Creating Promotions and Contests with TECHNOLOGY

Creating Promotions and Contest with Technology - in the Mix Magazine

Recently I’ve noticed that magazines running promotions tend to favor contests where you enter by sending a text from a mobile phone. There are many technologies that can help you and your company create a successful contest. The following technologies can be used individually or in any combination, to create an exciting, winning promotion.

Typically to run a text contest, you would work with a company that specializes in this technology. The standard procedure is for the company to create a short number for your contest, and entrants must text a word or code, that you designate, to this number to enter into the contest. Normally the word or code is kept short and simple. The winner is notified back via text with further instructions on how to collect the prize. The benefit of this technology is the contact information that is collected. This information can be used to create a list for future promotions and sales.

I talked about the three big social media sites (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter) in my summer 2009 column. Facebook and Twitter are still good ways to spread the word; MySpace should only be utilized if the promotion relates to music. Add YouTube to that list too, if videos are doable for your promotion. On top of those, blogging is also an effective social media tool. WordPress or Blogger are simple-to-use blogging tools where setting up a basic account requires no programming experience whatsoever. In addition to those giants in the field, there is a plethora of other social media choices such as Digg, Reddit, Tumblr, Xanga, and the list goes on.

It seems like every site you visit contains ads. Using that model would follow the more traditional route of getting eyeballs on your promotion but there are some factors to consider. For example, to get the promotion to your targeted entrants, it is best to advertise on specific sites with related content or on sites geared towards your intended demographic. Another option is to advertise with a search engine and purchase phrases your preferred target would use in a search. Google is one of the first places to look for this type of advertising.

Email blasts are a good way to get the information directly into the hands of the entrants. One issue that frequently pops up is mass emails may be directly filtered into the spam/junk mail box and never viewed by the end user. Fortunately, there are many newsletter/email blast software programs that can remedy this problem. However, it’s always a good idea to test out the software and look over the fine print before purchasing. Make sure emails sent from the software can bypass the recipient’s junk mail filter. Does the software limit the number of recipients? Does it give you ready-made templates? What’s the level of technical knowledge needed to utilize this software? (,,

There’s nothing quite like a dedicated website for a promotion or contest. It’s almost the basic requirement! The site doesn’t have to be a complicated flashy thing that costs thousands to build; it can be a simple html site with a few pages of information regarding the contest, or at the very least, a sub-page built into your existing company site. Oftentimes the publicity from the company site can drive more attention to the promotion. Some blogging sites are built so that they blend the line between a blogging site and a regular website.

A combination of these options is a good start to promoting your contest. Customize the options to fit what your company needs. Quantity does not always equal quality if you are searching for a particular set of demographics. Good luck!