Posts Tagged ‘contest’

How HCSS Used an Interactive Contest to Increase Web Traffic 800%

December 9th, 2016

Pretty often with complex B2B products and services, it can be difficult, even for customers to show off the intricacies and value of the entire process.

With more than 4,000 construction companies and 45,000 end-users on HCSS software, the company was looking for a way to leverage clients’ stories and turn them into usable and compelling content.


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Millennials Something Snapchat Something Something

September 22nd, 2016

Skeptical millennials (defined as ages 18-34) are a notoriously hard-to-reach demographic for marketers. But a new social media outlet can help – Snapchat.


For experienced marketers unfamiliar with Snapchat, it’s like direct mail, in that you can send messages to potential customers with images. But it’s like weird direct mail that disappears after 24 hours. Because it was sent by a magician or something? No one knows for sure.

But we do know that means you should send heaps of snaps to your customers when you chat. Send snaps constantly and without pause, so they can never escape your product. Just keep ruthlessly going after customers like your company is the shark in Jaws.

Spoiler alert: you’re gonna need a bigger budget.

Just kidding.

scott-dikkers-colorAt MarketingSherpa Summit 2017 in Las Vegas, one of the featured speakers will be Scott Dikkers, co-founder and former owner and editor-in-chief of the notorious news satire publication, The Onion. Which got us thinking … what would MarketingSherpa look like if it were written by the editors of The Onion?

So I got together with one of my Summit co-hosts, Pamela Jesseau, Director of Marketing, MECLABS Institute, and we had a lot of fun coming up with the headlines at the bottom of this blog post that really, really should run on MarketingSherpa … but of course never will.

It’s an interesting exercise. Comedy, and satire specifically, is the perfect vehicle for constructive criticism. It’s funny because there is an element of truth to it. And the process of identifying the satire helps draw attention to areas (of society in general, or in our case, marketing) that can be improved.

It’s important to step outside of our industry and discover how customers see it. MarketingSherpa’s mission is to share inspirational stories of customer-first marketing. We’ve learned that sustainable success comes from putting the customer first – that means thinking like they do, even if it means poking fun at ourselves.

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Social Media Marketing: Michaels Stores increases Pinterest board followers by 86% with contest

March 21st, 2013

With a new upscale product line, Michaels Stores decided to look toward harnessing the considerable power of its 150,000 followers on Pinterest, where the marketing team fosters “tremendous engagement,” according to Robert Freeman, Director, Digital & Social Marketing, Michaels.

This was the challenge for Michaels – to use those followers to build awareness on the platform for its new upscale line of frames, the “Platinum Collection from Studio Décor,” as well as driving engagement within their Pinterest audience.


Michaels decided to capitalize on its social media audience by launching a contest on Pinterest to users in both the United States and Canada – the “Pin It to Win It” campaign.

Freeman said Michaels chose Pinterest as the platform for launching this contest because it made sense on three levels:

  1. The new frame collection seemed like the right type of product to bring to this audience because, “First, Michaels has seen = Pinterest users are looking for project inspiration and are highly engaged with inspirational content on Pinterest,” he said.
  2. Michaels found Pinterest users enjoy engaging in promotions, especially those that are compelling and easy to enter.
  3. Pinterest provided an environment in which Michaels could showcase its products “both contextually and visually, to increase interest in the product,” he concluded.

With simplicity as one of the main objectives for the campaign, there were only a few key steps for users to participate in the contest.

The prize chosen were two $500 gift cards to Michaels to “to build your own display wall!” and the process for entering was threefold:

  • Follow Michaels Stores on Pinterest
  • Fill out a form asking for name, email address and postal code
  • Pin the image of “our new Studio Décor Platinum Collection”


After filling out the form, users then have the option to join Michaels email list before clicking submit. They are then taken directly to log into their Pinterest, or if already logged in, the pinning page, where they can select the board they wish to pin the Platinum Collection onto.

The pin already includes a pre-written comment reading:

“I just saw Michaels new Studio Décor Platinum Collection frames and wall décor and entered their Pin It to Win It sweepstakes for my chance to win a $500 USD Michaels gift card. Click this pin and follow the instructions to enter yourself!”

After pinning the contest, the user then also has the opportunity to share via Facebook or Twitter as well. Once they have pinned, they are redirected straight to Michaels “Framed” Pinterest board, where they can peruse the Platinum Collection as well as other related content. Michaels’ 79 other boards filled with merchandise are also easily accessible from that point.

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Social Media Marketing: A look at contests from the customer’s perspective

October 30th, 2012

I’ve previously written about using social media contests and sweepstakes to grow your social communities on the MarketingSherpa blog, but today I’m going to write about these promotions from a unique place many marketers dare not tread – from the customer’s perspective.

You see, I just happen to be one of five finalists in a nationwide program now accepting votes on Facebook. One idea will garner $100,000 in funding. (You can read more about my rooftop farming idea, an initiative focused on content marketing for grocery stores, and vote for me, Daniel Burstein, if you like.)

Getting the opportunity to see these programs from the perspective of a customer/finalist, here are a few lessons I learned and relearned along the way that might be helpful to you for your own social media promotions …

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Social Media Marketing: 7 steps for using contests and sweepstakes to promote your brand

August 9th, 2012

Bribe them and buy them. That was an old-school marketing technique to acquire customers when the value proposition of a product just wasn’t strong enough to pull in enough interest of its own.

Do corporate social media accounts face that challenge? While many Facebook pages and Twitter accounts offer strong value (news, humor, insider information, etc.), the average corporate account can find it challenging to develop a following without an incentive.

