They’re a fantastic way to grow your email list and acquire new leads. After all, we know that more leads mean more opportunities to increase sales in our business.
Let’s recall some of the most popular referral campaigns of all time:
- Harry’s, a men’s grooming and shaving brand collected 100,000 emails in just one week by letting people win their product in exchange for inviting their friends.
- Dropbox, a file hosting service, offered up to 16 GB of free storage if users referred their friends. The result? It doubled its user base in as little as 3 months.
The bottom line: There’s nothing more joyful and exciting than being able to win something, which is why contests (or referral campaigns) are proven to work.
But instead of running a contest for the sake of attracting more leads, why not be intentional about it to get the best results? Strive to get high-quality leads — because more isn’t always better.
When you’re generating leads that are low in quality, you have fewer people who are likely to become your paying customers.
So more qualified leads = more revenue from your campaigns.
Are there ways to ensure lead quality in every contest that you run? Of course. If you’re looking for strategies, we’ve listed them in this article. Keep reading.
Bonus Material: 6 Ways to Effortlessly Double Your Email List
How to Ensure Higher Quality Leads In Your Next Contest
1. Pick the right incentive.
I hate to break it to you… But your choice of prize probably isn’t the best.
You see, even if you’re giving away a fancy item, a Bentley for example, that doesn’t make your campaign successful. Everyone will surely be very thrilled to join and share your contest with their friends and it goes viral. But still, your business doesn’t grow.
The best prize or incentive isn’t necessarily fancy. But it needs to:
Appeal to your ideal customers.
If you’re looking to grow your customer base through your contest, then you want to make sure that your prize attracts your ideal audience.
For example, if you belong to the fitness niche, offer a gift card to fitness products. If you already have a product or service (like a fitness program), then offer a 6-months free membership.
Secondly, your prize has to be valuable enough to make people want to have it. Ask yourself these key questions:
- Is this prize something that my audience is willing to spend their money on?
- And is this prize also something that they’re willing to spend time and effort in sharing with their friends?
Here’s a case study example:
David Fraser, the owner of Bunkie Life, generated $300,000 from his Bunkie contest. Here’s what he did right:
- He used his own product (a bunkie) as the prize to ensure that he attracts contest entrants who will be interested in his brand.
- His audience perceived his prize as highly valuable that it garnered over 29,000 referred leads. This meant that his audience was talking about it and sharing it with as many of their friends as possible!
2. Use double opt-in.
One question I get from people building their email lists is this: “Wilco, do I need to enable double opt-in?”
My answer to that is yes. The main reason why double opt-in is necessary is that it makes your email list more effective. It does the following:
- Confirms that the person who entered your giveaway really wants to be part of it!
- Guarantees that every email address on your list is valid. (Because there will be instances when people use fake email addresses to increase their referrals and therefore increase their chances of winning.)
- Reduces the likelihood of you getting spam complaints and unsubscribes from your list.
Here’s what will happen when you enable double opt-in in your contest campaign:
Whenever someone signs up, that person will first receive an email with a link that allows them to confirm their participation. By clicking the link, their email gets added to your list.
Tip: If you’re using UpViral to set-up your contest, you can enable double opt-in inside General Setup > Email Notifications section. All you need to do is check the box for Confirmation Email. Edit the message and you’re good to go!
3. Restrict certain locations.
People from around the world can see and join your contest if you don’t put any restrictions on location.
Let’s say you’re running a contest where you offer your $1,000 product as the reward. And you only want to cater to US residents because when your contest ends, you can only ship the prize to any US address.
So on your official contest rules page, you’ve mentioned that your contest is open only to persons in the US. But even if you did, you can still get random entries from other countries!
(Keep in mind that not everyone who enters your contest bothers to read your contest rules.)
The best solution to prevent unqualified entries would be to actually block them from entering your contest. Here’s what you can do:
Using UpViral, in General Setup > Advanced Settings, there’s a feature called “Location Restrictions.”
Make sure to check the boxes corresponding to the countries you allow. Uncheck the boxes of those countries that you want to restrict.
4. Use a service called Email List Verify
There’s another way to ensure quality leads in your contest, and that’s by using a tool that actually verifies email addresses.
This tool is called Email List Verify. It’s a paid tool but you can get a 10-day trial so you can use it to make 100 verifications per day. It will check for spam trap email addresses, hard bounces, and disposable emails.
Simply upload your email list and in a few minutes, the tool will notify you of good and bad email addresses. Email List Verify also integrates with email autoresponders like Mailchimp, Active Campaign, and more.
5. Disqualify suspected cheaters
It happens in any contest: People try to trick the system. These people want your prize and will do whatever they can to get it.
First of all, you need to protect your contest against prize hunters and dishonest entries by creating good contest rules.
On your list of rules, specify how you’re going to select the winner. State that you have the right to disqualify suspected cheaters and then mention the reasons for disqualification.
Practically speaking, you can’t monitor your contest round-the-clock for cheaters and disqualify them. But what you can do (and it makes your life easier) is to use a contest tool that has a built-in fraud detection system.
If you use UpViral, just head over to Advanced Settings and turn ON “Automatically deactivate fraudulent leads.”
By turning on this feature, every lead that UpViral detects as suspicious will no longer be entered into your campaign. Therefore, that suspicious lead won’t receive any of your follow-up emails, win your prize, or be sent to your autoresponder.
You can check fraudulent leads inside the Fraud Detection section. If you think that some leads are legitimate, then you can manually activate them.
6. Choose the winner/s manually
When it comes to deciding who wins in your contest, you can let your contest tool pick the winner at random or you can also do it manually.
Between the two, manual selection is more likely to encourage quality entries because people know that they need to meet certain requirements or perform specific actions in order to win.
Tip: If your contest entails submitting creative work (like a photo, painting, or story), have a panel of judges, if possible industry experts, to decide the best entry.
Bonus Material: 6 Ways to Effortlessly Double Your Email List
If you’re planning an online contest soon, do it with the goal of getting high-quality leads.
Whatever business you’re in (whether you’re into fitness, jewelry making, gaming, home improvement, etc.) you need people who have the potential in becoming your future customers.
Protect your campaign from cheaters, reward winners who deserve it, and achieve the best results! I hope this article helps. Got more ideas on ensuring quality leads? Comment them below.
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