20 Questions You Must Answer to Make your Next Facebook Contest a Success!

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Contests are one of those marketing endeavors that can take a lot of work. There are several details that you need to get sorted out before you can even launch your contest! I’ve found that the easiest way to get all these details sorted out is to form them into questions, and then answer them. By doing that, you’ll have a clear picture of what you need to know and how that information impacts the success of your contest.

Below are 20 of the top questions I ask when planning a contest. There are more than this, and sometimes even more sub-questions that popup once you start answering these questions. But these 20 questions will get you started.

To make the list easier to digest, I’ve broken them up into four different sections.

Planning Phase

As they say “if you fail to plan, then plan to fail”! This is even more true for a contest, where you will (hopefully) have lots of people that you’re interacting with. Not figuring out a detail now can cause lots of stress and mean comments later.

  1. What is the start date?

Obviously you need to know this so you know when to launch your contest. But not knowing this can lead to confusion for anyone who wants to enter the contest and can cause problems with your marketing.

  1. What is the end date?

Again, another obvious question, but  it is important to get this information down before you start your contest.

  1. Will there be any restrictions on who can enter?

This question is a little bit more advanced. If you’re dealing with a brick and mortar business that has only one or a few local locations, you’ll want to make sure that people understand if they can enter or not. Also, if you’re awarding a prize that is meant for a certain age-group, you’ll want to restrict the age of the person who enters by putting it in your official rules and maybe even adding a box on your form that people can enter their age into. A little note on the age restriction. Most states only allow people 18 years and older to enter a contest. So, if your prize is meant for a younger crowd, you’ll want to make sure that parents know they should enter on their child’s behalf.

  1. What does someone need to do to enter?

Most states also have rules governing what someone has to do to enter so that your contest is not in violation. For instance, you’ll want to find out if someone needs to do more than just give you their email address to enter. If so, then you need to build that requirement into your contest. Keep in mind, though, that the more you ask someone to do to enter, the less likely they are to enter.

  1. What are the contest rules for the states I’m running my contest in?

And speaking of rules, if you are running a contest in multiple states (even if it’s online) or a national contest, you really want to know which states are going to give you the most trouble with their requirements. Some states have fairly lax rules regarding contests while others are very strict. You might even consider making residents from those trouble states not eligible for entry.

  1. What is the prize?

This question, too, may seem like it deserves a “duh” answer, but choosing the correct prize can influence the success of your contest. A prize that’s worth little will not motivate people to enter. A prize that has nothing to do with your business might not create the brand recognition you’re looking to achieve. And a prize that you have to pay for on your own (as opposed to partnering with another business who’s offering part or all of the prize) and you have a lot more up-front cost added to your contest.

  1. When are you awarding the prize?

Knowing when you’re awarding the prize is good to know, especially if it will take you a while to go through the results of the contest. You will want to build some padding into your award date to make sure that you have time to go through the results. This is especially true if your contest is a content-submission contest where people submit photos, videos, or other types of content.

  1. How are you awarding the prize?

This question ties in with what you are awarding. If it’s a physical product are you going to ship it or will the winner pick it up at your location or somewhere else? How will you send it to them if it’s a digital product or will you need to setup a download link if it’s a very large piece of digital content?

  1. How will you contact the winner?

You need to know the answer to this question because you will want to ask for that information on your contest form and make it a requirement in order to enter the contest. If you don’t, you’ll be left with no way to really contact the winner.

Marketing Phase

Once you have all the main details for your contest sorted out, you will need to tackle the marketing side. Below are the most important questions to ask to put together a good marketing plan.

  1. What are your marketing assets?

Your marketing assets include more than just your website. It can include printed pieces such as flyers, tv or radio spots, social media sites, your cashiers or sales people, any pay per click ads you run, and any other thing that you use to communicate with the public. All of these need to go on a list of your marketing assets and then you need to plan how to use that asset to promote your contest. Each asset will have it’s own strengths and weaknesses in communication, so you will want to note those as well. For instance, a website is a really great place to put a link directly to your contest page, but a radio ad is not.

