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Hit the Brand Jackpot: 6 Ways to Run a Successful Contest

January 22, 2014 · in Content Marketing

Many would argue that the driving force behind a business is to create – and keep – loyal customers. Studies show that rewards such as promotional contests, namely social media ones, drive this consumer loyalty. As freebies and coupons keep consumers hooked on social media, so do opportunities to win a prize. Whether it’s as small as a product sample or as large as a yearly membership, it’s clear that the prospect of winning always gains attention, especially among moms who frequent social networks. Moms’ use of social media has increased by 462% over the past 3 years (Big Fuel), and brand contests may have had a hand in that.

As the key purchaser for their household, moms always keep their eye out for deals, coupons, or ways they can save money. Contests are no exception. They’re looking for a better price on products they already buy, as well as looking for new brands to introduce to their family. As expected, 52% of American female Internet users have entered a brand-sponsored online contest, according to the latest survey from Ipsos OPX. Given the huge purchasing power of moms, this provides a vast opportunity for brands to engage moms in promotions and contests.

Here are 6 ways to ensure your brand contest is successful with moms:

  1. Choose a platform: Is your audience crazy for Pinterest, or more likely to respond to a poll on Facebook? Twitter contests are another option, among many others.

    In addition, consider leveraging your brand’s Facebook business page. Harness the power of your Fans by offering them a compelling contest. Join the 57.5% of surveyed Page Admins who have created a contest for their Page (

    When choosing a platform, make sure to research the rules and regulations surrounding the contest. For instance, Pinterest has firm rules around contests ran on their site, as does Twitter and Facebook.

    For example, Country Living ran a successful contest called “Dream Bedroom Pinterest Contest”. They asked Pinners to follow the Country Living page and create a new board with items that showcased their dream bedroom – and include pieces from They utilized hashtags, required contestants to include #countryliving and #dreambedroom. The winner was awarded a stunning bedding set from Garnet Hill – which any mom would love to add to her collection.

  2. Be goal oriented: Design your contest with specific goals in mind. Is your intent to generate leads, gain more site traffic, or increase sales?  The possibilities are endless.  A goal is an important part of a successful contest, as it gives you a standard by which to measure results. Bear in mind, 82.4% of brands who created a contest said the contest met their goals (
  3. Keep it fair: In your “fine print”, be very clear about how the winner is chosen. Is it by a randomly generated number? Judged as the best answer? A post that gets the most "likes" on Facebook? Communicate clearly with the contestants not only what they will win, but how the winner will be selected.
  4. Reward generously: Keep it simple, yet engaging. You don’t have to put out a million-dollar prize, but make it a valuable reward for taking the time to enter. Is it a membership upgrade, one-month service trial, or a gift certificate? Whatever the prize, ensure it’s in-line with your brand an appropriate value.

    For example, Eggo ran a two-part Facebook contest with a monetary prize. While the prize wasn’t brand-related, the contest was – with a clearly compelling payout of $5,000. “The Great Eggo Waffle Off!” consisted of a recipe contest, as well as Fan vote for the favorite.

    facebook contest brand marketing

    According to social media agency Big Fuel, 42 million moms engage in social media every week – make sure your contest gets noticed – by offering them a compelling prize. 
  5. Increase engagement: A primary way to increase moms’ engagement in your contest is simple – though social media. However, keep in mind that it’s also important to announce outside of social media, such as on your brand website or in dedicated emails.

    Consider a custom landing page specifically for the contest (explaining rules, entry process, prize, etc.) and communicate the same information elsewhere – newsletter, eblast, and so on.

    Remember these stats when planning out the social media side of the contest:
    • 70% of B2C marketing professionals have gained a customer via Facebook, as reported by Hubspot.
    • 28.7% is the average increase seen in “likes” after creating a Facebook Page contest (
    • 70% of Pinterest users who follow their favorite brands feel more connected to these brands than the ones they do not follow. (LAB42)
  6. Stay consistent: Running one stand-alone contest may drum up some quick business, but for a contest to be very valuable there must be scalability. Run a series of contests – whether on the same platform or different – to keep interest high and consumers wanting more. This consistency will build community and trust around your brand.

There are as many ways to run a successful contest as there are brands – so whichever path you choose, keep in mind what the mom market wants. Use these six points as a guideline when creating your contest, and the odds of winning will be in your favor. For more insight into consumer trends that impact marketing to moms, download our free white paper.


Posted by Amie Reardon

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