) … I loved awaiting the postman each day! Unfortunately when my son was born in 2008 I simply didn’t have the time to carry on entering competitions.

I have I mentioned all the above? Well, I wanted to explain what it’s like when you are a ‘comper’ … it’s an addictive pastime, and you want to enter everything you can find (online, magazines, supermarket leaflets etc). My hobby introduced me to brands I’d never heard of before, took me to websites I’d never previously visited, read product descriptions in order to answer a question … and I was one of thousands doing the same thing …

A typical competition on the internet gets over 6,000 entries. 6,000 people who, like me, want to win the item on offer. If an answer is needed before we can enter, we look for it – carefully, in order to ensure it is correct. There are thousands of people in the UK scanning websites every day looking for competitions to enter – there are even online competition portals and forums that pretty much tell you where to go. OK, people may not hang around on the site for very long after  entering, as when you’re in the ‘competition zone’ you are pretty much looking to enter as many as you can in the time available. But you do get to know these websites and you remember them and revisit them when you need to purchase something specific. I was introduced to the website this way – I visited their site every month to enter their competitions – and that following Christmas I purchased some presents from them and have done ever since.

As I mentioned, since the birth of Millie-Mae and then Toby I’ve not been as active a comper as I’d like to be. And now the children are in school and nursery I am looking to free up a few hours here and there to get into it again … but for now I’m putting my experience to good use on the flipside of the coin…

I believe I have good knowledge of how a comper ‘works’, and I use this information on WowThankYou by regularly offering competition prizes. I also list the competitions on the competition forums I mentioned earlier – I WANT compers to flock to the page to enter because I know that this is a sure-fire way of introducing them to the WowThankYou brand, and they WILL come back and purchase from us at some point. We average between 2,000 and 2,500 entries per competition over the month that it runs. The numbers are slowly climbing, which I put down to persistence and continuity – customers now give ‘entered a competition’ as their route to finding us.

With our competitions, you need to answer a question that is hidden somewhere within the seller’s store (who has donated the prize). I make sure it isn’t too easy as I want them to really see the items they are looking at. We can attribute a huge rise in sales to some sellers who have either currently or previously offered a prize – and this prize could cost as little as £8-10. There’s not many opportunities where this amount of money will get you 2,500-3,000 visitors …

And that’s the joy of competitions – compers don’t care what the value of the prize is as they enter everything, because they know there’s a higher chance that they’ll win the ‘smaller’ items rather than the cars, campervans, exotic holidays etc. To a comper, a win is a win, it’s as simple as that.

But yes I know what you’re thinking – “why encourage these people to enter?” Simple answer – because they are also online shoppers! Trust me – as a comper online, you are pretty nifty with a computer as you spend so much time on one entering prize draws, and quite honestly you simply don’t have time to go out shopping so buy online instead. It’s a winning formula, it really is.

So if you are looking for ways to get noticed, think about offering a competition prize on your blog, FB or twitter page. Don’t just run the one – when it ends, start another … keep doing it and people will slowly start to remember you and your brand. And then when they need to buy something, they’ll return not as a comper but as a customer, which is what we all want to see!

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