  1. Do you have other companies, websites, or social media sites that will help promote this?

I love this question because it is one of those questions that people often overlook. You probably partner with other businesses on fundraisers and other events. But did you ever consider asking them to help promote your contest? Some companies will not be willing to do it unless you sweeten the pot with a similar offer to them, or unless you’re giving away one of their prizes. Still, partnering with another company or website can help you to extend your reach beyond what you can do on your own.

  1. When will you start marketing?

The date you start marketing your contest will most likely not be the date that you will launch your contest. You can use your website, social media sites, and even your email and text marketing lists to drop hints and tease about what your giving away and when the contest will start. This creates anticipation in your audience that will make them want to watch for more updates.

  1. How often will you market?

You need to know, also, how often you will use your marketing assets to put your marketing messages out. In the world of newspapers, radios, and tv ads this will affect your budget. In the digital world, it could affect how well your audience responds to the contest. Social media sites present the biggest chance to annoy your audience. If you post too much about your contest on Facebook, for example, you can receive nasty comments and your fans may even unlike your Page. But if you don’t post enough, you won’t get as many entries. So, experimenting with your posting can help determine the frequency you need to post on social media sites.

  1. Will you need any graphics made?

Contests don’t market themselves. In order to get the word out, you might need to hire a graphic designer to create flyers, a poster, your web graphics, or even your contest page. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your marketing, so you can allocate time and money to the project.

  1. Who is responsible for overseeing the marketing?

If you already have a marketing manager, then this question is pretty simple to answer. But if you don’t, then you’ll want to choose someone who is detail-oriented and organized.

  1. Who is responsible for executing the marketing?

In addition to someone who is making sure that all the moving parts are in place, you want to make sure that you have someone who knows how to actually get your marketing out there, such as posting flyers in your store location, getting the graphics up on your website, and posting to Facebook. This person may or may not be the same person who is overseeing the marketing.

Contest Phase

The contest phase can seem like it doesn’t need a lot of attention. But it is during this phase when you need to be extra vigilant. If something goes wrong with your contest (and believe me it can) you’ll want to make sure that you (or whoever is running the contest) are not out of touch.

  1. Who will watch and answer questions and comments?

The first question you want to answer is who will watch and answer questions and comments. This person may need to work after hours in order to answer these questions or comments so make sure that this is communicated.

  1. How will you handle bugs and issues that pop-up?

I have run a ton of Facebook contests and there were only a few that went off without a hitch. Sometimes the problem was tiny and didn’t really interrupt the contest, while other times, we needed to revamp the contest on the fly. Since we’re talking about running a contest in the digital space, your problems could range

After the Contest Phase

After the contest, can also seem like a time when you don’t need to do much work to make your contest a success. After all, it’s over, right? Not quite. You can harness the lingering excitement that happens during that time period after you finish a contest. Check out these last two questions to answer to find out how.

  1. How will you say “Congratulations” to the winner?

This question is related to the above question about how you will contact the winner. However, it is more about how you will capture the “congratulations” moment. That’s an important moment to the winner, and could also be an important moment to share with your fans and your customers. When you have the chance, try to get the winner to come in and accept the prize so that you can get a picture of that person accepting the prize. Don’t forget to post that picture to your Facebook Page, other social media sites, and somewhere in your location.

  1. Can you use any information or content in your future marketing?

The last question to ask is can you use any of the information that you’ve obtained from the contest in your future marketing. Some of the basic customer information you’ve captured can be used in your marketing. You do have to be careful about any emails or cell phone numbers you’ve captured, though. There’s some very strict rules about whether you can use them in future marketing. Make sure you know the rules before you ask for and use this information. If you’ve also asked people to submit pictures, videos, or other content, you might want to use these in your future marketing. However, you’ll want to make sure you get someone’s permission to use the content. Sometimes this can be as easy as adding that permission release into your official rules.

To make your contest a success, just ask 20 questions!