One incentive that works well for many marketers is a sweepstakes or contest. (While those terms are often used interchangeably, technically the winner of a sweepstakes is decided by random chance, and a contest is decided by skill and competition.)

“Some of the main benefits of a social media-based contest are fast time-to-market, immediate responses/results, low-cost and no-cost program options, and measureable ROI,” said Sandra Fathi, President, Affect. “I have yet to find an organization — business-to-business or business-to-consumer — that would not benefit from some type of online contest.”

Sandra pointed out that even the President is holding an online sweepstakes to help with fundraising efforts.


The goal of online sweepstakes and contests

 While online sweepstakes and contests can help boost your social media following, they can help you meet other objectives as well.

“The goals of any marketing effort should align directly with business goals – and the same holds true for social media promotions,” Sandra said. She provided some example objectives:

  • Accelerate social media adoption/participation
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate leads/sales
  • Drive product/service usage
  • Recognize or reward customers/prospects

However, sometimes it pays to think outside the box.

“For example, we launched the New York Intern Project as a recruiting tool that also provided ancillary benefits, such as doubling our social media following, generating media coverage and new business opportunities with clients who were interested in hosting contests of their own,” Sandra said.

Here are a few mini-case studies to help you visualize successful sweepstakes and contests, and then we’ll review seven steps for launching your own sweepstakes and contests.

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Social Media Marketing: How to ensure Facebook doesn’t tear down your wall

September 23rd, 2011

Photo credit: Sue Ream

Like many marketers, I am not a lawyer. So when I see terms and conditions, my eyes glaze over and I shoot an email to our excellent in-house counsel.

However, if you conduct a campaign on a third-party site, you are at the mercy of their rules.

Take Facebook, for example. According to a recent whitepaper from Bulbstorm, “Run afoul of the guidelines, and your page could be shut down by Facebook at a moment’s notice … Facebook accepts reports of violations, and no one watches your page more closely than your competitors. They’d love nothing more than to see your campaign fail. So, follow the guidelines and don’t give Brand X a reason to tattle.”

But if you’re not a lawyer, following these guidelines to the letter is easier said than done. So, to help you avoid the LSAT, I grabbed Matt Simpson, Director, Interactive & Client Services at Bulbstorm, a developer of Facebook applications, and asked him a few questions that will keep you on the sunny side of Mark Zuckerberg and his team …

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Social Marketing: Twitter contest boosts followers 43%

December 7th, 2010

Social media marketing often involves interacting with your audience and giving it what it wants — whether it wants high quality content, customer service or something else. Consistently meeting these goals helps build a following on the networks.

Neil Bhapkar, Online Marketing Manager, Kobo, and his team had followings on Facebook and Twitter, but wanted to boost Twitter followers last August. The marketing team at the global e-book retailer had experimented with a Twitter contest earlier in the year, and wanted to give it another shot with a heavier marketing push.

Kobo had about 4,600 Twitter followers at the time. Although Bhapkar did not consider Twitter to be his team’s most impactful channel, he felt that holding a contest on the network could help boost followers while further engaging Kobo’s online audience.

“I would call it efficient because it’s not overly costly,” Bhapkar says. “It’s a unique way to push the envelope in how we’re engaging with our customers and getting them to spread the word about Kobo.”

Promote contest through multiple channels

The team designed a contest to give away three of Kobo’s eReaders. People who followed Kobo received one entry into the contest. Additional entries could be received by tweeting a book recommendation with the @Kobo tag. For example:

“My favorite books is Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain @Kobo”

The team explained these rules on a contest landing page (pictured here). The page also included:
o Picture of the eReaders
o Countdown clock
o Links to share the landing page via Twitter, Facebook or email
o Official contest rules.

The contest lasted 10 days, during which the team promoted the contest in the following channels:

– Email

Just a few hours after announcing the campaign on Twitter, the team sent an email to its house list describing the rules and linking to the landing page. This was the only email sent to its list for the effort. The team’s parent company, Indigo Books & Music, also added a button in its email newsletter linked to the contest landing page.

– Homepage bannerKobo Homepage Ad

The team posted a large image on its homepage, just below the fold, mentioning the campaign and linking to the landing page.

– Social media

The team launched the contest on Twitter using software from Offerpop, through which they also monitored its progress. The team reminded Twitter followers about the contest about five times over the 10-day span.

“Whenever the launch happens, there’s a first burst of activity and then it flattens,” Bhapkar says. “The best way to reinvigorate it is by tweeting to our follower base to remind them of what is happening.”

The team also mentioned the contests to its Facebook followers.

– Paid search

The team ran paid search advertising in Google for branded keywords such as “kobo ereader” and linked the ads to the contest landing page.

More engagement from relevant offer

After 10 days, the team closed the contest, randomly picked three winners and reached out to them with direct Twitter messages. Results the team saw include:
o 43.5% increase in Twitter followers
o Reached about 500,000 Twitter users with tweets related to the campaign
o More engagement with Kobo’s audience

“It was surprising how engaged some of the most active followers were. Some people didn’t stop at having just one recommendation or two. They actually had double digits; 10, 20. They were really interested in pushing their recommendations…not just in spurts but throughout the duration of the contest,” Bhapkar says.

By crafting an offer sure to interest Kobo’s followers and by encouraging more engagement, the team concentrated more energy into its Twitter campaign and saw an appreciable lift in followers. Due to its low cost, the campaign proved to be an efficient means for increasing Kobo’s following online, Bhapkar says.

Related resources

Social Marketing ROAD Map Handbook

Social Media Marketing Benchmark Report

Social Media Marketing: How enterprise-level social media managers handle negative sentiment