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Promotional competitions

Gemma Hotchkiss is the illustration talent behind Jurassic Panda. She creates a world inhabited by panda bears and dinosaurs, which adorn items from bags to T-shirts, badges and cards.She frequently uses promotional competitions to boost her fan base and brand awareness and she's here with her top tips to help you with yours.

Competitions can be a great and relatively cheap promotional tool for any sized business helping to increase brand identity and to grow your customer base. Here I have a few hints and tips to help maximise the benefits of a promotional contest.

Attractive prize

You don’t need a huge budget for your prize but you need to make sure it is something relevant to your business and something that you want to promote. Prize ideas could include vouchers that can be redeemed in your shop or against a service you provide, a new product you want to promote or even a goody bag containing a selection of items you sell Try a more unique and creative prize is, as long as it is relevant to your business you will see it can generate a lot more buzz Such as this latest goodybag competition for this year's BAFTAs.

Straight forward to enter

You will need to think about the prize you are offering and be realistic about what you expect people to do for that prize, people often don’t want to spend much time doing anything too complicated and will often presume they aren’t going to win anyway, so try and think of ways of getting lots of people involved with minimum effort. A good idea is to enter names in a prize draw for anyone who emails you, re-tweets a tweet, likes your Facebook page or uses a specific unique hashtag on Twitter or Instagram. If you fancy something a little more interesting you could do a drawing or photo competition or even a photo caption competition!

Create buzz

Ok so you have come up with your competition idea, your idea is to get people to photograph a funny picture of their pet, the funniest one will win a prize. Now how do you make sure that you get lots of interest? Well you can post the competition on your Facebook page and your twitter, ask friends to re-post or re-blog the competition so that more people see it but what else can you do? One idea is to photograph the details of your competition, upload it to your Instagram account and use some well selected hashtags such as #competition #contest or #prize for people searching for competitions. I recently visited a restaurant, they were offering a wonderful prize if you posted a picture of your food on Instagram with a specific hashtag, this is such a brilliant idea! Potentially thousands of people are uploading pictures advertising this company and all of their followers are seeing it!

Engage People

If you are a fan of pinterest and have a few followers then why not create a board with all competition entries on it, you can do the same on Facebook by creating an album so you are really engaging people. Post about the competition frequently while it is running to make sure people haven’t missed out. Seeing peoples entries may inspire more people to enter too!

Be cheeky

Why not ask other businesses to pass on details about the competition to their customers? Ask for a re-tweet about your competition, most people are willing to pass on details about competitions and if they ignore you then never mind it’s not the end of the world! You will find that companies that support new or local designers will have a lot of followers and one re-tweet from them could increase your entries tenfold and attract new likers!

And the winner is...

Don’t think that the competition is over when the winner is picked, make sure you let all of your followers across your social media channels know who the winner is and thank them all for entering, and let them know when your next competition is going to be! I think its nice to chat with your competition winners and inform them when the prize is on its way, the majority of the time they will chat about their win on their own social media channels, and will often photograph their prizes to show their friends and family, all of this is easy advertising and its a great way of familiarising a lot of people with your brand.

To keep up to date on all the latest promotional competitions from Gemma and Jurassic Panda, you can like her page on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter and Follow her on Instagram.

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