Contesting The Conventional Contest

After I graduated college I got my first job working for a digital education company.

However, cubicle life wasn’t for me and I soon went off on my own to work with clients.

I was helping them build funnels and buy ads, I had traded my desk job for what was essentially a desk job-from-home. If I stopped working the money did too.

I saw that I was helping other people build digital assets when what I really needed to do was start building my own.

The only real digital asset that I had was my email list. It was fairly small and wasn’t growing, but I knew that if I could build it up then I’d be on my way to being a business owner instead of an employee.

What really stuck out for me was contests. I was a big fan of them, especially when they were offering something of really unique value.

However, I wasn’t a big fan of the contest platforms I was seeing out there in the world.

I realized that they were putting all the emphasis on the share. To me I saw this as a big flaw. There should be a greater incentive to share the contest, especially if you have a large following.  
Also there should be an incentive to keep the content on your page even after you’ve posted it. I hired a developer to build me a plugin that would keep track of referrals so I could properly reward which contacts were giving me the greatest volume of conversions.

When I launched my own contest I immediately gained 1,500 new leads to my list! I was onto something for sure.

I then turn my plugin into a product that I could sell to other marketers and that’s how I got here.

To date, we’ve done over a million dollars in revenue and we’ve helped entrepreneurs in every niche imaginable.

The game changer for me was deciding to go all in on my email list. To this day email still outperforms all our other channels.  
It’s still possible to run a great contest even with a small list.

What matters is how well you’re qualifying your prospects as well as your relationship to them. If you asked someone on the street what they would offer as a contest prize they would almost definitely say either an iPhone, an iPad, or a gift card.

These types of rewards appeal to anyone and you’ll be attracting prospects who don’t care about you or your business at all. They’re just in it for the opportunity to get something for free.

You, on the other hand, will be stuck with an expensive email bill at the end of the month.

Let me walk you through a case study of a contest that didn’t generate a ton of leads but still had a great revenue ROI. The contest was for a local gym and they offered 3 months of personal training as their reward.

This was a perfect reward to offer because that’s the sale they were trying to make. They wanted to sell gym memberships and personal training which is the high end option.

The gym qualified their leads by asking for names, email, phone number, and what types of workouts they liked. They asked if they liked weight lifting, yoga, spinning, etc.

This is important because the questions also correlated with the classes the gym was offering as well. Every person who entered was then given a free 5-day pass to the gym.

Then at the end of the contest, they actually called every lead to follow up on their fitness goals and discuss how the gym could support them.

Normally this gym was looking for a 3x return on ad spend. Typically they were spending $400 and looking for a return of $1,200 in revenue.

In this campaign, they spent $0.77 per lead and booked an average of $28 in revenue per lead. A 30x return!

This was because they asked the right questions and aligned their prize with what they were actually hoping to sell.

The targeting is everything.


Action Steps

  1. Pick a prize that relates to the products or services you want to be selling.
  2. Ask the prospects to give you all the information you’ll need from them in order to best follow up later. Name, phone number, email, etc.
  3. Also ask them to further qualify themselves as a fit for working with you.
  4. Offer a lesser consolation incentive for entering the contest.
  5. Follow up with as many qualified leads as you think makes sense with offers of how you can best work together.


Result You Will Achieve

Best contest prizes to give you highly qualified leads that can turn into customers.

Mentor: Travis Ketchum

Founder of Contest Domination. Using case studies, contests & affiliates, Travis helps over 20,000 businesses harness the power of contests for their online business.

This article is based on an EHQ interview with the mentor.