Maybe you guys can help me.
I’ve held two contests for PublisherForums, back to back. The first contest I gave away $800 in pure cash and in the second I gave away $1,000. I also spent around $500-600 in marketing and advertising of the contest.
Yet, it’d be safe to say the contests failed. At least, they yielded extremely poor results. While I received a couple hundred new sign-up’s and a few thousand posts, the amount of time and money I put into the contest was definitely not worth that. I’ve seen many other contests in the past fare much better as a result of their contests.
Why was this?
I don’t think think the prize money was an issue as $800, and then $1,000 in pure cash is pretty decent. I divided the prize money up into 10 categories to provide incentive that give more possibility to win something, instead of just one big prize.
This may have been one of the underlying problems. Some members had mentioned that they felt it was too difficult to be eligible to win a prize. They do have a point, as members needed at least 500 posts to win the top post category, 200 to be eligible for the quality posts category, etc.
However from my point of view I needed to make such restrictions, otherwise I could end up paying out $1,800 for a total of 25 posts. Also, the contests were 6 weeks each, which means an average of 10 posts per day were all that were needed to become eligible for the highest prerequisite.
Although, I will definitely be taking this into consideration the next time I hold a contest. I’ll try to view this aspect more in the participants eyes. Maybe I’ll lower the prerequisites and see how that fares.
Quality of Site
I’m biased here, but I doubt it was the actual site, PublisherForums that was a cause of this. I don’t think peopel went to the site and it actually repelled them from entering the contest, so this can’t be a factor…
I think this may possibly be a factor. While it sounds a bit strange to spend more money marketing the actual contest than how much you actually give away in the contest, it does make some sense. Maybe next time I should be prepared to spend more money marketing.
Yet, I did to a pretty big campaign. Apart from the many posts on my own blog, I had purchased some paid posts on other people’s blogs, and even purchased one from John Chow. I changed my signature on all the webmaster forums I frequented, e-mailed existing PublisherForums membesr, and I even purchased a press release!
One difficulty that I hadn’t really thought about before the contest was that I found it extremely difficult to advertise the site for free where you normally could; for example, webmaster forums are a great source for traffic and announcing such things, but obviously this was a competitor to other webmaster forums, and so I found my threads getting deleted and such, even though I posted according to the forum’s regulations. I’ll give props to DigitalPoint though for allowing me to post about it.
But that did limit my marketing efforts. I don’t know how I could market such a contest much better in the future, unless I offered a lot more money or something. Buying ‘ads’ on webmaster sites is out of the question for something like this since it’s way too expensive when I’m not selling a product or service.
My best hope would be either word of mouth (luck), or else getting as many webmaster blogs to write about it as possible.
So what do you guys think? Why did I fail? Was I doomed to begin with considering the saturatized nature of this market? I don’t think that’s it, either.
I don’t know. I’m really scratching my head here.