People love winning stuff. That’s why they drop their business card into a fishbowl at a local restaurant in hopes of winning a free lunch. While there may be no such thing as a free lunch when it comes to marketing, running a contest comes pretty close. This marketing tool is one of the least expensive yet most effective ones around. If you’re thinking about adding this marketing tool to your advertising strategies, here’s what you need to know.

Know Who Your Target Is

If you don’t know who your target market is, it’ll be difficult to plan successful contests. People will only participate in contests they care to win. Once you know precisely who your market is and what they like, give away company products that people love, like branded t-shirts or lunch on the house. This helps you increase the engagement you have with your audience. Long-term engagement is one of the cornerstones of a successful marketing plan.

Keep It Branded

To get the best long-term value out of a contest, choose a prize suited to your brand and services. This is one of the best ways to build consistent, long-term traffic to your website and to garner a steady customer base for your products and services. For example, if you’re in the business of making gourmet dog treats, then your contest should center around these treats and related items, like branded collars or chew toys. You want people to associate your brand with your product at all times. Holding contests consistently and keeping them on brand is one way to ensure that this happens.

Make the Contest Simple

You’ll have better luck with a contest that’s simple to follow and to implement. If people have to jump through too many hoops in order to win, it decreases the likelihood that they’ll play. This is why drawings work so well. In this system, all people have to do to win the prize is to fill out a form or submit their name and email address into a pop-up box on your website. This setup doesn’t require a lot of thinking. It’s also fair because the winners are chosen at random. However, the best part is that you now have the names of people you can market to in the future.

Contests offer an exciting way to increase customer engagements and bump up your company’s sales. This method of advertising is one of the best ways to increase your mailing list, which builds your brand and keeps your sales steady over the long haul.

Here’s another article you might like: 7 Digital Marketing Secrets Your Competitors Don’t Want You To Know