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Create a Successful Giveaway Contest

Create a Successful Giveaway Contest


by Hugh Duffy

Sweeps Contest

Everyone loves getting something for free. The other day, I saw HGTV's Dream Home giveaway and remembered how enticing the past giveaways were (e.g., Atlanta, Kiawah, etc.). This year, their Dream Home giveaway is a custom built home in Martha's Vineyard worth $2M and the package is rather enticing even though the probability of winning is probably comparable to a lottery ticket. Last year, HGTV managed to generate 22 million entries for their Urban Oasis giveaway. The year before, 77 million entries.

As you look ahead to tax season, here are some suggestions for creating a successful giveaway that can generate long term business results for your accounting practice. Granted, it will be on a much smaller scale but can still be beneficial for growing your practice.

Step 1 – Establish a goal for the giveaway.

Many successful contests start with a solid business goal. In your case, this may be referrals (e.g., word of mouth advertising) that become clients of your practice or online reviews in Google or Yelp. Secondary goals of your contest might be softer like getting entrants to Like your Facebook page, link to you on Google+, or connect to you on LinkedIn. For example, you may provide existing clients of your firm one entry for each referral and another entry for each online review (e.g., Google+, Yelp, Intuit, Assume a person refers one new client to your firm and wants to improve their odds of winning so they type in 3 reviews for a total of 4 entries into the sweepstakes.

Step 2 – Establish the contest prizes.

For most accountants, the ideal time to run a contest is throughout tax season and the prize is something nearly everyone will love. In addition to a primary prize (say a huge TV or some gadget), you will also want to award secondary prizes which might feature clients of yours. Suppose amongst your client roster are clients like restaurants, fitness trainers, landscapers and a couple florists, then consider purchasing gift certificates (at full price) that support their businesses. They will appreciate the free advertising and your enthusiastic support. The main prize is the draw item and the secondary items will help them rationalize the odds of winning.

Step 3 – Gain buy-in from your office team.

The contest must be enthusiastically supported by your entire team. Yes, it needs to be a total kumbaya to gain the most traction and become successful. Keep in mind that your staff needs to enthusiastically communicate the contest to generate the most participation. If this contest is your "pet" idea, it will fall down and become a drag.

Step 4 – Spread the word over and over and over again.

Communicate the contest in your email newsletter, social media, email footers, other forms of communication coming from your office. Yes, a successful contest takes many reminders so plan to communicate this over 3-4 months. My example would be the number of reminders that HGTV provides about the Cape Cod Dream Home giveaway. Delegate the ownership of the contest to your staff so ownership is shared.

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Hugh Duffy, BYF CEO and Co-Founder

Hugh is the consummate marketing coach for accountants and takes pride in the impact that it has on their practice, and lives. Hugh has more than thirty years of marketing experience. Since 2003, he has been teaching accountants on how to improve their marketing and make more money from their accounting practice.